Flying Dudek Nucleon reflex wings, the duo, with an Australian/Canadian support team departed Woodstock in Northern Queensland in early February on an epic journey through Australia’s rugged outback, finishing after 8,215 kilometres in Newdegate WA in early April.
Enduring some of the worst weather conditions in Australia’s history, the team were challenged with immensely strong winds, ravaging floods, intense humidity, swarms of fly’s and vast expanses of unpopulated territory.
For The Flight4Life (http://theflight4life.com) expedition leader, and philanthropic adventurer, Mark Jennings-Bates (http://www.markjenningsbates.com) from Kelowna, British Columbia the project was a bittersweet experience. “After almost 800kms, I had two failed launches resulting in broken propellors on the motor I was using. Sadly, we had no other spares and while the while team decided to wait for a few days to see if we could get parts shipped in, the logistics became overwhelming”
Derouin, a very experienced Canadian pilot, was left to fly solo for the rest of the trip and battled with challenging weather, for the duration.
“It was a remarkable effort by Glenn. Turbulence and paramotors are not a good mix, even though we had a very stable wing from Dudek, it was important to get everyone to the end of the trip safely for it to be a success. Glenn flew in some very frightening conditions and the magnitude of the effort took it’s toll, not only on Glenn, but the rest of the team. At one time, the team felt overwhelmed with challenges and considered abandoning the attempt, but were encouraged to continue by friends, supporters and the thought of desperate children around the world waiting for water wells to be drilled with our support” added Jennings-Bates.
Budd Stanley, another Kelowna resident and Craig Greenwell from Australia, provided ground support for the team, patiently driving more than 12,000 kilometres in their decrepit trustworthy Nissan Patrol, aptly named Sasquatch.
As World Record holder Derouin continues to run his Paragliding business in Coldstream, BC, Jennings-Bates is preparing for his next adventures, including a 100km ultramarathon run in Guatemala and a climb and paraglider flight from the “Roof of Africa”, Mount Kilimanjaro in the new year.