Welcome to the Wills Wing team blog. Check here for regular updates on the lives, travels, and flights of our factory pilots along with information from Wills Wing’s design team.
Dustin Martin began his flying career in sailplanes at the age of 14 and made the transition to hang gliders at age 16. While he calls the skies over Arizona “home”, he’s often making competition forays down to Ecuador and Brazil or guiding hang gliding tours to Colombia every few months. In 2008, Dustin cracked off the third longest XC flight ever – 410 miles narrowly missing the world record mark. Dustin returned to Zapata four years later on July 3, 2012 to set the current World Open Distance Record with a flight of 475 miles. Dustin has been one of the principal contributors to Wills Wing product developments over the last 10 years.
Zac “Zippy” Majors is the reigning US National Champion and calls California home. This “mountain specialist” has been steeped in Utah XC during his seventeen years of flying and has been cracking off impressive flights in the Rockies, Wasatch front, and Sierras. He’s also owned and operated a hang gliding school for the past fourteen years. Zippy’s competition performance is impressive with a No.2 CIVL World Ranking (March 2015) based on 1st place finishes at the contentious 2015 Forbes Flatlands and 2014 Big Springs, and 2nd place at the 2014 Pre-Worlds.
Jeff O’Brien revolutionized his life when he learned to hang glide in 1998. He honed his skills for a decade at The Point of the Mountain, Utah and surrounding mountain sites. He’s flown hang gliders on five continents and has been competing since 2005. Jeff stays active in Colorado with his wife and two children and maintains that, “Hang gliding is the most rewarding “re-creational” activity I’ve experienced. It is magic!”
Jeff Shapiro is a renaissance man who’s spent quite a bit of his existence at height. Jeff learned to fly hang gliders in 1992, caused in part by his life long fascination with birds. He’s a falconer who actively trains raptors in his home state of Montana and has operated a hang gliding and tandem school for the last 12 years. He earned a spot on the ’09 and ’11 US World Hang Gliding team and revels in the “lessons and improvement available through competition”. Traditionally educated as an Industrial Designer, he helped the team at WW to develop their competition class harness, the “Covert”. Although hang gliding is Jeff’s first love, he has continued his exploration of human flight through the art of wing suit BASE jumping which, he is currently on the cutting edge, exploring and “opening” many new exits in the US and Europe. Jeff is also a life long climber, comfortable on all mediums. He’s climbed at or near the hardest ratings on rock, ice, and mixed terrain with many first ascents and repeats of routes around the world. Jeff says, “Passion, self exploration and learning are the most rewarding things in life but, honestly, there’s just nothing like flying a hang glider.”
Austrian Wolfgang Siess is a second generation pilot who has been hooked on flying since childhood. Wolfi is an accomplished comp pilot and member of the Austrian National team but perhaps best known for extraordinary glider-mounted photos and videos. Wolfi is also the Wills Wing distributor for Austria has recently embarked on a project to promote hang gliding awareness