Jonny Durand, an Australian hang-glider, came to Texas to attempt a world record for longest hang-glide. He plans to start hang-gliding in Zapata and fly up to Lubbock or beyond.
“There’s a unique weather pattern that starts here in South Texas, coming up off the Gulf,” he says. “We get these strong southerly winds. That’s something very hard to find in a lot of other countries around the world.”
The heat is another factor required to make a world record flight. Four years ago, he did the flight with a friend who ended up setting the world record during their trip that covered more than 470 miles.
“Unfortunately for me,” Durand says, “he went two miles further than I did.”
While flying, Durand says he’s making decisions about his journey rapid-fire, every few seconds.
“For us, it’s a challenge, it’s a sport,” he says. “It’s something we love.”
Update: Durand didn’t break the world record. According to his publicist, his last day of flight resulted 302 miles, flown in nine hours and 26 minutes – 173 miles shy of the current record. He intends to return to Zapata next year to try again. A documentary about his flight will air on The Weather Channel July 24 at 9 p.m. CST.