25 Apr 2018

302 km of Out and return distance both World and European record claim

FAI has received a new record claim simultaneously breaking both World and European simultaneously by 4 pilots. An out-and-return distance of 302,11 km was covered by the 4 leading pilots of Slovenia: Bojan Gabersek, Primos Susa, Jost Napret and Dusan Oroz.

The current European record of  264.05 km set in 2011 belongs to  Arduino Persello, Italy. He is also the holder of the World record of 282.4km set in 2012.

We have asked the claimants to introduce themselves and tell us how it was.

Primoz Susa

I started to fly in 1996. I am flying for 22 years. I always wanted to fly since kinder garden. During elementary school, I was making free-flying aeroplane models.

To make and fly models I was inspired by my uncle Ogrin Franc and my mentor Miloš Erjavec. Later on, I wanted to fly gliders but coincidence and my neighbour Andrej Erznožnik (Erzo) introduced me to paragliding sport. I think I had the best instructor possible Stanislav Rus and the best flying teammates like Jurij Vidic, Gregor Andolšek. All of them and others introduced me to XC and competitions since my first steps. When we were flying in winter around Istria exploring new takeoffs we called it para safari we started our one competition between few friends Slavc, Mojca Rus, Jurij Vidic, Andolšek, Erzo, Tjaša Jug, Ajo Slamič. We called it Winter league. Trough the years it became real competition and it evolved into cool traditional Winter Cup! These were my learning years before official competitions. Later on I started to fly with Marko Novak, I learned a lot. Although I really worried at the beginning and even forbidding me to buy my never first paraglider "Bergsteiger" at the age of 16 enormous thanks goes to always supporting mother Germana Angela Suša.

The chosen route is in our backyard and its great for out and return. We know the place well and we wanted to be the first to achieve magic number 300 for out and return.

What flying conditions make this record different from previous one?

 A just better flying technique, better equipment and better knowledge of the area. Here I would like to thank Tomaž Eržen and Roman Lotrič for the fantastic new trick they showed us a couple of years ago how to cross the place we call „Mousetrap“.

How long did preparation take

We had this turn-point in our instruments for 6 years. Last year only one good climb short we missed it from coming home with Jošt Napret. With pretty similar or even better average speed in worse weather conditions, we managed to fly 283km, but we were stopped by the overcast in Tolmin area just before home. It was typical late afternoon overcast from the overdevelopment in Julian Alps, pushed shout with the north wind. I experienced this "close but no cigar" often in this area.

Who helped you most to get prepared?

I was prepared just waiting for the weather but Jošt Napret spotted the opportunity. We were all still a bit sceptical if it’s possible to do it so soon in the beginning of the season with the days still being a bit short.

Who worked with you during preparation (any team)? 

The best training I find competitions or task flying. Normally we do this together with friends Marko Novak, Tilen Ceglar, Jošt Napret, Bojan Gabršek and Jurij Vidic. Other that that, I like to do hike and fly with Gašper Prevc, Stane (Mega) Bajt, Erzo and all others.

What was the most tricky thing in breaking this record? 

The most tricky was the time of start 9 am. Will it work and how will we progress at the beginning of the route. The second most tricky is the end. The beginning ridges are oriented easterly which is bad for the finish. Also at the end, the wind on this part is westerly so not only the ridges are with wrong orientation also the wind is not helping except with the speed. It can be always tricky to finish here. 

Tell us how it was to break the record. What was most difficult? 

In general, on this whole route, we normally fly lower than our friends in Austria for example, because the route is close to the flats and the influence of stability can be quite strong. For this particular day at one moment we had a feeling of quite strong NWW wind somewhere halfway towards our first turn point. It gave me feeling that it's too much and that we will not be able to continue fast enough. We discuss it on the radio and decided to continue until the next valley to make our decision there. Luckily few valleys father we did not feel it anymore and it seemed like there is actually much less wind and valley breeze then usually. With thermals getting stronger it gave us new motivation to push on and continue until the end no matter what. 

For me, the most difficult part was actually right at our turn point further down mont Talvena. I was with Jošt Napret flying at the edge of the mountain tops. And did not know what is happening, the wind was kind of N and it seemed like we need to decide which side to fly. Where I was expecting extremely strong valley breeze there was none but I felt N wind. Jošt caught a thermal that seemed like its coming from the north but I was just a few gliders too low and stayed on the S side of it. With no lift and getting lower, I was becoming desperate so I went to the side of the mountain where, by previous experience, I should literally be blown over the mountain by the valley breeze but there was none. Nervous because the situation was strange and no thermal I keep going to the turn point low thinking this is the end and still waiting for the valley breeze to appear and push me in the direction of mount Civetta. I was thinking I will land here. After making the turn point going back to the ridge I found a week thermal and stick with it hoping to make it back to the top of the mountain. Luckily it worked. A year before in this part, one friend was blown over the same ridge by the valley wind and was on the ground in minutes. Strangely there was no wind here this day.

Primoz Susa has set several world records in Slovenia:

  • Speed over a triangular course of 100km 25.5km/h 12.Jun.2006
  • Speed over a triangular course of 50km 24.1km/h 26.May.2006
  • Out and return distance 213.8km 12.Jun. 2003
  • Speed over out and return course of 200km 28.8km/h 12.Jun.2003
  • Out and return distance 24.May 2003
  • Speed over out and return course of 200km 26.6km/h 24.May 2003
  • Out and return distance 189.2km

Dusan Oroz

I have been flying for 15 years from 2003. I started relatively late ;)

I always love airplanes and everything related to flying. Paragliding was the easiest way to start flying by myself. I actually started and learn to fly by myself and then later went to paragliding school. I was inspired by local pilots when I saw them flying and soaring at nearby hills.

Why? Well its always nice to achieve and explore some new boundaries. And since many pilots have been trying to break this magical number 300, therefore this became even more attractive.

Why this place – Sorica? Well, It’s the only place (more or less) here in Slovenia that is possible to achieve that kind of flight in length. And even here, we had to fly in to the other country. Slovenia alone is very small – too small ;)

The previous record was made at that very place – take off – Sorica by Italian pilot with 280km

I can’t say what conditions were at the previous record. At ours, I would say that conditions were good. Beside conditions you have to make right preparation - plan where to fly and how far to flay. And therefore you have to be fast enough, which is even more important.

Well, I have been attempting this flight only twice in my life in past few years. Besides my friends who were attempting this for 6 years and appx. 10-15 attempts, to find the right conditions, etc…

We all had this flight back in our minds and were always prepared for it. Most of the time in the past I had no time to go, or I missed the weather, etc.

This time I had no special plans. I was in contact with other friends late in the evening and we were deciding where to go for flying. At around midnight I decided to go to Sorica. I had to wake up at 4.30, and went on the road. So I had very little sleep.

There was also my girlfriend Veronika who supported me and was my/our ground support in case of bomb out.

Most tricky thing was just to catch right weather conditions, which sometimes vary a lot from the forecast and as we know, the weather changes a lot in the Alps.

As said, my girlfriend supported me and she took time to go with me. I’m very grateful for that. She waited for 10 hours till my landing ;). There was also our NAC selector Igor Eržen with Slovenian Aeronautical Organization who supports us in all paragliding activity and helped us with paper work for this achievement.

The flight was very exceptional. It was my longest flight in length and also in duration. It was also quite exhausting. I actually did not eat or drink anything for the whole flight, because I was too focused on flying… so it was quite of endurance flight for me.

There was also a bit interesting getting on take-off. You have to walk appx. 45min to 1 hour up on steep hill with all equipment. And in this case I had quite a lot of things to carry with me. I was quite heavy. But what surprised me, was the big amount of snow still left on the whole way up. I did not expect it to still be there. I had to improvise some things. There was also snow on best part of take-off, so I actually launched on the snow and making my shoes and socks wet a bit ;)

Anyway, I enjoyed flying together with other pilots very much and we were quite close to each other for the whole time. Which means we were quite close in flying level and for which we had to be, to be able to achieve the goal. There were no room for errors and we were very limited with time. I assume if we would be 20min slower, our flight would not be accomplished, since the day and thermal activity was turning down.

Dusan Oroz paragliding achievements:

  • 5th place at WPRS ranking in January 2018.
  • 3rd at Superfinal Mexico in 2012.
  • 1st  at Slovenian nationals 2016 - national champion
  • 5that FAI Paragliding World Championship 2017 and as national team 2nd place.
  • 1st German open 2017 – Tolmin SLO
  • 1st Slovenian league 2014
  • 1st Slovenian league 2015
  • 1st Slovenian league 2016
  • 1st Slovenian league 2017
  • 3rdAlpen Cup 2016

Bojan Gabersek  

I have been flying for 19 years. My father started with this sport, so I saw him and became very interested in flying.

We selected the place because of the weather and flying conditions. The weather was perfect, to made a longer record. The previous record place was set in the same place.

I think that it is the best to say, that every flight I made it was somehow preparation, both mentally and physically for this.

The weather was tricky - the wind direction changed right on time. But it was very difficult. I was surprised that flight was so exhausting.

If you ask me what help me to break this record – these are my friends, whom I was flying with, and my discipline. I was to say thank you also to my girlfriend who supported me all the way.

Bojan Gabersek achievements in paragliding:

  • Ratitovec Open 2017, 2nd place,
  • Soča Valley 2017 3rd place,
  • Slovenian paragliding league 2017 3rd place,
  • top 20 PWC Serbia 2017 and others.

Jost Napret

I´m flying since 2007 (10 years). I was thinking about flying since I remember.

I got inspiration and support my mother, friends and all the people around me. Even those which are not doing any sport – we can learn from them that sport is important for life.

The take of we used for the record is actually our home playground and it is very easy for us to start here. The record attempt we made has a peculiarity - Group flying in race classic Race to Goal style which makes the whole flying much faster through all the course. The reparation to break the current record took us almost 6 years and several attempts. Around 20 times for me.

My teammates were the one who helped me most in preparation. Especially Primoz Susa and other guys from Slovenian Paragliding team. The most difficult thing was to find the day which could hold on for 9-10 hours flying window. In overall was not so difficult, because it was more question of good weather than other factors. The way to make has been more important than the record itself.

There is a bunch of people to whom I need to say thank you. But the far most important supporter for me is my employer Naviter. They support me with knowledge, financially and even with some free time for flying. Training to get the skills with the right equipment is the key to success.


Jost Napret achievements in paragliding

  • A few flights over 200 + km.
  • Especially I´m proud on first Slovenian FAI200 triangle and first flight from Slovenia to Bosnia.
  • Several podium rankings on national competitions and other good results on the top ranked competitions (PWC, FAI1 comps).


We congratulate the pilots and wait for the official decision. More info later!


Video of the flight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lqab66NS9rA

Link to the track: https://www.xcontest.org/world/en/flights/detail:jostn/21.04.2018/06:59 

Photo credits: Primoz Susa.