The Italian Almanac

Angelo D'Arrigo, the human condor

Italian News - January 6

Italian adventurist Angelo D'Arrigo will attempt this week to break the world hang-gliding record for altitude, which he himself set two years ago in the Himalayas. The 44-year-old Catania native has chosen the Andes Mountains to stage his feat. On Saturday he became the first human to hang-glide over the chain's highest mountain, the Aconcagua. D'Arrigo set the hang-gliding altitude record of 9,100 meters several days after he became the first person to free fly over over Mt. Everest.

The local Argentinian press have dubbed the Italian "The Human Condor", after the giant South American vulture on which D'Arrigo has in part designed his "Delta Condor" hang-glider Looking back at his flight over Mt. Anconcagua, D'Arrigo said that "at a certain point when I was flying my glider, which has wings that resemble the bird's flight feathers, I felt almost as if I was a condor".

D'Arrigo said he was already planning his next mission which in 2007 will see him fly over the 5,500m Mt. Wilson in Antarctica. "I want to fly the Italian flag over the sixth continent and help mark the 50th anniversary of the treaty reserving the two poles for scientific research," he said.

Aside from the altitude record, D'Arrigo also holds the hang-gliding record for non-stop distance, 1,830km; the altitude record with a hydroplane, 6,500m; and the world record for speed of climb. He was also the first person to hang-glide over the Mediterranean, from Catania to Cairo; over the Sahara, from Cairo to Casablanca; and to hang-glide over Mt. Etna, Europe's biggest volcano.

D'Arrigo has taken part in a number of scientific expeditions including accompanying Siberian cranes with his hang-glider on their migration from Siberia, across Kazakhstan and all the way to Iran, for a total distance of 5,500 km. He also accompanied the migration of hawks from central Africa, across the Sahara and Mediterranean into Europe.