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.
Hes 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 worlds 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 its the
southern hemisphere thats 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, Als ready for
whatever the trip to Tierra del Fuego may
offer. His wife and kids will be eagerly following the teams
progress as the two pilots glide their way