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Video: Wakeboarding Behind an Airplane
They say very few aviation records are left to be broken, but here's one that's never been tried before, at least as far as we know. Wakeboarding world champion Bernhard Hinterberger recently became the first person ever to skim across the water while being towed by an airplane in flight.
Hinterberger and his team accomplished the feat on the Po, Italy's longest river, behind a Zlin Savage kitplane. The Cub lookalike pulled Hinterberger at speeds of around 45 to 55 knots, far faster than wakeboarders normally travel on the water behind boats.
Because wakeboards aren't designed for such speeds, the board started to flex from the high friction resistance, Hinterberg said. The high speed also made it difficult to use his board's edges on water he described as being "as hard as rock."
While he admitted it was an unforgettable and at times harrowing experience, Hinterberger looks totally comfortable behind the Zlin in the video of his on-the-water exploit.
Zlin Aviation, based in the Czech Republic, sells five versions of its Savage taildragger kits, starting at around $71,000, a price that includes an 80 hp Rotax 912 UL engine.
Wakeboarders and water skiers have been towed by seaplanes before, but never while the airplane was airborne that we've seen. We're not sure a new combination sport has been born, but the video of Hinterberg's feat certainly is entertaining.