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Gerrit Kurstjens Does The Impossible

This flight path,in either direction, has never before been accomplished by a sailplane. Going towards Houston is doubly-difficult because Kurstjens had a 10 to 15 mph headwind for his whole flight. Further, soaring conditions invariably deteriorate on flights heading east or southeast from Hobbs. As the terrain slopes downward, so does cloud-base and thermal strength. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that crossing into Texas means crossing a time zone making the day an hour shorter. This flight was an awesome accomplishment.

Gerrit and his wife, Pam, imported their matching Nimbus sailplanes from Europe to the Port of Houston in mid-June. Although the ocean-container had room for two gliders there was only room for one trailer, complicating logistics for their intended soaring safari. The safari has taken them from Houston to Dallas to Hobbs to Albuquerque to Salida (CO) to Driggs (ID) to Parawon (UT) to Ely (NV) to Durango (CO) back to Albuquerque and then to Hobbs.

The safari culminated in yesterday’s odyssey flight for Gerrit back to Houston in a single hop while Pam made the long drive with her glider in a trailer.

While at Parawon and Ely, they set three World gliding records and five Dutch National records with breathtaking speeds.


Pam Kurstjens-Hawkins:

20 July 2001: 311 mile O/R at 97.43 mph - Parowan, UT
World & U.K. National Record, Open Class Feminine, Speed over 500 km Out and Return

26 July 2001. 466 mile at 93.64 mph - Ely, NV
World & U.K. National Record, Open Class Feminine, Speed over 750 Km Triangle

Gerrit Kurstjens:

20-July-2001: 311 mile Out/Return at 120.23 mph - Parowan, UT
Dutch National, Open Class, Speed over 500 km Out and Return

24-July-2001. 621 mile triangle at 97.4 mph - Ely, NV
Dutch National, Open Class, Speed over 1000 km Triangle

26-July 2001. 466 mile triangle at 101.69 mph - Ely, NV
World & Dutch Nationl Record, Open Class, Speed over 750 km Triangle


Posted: 8/3/2001 By: General News

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