On the evening of August 10th, 2010, Chris Santacroce broke the record for the longest North American, limited-fuel flight on a paramotor. Though flight conditions during the week were less than optimal, Santacroce flew his paramotor 121 miles over Southeast Texas using only 2.5 gallons of fuel and cruising at elevations of 2,500 feet.
Taking off from Bay City Municipal Airport at the Texas Gulf Coast, Santacroce and his Red Bull Air Force teammate Othar Lawrence took to the sky. Six hours later, the daredevil team landed just north of Red Rock, Texas.
“There is nothing like counting the miles in the sky, flying through the clouds and feeling on top of the world,” Santacroce said. “Nothing compares to it. I’m thrilled with the results... Definitely the realization of a long-time personal goal.”
How is this possible on only 2.5 gallons of gas? In order to achieve maximum mileage, Santacroce and Lawrence took advantage of thermal updrafts to climb to their ultimate altitude and then drifted downwind with the motors off. When they began losing elevation, the pilots would restart their motors and attempt to find another thermal updraft to regain elevation and achieve greater distance.
About the Pilots
Chris Santacroce became a full-time paragliding professional at the age of 17 and went on to invent aerobatic tricks that remain the benchmark for other pilots. Chris is also the designated driver for the Red Bull Air Force ultralight, an expert paramotor pilot, and a seasoned skydiver and B.A.S.E. jumper.
Othar (O.J.) Lawrence grew up in Carbondale, Colorado, where he explored just about every alpine sport. O.J. made it his goal to conquer the skies, and he had the best possible teacher to get him started: his longtime friend, paragliding wizard Chris Santacroce.