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...His appetite whetted for bad weather, he later enrolled in helicopter bootcamp outside Moscow...

Thierry Thys

Thierry Thys is not your typical 71 year old. On any given day, he can be found slicing the skies above San Francisco Bay in a candy-striped tail-dragger, taking his 130 pound dog for a spin in a Russian aerobatic plane, or buzzing one of his four daughters’ homes in a turbine helicopter. It seems the more unconventional the airship, the more its attraction for this pilot.

For the past 56 years, Thierry Thys has been chalking up a wealth of flying experience. He’s flown everything from jets and seaplanes to ultra-lights and hang-gliders. In 1979, he completed a solo crossing of the Atlantic in a 6-seat prop plane, landing in the fjords of Greenland during a whiteout blizzard. His appetite whetted for bad weather, he later enrolled in helicopter boot camp outside Moscow. There he learned to pilot a 900 horsepower turbine Russian helicopter that he then flew across the Kazakhstan deserts, Siberian plains and Bering Sea back to his home base in California. That epic adventure took 148 days, covered nearly 8000 miles, braced sub-zero temperatures and spanned 11 different time zones. While Thys admits choppers and powered flight are fun, his true passion lies in quiet flight. In the 1970s he held the world’s third longest distance record for gliding when he surfed the famous Sierra Wave from Truckee, California to Winslow, Arizona--a distance of 573 miles.



An avid glider pilot for sixteen years with over a thousand hours experience, Al Grisemer has soared
all over the American West from Nevada and Idaho to Montana, Utah and California. Now it’s the
southern hemisphere that’s whetted his appetite for adventure. After spending time in Peru, Chile,
Bolivia and Argentina years ago, Al began dreaming of exploring the spectacular Andes in a sailplane.
When his long-time friend, Thierry Thys, offered him the position of co-pilot, he was ready to go in an
instant. An expert skier and former Navy Seal, Al’s ready for whatever the trip to Tierra del Fuego may
offer. His wife and kids will be eagerly following the team’s progress as the two pilots glide their way
south.