Luc Armant flew 463km in Texas last week, on 2 July 2014 – the second longest paraglider flight ever flown.
He was flying as part of an Ozone Team record encampment. Towing out of Hebronville in the south of the state the pilots had hoped to break the open distance world record of 502km.
Poor weather early in the week meant the team, which included Luc Armant, Charles Cazaux, Dav Dagault, Russell Ogden, Seiko Fukuoka, Fred Pieri, Nick Greece, Chris Galli and Bill Belcourt, only got three days flying – but they still flew huge flights.
Nick Greece reported:
The Texas encampment was an experience of a lifetime in many ways. Flying with the Ozone team was a daily masterclass. We put up six 400+km flights and flew over 4,500km in three days. Russ Ogden flew over 1,200km in three days! Bill Belcourt flew over 1,000km! Dav Dagault and Chris Galli flew 402km. I had the longest flight of my life at 260 miles (419 km). Short of the world record, but will hold a national record of sorts (longest paraglider flight by an american yet) for short time. Luc Armant took the trophy home with a 463 km flight .
Texas is well known as a long-distance free-flight mecca for open distance XC but is more usually flown by hang glider pilots. It is where all the recent open distance HG world records have been set.
Manfred Ruhmer flew 700km there on 17 July 2001, setting a world record that stood for over a decade. And Dustin Martin and Jonny Durand flew together for 760km here in 2012, with Dustin narrowly taking the world record at 764km.
In paragliding Will Gadd flew 423.4km there on his early-model GIN Boomerang on midsummer’s day in 2002. That flight stood as a world record for five years until it was beaten by three pilots flying 461km from Quixada in Brazil.
The conditions in Texas can mean long cloudstreets, a good tailwind and high base – coupled with long days in the middle of the year. Pilots can launch early and land after sunset at 9pm, meaning 11-hour flying days. Pilots launch by tow.
The current paragliding open distance world record is held by Nevil Hulett. He flew 502.9km in South Africa on 14 December 2008 on a MacPara Magus.
Otto Schulz keeps a note of the longest paraglider flights in the world on Paragliding Forum. The Top 10 include:
502.9km, Nevil Hulett, 14 Dec 2008, South Africa (current world record)
463.1km, Luc Armant, 2 July 2014, Hebronville, Texas
462.4km, Olympio Faissol, 22 October 2012, Quixada, Brazil
462.3km, Hernan Pitocco, 22 October 2012, Quixada, Brazil
462km, Frank Brown, 22 October 2012, Quixada, Brazil (no track log)
461.6km, Marcelo Prieto, 14 November 2007, Quixada (joint world record)
461.6km, Frank Brown, 14 November 2007, Quixada (joint world record)
461.6km, Rafael Saladini, 14 November 2007, Quixada (joint world record)
461km, Samuel Nasciemento, 22 October 2012, Quixada, Brazil
460.9km, Marcelo Prieto, 22 October 2012, Quixada, Brazil