New Niviuk Roller

The new speedflying wing from Niviuk is called Roller. It is a wing with an extensive speed range which can be manoeuvred quickly and precisely at all times.

Its intuitive and straightforward character also provides a high degree of user-friendliness and safety, so you can have fun practicing all kinds of turns, rolls, swoops, carving and an infinite repertoire of manoeuvres. The Roller permits long flights, maintaining altitude and flying in strong winds up to 70km/h*.

Discover all the details and benefits of this new glider on the official product page.


New UP Clothing for Spring 2016

Serac Knit Fleece

The UP Serac is the perfect top layer for cool mountain evenings or middle layer for cold flights. Made from a stylish knit fleece, it doesn’t just look good – it feels great too. The inside of the cloth has gone through a roughening process where it is scratched to form a soft and very comfortable surface which feels super soft against the skin and makes the whole thing more windproof too. The material is 100% polyester, and the Serac comes in sizes M, L and XL.


Race FZ Speed Top

The “FZ” in the name for our new speed top is short for “Full Zip” – this indispensable new garment features a full-length zipper all the way down the front, to make it easier and more convenient to get on and off. It is made from 80% polyamide and 20% elastic, and comes in 3 sizes to accommodate most speed-hungry pilots. The UP artwork includes big “Airborne Sensations” logos down both sleeves. S M, L or XL size.


Shades T-Shirt

The new “Shades” t-shirt celebrates free flying and the style that goes with it in the most conspicuous way. Made from 100% cotton, it comes in sizes S, M, L and XL, for a perfect fit regardless of pilot size. 


I Won…But What About Those Spares!

Early on in the race, Rosa Earp made a post on the official Icarus Trophy website about the in’s and outs of Adventure Class Verse Race Class. 

This is a copy of her post


Here’s Icarus Event Manager and Race Committee Member Katy who explains with Pizza.

Byron, an Adventure Division pilot, is travelling as fast as Dave and Miro, the Race Division pilots. He cannot ‘beat’ the Race Division winner as he is accepting outside support. So far this support has consisted of letting the mobile HQ make him a cup of tea or launching straight from his overnight lodgings instead of backtracking 500m to his landing zone. Marginal stuff perhaps, but it all adds up and this is why we have two trophies – one for the un-supported Race Division and one for the supported Adventure Division.

Here’s how this works.

Race Division cannot accept any outside assistance that would not be ‘open access’. They can hitchhike and buy stuff or they can accept fortuitous offers of assistance or gifts. The key bit is they cannot have dedicated support. Either from the Icarus Crew, or the support crews and friends of the Adventure Division pilots (who can have as much support as they want.) The one exception to this rule is their fellow Pilots – Icarus pilots can accept help from other pilots, regardless of their division.

Here’s an example. All of these statements are true:

Race Division Pilot Dave can buy himself a pizza. He’s race class, so self-supported.
Adventure Division Pilot Byron can buy Dave a pizza. That’s pilot to pilot assistance and therefore kosher.
Icarus Race Chief Shane can buy Byron a pizza. Adventure Division Pilots can accept help (and pizza).
Byron can give away some of his pizza (from Shane to Dave). That comes under the umbrella of ‘pilot to pilot assistance.’

Dave cannot accept a bite of any pizza from Shane. Nor can he accept Shane’s leftovers, if Shane offers them. Dave can, if he wished, rootle through the trash and steal the leftovers of Shane or Byron’s pizza because once it’s in the trash, it’s ‘open access’ as long as he can get to the pizza before the rats and freegans.

Race vs Adventure Division decisions are taken by the Race Committee. That’s Katy Willings and Shane Denherder and Icarus crew Kester Haynes, Icarus founder Tom Morgan and The Adventurists MD Dan Wedgwood.

In the case of Miro’s torn wing, Race Division pilots are allowed to give the mobile HQ a set of spares, which they can access during the race, as long as they travel to the van (the van can’t travel to them) and then return to the landing zone to complete the whole course. No-one has ever called the Race Division easy.

Day 7 – Icarus Trophy

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

After spending the night in Fredonia, I get a lift back to the field I landed in by the lovely couple I stayed with. There was a good 7-8kts on the ground which to my relief was sort of in my favour. It was cross tail wind run to the finish some 140km away. I took off, and the wind got stronger and more turbulent. It was ok but not pleasant.

I stayed tracking on towards goal, realizing I would have to climb above the big mountains to avoid the turbulence down wind. It took some time, but I climbed to about 8500feet and continued along, slowly and surely it became a lot smoother as the winds became lighter high up climbed.

About 30km out I spot a plane at my 4oclock, and I’m trying to work out if it was Trevor or not. As it was getting closer, it was clear it was him (I breathe a sigh of relief), Trevor is flying the spotter plane, and taking epic photos that would not have been possible without him.

With Trevor by my side, I fly over the last lot of massive mountains at +11,000ft. Amazed at what I’ve just experienced, I cruised down to the airfield on the other side to the finish line and landing between the cones. I’m chuffed with the result; it was such a relief to have finally completed one of the most epic journeys I have ever done.

It has been a pleasure sharing my experience with everyone along the way.

I want to thank everyone for all the words of encouragement along the way, special thanks to my lovely wife Johanna for helping me achieve this and hold the fort while Iv been away. I can’t wait to get home to my wife and kids.

Photo credit: Trevor Meeks

Day 6 – Icarus Trophy

Why is it taking so long?

I woke up to the sound of leave rustling in the wind. It was music to my ears! Tailwind and slow takeoff run! Life is good.

After sweet talking one of the guys at breakfast to run my gear down the road to where I landed, I make an easy launch and off towards monument valley.

I had to make one stop to get there. So I landed where Byron stayed the night and went to the gas station to fuel up. I get there and there is no fuel!

The computers were down – BUGGER!! Before I realised there was no fuel, I had just put oil into both my motor and auxiliary tank. This posed a problem because I now needed to take the axillary tank to get fuel on foot. If I’d filled the auxiliary up with fuel (along with the oil id just put it) I would have been transferring it back into my motor that already had the oil in it. Essentially doubling up on the oil mix. This wouldn’t have been a problem if I had wanted to carry max fuel, but I was on the home stretch and wanted to minimise time and energy on the ground having to make two trips to the petrol station on foot, or worse, having to carry my motor on my back the entire way there.

I run back into the servo and grab a drink bottle, have a swig and tip out the remains, pour in the fuel oil mix from the auxiliary and take off running down the road in search of fuel with my 5ltr can.

With a few litres of the good stuff, I’m ready to go again. After running back, I poured it into my motor, and now I have just under a full standard tank to get me to Monument Valley. I’m confident this will last, it’s only a nice 140km flight.

With fuel sorted, I set up out the back of the gas station and launch right beside power lines on a narrow track. A solid committed run and I’m off. Hot on Byron’s heels.

In my haste to get back in the air, I forgot to zip up my pocket with my sunnies in it and they go soon go overboard and thru my prop!! Thankfully, there is no damage to the prop (I can’t believe it), and I’m able to keep going.

I’ve been flying at full stick for 3/4 of the leg when I soon realize I can’t keep up this speed and make it to the Monument Valley turn point. I back off and slow right down to drop the rpm so I can conserve fuel and make the last 40km with 2 litres of fuel in cross head wind conditions.

I knew it was going to be super tight on 2 litres at this point. I was contemplating diverting to an alternate airfield to refuel, but that would mean one more stop which i wasn’t keen on. I gamble and decided to push on with the last 30kms, it was then I remembered I had the drink bottle with some fuel and oil mix, but I knew it had way too much oil in it to use it on its own, so if I was going to use it, I had to get it in the tank quick sticks so would mix with the other fuel.

With some difficulty, I manage to get my bag around in front of me and get the bottle full of fuel mix out. I take the hose from my auxiliary tank and extract the fuel from the bottle into my tank without spilling fuel all over me in the process.

The job was done, but I’m not out of the woods yet, I still have 30km to go in a moderate cross wind. I’m trimmed slow and milking any thermal lift I find, even taking few turns in one to gain altitude.

There was some serious relief when I made Monument Valley. There hadn’t been any nice landing options (roads, paddocks etc) so the fact I made it with half a litre to spare was pretty miraculous. Landing never felt so good.

I refuel from a few nice guys flying at the airstrip and attempted to launch. I’ll be honest, it was my worst launch ever!

I was so tired my arms were all over the place, I’d used up most of my runway sorting the glider out when I promptly ran out of runway and stopped abruptly, falling on my knees, thankfully not hurt (other than my pride). While I was okay, my gear wasn’t. I suffered some damage to my machine when my throttle got bitten by the prop, my netting also took a hit and one blade had a chunk taken out of it.

One of the guys there kindly fixed my prop, while I fixed my throttle and netting. In terms of damaging my gear, I was super lucky with the timing, Shane from the Adventurists happened to be on that very airstrip and I was able to grab my spare parts.

I finished off the prop and I was back in action. This time, I timed the cycles better on my launch, while I psyched myself up to get a good run up. I was off and flying, taking off with a density altitude of over 6000ft

Things are looking bright, I’m flying with a good tail wind run towards to finish line. I made another 200km before retiring for the day in a small town to refuel and get some shut eye.

Landing in small towns has its own adventure, at this particular little town I’m warned by a lady I run into in the street, that the local hotel I’m intending on staying at is run by a crazy cat woman and home to some interesting meth heads. I must look like a vulnerable Aussie in the middle on nowhere, so she gets the all clear from her husband and kindly offers me a bed (less the cats and meth). I load up my gear into the back of her truck and she takes me back to her place. I’m met by her husband and his gun. Its all a joke..but I wonder if the cats and meth may have been a better option! No, really, they were great.

Over dinner they offer to cordon off the road in the morning for me for take off – where were the accommodating yanks when I needed them at every other sketchy take off… oh i know.. behind their phones filming me very ungracefully launch hoping for a faceplant… ahhh social media!

I sleep well, I’m excited. Tomorrow marks my last leg. Bitter sweet really, I’ve loved the race, but its been hard, I’m pretty exhausted.  I’m looking forward to catching up with the other guys and flying with good company. Plus they look like they have been having a ball, sleeping in cozy motor homes, getting pissed… and im dodging meth addicts and cat ladies.

Stay tuned!

See my…ummm…not so shit hot launch here