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Successful 2018 XC Season

ADVANCE team pilots can look back on a very successful 2018 XC season. Some of them triumphed at World XC Contest level, or became national cross country champions, while others achieved long-cherished dream projects. Interesting for us are the personal bests flown with the intermediate IOTA 2 or XI (both EN/LTF-B). Two of these pilots had already been flying high performance wings for years. 
Picture: Mikael Ulstrup

Four Championship Titles

Manuele Dondi has been especially successful this season. He won the same World XC Contest twice with his IOTA 2 (2 categories - Sport and Standard)! His Sport class win with a B wing shows, once again, the great performance of the IOTA 2.

As well as relishing a world champion title Manu is also Italian Sport Class Champion, and Italian Open vice Cross Country Champion.

In the meantime the 54 year old has been quietly working away at his 200s: 10 FAI triangles, all 200kms+, within four months – all with the IOTA 2. Who would not be intrigued to see what he might achieve next season?

His Italian ADVANCE team pilot colleague Mike Sicco came fourth in the Italian Championship Sport Class with his SIGMA 10.

Ten 200+ FAI triangles at average speeds of up to 29 km/h – incredible what you can do with an IOTA 2!

Manuele Dondi

Flights beyond 400 kms

There’s another ADVANCE World XC Contest winner. ADVANCE test pilot Patrick von Känel was third in the Open Class. His 400km+ flights in Brazil with an OMEGA 2-liner proto, his 306 km cross country from the Niesen to the Austrian Vorarlberg or his 265 km FAI triangle from Tessin taking in Monte Rosa are well worth looking at (dream on – XC honchos).

The Results:
3. World XContest Open Class


My first 400 ever and my first 300 in the Alps, as well as successful entries in various competitions: the 2018 season was unbelievable.

Patrick von Känel

More successful every year

Tom Salamonsen was Norwegian XC Champion with his OMEGA XALPS 2 – in both “Paragliding XC-league” and “Paragliding Open Distance XC-league”! Last year the 33 year old was second, this year he swept the board!
The three successive places, two to four in the “Open Distance XC-league”, were taken by pilots who also flew ADVANCE wings: Mikael Benjamin Ulstrup (OMEGA XALPS 2) Thomas Skarpås and Håvard Grothe Lien (both SIGMA 10). These three pilots finished three to five in the “Paragliding XC-league”.

The Results:

1. Open Distance XC League
1. Paragliding XC-league

With its exceptional performance and light weight, so that I can look forward calmly to long walkouts after an unexpected outlanding, makes the OMEGA XALPS 2 perfect for my Norwegian cross countries.

Tom Salamonsen

  • Picture: Mikael Ulstrup // Norwegian XC Impressions
  • Picture: Mikael Ulstrup // Norwegian XC Impressions

Efficient Performance in Poland

His 329 km flight across Poland with an IOTA in 2016 was the longest EN/LTF-B flight in Europe at the time. This year Łukasz Prokop has done it again – and gone further! At the beginning of July he flew 342 km free distance with his IOTA 2. Once again it was all the way across his native country. This flight not only upped the Polish XC Record, but with another five flights of 200+ kms in Poland, makes Łukasz winner of the Polish XC Overall rankings.

The Results:
1. Polish cross country championship


Thanks to my wife Aneta, who picks me up with the car after my long flights across Poland!

Łukasz Prokop

First 200 FAIs in the Black Forest

Years ago he had the notion of joining the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) highlands and Swabian mountains in the south west of Germany with an FAI triangle. The long puzzling out of a route paid off for Samuel Blocher. This year the many-years ADVANCE team pilot managed it with his SIGMA 10 – twice: two 200+ FAI triangles! These are the first times that an FAI triangle of more than 200 kms has ever been flown in the Schwarzwald.

Samuel's flights

Until I was actually able to do this idea of the FAI, I first had to find out something of the regional wind systems and peculiarities of the Black Forest, Schwabian Alb and the flatlands.

Samuel Blocher

XC /advancedadventures achieved

In July Tim Pentreath from Great Britain flew and hiked through the southern French Alps for a week - VolBiv style. He has chronicled his experiences in a brief daily report and videos. Kari Eisenhut’s Cross Alps Express put a long-nurtured dream into practice and he flew a XI from Laragne in the Haute Provence to the Vorarlberg in Austria – in three days. Robert Blum and his colleague Andy Egger also spent some time with the XI in the Caucasian Mountains. During their adventure trip much creativity was called for. There’s an abbreviated account of the whole story in /advancedadventures.

Tim Pentreath's VolBiv diary
Kari's CrossAlps-Express story

That was my first several-day VolBiv tour, and it was a fantastic success – accepting that we remained flexible about the goal. I’ll do it again next year.

Tim Pentreath

Personal bests with Intermediate wings

Manuele Dondi and Kari Eisenhut – normally OMEGA XALPS 2 people – opted for the new IOTA 2 and XI high-end B Intermediates this season. Manu flew ten 200+ km FAIs in four months (see above); Kari (among other things) flew a 286 km flat triangle from the Niesen and back via Mont Blanc, and a 289 km free distance from France to somewhere south of Chur. The average speed of 29 km/h for two of the triangles is remarkable in anyone’s language.

Despite the performance advantage of a higher classified wing both of these very experienced pilots achieved the best cross country flights of their long flying careers. Kari explained this puzzling state of affairs. “The simple answer is that this was a lot of fun. Even though we both sometimes flew in extreme conditions we still felt relaxed and motivated to keep going. We would have felt more stressed in a different kind of glider in these conditions, and might have given up?”

Kari's flights

When I’m completely alone over unknown countryside I like to have some spare capacity in my glider. The new XI was absolutely right for this exploit: plenty of performance and easy to fly.

Kari Eisenhut

We sincerely congratulate all pilots for their fantastic performances this season and look forward to next season with you!

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