logo

Member Login

Call (03) 9336 7155

3 Questions with: Pilots Sonya Fardell & Jonny Durand Jnr.

290817 Provided by Jonny Jonny Durand in flight modeWe asked two of our skilled pilots, including world record setting hang gliding champion Jonny Durand Jnr. and enthusiastic and experienced paraglider Sonya Fardell, about their preferred gliders, their proudest competition achievements and what they believe it takes to become an effective gliding instructor. 

3 QUESTIONS WITH
PARAGLIDING PILOT SONYA FARDELL

Enthusiastic paragliding pilot Sonya Fardell is the secretary of the Toowoomba/Killarney Paragliding and Hang-Gliding Club in Southern Queensland. She tells us how her favourite glider has evolved over the years, the most enjoyable competition she has participated in and the skills she believes are required to be an effective paragliding instructor.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE GLIDER AND WHY?

It’s very hard to say a favourite because as you change/progress as a pilot the characteristics which suit you in the glider change as well.

My first glider, when I finished my training course, was a Gin Bolero. At the time, I absolutely loved it because of its ease of handling and rock solid stability. If I was to fly it now I would probably feel it was too slow. I've had two Novas; the Ion 2 and then the Ion 4. I loved both of them. Both are very forgiving and fun wings to fly with reasonable ability.

My current glider is a Gin Explorer and again I'm absolutely in love with it! I think Gin has managed to get everything spot on for the high end EN/B market in this glider. It's just sporty enough to get out there and stay in touch with some of the faster gliders but very stable, especially in rough air. It's sensitive and responsive without being twitchy. Some pilots might prefer more Paraglider Sonya Fardell pic 1 feedback but it suits me perfectly.

I think choosing a glider is a matter of understanding what you want from it first. There are so many good gliders out there and more coming on the market all the time. You just have to find your perfect match. 

WHAT’S YOUR MOST ENJOYABLE COMPETITION AND WHY?

The New Zealand Nationals in Manilla, 2015. It had great atmosphere, was well run (thanks Johnnie Hopper!) and I was part of breaking a world record when we achieved a valid task set at over 200km. I didn't make goal that day, but I did do a Personal Best and got over 100km for the first time. 

WHAT SKILLS DO YOU FEEL ARE REQUIRED TO BECOME AN EFFECTIVE PARAGLIDING INSTRUCTOR?

I'm certainly never going to be an instructor, but I feel that to be a good instructor you have to be a good communicator. You should be able to convey not only the theory and flying skills required but also a sense of responsibility in taking on this great sport of ours. The good instructors still have a love, excitement and wonder for the flying that instinctively comes across in their instruction. Every instructor will have their own methods and personality types but hopefully teaching safe and responsible behaviour is their number one priority. 

3 QUESTIONS WITH:
HANG GLIDING CHAMPION JONNY DURAND JNR.

010318 Jonny Durand pic credit Christina Quinn

We asked, renowned number one pre-world cup winner Jonny Durand Jnr, who recently flew at the Forbes Flatlands Hang Gliding Championships, the same set of questions.  

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE GLIDER AND WHY?

My favourite glider to fly is the Moyes Gecko. It's only an intermediate glider but it performs really well and flies like a hang glider should.

AND YOUR MOST ENJOYABLE COMPETITION AND WHY?

I have had many great comp wins over my lifetime of flying.
However, I would have to say my second place at the Worlds in France in 2009 and my recent win at the Pre-Worlds in Brasilia last year were my best results.

To read more about the 21st Hang Gliding World Championships in Sky Sailor, click here

WHAT ARE THE SKILLS YOU FEEL ARE REQUIRED TO BECOME AN EFFECTIVE HANG GLIDING INSTRUCTOR?

To be a good instructor you need to obviously have sound flying skills, be patient and have lots of time on your hands. You also need to have a place that is ideal for teaching with access to plenty of people. Unfortunately, it seems that many instructors don't get enough business to make a full-time job from it, so we are getting less and less instructors around Australia.