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Chris Atkinson sets new World Record for 'Distance in a straight line' with Bailey V5 engine!

Congratulations to Chris Atkinson on his new World Record for 'Distance in a straight line with limited fuel' set on 11th November 2012, with an FAI ratified distance of 353.691Km using his Bailey V5 engine fitted to an Australian made development chassis. Chris is something of a legend in the Australian paramotoring scene and this is certainly not the last you will hear from the exciting World Record breaker.

Chris smashed the previous world record of 242Km by an amazing 40% and we are very proud that the Bailey V5 engine played such a big part in this oustanding achievement.

We asked Chris about his new World Record and he said ' I have flown a lot of engines, but nothing with the fuel efficiency of the Bailey V5'. Chris also said that 'I was flying with some previously un-tested modifications, so I believe there is plenty of room for improvement yet'.

Please have a look at the pictures above, which show Chris with his Bailey V5 powered paramotor and official FAI Observer & pilot, Herbert Hobiger.

Details of the record can be found on the FAI website here:- www.fai.org/cima-records

Here is Chris' account of his record attempt, which he titles 'Another Milestone'.

Sunday, 11th November 2012
'My watch showed 2.30 am; once again it was time to get up at this cruel hour of the morning. I had a quick bite to eat and with the help of Tina, we loaded the car with the remaining equipment for the Big Day.

The weather forecast looked reasonably promising as we drove towards Boonah for a new attempt to break the world distance record on a foot-launched PPG with limited fuel. By 3:50 am we had arrived at the sports field. Herbert, being my official observer, was already waiting and weighing fuel for a planned 4:30 am launch. The wind was a light to moderate SW on the ground, but I could also see the clouds travelling at speed not too far above in a SE direction. Small showers were hampering the preparations, but we pushed on anyway with the radar showing promising signs. My hope grew that it all would be fine for this morning’s attempt. Around 5 am came my window of opportunity; my wife Tina and Herbert helped with the final preparations, and I got ready to launch. I had flown here before and that made me feel reasonably confident. My only concern was having a SW airflow on the ground and a howling south easterly at altitude, which clearly pointed out that there had to be a sheer layer – I wasn’t looking forward to that.

I then clipped into my new Discovery 3 paramotor and warmed up my trusted Bailey Engine. After going through my safety checks at approximately 5:15, I launched my 28 m2 Hadron. At first it all went to plan and then, barely at tree-height, things got ugly: I had just discovered that in a south westerly the surrounding hills produced some of the worst rotor I ever encountered! It took all my concentration keeping my wing above my head. It soon became apparent that I wasn’t having fun. It took me another lap of the sports ground to climb out over some power lines surrounding the township. As if it wasn’t bad enough sitting in a washing machine, when I finally had enough height to fly away to what I hoped would be better air, hell did I get punished! It took approximately 10 km before I got better conditions. Later in the day, Herbert mentioned how awful it looked from the ground and how displeased my wife was. In the end it all went well and I was grateful with the way my Hadron handled such horrific conditions. The wing gave excellent feedback and allowed me to keep it above my head at all times.

I now had to avoid some of the last remaining showers. My speed soon increased to 80 km/h, and by the time I reached Mount Walker I was travelling over 100 km/h and increasing with altitude.  Not long after climbing over the clouds on the edge of the Toowoomba Range, my GPS showed a speed in the 120s, and the day greeted me with the clouds opening up into a beautiful sunny morning.

About an hour into the flight, that’s normally when my teeth start chattering, and I have to push through my biggest hurdle, the cold! It is something I suffer badly with. It gets to a point where it distracts me from flying efficiently. This time I was wearing my new 5-layer Blue Sky Blue flight suit, a real relief, nice and warm. Alistair, the owner of Blue Sky Blue, had joked that it was made for pussies like me – thinking of this made me chuckle.

The rest of the flight proved uneventful. The air was nice and smooth, moderately strong, if I concentrated and stayed in the right band. It wasn’t long and I had passed Dalby, then Chinchilla followed by Miles, and the old World Record had fallen by the wayside. Quite overwhelming, because on my last attempt, I had instrument failure and my record would not stand. Today I have four electronic recorders, so I am confident this won’t be the case. A few kilometres before Yuleba, I ran out of fuel, but I knew the record was mine! With ample altitude and a significant amount of tiger country in front of me, I naturally started looking for some thermals but could not find anything worth the effort. In the end, I had enough glide to make it safely over the forest, landing in a paddock close to Mongool Road. I now had to wait for my retrieve. The Spot 2 with satellite reception had never left me stranded, and I know if my wife wants me found, she will give my position to Herbert for the retrieve.

The current World Record stands at 242 km. I had just flown 353 km. What a great reward after a lot of planning and hard work! I did not get time to test some of my new ideas, but I am going to leave it to that: my plan is to push this distance record into the 500s in the near future.

A big thank you to my sponsors: Bailey Aviation, Dudek Paragliders, Discovery Paramotors, Tribal Flight, Blue Sky Blue and Fire in the Hole. A special thanks to Don Cramer for introducing me into the world of dynamic propeller balancing, and to Bob Bauer for lending me his own personal paramotor frame for this attempt. What a great design!

What a great sport! Get out there!'

Chris Atkinson