Paraglider sets record for non-stop flight

00:28, Dec 19 2012
Angus Tapper
Angus Tapper soars above Wanaka while setting a new national record.

Queenstown paraglider Angus Tapper set a new national record when he flew non-stop from Coronet Peak to the Haast Pass and back to Hawea last week.

Tapper's flight was the longest recorded cross-country flight in New Zealand but he won't get official recognition because records are not kept for flights with turns in them and he did not declare the flight first.

Tapper hoped to reclaim the record for the longest straight-line long distance flight, which he held for six years from 1999 with a 130 kilometre flight from Queenstown to the Landsborough Valley.

The record was broken about six years ago by Grant Middendorf, who flew 142km in a straight line from Waiorau ski area to Burke's Pass.

"It's always been on the agenda for the last few years," Tapper said.

Despite flying more than 147km last Tuesday, the weather prevented Tapper from reclaiming the title, but his decision to turn back towards Wanaka did save him a lot of hassle getting home.


"It's a long way from anywhere if you land up there [in the bush east of Haast]."

When Tapper set the record in 1999 he landed in bush and had to be collected by his father, Jules, in a helicopter.

Tapper's flight progress is tracked via satellite and loaded to his website every ten minutes using a mobile device so if he gets into trouble his location can be pinpointed to within ten minutes.

"You are a bit of a mug not to have one if you are doing these big flights."

New Zealand hang-gliding and paragliding association record keeper Tim Percival said that Tapper's flight had also earned him the accolade for the highest point-scoring flight since they introduced the Leonardo online record keeping system four years ago.

Percival said official recognition was given to straight line, out and back, FAI triangle and declared goal flights. Tapper could have received recognition if he had declared his goal before flying.

The Southland Times