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530 km fixed goal world record - Rafael Saladini

October 2020

Rafael SALADINI breaks a new world record with a fixed goal, flying 530kms solo. He tells us ...

Once again, my team and I are back in the sertão - that's what we call the Brazilian drylands in the north-east of our country. After more than two decades of returning to the same place every year to try for world records, our team has so far achieved 7 two-seater records, 7 women's records, 3 distance records with a declared goal, 2 distance records with three roundabout points and 4 distance records in a straight line - a total of 23 world records. I can certainly call us specialists in the air marathon.

After so many achievements, the main question is: how can we stay motivated to keep trying to break new records?

The answer may seem a little simplistic. Our team meets every year in October in the sertão just to get together and have fun - the world record and the numbers are just the consequence - we just like to fly together as a team, and we have fun turning our joy into a military mission. We just like to wake up before dawn at 4 a.m. and take part in aerial marathons until dusk at around 6 p.m. Our pilots' careers are entirely devoted to this. We only participate in World Cups and World Championships to learn how to be faster and bolder pilots in order to be competitive in our pursuit of world records.

The 2020 season looked promising - we were really motivated, especially since we were confined all year long by the pandemic. Our expedition began on September 26th, and in the days that followed, we spent several days of training and frustration patiently waiting for "D" day. The majority of my teammates could not stay and wait. It took me 19 days for the first good cycle to arrive. On October 15th, a day not so promising, I left around 6:40 am to take some shots with a tracking camera attached to my sail. As we always do, I strictly followed all the world record procedures in the morning. Even though the wind was not strong enough, the day evolved beyond my expectations and I was able to compensate by using the speed system and taking the risk of landing too early. Around noon, I realized that I even had a chance to beat our previous world record of 582 km in a straight line. However, since my South American record in 2007, I had never flown alone for so long before. Since then, our style and goal has always been team flying. I was really skeptical about my patience to fly alone for so long again. To my surprise, not only did I have the patience, but at the end of the day, I felt quite comfortable and ready to fly even more. I had no surprises during the flight, but after 3 p.m., the sky was not so easy to decipher, with many blue sky holes. As my average speed was starting to drop dramatically, I decided to focus on the declared objective. I landed just after 5:43 p.m., after covering 555 km in a straight line and 530 km for the declared goal world record. I was really very happy with my achievement and was impressed by my patience to fly completely alone all day long. Certainly my equipment made a big difference. In addition to my incredible and comfortable Enzo 3, I also had a Kanibal race 2 - I'm sure that the combination of the 2 allowed me to fly serenely for so many hours patiently without feeling exhausted and without feeling the feeling of giving up.

At the beginning of my career, I could easily fly for more than 10 hours with unadjusted and uncomfortable harnesses, without urination tubes and without food. With experience and age, my spine and body can no longer tolerate this kind of discomfort, as it directly affects my concentration and performance. Since the Pan American championship in March, I have had the opportunity to start using the Kanibal race 2. Before that, I had had very bad experiences with my previous harness: too much weight on the top of the legs (and genitals), because of the reserve parachute, instruments and ballast all together. I had a lot of trouble peeing and using the speed bar.

My flying sensations on the Kanibal race 2 can be described in two words: comfort and freedom. My genitals were well treated again :), my legs were free again to think only about the accelerator and my spine stopped screaming at every flight and could now easily endure more than 11 hours in the air. Since my first flight with the Kanibal race 2I won the 2020 Panamerican and flew 555 km in a straight line, breaking the world record for the fastest goal. I'm really happy with my choice and I can't wait to race the big events with this harness. I would like to thank Kortel Design for creating such a perfect competition harness, which helps me to make my dreams come true. Kortel Design: You rock!!! 😉