Hang-gliders arrive in Canada after three-week journey

Larry Bunner - hang-glider and creator of the X Flight journey - takes off from the Garner Field Airport in Uvalde on June 27. Bunner and a group of other hang-gliders traveled through 11 states on their journey to the Canadian border, as a part of Bunner's X Flight goal: to fly from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border. (Photo by John Enrietti.)

Lane Riggs

Staff Writer

The hang-gliders that were attempting to travel to the Canadian border have completed their journey. On July 11, all but one of the hang-gliders tagged the Canadian border, around 1,884 miles from their starting point in Falfurrias on June 23.

Larry Bunner – the leader of the X Flight journey – crossed into the Canadian border on the east side of Washington’s Hanging Lake, which straddles the United States and Canada, on July 12.

During their journey, the hang-gliders flew through 11 states, including Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington. Additionally, the group averaged over 100 miles per day.

“Receiving the accolades of everyone who watched on Facebook felt incredibly good,” Bunner said. “It was gratifying.”

Though Bunner enjoyed the trip, he said it was incredibly difficult.

“The tension really wore you down. We had little time to sight-see. We would wake up in the morning to check the weather and  then we would set off,” Bunner said. “Our days were very packed. There were things that had to be done. It felt like cramming for exams in college.”

Similarly, he said that even after the trip ended, the events still hadn’t caught up to him and the other hang-gliders.

“There were a lot of miles of activity,” Bunner added. “It took days for us to process everything that had happened. Then we were talking to each other, saying, ‘hey, remember when we did that?'”

Though the trip was stressful, Bunner said he enjoyed meeting everyone along the way.

“I felt like I got to see the real America on the trip. People were always so positive and welcoming,” he said.

Additionally, Bunner said airports along the way were accommodating.

“Many were contacted in the moment and responded with open arms,” he said.

Bunner is unsure of future hang-gliding goals, but mentioned two thoughts are percolating: flying through the mountains and doing the trip again.

“Maybe next time we’ll get into the mountains, have some scenic flying,” he said. “It’s just a thought for now, but we might have a couple more flights.”

Regardless, Bunner said one experience will stick with him: landing in the Hill Country and swimming in the Frio River while waiting for the other hang-gliders to catch up with him.

“That day will never leave me, I lost service but got it back just in time to get in touch with the other and my wife,” he said. “Everything turned out OK that day.”

Their fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is more than halfway to their goal of $25,000, with $18,160 raised.

To donate, search for X-Flight: Gulf of Mexico to Canada on Facebook.

(The story does not continue beyond this line.)


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