Jonny Durand has broken the decade-old hang gliding distance to goal record, flying 561km in Texas on 17 July. He was flying a Moyes Litespeed RX 3.5.
The flight comes just two weeks after he flew 759km to claim a new open distance world record, only to have it broken almost immediately by Dustin Martin who flew 3km further on.
Reporting the flight on Twitter he announced: “I just landed and would like a margarita.”
The flight took nine and a half hours and took him from a tow launch in Zapata in the south of Texas to Stirling City in the north.
The previous record was 517.23 km and was set by Pete Lehmann in June 2002.
Jonny’s Spot track is here.
According to Jonny’s post on Facebook he could have flown further, but failing batteries meant he landed early.
After another 9+ hrs in the air I finally get to claim a World Record. I landed early due to the lack of battery power in my instruments and having no communication with my driver for the last 400km. It was possible to fly probably over 700km today but I knew my instruments would not last that long.:( I was happy to achieve my goal of 560+ km to a declared goal.
Tim Ettridge drove retrieve for Jonny and tweeted the flight as it happened.
At the start of the flight he reported:
Jonny’s just launched. It only looks fair here in Zapata so he’ll check it out and, if it’s not good, land and try Wednesday.
And two hours in things didn’t look so good:
Just north of Laredo, struggling in shade, but still going.
However, an hour later things started to look up:
The day is getting better. Doesn’t seem like a 800k day but 571 to sterling seems possible.
Three hours later Jonny had passed the 300km mark and the record looked doable, with Tim reporting:
330k out. He’s moving faster now. Rather than waiting for him now and then, i’m just barely keeping up.
With the lack of battery power in Jonny’s radio Tim kept track of Jonny via the Spot system. On landing Jonny found Tim was only 10 minutes away. Jonny wrote on Facebook:
Thanks to the spot tracking device this flight would never have happend as I would have landed due to lack of communication. Note to ones self always be prepared even when you think the weather is not so good.
Jonny’s flight will now need to be ratified by the FAI and the exact distance determined officially.
Jonny is still in Texas and is reportedly hoping for another weather window that will allow him to have a crack at the open distance world record again, with the magic 800km in mind.
Congratulations to Jonny on another fantastic flight.
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