A 2008 interview with Manfred Ruhmer, World Champion and world record holding hang glider pilot
After a slightly disappointing start to the season at the Flytec Records Encampment at Zapata, close to the Mexican border in southern Texas, USA, things improved dramatically mid-July.
Davis Straub, meteorologist Gary Osoba and the rest of the dedicated enthusiasts searching for records there saw the early cloud which announced the arrival of moist air flowing up from the Gulf on the south-easterly wind. This delivered the conditions they had been waiting for and records were spectacularly smashed!
Manfred Ruhmer pushed his Laminar for an astonishing 692 km (430 miles) to claim the Class 1 record which has stood with Larry Tudor since 1994. Manfred added nearly 200 km to Larry’s 495 km mark. (Edit, 13/1/2011: When ratified by the FAI, the record stood at 700.6 km).
Davis Straub regained the Class 2 record, which he’d lost to Mark Poustinchian a couple of weeks earlier. Davis’s 651.7 km (405 mile) flight puts the record securely back in his hands, but for how long?
The flights ended near Big Spring, west of Abilene. Apparently the day was very good, but the pilots may have been able to get away an hour earlier. What might be possible with a really early start on a really epic day?
Manfred’s flight is the longest on any type of hang glider and is good propaganda against those who say that Class 1 is passé.