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Author: Dustin Martin Created: 5/20/2009 5:42 PM
Dustin Martin began his flying career in sailplanes at the age of 14! He made the transition to hang gliders at age 16. While he calls the skies over Arizona "home", he's mostly nomadic making competition forays down to Ecuador and Brazil every few months. In 2008, Dustin cracked off the third longest XC flight ever - 410 miles narrowly missing the world record mark.

It's been a trying couple of months but I feel somewhat back on my path and I'm feeling focused and confident about Canoa.

The comp in Arizona was as layed back as ever and I was able to sit back and enjoy a few years of work instead of organizing and flying the event, thanks to Jamie.

On the way to Arizona looking out over southern New Mexico.

I flew a prototype glider produced in September that had the sweetest handling of any T-2 so far. Glide performance seemed intact and I won day 2 on a blazing downwind day into the saguaro national monument area. Distraction was all it took for me to fall down on day 4 and no amount of flying was going to get me back on the podium. All that was left was to sit back and enjoy round after round of black russians in the hot tub.

The week after AZ was spent working on the latest prototype at the factory. Along with the new sail mods, I got a bunch of drag reducing tweaks done to my harness and peripheral gear so it was time well spent. Steve and I got to rap about gliders and cool aero ideas and now I'm putting some of that to the test with practical modifications for next week's race. The new wing looks HOT..

Spotted this item hanging in the airport terminal in Santa Ana on the way to the factory...

From LAX, I flew straight down to Brasil for a two week visit with Manuela. We visited Paraguay, Argentina, and all of the local attractions and had a great time.. it was a real boost of positive energy spending time with her. I skipped the comp that was happening in Carmo do Rio Claro, but I will be sure to catch the next one. It's one of the few sites I haven't seen down there but it sounds like last week's comp suffered some pretty poor weather so hopefully next season is better. Here's a shot before launching on task 6, which was eventually cancelled with a cu-nim on course. Looks amazing.

Pictures of this year's Canoa mods will be up soon (a step up from last year's mods, I'm fully aero this year).
Here is a sneak peak of a camera soon available from Flytec usa... I will be using it along with a gopro hero to capture various angles of glider mounted HD video of the race course next week so stay tuned.

And for the conclusion of my circuit, I ended up with a layover in Newark where I had hoped to go run around NYC for a few hours but got this instead:

That 757 has got to be the sweetest, slowest landing airliner I've ever been in.

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Brasilia was quite nice this year. The air was smooth, climbs were still strong to 10000 feet most days, winds were lighter than usual.
Half the comp was flown through a fog of food poisoned agony, but that half was where I was winning. Once I popped the pills, Jonny slipped by with a 23 point lead going into the last day. Unfortunately the last day was stopped halfway through the task due to storms.
Landing in the Esplanada every day was a pleasure as usual. This year the closing ceremony was held there after packing up the gliders, and the atmosphere was strong.
The curiosity of the locals here always surprises me coming from the states and they were out in force every day this year. I'm guessing there will be some new pilots here this time next year.
Special thanks to the organization this year and the local private hospital. When I was doubled over and without a great deal of money, the organizer of the comp and one of the partners in the hospital both arranged for free treatment and took me past a day-long ER line to get immediate help. Awesome.
Anyway, pics..

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Moving right along - Spent almost two weeks in Zapata again this year. Got a record for the 100km triangle on an after-lunch flight on one of the days because I couldn't think of much else to do on yet another sub par weather day.

The two weeks, most of which with my car in the shop, helped me rediscover my motivation to try for the record somewhere else. I need a change of scenery. I have a spot scoped out for next June/July and flying is just one of endless outdoor activites that are possible there. It will be a blast, flying or not, but it's no minor site. Eleven hours soarable air on a good day, interstate highway under you from the first to the 500th mile, hIGH cloudbase, typically strong tailwinds, and you can retry if you landout early. Not as consistent as Zapata (is supposed to be). More consistent than Zapata has been. Need O2, only major drawback.

Off to Brasilia, the 2nd stage of the Brazilian nationals right now. I remember thinking I wouldn't go back there after the last time two years ago, but the bump and wind tolerance is rejuvenated after the French trip. Arriving tomorrow morning and the weather is looking good. Always a good time.

Kit required for a big one:

Landing after 2hr 100km flight:

Last year in Zapata before the big one:

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Pleasantly surprised by the air and views of France this year.

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During the era of the Samurai, it was proven that a curved sword could be drawn from the scabbard more swiftly and provided a far more effective cutting angle. I literally fly in the face of that notion. My latest conception:

The value of a sword is determined largely by the quality of the point. A skillful artisan will labor for hours polishing and cold forging his blade until it's blinding gleam distracts foes. ~

Note the sail mount and rear wire termination.

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