Recently a one of a kind event occurred in New Zealand: The NZ Air Games, which is part of the newly created Air Sports Live brand. Planned from the beginning for the sole purpose of bringing a variety of air sports to the public eye, this event involved 116 cameras all live broadcasting a series of demonstrations and competitions for the world to see live on TV, via internet streaming, and recorded programs. By the end of the broadcast, the event had reached 460,000,000 viewers around the world!
Ozone was proud to be part of this massive event, participating in the Paragliding and Speed Riding events. Ozone Team Pilots Felix Rodriguez, Remo Kutz, Mike Steen, Mathieu Rouanet, and Matt Gerdes were all present.
Mike Steen and Matt Gerdes participated in the Speed Riding demonstration, which involved 8 pilots and 4 helicopters to bring the athletes deep into the Tasman Glacier region in the highest part of the New Zealand Alps. This was an amazing opportunity for a select group of Speed Riders to experience their sport in the middle of the NZ summer, in high alpine terrain. A Helicopter with an externally mounted WesCam filmed from the air, and TV crews shot the pilots from the ground as well. Helicopters shuttled the pilots back to the top of the run, and then back out to the stunningly gorgeous Glentanner station at the base of Mt Cook, the very same place that 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy was filmed.
For the PG Acro competition, more helicopters flew the competitors to a peak above Diamond Lake, near Queenstown, where they launched and then threw down over the lake in a stunning setting. Felix Rodriguez took second place in the comp with his FLX proto, which he was testing for the first time after installing a completely new line set. Felix was just getting the feel for the wing by the the end of the comp, and now he's pretty happy with it! Stay tuned for more news on this new glider.
In the Paramotor division, Mathieu Rouanet of course took first place overall, flying his Ozone Viper. We expected nothing less from the most decorated man in the history of Powered Paragliding, and Mathieu took his victory with his customarily easy smile.
The video production was designed for the general public, with absolutely no care taken to make sure that the facts were straight or the images were interesting to us pilots, so although at times watching the footage may induce a wince or two, it can be viewed on the Airsports Live site here: http://www.airsportslive.com/
NZTV News: Click here for video!
Photos at right courtesy of Alexander Behse.