‘Human swan’ to take flight for mainland Britain’s first global circumnavigation

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woman nicknamed the ‘human swan’ to attempt world premiere to tour mainland Britain next month to mark Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow

Sacha Dench will take off from Glasgow in an adapted electric paramotor on Thursday 20 May, flying counterclockwise around the coast and returning to land in the city about six weeks later.

The Australian is known for her global expeditions with migratory species, but she focused on climate change after losing her family home to bushfires last year.

The UN Cop26 event is scheduled to be held on the Scottish Event Campus from November 1-12, although activist Greta Thunberg has suggested it should be postponed again due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Climate change should be seen as a mountain you can climb, not a dark cloud on the horizon too big to think about

Ahead of her 3,000-mile expedition, Ms. Dench said: “The support has been overwhelming, from businesses to teachers, government leaders and individuals who have donated – getting us off the ground has been a mass effort.

“In addition to testing the capability of electric flight and questioning what we think is possible, together we want to capture the imaginations of young and old, rural and urban, and focus on responses to the crisis climate – not the issues – and encourage everyone to get involved.

“Climate change should be seen as a mountain we can climb, not a dark cloud on the horizon too big to think about.

“My hopes for Cop26 are for the whole country to come forward, whether in person or in spirit, to act, to collaborate, to share challenges and ideas, not just to be seen to be there.

“I hope all decision makers involved will remember hearing the voices of people across the country and around the world. For global companies, these people are your staff, your children, your future customers.

“I also hope that companies realize that they are mass influencers with the power to choose our future, to tip our economies into a hyper-propulsion for climate action before it’s too late. … or not.”

Sacha flight model

World leaders are expected to attend the Cop26 summit, which has been described as the most important international meeting on climate change since the Paris Agreement in 2015.

The expedition, sponsored by EDF, is described as an extreme test on difficult landscapes.

The electric paramotor will replace the usual two-stroke engine she used on long expeditions.

Ms Dench hopes to set a new Guinness World Record for the first and fastest flight around Britain on a paramotor – and the first long-distance expedition attempted with an electric paramotor.

Simone Rossi, Managing Director of EDF UK, said: “With the UK hosting Cop26 this year, we need climate change as our top priority.

SECOND / PA Media

“Replacing fossil fuels in transportation with low-carbon electricity is one of the steps towards net zero.

“As Britain’s largest zero-carbon electricity producer, producing wind, nuclear and solar power, EDF is delighted to support the Round Britain Climate Challenge.

“This is a brilliant initiative to shine a light on climate change and some of the amazing people who are tackling it.

“Let’s break world records and help Britain reach net zero.”



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