It is fair enough to say that Théo de Blic (FRA) is nowadays most skilled and trained acro pilot. He is impressing everybody with his motivation, technical skills, perfectly clean maneuvers, creativity and by delivering new tricks to the scene. He was also one of the very few pilots who pushed the sport to the next level by performing highly technical maneuvers twisted for the first time, setting the new standards for new-school aerobatics. As it feels like that the apex of this evolution if nearing, some old ideas started to emerge in the scene again and a rather crazy experiment began to take place. After David Thibodeau (CAN) opened up a conversation on Facebook about the Full Stall to Infinity, Egor Posokhin (RUS) did not waste time and went out to try it. The videos Egor posted made Théo go on a mission to Lake Garda to see if he could do it! Guess what, the legends of a new connection became reality! Click to read the full of the birth of a new maneuver: Superstall to Infinite!
justACRO: Do you remember when and how did you hear about this possible maneuver, Full Stall to Infinite?
Théo de Blic: It is hard to remember but when I was a little kid everyone was talking about it, even non-acro pilots. The discussion was mostly about this being impossible but that it would be nice if it was doable. I think I both heard it from people who believed in it and also from people who thought it was impossible. To be honest I was also a non-believer! It was about 10 years ago after the Infinite Tumbling when people thought the sport will stop evolving so people talked about this idea. Later when you [Pál Takáts] did the Evolution and invented the latest new tricks, people thought that was the end and the same discussion emerged. Then came the twisted are and the same thing happened. People always wrongly though the Full Stall to Infinity is the only new thing left. But acro kept evolving other directions.
justACRO: So David Thibodeau started that Facebook conversation on the 17th of September that went pretty viral, saying "Can't believe nobody has tried Dynamic stall to Infinity yet. Or even better=> twisted dynamic stall (or super stall) to twisted infinity. With the very small and fast gliders flown today, it's just a matter of letting it go. I think that's the next big maneuver." This went viral really fast and many people started to comment and things started to happen.
Théo: Yes, well, a good friend of mine Jérome was already telling me since two years that I should do it because "you will see it will be the next big thing". But I was not interested. Then David came in with this stupid challenge and people even started to collect money on a Crowdfounding site for the one who can get the best video. To me it was more like a joke but Egor took it seriously and to be honest I would not have tried this if Egor did not start with it. Egor was trying it over land, going all in with all his cards...Egor has a very high wing-loading, the most aggressive glider and the most aggresive style so we believed he should be the one to try it. But still I did not believe him trying it low over ground. One year ago I did some stalls and letting it shoot but then stop it, just imagining how it would work. But after a few stalls I gave up saying it is not possible. And I was already flying the same glider the 14m2 Agility from Gradient. So then after seeing Egor I went to Lake Garda just to try this maneuver but still not believing it was possible. I am not such a big fan of flying over water, it is not so important for me. I am confident over ground, I threw many reserves in my life and I have a good technique to deal with these situations. But this time it was really important to have a safe box and good altitude below me.
justACRO: So it is actually Egor who made you want to try it at the end!
Théo: Absolutely. Egor should be highlighted here. He is doing a lot, and he's really motivated! He already introduced us some new moves and he also has a really interested life story, doing a lot for acro. He was working hard most of life to spend 2 months per year in Organyá. The first year he came he did not speak any English but then he discovered it was important so the 2nd time he came back he was arleady speaking some and now he is really much better.
[justACRO: that is a good tip, I will do the next interview with Egor!]
VIDEO: Egor Posokhin attempts to perform Stall to Tumbling!
justACRO: Tell me about the process, how did you you arrive to perform it clean?
Théo: Over several days I had 23 failed attempts including some where I nearly got into serious trouble. But slowly I started get the feel for the timing. On the morning I did the first successful Superstall to Infinite I was on the way to the takeoff and I received a Facebook notification that 5 years ago on the same day I did the first Twisted Rythmic SAT to Infinity. That gave me great motivation! In the 24th try it was finally working and I was able to keep it going in Infinite. The 25th was also perfect so I did it twice after each other just to prove it was not a matter of luck. Then I came back home and since then I didn't try.
justACRO: This is surely one of the most dangerous maneuvers in existence and still we can be quite sure that some motivated guys will try it...To minimize the risk of a serious injury or death what advise you can give to people who want to try it?
Théo: I think 16m2 should be the maximum wing size, but the smaller the better. You need a glider that shoots really powerful. The Full Stall needs to be perfect. It shouldn't be too high, without any collapses or loosing tension. The trick is when to release the brake! You have to keep the brakelines under tension and then release it kind of like in Rythmic SAT, when the glider is above you and begins to shoot forward. I also pushed the speed-bar during the stall and released the same moment when the glider is above me. It is not very technical but needs the perfect timing! When releasing the speed bar too late I got an early and big collapse. You also need to be really quick to decide during the stall if you will let it shoot or not. You need a really well adjusted speed bar. It is important to be able to release it completely in the right moment.
justACRO: Do you push the speed-bar pulley to pulley?
Théo: No, just first step, which is about 60%.
VIDEO: Théo's progress of fails till the first successful execution!
justACRO: Anything else you want to share?
Théo: The birth of this maneuver happened in a true acro family spirit! Egor and I were in close communication on a daily basis, working on it head to head and supporting each other on the way. Unfortunately on his last attempt he fell into the lines and needed both rescues and damaged his glider so he had to stop. There were many of the great acro guys like Horacio, Jack, Pál, the Colombians Pepe and César...sending me so many motivating messages which really pushed me to believe in the maneuver, because to be honest in the beginnig it was really hard for me to believe. In one of the conversation Pál convinced me to try to use the speed-bar as he believed that could be the key to it. And he was right!
justACRO: What is next?
Théo: Give me a few months to recover from this one. Actually I had some ideas during this process. I can say I watched a lot of SIV fuckups and actually I got some ideas. There are some possibilities to learn from these failures.
justACRO: Tell us about your reverse-back-wind-takeoff?
Théo: I was kind of sad about that because originally it was kind of a joke. I was amazed how big of a buzz it created because it was not something incredible. This is very typical on the social media...we are always joking with Tim Alongi, you post something easy but spectacular and everybody is going crazy. But then you post an amazing, highly technical run with crazy tricks and it goes completely unseen. The more impressive and the more technical we go the less it is appreciated.
justACRO: Well I still like it a lot! But I'm sure it is not possible with every glider?
Théo: For sure it is not but the Agility is really good for this. it is really light and climbs up really high above you in reverse. Surely the 14m2 size also helps a lot.
justACRO: And a last question: did you get the money from the Crowdfunding project and if yes how much?
Théo: Yes I did, 30£ :)
justACRO: Well at least that covered one of your pizza dinners at Garda...Thanks a lot Théo, please keep up the good work and keep coming up with both 'boring' and 'impressive' new stuff!