Top Australian hang glider Jonny Durand set a new hang gliding world record this month when he finished first in the Forbes Flatlands Hang Gliding Championship’s Walgett challenge.
Durand completed the longest ever task when he flew from Forbes to Walgett, a distance of 367.6 kilometers (about 229 miles), in 5 hours, 41 minutes and 34 seconds.
The Forbes task outdid the previous record set at the 2008 Big Spring Internationals in Texas by about 22 km.
Durand wasn’t alone in completing the task.
Flying at about 8,000 feet, hang gliders faced difficult conditions while competing, including 35 mph winds, leaving some unable to finish. A total of 59 competitors took to the skies. Of those, 25 finished the world-record task to Walgett behind Durand.
Finishing second in the Jan. 7 event was Sydney’s Rohan Taylor, who made it in 5 hours and 47 minutes, with Brisbane’s Michael Jackson placing third by landing in Walgett in 5 hours, 48 minutes.
The slowest time of those finishing was 6 hours and 52 minutes. The only woman to place was Yoko Isomoto, 25th of the 26 who completed the task. She finished in 6 hours, 39 minutes and 45 seconds.
Competitors initially took advantage of strong tailwinds to kick off the Forbes to Walgett task, which began with a tow launch, but later lamented changing conditions that made it much more difficult.
The Forbes to Walgett attempt was part of this year’s annual Forbes Flatlands Hang Gliding Championships, which ran from Jan. 2 through Jan. 9.
Durand’s first-place finish was enough to help him win the overall event with 4,624 points. Jackson finished second with 4,428 points.
Poor weather throughout dampened this year’s competition, keeping pilots out of the skies for two days due to rainy conditions.