In 2012, Godfrey Masauli starred in The Boy Who Flies film by Canadian pilot and filmmaker Ben Jordan. Godfrey, from Malawi, learnt to fly through Ben and became well-known in his home country.
In the July issue of Cross-Country magazine, Jody MacDonald describes how she, Niviuk team pilot Gavin McClurg, Nick Greece and Matt Beechinor sought out Godfrey and spent time flying in his beautiful country. At the time he was Malawi's only paraglider pilot.
Photographer Jody MacDonald explained that the plan was to head to Mount Mulanje, a 3,000m massif south east of the capital, but their intended flight did not work out as expected. ‘We hiked up 4,000ft to stay the night in a mountain hut up there and fly off in the morning, but the cloud came in and that was it’. After five days in the “rat filled cabin” the team finally flew. ‘We waited out the rain and then Mount Mulanje delivered pure magic. We endlessly surfed up these Yosemite-like granite walls, flying in close to the waterfalls pouring down them’.
Godfrey has been an inspiration to his fellow Malawians and people flock to hear his stories and admire his belief that people can do anything. The US pilots also worked with the Cloudbase Foundation to help set up the School of Dreams, the country’s first paragliding school. Now established in the Dezda mountains, this May several qualified instructors travelled to Malawi to start training new pilots. From now on, Godfrey will not be the only Malawian pilot. More to come!
04.08.16 Skin P, by Julien Irilli and Jean-Yves "Blutch" Fredriksen
Julien Irilli and Jean-Yves "Blutch" Fredriksen are climbers and paragliding enthusiasts. Considering the needs of those with a multifaceted adventurous nature, we decided to create the Skin P, a lightweight wing (from 1.6 kg) that the protagonists of our latest video could not have praised more.
Due to the huge success of this glider, we have decided to expand the P-Series, the lightweight Niviuk range.
Congratulations to Emanuelle Zufferey, who flew her Icepeak 8 into second place at the Swiss Open at Disentis. The competition took place from the 27th July until 1st August.
Commenting on the race, she said: ‘Thank you to Niviuk Switzerland! I am happy with my performance in the competition. Looking forward to the next competition, the European Championships in Macedonia’.
Triple Olympic medallist and world champion with the Spanish handball team, Demetrio Lozano Jarque participated in the 20016 X-Pyr. This also Niviuk pilot chose the Artik P as his competition wing. He was supported by Antonio Ramos.
Battling strong winds and storms, he persevered to the race end, completing a respectable 113.9 km. He commented on his wing, saying ‘My Artik P behaved brilliantly and helped to keep me at the top of the gaggle when in the air. Flying conditions were not ideal, especially from the third day onwards, when we had strong wind. In such conditions, to have a wing with speed makes the difference between being able to take off or not. I am more than satisfied with its performance especially in high wind turbulence. I hope to continue participating in this type of competition because I think it is the true essence of mountains and flying’.
29.07.16 Ignacio Arévalo, fourth in the X-Pyr 2016
Assisted by Javier Delgado, Ignacio Arévalo Guede has hiked and flown into fourth place in the 2016 X-Pyr on his Artik P.
He describes his experiences: ‘The race began with a flight with gentle thermals and low cloudbase. But after two flights and 50 km running, we went to sleep in fifth place. The second day was the day of the long flights and after over five hours in the air I was in fourth place. The third day was complicated, with a lot of headwind around the restricted area of Ordesa, having to pass the highest mountain range in the Pyrenees (with many peaks over 3000m), 70 km/h downwind glides... Then four days of rain and north wind! On the last day I had to walk another 50 km and we stopped in the afternoon when we knew we had secured fourth place!’.
Commenting on the glider, he said: ‘I chose the Artik P because of my small body weight. The smaller size Peak 4 was great, but when I tried a demo of the Artik 4, I knew it would be perfect for this competition. With the Artik P you can relax and fly in all kinds of conditions. In comparison with the EN D wings, I only noticed a small difference in speed, but the Artik 4 climbs and glides really well. I think 4th place speaks for itself, no need to fly a complicated wing to compete with the best hike & fly racers in the world’.
Congratulations Ignacio! See you at the X-Pyr 2018!
We would like to present the Dobermann 2, the new Niviuk PPG glider mainly targeted at experienced competition and slalom pilots who are committed to safety and comfort.
The Dobermann 2 is faster, steadier and better in turns than its predecessor. Furthermore, it also provides an excellent glide, a wide speed range and it is available in larger sizes, very valuable characteristics for freestyle and recreational pilots.
26.07.16 ‘It turns like an Impala trying to escape a Cheetah’
XC Mag flew the Peak 4 for 12 hours in XC conditions. The review was published in issue 171 (July 2016). Here are some of the findings:
‘I took off, easily gained height, then threw in a bit of weightshift to start the 90-degree turn to connect with the main ridge. I almost completed the turn before I’d even started to pull the brake down. This glider is very responsive to weightshift roll! Way more so than any other XC glider I’ve recently flown.
In the first part of the travel the brakes feel slightly soft, a bit like the Peak 3, but then firm up reasonably quickly and overall the Peak 4 feels much more precise than its predecessor. Wingovers are easy and build up quickly. A 360 can be turned into a spiral with minimal effort – it almost feels like an acro glider.
The combination of weightshift sensitivity and the direct feel to the brakes makes the Peak 4 a very agile glider. Basically, it turns like an impala trying to escape a cheetah!’.
The magazine completed a cross-country flight with an Icepeak 8 pilot and the flight allowed interesting comparisons. Although the IP8 had the edge in weak climbs and a slightly better glide, the Peak 4 compared very favourably.
The journalist was impressed with the Peak 4’s climb performance: ‘It held its own against just about everything in moderate climbs and in a few tight bullets was superb. It went up like a cork when other gliders were struggling to stay in the narrow cores’.
Compared to the Peak 3, the Peak 4 shows its Icepeak 6 DNA much more strongly with the precision and more direct feel of its higher-level relative.
A lot of the pilot glides were completed on 50-75% bar and he controlled the wing with the B-risers. He said: ‘The Peak 4 thrives on being flown like this. It definitely feels better that a typical three-liner. What you are getting in theory is better post-collapse behaviour. Not that I got a chance to confirm it as I suffered no collapses in about 12 hours of flying in a decent range of conditions. Of the gliders I have flown, the Peak 4 is the best current EN D for B-line control and this allows you to exploit its glide at speed’.
He continued: ‘Every Niviuk wing I see is just that little bit better finished than the last. This continues the trend. Most cells are reinforced by Nitinol rods which help form the leading edge and the front third of the chord, with a separate section in the rear half of the glider. All the reinforcement helps the glider work well as a 2.5-liner which keeps the line consumption to an impressively low 182m for the 21 size. Brakes come with poppers, which will make some pilots very happy indeed!’.
In conclusion, the publication summarizes: ‘Peak 4 features: light direct brakes, very good B-riser control, and very active in roll. The Peak 4 is good in the flatlands but even better in the mountains with its tight turning, cohesive feel, solidity and cruising with confidence along ridges with lots of bar’.
22.07.16 Gold and Bronze at the British Open Matagais
Niviuk pilot Emanuelle Zufferey has won the women's class of the 2016 British Open flying her Icepeak 8. At the competition held at Matagais (Portugal, 11-16 July), Emanuelle was also ranked 6th overall in the competition.
Another Niviuk pilot, Yuki Sato, has won the bronze medal, flying with her Icepeak 7.
Finally, Tor Jansson (Peak 3) was awarded second place at the Swedish Championships at the same event.
After five tasks, Kari Ellis has triumphed with her Peak 4 at the US Nationals in Chelan. She headed a women's podium of three Niviuk pilots. Bianca Heinrich in second place with her Peak 4 and Canada's Nicole McLearn in third place with the Artik 4. All three made goal in the record-breaking task of 226km – the longest successful competition task in paragliding history. Kari raced hard all week and was placed 12th overall and second overall in the D (Serial) class.
She said about the competition: 'We flew 5 tasks over 7 days - a total of 650km of flying. The highlight was a 226km world record task, which saw 65 pilots in goal! Very fast conditions - cloud base at +12,000ft, beautiful cumulus marking climbs and a strong tail-wind. We averaged more than 50km/h over the task, with ground speeds up to 100km/h at maximum glide. Most definitely the fastest (and easiest!) +200km flight I've ever done! The conditions we had during the comp really demonstrated for me how well this glider performs in windy conditions and I'm so happy with how this glider handles, it climbs very competitively against the CCC gliders'.
Nicole said about the competition: 'As a Vancouver pilot I'm used to flying big mountains, so a trip to Chelan is always fun since I get to work on my flatland flying skills. This year we had unstable weather conditions, but we were able to get 5 great tasks in, including the record-breaking distance flight on July 15th, which was also a new personal best for me!'.
Congratulations to the winners and all the participants!