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Records fall on UK’s Super Sunday

Tuesday 5 August, 2014
Al Wilson, left, and Mark Watts. Photos: Al Wilson, Facebook / Cross Country archive

Al Wilson, left, and Mark Watts. Photos: Al Wilson, Facebook / Cross Country archive

Two pilots smashed the UK open distance paragliding record on Sunday 3 August 2014, with record flights that took them past the 250km mark and across England to the coast.

Former GB Champion Mark Watts flew a record-breaking 275.5km to grab the open distance record, while sports class pilot Al Wilson flew just shy of the 270km mark, but grabbed the declared-distance-to-goal record at 226km on his way past.

Both pilots launched from a small hill in the south of England called Milk Hill. They took advantage of strong south westerly winds to fly downwind all the way across the country to the coast.

The launchpad ... Milk Hill.

The launchpad … Milk Hill.

275km to the coast ... flying in the south of England is a game of airspace avoidance

275km to the coast … flying in the south of England is a game of airspace avoidance

Mark Watts took off first on his Ozone Enzo 2, a competition glider, and spent five hours 45 minutes in the air at an average speed of 54.3km/h to make his flight.

Al Wilson launched a little later on his Sports class GIN Carrera and spent six-and-a-half hours in the air.

Both landed near the coastal town of Cromer on the eastern edge of England.

"Properly epic..." classic UK flatland flying, but with added wind. Photo: Al Wilson

“Properly epic…” classic UK flatland flying, but with added wind. Photo: Al Wilson

Al Wilson on landing. Photo: Al Wilson / Facebook

Al Wilson on landing. Photo: Al Wilson / Facebook

Mark’s 275km flight beats the previous UK open distance record by 22.1km. That was set by Richard Carter on 8 August 2011 – he flew 253.4km from Bradwell Edge in the north of England.

It also beats the current UK Class 5 hang gliding record – 266km flown from Wales to England’s south coast by Carl Wallbank on 15 April 2012.

The UK open distance paragliding women’s record was set from the same site, Milk Hill, by Kirsty Cameron on 13 May 2012. She flew 233km.

Statistics from the two flights:

Mark Watts
Record: UK Open distance
Open distance: 275.5km
Declared goal at: 223.55km
Max speed: 87.3km/h
Average speed: 54.3km/h
Max height: 6,837ft
Max climb: 5.5m/s
Glider: Ozone Enzo 2
Time in the air: 5hrs 46mins
See the tracklog

Al Wilson
Record: UK Distance to a declared goal
Open distance: 267.4km
Declared goal at: 226.09km
Max speed: 81.6km/h
Average speed: 48.8km/h
Max height: 7,198ft
Max climb: 5m/s
Glider: GIN Carrera
Time in the air: 6hrs 33mins
See the tracklog

Doarama
Mark Watts and Al Wilson’s flights visualised in Doarama

Congratulations to both pilots – we hope to interview Al and Mark about their big flights later this week.


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