01 Nov 2018

Jouni Makkonen claims 479 km straight distance to a declared goal as new World record.

FAI has received a claim for new “straight distance to a declared goal” World record of 479,4 km made by Jouni Makkonen (Finland). The current record of 451,00 km made in 2017 belongs to Vagner Campos from Brazil.

We wish Jouni good luck with ratification and use this opportunity to present the athlete and give you an insight into his success story:

How long have you been doing the free flight sport?

27 years. Started 1991. Paragliding has just recently arrived in Finland and I was 20 years old at that time.

What made you “take-off”?

It was all due to those dreams about flying. And it was the only way of flying I could afford as a student. Funny thing was that I actually stopped dreaming about flying when I started it.

Who inspired you in sport?

Can´t really name anybody. More likely all these people I have had the joy to fly with around the world. Well, I suppose I always got inspired by the birds. We are well behind those masters.

What are your achievements titles before breaking a record?

Recently I have been doing pretty well in big comps like worlds and PWC-cup being in the top ten almost every time. Winning Australian open 4 times in a row has been amazing and I just love the people there. And being in the top ten X-alps 2009 and 2011 was such a thrilling adventure.

Why did you decide to break that very record in that very place?

I have chosen Caicó - São Miguel do Tapuio in Brazil because it seems to have so much potential there. Have to say his spring has also been so good in Finland to fly numerous national records. Longest one in Finland is now set to 325,5 km

How long did preparation take?

Not long, just had this idea of declared goal previous evening when we set the task with the team.

Who helped you most to get prepared?

It was so nice our Nordic team get towed by Fly Andy just after the Swiss pilots. We had just one winch with us and it would take too long to get into the air.

What was the most difficult in breaking this record?

The first hours of flight in weak thermals and low cloud base was always nerve-wracking. Along the course experienced the lack of stronger wind. It was a constant battle against the time. At the very end, I could not know if I was going to make it at all.

Tell us about those who supported you on the way (friends, NAC, trainer, local pilots etc)

Friends are the best. Financial support.. still waiting... Could like Ozone wings even more if they give one free ;)

Any advice to pilots, some share of experience that you gained while breaking this record?

Keep the focus on the goal and never give up even if it looks impossible... You may get surprised. And remember to take your moments even in a very hectic flight. I personally just love the final glide in the sunset after a long long day.

Update as of February 28, 2019

FAI has ratified this Class O (Hang Gliding and Paragliding) World record.

FAI congratulates the Pilot on this splendid achievement.