A daring hang glider acknowledged for his severe stunts and record-setting flights will quickly try to set any other document for the longest open-distance flight.
On or quickly after Monday (June 20), Jonny Durand will attempt to flow from Zapata, in southern Texas, to Lorenzo, in northern Texas, a distance of approximately 475 miles (764 kilometers). aiding him on his adventure — on (or round) the summer season solstice, the longest day of the year — are what can be perfect atmospheric conditions for lengthy-distance hold gliding on this planet.
"What we search for with this precise international distance record is a place that is commonly warm and dry," Durand informed stay science. "the first time I went to Zapata, the front web page of the newspaper for 40 days in a row stated it was more than 100 degrees F [37.7 degrees C]."
warm, dry landscapes which includes the ones in Texas generate thermals, or rising columns of hot air. Such thermals help hold hold gliders aloft. "The quickest thermal i've ever climbed took me up 1,500 to one,600 ft [450 to 490 meters] in a minute," Durand stated. "maximum elevators best upward push at about two hundred ft [60 m] in line with minute."
Zapata is likewise domestic to winds "that blow in a pretty instantly line for a protracted distance," Durand said. "it's why global grasp-gliding information had been set right here for the past 15, 16 years."
"[At] maximum locations on this planet, weather structures alternate every few hundred miles or so, however by Zapata, the winds are very robust and steady for 500 miles [805 km] or greater in a immediately line," said Gary Osoba, an aerospace engineer and atmospheric physicist who currently retired from Google. Osoba formerly set numerous world gliding statistics himself.
Osoba determined the qualities that make Zapata a cling-gliding paradise. "I studied two decades of climate statistics that had been archived at the location," he informed stay science. "I had a quite properly idea of how ideal it might be, based on its dating to air masses, summer time climate styles, so on and so forth."
Zapata is positioned at the assembly location of very distinct air loads, Osoba stated. One originates from the Pacific, and as it crosses over Mexico, it is going up and down numerous mountain ranges, which reasons it to lose water, making it "very dry and strong; it would not want to rise," Osoba stated. the opposite is a high-strain air mass from the Atlantic, and because it circulates, "it pulls unstable, wet air from the Gulf of Mexico inland."
The point where these two air hundreds meets is called a dry line. inside the brilliant Plains of North america, the dry line can generate quite a few atmospheric instability within the shape of thunderstorms and tornados. however, at Zapata, the dry line can generate best atmospheric situations for gliding, Osoba stated. [Images: One-of-a-Kind Places on Earth]
"At other precise places for gliding pastime inside the world, you might most effective get 5- or six-hour flights, but at Zapata, you may frequently get an 11- or 12-hour flight," Osoba said.
Gliding for a document
Durand currently holds 3 hang-gliding global data. In 2012 in Texas, he reached a record distance of 346 miles (557 km) to a prearranged vacation spot, beating the previous document of 321.four miles (517.2 km). Later, in 2014 in Australia, he reached a pace of forty four.29 mph (71.28 km/h) over a spherical trip of 186 miles (three hundred km) and a speed of 56.18 mph (90.forty one km/h) over a round journey of sixty two miles (100 km), smashing the previous records over those distances of 34.8 mph (56 km/h) and forty six.6 mph (75 km/h), respectively. [Gallery of Wonders: The Weirdest World Records]
Now, Durand hopes to set a new global hold-gliding report for the longest open-distance flight — this is, flying as a long way as he can with out a declared aim. He came very near placing the report in 2012, handiest to fall quick by means of some miles to Dustin Martin's cutting-edge file of 474.7 miles (764 km).
The cutting-edge grasp-gliding file for longest open-distance flight became set from Zapata. Durand's previous try and set the document occurred from Zapata as properly.
summer time solstice flight
On Monday, Durand may be seeking out sturdy winds, "however no longer too robust, since you cannot fly if it is too robust; we are looking for the 20 mph (32 km/h) variety. we are additionally searching at how a lot instability there's in the air, and the peak that thermals are going to — the better the better, because it method much less time spent seeking out some other thermal to live up in the air, and that they may be tricky to discover," he said.
there are many clues that hold gliders use to look for thermals. as an instance, white puffy cumulus clouds are located at the heads of thermals — they originate from the manner that wet air in thermals cools down as it rises upward, condensing into the water droplets that make up clouds, Osoba stated.
The flight may additionally take approximately 11 hours with Durand sporting a good harness, he stated. He plans to go away a few hours after sunrise so that you can provide the floor time to warmth up and generate thermals. at some stage in the flight, he will drink water from a tube and consume a few snacks at maximum, "and in case I have to go to the toilet, i will unzip midair," he said.
And Durand hopes to fly on or across the summer season solstice. "You need the longest day of the 12 months because, it offers you longer to fly," Durand said. "we're hoping for the right conditions for breaking a global distance report."