Jon Durand has seen things few other people have - and done what no others have done. He has done loop-the-loop aerobatics on the leading edge of the Morning Glory, a rarely spotted, two-kilometre-high tube cloud phenomenon. One that stretches from horizon to horizon and roars across the Australian Northern Territory gulf country at up to 90km/h. He has clocked over 10,000 hours in the air, seen the world stretched flat against the horizon, silent and overwhelming, and had vicious fistfights with birds. Wait, what?
"Shit yeah, they attack us!" he says. "The eagles are the worst - the wedge-tailed eagles. In the springtime. They put big tears in our gliders and everything….”
Jonny "Jon Junior" Durand was born to fly. The Queenslander started out on tandem hang gliders with his father at the age of nine. He achieved solo flight at 14. He’s set world records. In March 2008, aged 27, Jon took off from the launch site beside his house and set the Australian hang-gliding distance record by flying 517km inland over nearly 10 hours.
Jon has been Australia’s Number 1 hang-glider pilot since 2002. He was rated number one in the world in 2006; runner-up in the bi-annual 2009 World Championships in France; pioneered and conquered the unique Morning Glory in 2009. And he is a grand champion at real life Angry Birds.
In January 2014, Jonny set out for project Boomerang, and managed to set two world records - quickest 300 km out-and-return distance and quickest 100 km out-and-return - in one day.Read more