At home in Italys Etna region, Angelo was caring for two condor chicks raised in captivity. Angelo tought them to fly. Image courtesy of Angelo D'Arrigo (click to enlarge).
'Birdman' Angelo d'Arrigo lost in a plane crash

Posted: Mar 26, 2006 02:19 pm EST
( Italian pilot Angelo DâArrigo died today in an accident during an air show in Comiso, Italy, according to Italian media. DâArrigo, who flew in his hang-glider over Everest in 2004, and over Aconcagua on December 31, 2005, was passenger in a small Sky Arrow plane piloted by Guilio de Marchis, a retired military who also died when the vehicle fell 200 meters to the ground. The National Agency for flight security has opened an investigation to clear up the cause of the accident.

Birdman flies away

At ExplorersWeb, Angelo d'Arrigo was known as âBirdmanâ â the explorer who flew among flocks of geese across Siberia, who followed Step Eagles above Tibetan plains, who astonished Everest 2004 summiteers by soaring over them in his hang-glider.

After flying over Aconcagua, Birdman Angelo was planning a new hang-glider Adventure in Antactica, where he hoped to fly over Mount Vinson by 2007.

In 2001, Angelo guided a migratory eagle over the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea, completing the first âfree flight Sahara crossingâ in hang-gliding history. The event caught the attention of many scientists.

Russian biologist Alexander Sorokin invited Angelo to work on his Siberian Cranes Project and one year later they were defining strategies for a sort of migratory birds âflying schoolâ. Flying in his hang-glider, Angelo would teach these birds the ways of migration.

Supported by Moscowâs ARRINP (All Russian Research Institute for Nature and Protection) and Washingtonâs ICF (International Crane Foundation), they guided a flock of cranes across Siberia from the Arctic Circle. Besides being a huge advancement in science, it was also the longest free flight ever performed at the time.

With "Flying Over Everest" in 2004, Angelo fulfilled a dream that was four years in the making. He prepared extensively for the project by working in hypobaric chambers and testing gear in a wind tunnel. Angelo became the first man ever to fly over the summit of Everest on a hang glider. During this same project, Angelo also released a Himalayan eagle in Everest National Park.

On the last day of 2005, Italian Angelo dâArrigo flew over Aconcagua. In his condor-shaped hang-glider, Angelo was towed by a micro- light piloted by Richard Meredith - the very same who helped the Italian in his 2004 flight over Everest. At around 7000m, Angelo broke free from the tow and kept ascending thanks to some strong thermic currents. He reportedly reached 7453m. In January this year, Angelo reached 9100m of altitude over Tupungato volcano, in the Andean Cordillera, thus breaking his own altitude-record set up on Everest.

Angelo d'Arrigo's Condor Research Project also involved caring for and giving flying lessons to two 'adopted' condor chicks, raised in captivity at home in Italy . Next year, the condors were going to be released into their natural environment, in Peruvian Andes.


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