Interviews carried out by Danyer Columbié to the pilot of free flight Luis García, which carried out an unpublished voyage among the Port of Batabanó to the Isla de la Juventud, Cuba, using a paramotor.
Danyer Columbié: How and when did the idea arise of attempting it?
Luís García: The idea arises, flying in beaches of the East and after covering the whole distance from Beaches of the East toward the Castle of the Morro, I told myself that why not to attempt a bigger distance. Then, a friend facilitated me access to the Google Earth and starting from there, I realized, for the direction of winds that prevail in Cuba that one could make a voyage to the Isla de la Juventud. Also, it was in the Island where I learned how to fly and I told myself: that excellent idea to return flying in paragliding there.
D.C: Challenges that should face to achieve it.
L.G: The most difficult challenge was to try that the idea was accepted by the authorities. Already the colleagues of the MINFAR (Air Traffic) they had commented me that they didn't see bad the project, however, in the IACC (Institute of Civil Aeronautics of Cuba), they needed many answers to give the seen good and included, until one day before, it was in risk the approval of the flight.
No craft of the area would reach speeds that could guarantee a constant and visual pursuit of the flight. Then we proposed the idea of 2 crafts, a leaving approximately from the Island to 40 km and another from Batabano with the same objective, covering both 2/3 of the route. At once we had positive answers from the side of the Island, on the other hand from the county of Mayabeque and Batabano, until last minute we didn't have anything.
Already for the realization of the flight, we faced the challenge of the meteorological conditions. After a study of the behavior of the meteorology during the whole year in the area of the flight, we determine that the best month was November. On the other hand, the permits could not be for alone one day and we had to convince that we needed a week of flight permits to choose a day of voyage.
Another topic was the autonomy of the paramotor and the time of flight. In the precedent flight, from Varadero to the Morro (120 km) we had to land almost in half to restock of fuel. In this project, we had to make the direct flight, because there were not possible scales. Then, the other dilemma was to increase the autonomy of the paramotor, to increase fuel and weight.
D.C: Impression that had when it was seen in the center of the sea.
L.G: there was a moment that was in the center of the sea and no longer saw neither craft, neither earth. That was the distance more difficult of the voyage. But it was with the necessary equipment of communication and orientation and a team in earth in which trusted that would go quickly to the rescue in the event of emergency. Also, I had gotten ready for that tract, where it achieves, according to plan of foreseen flight, bigger speed and height of security.
D.C: Did have support of some craft or did make it alone?
L.G: at the last moment I knew before taking off that there was support of a fishing craft of the port of Cajío that would be located in Key Snake, to some 20 kms of Batabanó.
Of the Island, the position of people's of the fishing control of there, they had informed to the fishing ones that had come out at dawn. In my route and already almost to a little but of half of the road, I saw the first ship and then three more.
D.C: What did you feel when you see the Isla de la Juventud?
L.G: That had achieved my project that was already in the Island, that there was not it goes behind and single have that to continue to put the feet in earth.
D.C: What did it happen to the second paramotor that had technical problems?
L.G: The second paramotor, steered by a Mexican colleague of a lot of experience, seems that warmed, according to what the one explains and it was consuming much combustible in the first 20 kms. The also you line a flight outline where I don't look for height from the same beginning. It was flying the whole time on the 400m.
D.C: related future Projects with breaking new record?
L.G: We think, next year, to make the voyage flying from San Antonio's Cape, Pinar del Rio, Cuba to Cancun in Mexico. They would be double Km. on the sea (about 200 Kms.). AND in my case, I would love to be able to reissue the flight that made Rosillo on May 17, 1913, when for the first time crosses the Strait of the Florida. He made it in a rigid airplane with a motor of 37 HP; I would make it with a parapente, a flexible wing and only 22 HP. It will be a flight from Key Bone to the Havana.
D.C: Technical Information of the Flight.
L.G: it Distances of flight: 103km
Height: I was flying the whole time among the 900 and 1000m of height
Speed average: The first 20 Kms. I flew from about 17 to 25 Km. / h, already later, don't get off the 40km/h and there were moments that I come closer at the 60Km/h
Time: take off at the 09h08 of Batabanó, land in Gerona, Island of the Youth, at 11h35 o'clock, for 02h17