Flyer Jim Mallinson from Stanton St Bernard is still on a high after breaking a record for the longest paragliding flight from Westbury just three days after his wife Claudia gave birth to their second child.
He held the previous record distance for a Westbury take off of 79km set up four years ago but he has now shattered that and flown an incredible 104km in a flight that lasted four and three quarter hours.
Mr Mallinson is a Sanskrit scholar, writer, translator and filmmaker. He has a doctorate from Oxford and has had several books published.
Away from his studies he likes nothing better than to strap on a paraglider and launch himself from one of the many hills in Wiltshire using just thermal air currents and his flying skills to stay aloft under his steerable parachute.
He said: “I started paragliding in 1995 and have been hooked ever since. I have been in competitions all over the world, been in the British team and I won the UK British Open in 2006.”
Over the past ten years he has won the Avon Paragliding Club cross-country league several times and he has flown regularly in the Himalayas where he runs tours every autumn.
Two years ago he made a film in the Himalayas called Temples in the Clouds which has been shown on the Travel Channel and has recently been bought by the Italian state TV company RAI.
This summer, he said, his flying opportunities had to be restrained as his wife was due to give birth on June 7.
“I didn’t think it would be a good idea to land miles away, turn on the mobile and discover that i was a proud father once again,” he said.
On June 11 his wife gave birth to a daughter Willa Rose, a sister for their other daughter Lily, four.
Three days later Mr Mallinson decided to celebrate being a father again by flying off the hill above Westbury.
He said: “It’s a tricky starting point for cross country flights as you have to negotiate your way around Salisbury Plain, the military does not let us overfly it.”
His flight took him over Devizes, past his own home, over Andover and Alton in Hampshire and he eventually landed near Farnham in Surrey and had a three and a half mile walk with his 25kg backpack to catch a train back to Westbury.
“I couldn’t have gone much further this time as Heathrow airspace was approaching,” the exhilarated flyer said.