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- Nationality: Hungary
- Date of birth: 22. Mar. 1985
- Profession: Professional paraglider pilot
- Supporter: Ferdinand Vogel
- Glider: Ozone
- Website: http://facebook.com/takats.pal
- Sponsors: Red Bull, Ozone Paragliders, Flugschule Hochries, Gloryfy - Unbreakable, Create38, F7 Training, justACRO.com
- 8 years after first competing in the Red Bull X-Alps (2009), Hungarian acro legend Pal Takats is back to undertake his second adventure of a lifetime. Is he ready for the changes that happened over the past few years? Time will tell.
- When and why did you begin paragliding?
Walking through my hometown in Budapest as a kid, I became fascinated by the view of the little 'mosquitoes' hanging over the local flying side just on the edge of the city. Soon after I took a beginner course in 2001 when I was 16.
- Do you paraglide competitively? List rankings and events.
I grew big in the aerobatic competition scene and while I became pretty successful in it (3 overall World Cup Champion titles) I always loved to fly cross country just as much as controlling my wing in the 3-dimensional space. Actually the very first competition I did was cross country in Slovenia in 2004 where I also flew my first 100 km in a task. Due to my profession, the focus had to remain on acro, but over the last years and thanks to a change of glider sponsor to Ozone, I left the acro comp scene behind in 2011. But even since then I could not quite focus on XC comps as much as I'd have loved to. Mix of best XC results:- 8th Red Bull X-Alps 2009; 25th FAI XC World Ranking in 2015 July (currently 59) ; Best ranked Hungarian pilot since 2 years ; 5th Italian Open 2015 ; 9th Trofeo Montegrappa 2015 ; 8th Bavarian Open 2016 ; 1st Ukranian-Hungarian Open, Krushevo 2014 ; 1st XCTurkey 2011 (2nd in 2010).
- What is your mountaineering experience?
I've been rock climbing since 2000, multi-pitch climbing since 2006. Various multi-pitch climbs (Italy, Austria, Spain), longest with 13 pitches. ; Highest summited peaks; Mont Blanc 4809m, Dôme du Goûter 4303m, Breithorn 4164m, Wildspitze 3770m, Alpitze 2628m (NE face in winter!) ; Various lower peaks summited, partially with lighter alpine climbing sections ; Various hikes to wingsuit B.A.S.E. exits, partially with extremely exposed bits; Experience and practice in hiking at very exposed locations.
- What is your paragliding experience?
Began to fly in 2001; First 100 km flight in 2004; One of the most successful acro pilots; Last new maneuvers invented between 2010-2011 (Esfera, Misty to Heli, Cork, Joker, Booster); First ever performer of an infinity tumble with passenger; Guinness Record holder of Infinity Tumbling in tandem (140 revolutions); Chilean XC record: 304 km; A 6-time 'Pilot of the year' title in Hungary; Extensive experience in flying air-shows. ; Multiple Hungarian XC record holder.
- What is your adventure racing / endurance sport experience?
Mainly the Red Bull X-Alps in 2009.
- What does your typical training week consist of?
A mix of running, hiking, hike and fly and doing other sports like rock climbing or kite-surfing.
- What are your best and worst adventure/flying moments?
Most scary moments: crashing with Mathias Roten during an acro routine, crashing with another pilot in a crowded gaggle during XC comp, falling into the canopy, landing out at very sketchy places. Best moments: every single landing with a smile!
- What are the sporting moments you are most proud of?
Aerobatics achievements (partially listed earlier) ; Red Bull X-Alps ; 190 km triangle over a challenging new unique route circumnavigating the Austrian main Alpine chain (Stubai-valley - Meran - Reschesee - Stubai) ; Some shorter but for me very remarkable XC flights.
- When and how did you first hear about the Red Bull X-Alps?
Around 2003, soon after I began to paraglide. But I never thought I'd once be part of it!
- Have you competed in the Red Bull X-Alps before and if so, when?
Red Bull X-Alps 2009 (8th place).
- What appeals to you about the Red Bull X-Alps?
It's all about the adventure. There are many things you can try to plan, but at the end it will mostly turn out different and you need to improvise. The magic moments you live during the race. Besides all the pain and suffering, there are so many special moments and places you got to see which you otherwise never would! Experience the strong sportsmanship among the participants.
- What will be your strategy during the race?
Straight-lining and staying in the air! Pushing hard to the limit, but getting through without an incident!
- On average, over a third of the Red Bull X-Alps participants fail to finish the event. Why do you think you will make it?
Even though the first time I took part it was only 1 year after a serious ankle injury, I managed to pull a quite satisfying result for me. For most it was probably quite surprising too to see an acro pilot getting that far. Now, after nearly 8 years and a couple of broken bones later, I'm motivated to come back stronger than ever! I'll do my best to take it to the next level with much more experience in the pocket, better equipment and better knowledge of flying in the Alps. As long as my body will keep up with my motivation and spirit, I'm sure that I'll be able to make it to the shores of the Mediterranean!
- What scares you the most about the event?
Do things and being 'pushed' into situations that - under normal circumstances - you would normally not do.
- Have you ever done anything of this magnitude before?
The Red Bull X-Alps is a massive project that needs great determination, planning and training. I did face these challenges in my life before, but this particular one will always remain a unique one, no matter how many times you have done it before.