01 Nov 2022
On October 14, Ozone team pilot Marcella Uchoa (Enzo 3) set a new Women's World Record flying a declared-goal 457 km flight.
In Marcella’s words:
“It’s been six years that I am going to Sertao to chase world records. I just love that place and everything about it. Especially the people in Sertao are the best! No matter where you land, people come to help you out, offering food, water, their home and everything to make you comfortable. That reception and affection make this whole experience even more thrilling. And it’s been 2 years that I am going to Caico, Rio Grande do Norte, with ‘Fly with Andy’ team, and I just love the place and the whole team, as I feel extremely safe with their towing and retrieves, making me worry only with the flight.
In October 14th, I was towed with my Enzo 3 at 6:56am. Our average speed was very high in the first 200km, after that the wind dropped a lot to 10kmh at some points.
Particularly, I really like the straight distance to a declared goal record, because it's like a giant race to goal task and super challenging.
For those who don't know, this type of record you have to declare a point (geographical coordinate) before taking off. So, I always fill out the form the night before.
I love looking at the forecasts and trying to figure out what is the point I'm going to hit after crossing the entire Sertão. Then you take off and look at the instrument where it says "distance to goal" and see 457km and that you have to climb more than 45000m! What a challenge! And the forecast isn't always right, so during the route you have to decide if it's worth trying the declared or not. I wanted to declare 477, but as this year was not very good, I decided to lower it a little bit and put the point before the plateau of Piauí, with 457.77 km. And it was just like a race to goal task. When we were 28km to goal, we were 1400m off the ground, I thought we were going to reach the point on the limit. But we got a good line and arrived with 400m on the declared point. Rafael Barros took off with me and we managed to fly together the whole flight.
And it was really cool to fly together as a team and plan this final glide as if it was an arrival to Goal, and what a task! Although, it was an extremely challenging flight for me since the beginning. I wrongly put a lot of weight behind the harness and it laid down a lot, so I had to keep pushing forward, very uncomfortable. In addition, the flight was crazy turbulent, my paraglider did not stop over my head, and I thought sometimes "what am I doing here?". And in the end, around 350km, I got very low in a bad place, in the middle of some mountains and without landing zones, at that point I thought I would bomb out and lost the flight, so it was a mental challenge to fight against my mind to not give up.
Almost 11 hours of flight tearing through the sky of our wonderful Sertão, taking off at 6:56 am from Caicó in Rio Grande do Norte, crossing the entire Ceará and landing on the border with Piauí at 17:39!! Anyway, only I know what I went through those 10 hours of flight to have 1 hour at the end to relax and enjoy the moment. But that's about it, challenge, resilience, never giving up and never stop believing. Taking off with the sun at your back and make the final glide towards the sunset. This is so magical to me. And I am super happy to bring this record back to Brazil! “
For Marcella’s flight track:
Congrats Marcella for another epic flight!
Cheers from all the OZONE team.