TIMO LEONNETI. 2 DAYS. 2 RECORDS. ONE PASSION
17 Nov 2023
On October 28th, Timo Leonetti took off from Tacoma in Sertao, Brazil. He was airborne at 6:00 am. After 11 hours and 34 minutes and covering a distance of 531 km, Timo landed, setting a new XC distance junior world record.
The next day, he took off from Quixada, setting a XC distance site record with a 510 km flight. Timo was flying the Zeno 2 and the Submarine.
In Timo’s words:
"There I was, back in the XC long-distance Mecca, Sertao. Unfortunately, this year the conditions were not as favorable as we had hoped for a “Niño” season . There was a lot of humidity on the ground, blue skies, weaker thermals than usual, and significantly more turbulence.
On the first day, I took off from Caico and completed a 484 km flight. It began with an average speed of 60 km/h at 10 a.m. However, in the afternoon, the sky became completely cloudy, and the wind dropped to 10/15 km/h.
The next day, I flew 459 km after spending the entire night in the shuttle to return to Caico. Since there was no retrieve for this flight, it turned into an incredible adventure with the inhabitants of the small village of Trapia, where I landed and spent the night!
Finally, the two long-awaited windy days arrived. I decided to try my luck at Tacima to catch as much wind as possible on the line.
I took off at 6 a.m. from Tacima’s Hang glider launch, but the soaring was terrible—very turbulent and windy. The sky was completely covered by a thick veil. Without the speed bar, I felt like I was flying backward. At 7:40 a.m., I lost my patience and decided to throw myself downwind with only 100 m above the hill. I spotted a bird climbing, which boosted my confidence. I concentrated on this choppy thermal downwind to finally escape this hole and start my flight very late. Once at the ceiling, the conditions were good, with clouds aligning and a very strong wind. I was catching up with an average speed of 60 km/h for the first two hours. Unfortunately, the sky dried up and turned blue. It became much more challenging to stay in the air and find thermals.
The wind remained strong, and I topped out at 110/115 km/h. I continued gliding along the blue sky, and a few cumulus clouds returned by the middle of the afternoon. At 3:30 p.m., the energy decreased considerably, and I had to wait in lites 1 m/s. I refocused and worked hard to stay in the air as long as possible.
In the end, I managed to surpass the 500 km mark and glided towards the setting sun, landing at 531 km with the junior world record in my pocket!
My mother, who drove 12 hours straight non-stop, picks me up 1 hour after my landing to celebrate the success of this crazy day together.
However, I am eager to fly the next day, especially considering the favourable conditions announced and potentially our last flying day of our visit! We return to Quixada at 11 p.m. to try my luck the next day from this legendary takeoff!
After a brief night's sleep, I found myself at the Pipeline at 6 a.m.
Despite countless times watching my dad and uncle taking off from this place (my first experience being when I was just 1 and a half years old), I had never taken off from Quixada before.
The wind is steady but not too strong, gusting to 40/45kmh with low cycles between thermals. I get into the air at 6:30 a.m. with the sky already lit with small cumulus clouds.
I choose my exit thermal carefully and set off at 7am sharp. The start of the flight is very pleasant but once again the wind is very strong. The sky opens up in front of me and turns completely blue, I see a cloud forming slightly upwind of me. I decide to go upwind to look for it but even at full bar I stand still or slightly reverse and sinking down. I no longer have a choice, I turn around and continue downwind of the terrain. I find myself very low, yet I still have the hope of going back up as I don't want to land so early in this strong wind. I see a bird 100m above me on the right and my Zeno 2 pulls me towards the right, I follow it and discover a field where the bushes move strongly and rise upwards while spinning, it is a dust devil and my only chance to climb back up since I am 65 metres from the ground. The thermal is very powerful and turbulent, my glider moves all over as never before. I concentrate 100% not to lose this powerful missile.
Finally I come out, but I still have to cross the Monsenhor Tabosa plateau at 9:20 a.m. I traverse the mountain range at a high speed. Then the sky turns blue again. I arrive at the Poranga plateau which marks the 200km mark at 11:20am.
I see the magnificent cumulus clouds in the distance in Piaui. I manage to reach them and take advantage of an incredible mass of lifty air.
The wind is decreasing (20kmh) but the thermals are powerful, wide and gentle.
The ground becomes green, populated with palm trees, the landing areas diminish. I am now in Piaui. I keep gliding until I cross the magnificent Parnaiba river which marks the border between Piaui and Maranhao.
I hop between clouds before crossing the 500km again, the first time that this mark has been crossed by taking off from Quixada! At 5 p.m. all the thermals stop and I land at Bon Sucesso do Maranhao after 510km. So happy to have the record of this legendary site which has stood the test of time.
Also this was the first time that a pilot has completed two 500km flights in two consecutive days.
I am received at a farmer's house while waiting for my mother who crossed 3 states by car to come pick me up in the middle of the palm forest. We then meet up and enjoy another amazing flight together!!
In the end I didn’t reach the 600km flight this season but I set a new junior world record and a new Quixada record. An incredible adventure that I will never forget!”
For Timo’s flights go to: https://www.xcontest.org/world/en/pilots/detail:Timoleo
Congrats Timo and Cheers from all the Ozone team.