“4 months - 4 months away from home, from friends, from family, it doesn’t sound so long.
I had 4 months to try the first complete traverse of the Himalayas by walking and paragliding with my violin... It was an eternity, a full life, a no end story.
Suddenly, I realised that I get vertigo, I feel nausea. But what should I do? Am I crazy? Do I carry on? Do I finish? Do I come back?
In Tajikistan I was roaming around and hesitating to start my adventure. Komil, my friend and his family took care of me for 5 days. A few days later, I heard bullets whistling. After 4 days of interrogation by intelligence officers, Brakfin, the inspector, still suspicious of my innocence, helped me to leave the country, a free man.
In Pakistan, my old friends Ishaq and Shafqat felt I was hopeless. We laughed and they feed me with walnut cake, apricot oil, wild strawberries and finally I recharged my batteries. When the violent high altitude winds stopped, I needed a lot of energy to fly across Pakistan in only 6 days from the Chinese border to Islamabad. Along K2, Rakaposhi and Nanga Parbat, I finally flew above Kohistan to Malika Parbat and the entrance of the Kaghan valley.
In India, a vulture’s belly touched the back of my glider. A few hours later, a Hindu shaman and his 13 disciples exorcised the mountain and sky demons from me. After 2 days of lighting storms, my friends were feeding me with a sacrificed goat in a rock cave.
In Doplo (Nepal), I left Gagan Kali, Lal and the little Disti in this fantastic region I always dreamed to visit. Eyes in the sky because of so much kindness and beauty, I crashed!
I flew too close to a cliff, my glider collapsed and suddenly I fell to the ground. For 2 hours I didn’t know if I was living or dreaming. Dreaming I had no injuries, I was caught by the Himalayan trap. I had to take off again, to face the cliff.
In Sikkim, I joined John Anthoney, a Facebook friend and pilot. He followed my all Himalayan trip. With Munna, his wife, they took me home. I was skin and bones. I had lost 15 kg by the end of Nepal traverse. 5 days later I left again by air for the Sikkim paragliding traverse.
In the end, I reached the final region of the Himalaya mountain range: Arunachal Pradesh. The region features glaciers and high peaks and the local people eat strange insects and caterpillars. I was flying above the jungle, hearing monkey and bird screams. Take offs and thermals started to be rare. I was very far from home. My head was full, too full. In Sepa, Gourishankar, his wife and his 3 daughters took care of me. I was sick, at the very end of my strength.
You have been so kind to me, friends from the Himalayas! Whatever your country, your religion, you, Himalayan people and your mountains helped me to forget numbers, distances, clouds bases and altitudes! Thank you so much!”
04.01.17 "The Peak 4 turns ordinary pilots into extraordinary pilots"
Owner of South East Queensland Paragliding has only had 5 flights on his new Peak 4 and all flights have been over 200km. He is now leading the Australian XC Contest.
He says: "I have had a little over a decade off from XC flying due to raising a family. I decided it was time to get back into my passion of big distance flying. So I had to buy all the equipment needed because last time I was flying XC all the modern equipment like Spot satellite trackers, 2 liner gliders or pod harnesses didn't exist.
My eagerly awaited new Peak 4 didn't arrive till well into the Australian season in mid-December. My first outing in the glider saw me fly 3 days with the first flight being 224km, followed by a 262km flight the next day and then a 321km the day after. It was nearly 2 weeks later before I would get the chance to fly it again. There was big expectation after the first 3 flights and I was not disappointed - again flying 2 days in a row and achieving distances of 285km and 233km.
I now believe what everyone is saying about the glider: the Peak 4 turns ordinary pilots into extraordinary pilots. I have been super impressed with the improvement in glide. The Peak 4 has an exceptional glide angle at an exceptional speed while remaining very solid and stable".
Jean Yves Fredriksen completed another great adventure in Nepal. Inseparable from his violin, the pilot spent 4 months completing a vol-biv journey through the Himalayas - just walking and flying with the new Hook 4 P.
Jean-Yves, also known as Blutch, has crossed borders, had many experiences and shared the purest side of the mountains he calls "the mountains of the world" with local villagers.
“I made an effort for four months but I made a mess of it, the solitude, the commitment, the political situation in each of the countries that we passed through. I am definitely not a loner. I tried, during a short period of my life, to share the idea that we are terribly and simply people who can live out our passions together here in the mountains of the world", says Jean-Yves.
The latest adventure of famous mountaineer Julien Irilli will be a big one! Along with Lucie Francini he will be undertaking a vol biv trip in New Zealand, crossing the South Island by hiking and flying only.
A first, if they succeed. They plan to complete the 600 km trip and if conditions permit, even hope to fly back! During the trip they should ascend and fly over some of the country’s most iconic scenery, from Mount Cook to some of the settings for the Lord of the Rings films. For this adventure they will be using a new Niviuk Ikuma prototype tandem as well as a Bi Skin 2 P for flying in the high mountains.
Having secured the trip through crowd funding, they hope to begin the adventure on the 3rd January 2017.
In training for the adventure, Julien and Lucie have been hiking and flying in their local area around the Haute-Savoie. You can see more on their training flights here:
Niviuk partner SEQ Paragliding is currently organising a training camp for team pilots. Conditions have been fantastic! On the 9th of December, Zane Priebbenow flew 378.01 km on his Peak 4 - he was less than 20km short of the national record.
Other note-worthy flights were Kate Baker (Artik 4) breaking her own Queensland women's record with a 297km flight. Riley McDermid (Peak 4) setting a new personal best of 312km and SEQ Paragliding owner Shane Gingell flew 224km on his maiden flight with the new Peak 4 and on the third day he flew 321km.
He said: "I squeezed in 224km in difficult conditions flying over wet ground with broken lift. I was impressed with the speed and glide at speed of this glider".
A few weeks ago we reported on Roberta Perinetti’s double hat-trick of 100 km flights in Bir Billing, India. Michele Marchi Vidi was with her and has sent us this report of his amazing time in India with his Artik 4.
He says about his trip: “I did some incredible flights everyday including a very nice traverse from Bir Billing to Solang. On the first day I did 98 km - my personal best so far. The following days I beat that with 118 km, 113 km, 129 km, 139 km 152 km, and the next day another 152 km with an average speed of 26 km/h, then another 108 km in relax mode as the condition were getting stable. My final flight was a nice 59 km over the back in the Himalayas, flying most of the time at 5000 meters between beautiful peaks - a dream come true experience. All thanks to my beautiful Artik4, which I trust and which is fast and safe”.
Michele and Roberta are currently the top-ranked Niviuk pilots in the sport class in the international XContest. His goal for this season? “I will do my best in spring to do some nice triangles in Antholz (South Tyrol) to stay in the top 100 in the world XContest, thats my plan!”.
We introduce you the new Klimber P, the first lightweight high-performance Niviuk EN D wing. Fully certified, this new model is intended for those pilots who want more: more performance, more aerodynamics, more adrenaline. Ideal for those who want to exceed current limits, expert pilots who are insatiable for adventure flight and hike & fly and vol-biv aficionados who are looking for a tool to match their highest expectations.
The main objective of the R&D team was to find the perfect compromise between maximum performance and the least possible weight and volume. The result is that packing, carrying and flying the Klimber P is not only comfortable, it is an extraordinary experience. And all this, of course, meets the maximum safety standards and guarantees that are the hallmark of our company.
With a total number of points that would have won him the UK XC league just a few years ago, third placed Niviuk pilot Wayne Seeley reflects on his cross-country season.
The national UK XC league is scored on the top six flights of the season. Flying his trusty Icepeak 6, Wayne was placed third with a total of 1126 points and his score also helped his club, XClent win the top British club prize.
His flights included a number of declared triangles and goal flights, including a record-breaking competition goal flight of 211km (271.6 points) in 6hrs 47mins flying time!
In a highly competitive season that just kept giving, Wayne’s last big flight was on the 2nd October 2016, where he completed a declared triangle worth 182.6 points and snatching the bronze position.
He said: “The last flight of the season was one of the best, it was October and the season should have been over but the day looked good for the time of year and after an amazing 3h 63 km declared FAI triangle followed, which I needed to snatch 3rd place in the National XC league”.
He also reminisced about the record breaking flight from Tinto, saying “What a day! Seven hours and 211 km goal flight, my first flight in Scotland and although one of the first off the hill, I missed the first climb out with the gaggle which meant chasing hard and low over new terrain for the first hour to catch up the leaders. From that point we managed to fly the next 180 km as a pretty decent gaggle, we split a few times, a few dropped out along the way as it got tricky around the 150 km point. We worked well as a team to stay in the air then the 8 of us left to cruised the last 30 km under a convergence line. It doesn't get much better than that! And finally landing together in goal at 200+km with a bunch of your cross-country mates who you had flown with all day”.
His final memorable flight of the season was one where buzzards attacked his Icepeak 6, causing enough damage to make him buy another Icepeak!
Congratulations Wayne on this great achievement and good luck for the next season!
Niviuk is proud to support Fly High Nepal in their latest adventure. In the coming few days, the team are attempting a tandem paragliding expedition over Machapuchare, part of the Annapurna Himalayas of north central Nepal.
Machapuchare (6,993 m) is a sacred mountain, which has never been summited by climbers. However, it is not forbidden to fly over it. In November 2014 team member Hervé Burdet managed to fly to the summit for the first time. The technicality of the flight, as well as the special high-altitude flying, terrain and metrological knowledge required, has inspired Fly High Nepal to organise this adventure as a tandem expedition. Niviuk is supporting the project with Takoo 3 tandem wings.
Four teams, lead by four very experienced pilots (Christophe Blanc-Gras, Hervé Burdet, Dimitri Angonin and Jérôme Blanc-Gras), will be ready to launch themselves into aerial exploration, to see what no one has seen before.
The take-off will be around 3,500 meters high, on a site which requires three days of trekking to reach, starting in Pokhara. They will then attempt to fly up to an altitude of 7,000 meters. The passengers, Soren Rickards, Anais Montessuit, Julien Blanc-Grass and Charlotte Tambour will have the task of documenting the experience and the team will produce a video of the adventure.
We wish them good weather and success in their mission. We will be following their adventures and report on them as we get news.