Thursday, February 8, 2007

Big Day in South Africa

Three new paragliding world records, including the furthest distance flown in a straight line – 426km (pending FAI approval) - were all broken in a single day back in December 2006 in South Africa by two brothers from Slovenia. Once approved, the record distance surpasses Will Gadd’s record of 423km by just 3km set back in 2002 in Texas, USA.

On December 8, 2006 in De Aar, South Africa, world-renowned for its Southern Hemisphere winter-time flying, Aljaz and Urban Valic spent 7.5 hours in the air and flew together at an impressive average speed of nearly 60km/h to cover their record-breaking distance, landing just 400 meters apart. The two brothers had travelled specifically to South Africa to set a new distance-t0-goal record, which they also did on this epic flight.

Also on the same day in South Africa, Richard Westgate and Phil Bibby from the United Kingdom made their way into the record books by flying a tandem paraglider further than any other paragliding duo for a final distance of 356 km (222.5 miles) in just six hours nine minutes, beating the previous record of 314 km set in Brazil in October 2006. Their new record is also pending FAI approval.

In other paragliding news, top British female pilot Nicky Moss was attacked by a pair of giant wedge-tailed eagles in Australia last week while preparing for a world title event to take place in Manilla, Northern New South Wales this month. While many paragliding pilots routinely fly with several types of birds of prey, they are not usually prone to attack the acutal pilot or their glider.

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