• Short Summary

    An Australian hang-gliding pilot, Bill Flewellyn, created history on Saturday (23 July) by becoming the first person to fly over Japan's highest peak, Mount Fuji in a hang glider.

  • Description

    An Australian hang-gliding pilot, Bill Flewellyn, created history on Saturday (23 July) by becoming the first person to fly over Japan's highest peak, Mount Fuji in a hang glider.

    SYNOPSIS: Mount Fuji, 12,395 feet (3,776 metres) high, is notorious for the treacherous turbulence around its peak. Flewellyn's glider was fastened to a hot air balloon piloted by British flight engineer Ron Taaffe for the ascent.

    Flewellyn currently holds the world record for hang glider soaring, with a time of 15 hours three minutes 50 seconds, set in 1972 near Barmera in south Australia where he runs a vineyard.

    His flight over Mount Fuji was not the highest he'd attempted he had held the Australian altitude record with a height of 16,500 feet (5,000 metres), but a new record of 24,100 feet (7350 metres) was set later. Flewellyn said he would attempt to break this record later this year.

    Flewellyn's plan was to ascend with the aid of the balloon to a height of 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) and then glide over the summit of the mountain which is held sacred by the Japanese.

    Flewellyn and Taaffe weren't alone in their ascent....along with them were five helicopters, four propeller-driven aircraft and one jet aeroplane from which interested newsmen followed the flight.

    The Visnews cameraman who took this film said he was terrified by the amount of aerial activity around the balloon.

    Once the target altitude was reached, Taaffe released the hand glider from the balloon and Flewellyn was on his own. The flight was organised in honour of Queen Elizabeth the Second's Silver Jubilee.

    Flewellyn later described the view of Mount Fuji from above as 'marvellous'.

    Flewellyn had to wear an oxygen mask for his flight, which was at altitudes much above those normally reached by hang-gliding pilots.

    Flewellyn's slow spiral descent took him 50 minutes.

    He landed on a golf course about 300 yards (metres) from where the ascent started. Flewellyn then described his feelings about the flight.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA29HGL27DYOKLDQOUEOUU96ZUD
    Media URN:
    VLVA29HGL27DYOKLDQOUEOUU96ZUD
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    24/07/1977
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:03:42:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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