The Flight4Life project has passed what team leader Mark Jennings-Bates believes was the crux of the trip, and is soon to be headed through the Nullarbor desert for Western Australia.
“We have figured out some maintenance routines that are assisting us, battled through changeable winds and record rain storms and arrived at a point where the whole team believes we can see this through to the end,” said Jennings-Bates of Peachland.
Parajet expedition pilot Glenn Derouin, of Vernon, has been flying solo since Jennings-Bates endured a prop strike that curtailed his personal world record attempt.
For Derouin, the rigours of daily flying in strong thermals are starting to take a toll.
“It certainly is not easy, day after day to get in the air knowing that you are going to get kicked around by strong thermals and dust devils for three hours at a time” said Derouin who has been flying for up to seven hours per day.
The ground crew have also played a critical role in getting the team this far as they have endured road side repairs in searing heat and kept the parajet motors and expedition vehicle in good shape for the outback adventures.
For Jennings-Bates, the end is in sight, but he does not discount the many challenges that lie ahead.
“The heat in the Nullarbor is going to be different to what we have experienced already and the winds, while they historically blow in our favour will blow stronger and that means that Glenn will have even more active flying to do,” he said.
“With a little good fortune, we will get to the end, I know that many people are cheering for us.”
The purpose behind the Flight4Life, however, is more than to acquire a new world record.
They are raising funds for the Rally4Life Foundation which is an international development agency, and Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service
Supporters in the Okanagan can follow the team’s progress at www.theflight4life.com