Jonáš Horáček

Jonáš Horáček, a very promising young pilot. At the age of 21, he is already a pilot matador who has participated not only in World Cup races, but also in the PWC Superfinals. He is a multiple junior winner of the Czech Paragliding League and Cup. For the next 4 years he will be a member of the talented youth and during the time of its existence he mostly collected what he could and if he didn't, it was not because he didn't have enough performance to win the category, but because he lacked time, because flying is not Jonáš's only hobby.

The pilot, who was born into an aviation and engineering family, started flying very soon after obtaining his pilot's license at the age of 15.

For a long time he flew the EN-B Advance Iota category wing and even then he was already turning the heads of many performance pilots, who were not only keeping up with his wing category, but often they were not keeping up with him.

Later he re-equipped to a higher class wing - Omega X-Alps and the next season he flew Enzo, which he tamed very captivatingly. When Jonah flies, you see a pilot who is connected to his wing. Graceful flights, takeoffs, landings, very good airborne orientation, knowledge of thermodynamics, terrain, hours flown and several attempts at the 200 km FAI triangle.

Jonáš's record outside competition flying, i.e. in the Czech Paragliding Cup, is 182.48 km FAI - i.e. a triangle with return.

After a very successful last year, Jonáš was in the top ten of the world ranking, from which he dropped due to a nearly one-year racing break, caused by circumstances that unfortunately could not be solved otherwise.

Jonáš follows the life path of his grandfather, the designer Jindra Horáček (3TP wing), studying a demanding university - mechanical engineering in Prague, the completion of which is a priority for him. We all wish very much that Jonáš will pass the state exams and we could meet him this August at the first ever Junior World XC Paragliding Championships in Tolmin, where he would be a very strong candidate for the top positions.

Jonah was interviewed in 2022 in Pilot magazine - you can read it below:


Jonah, thanks for taking time out between the holidays to talk like this, you've got a lot of rehearsal
exam period. What are you studying?
I am a first year student at CTU, so far in general engineering. I'll see what I choose as
I'm going to study, maybe aerospace engineer. But so far I'm
at the beginning. I don't know what I'm going to enjoy.

Going back to the 2021 season, did you participate in last year's World Championships based on
wild card. What was your reaction when you received the nomination to participate in the competition?
It was quite unexpected, I didn't expect to get a wild card at all. I was happy. I was
I was the seventh in line to go (i.e. if the Czech national team got seven spots from
organizer), so I didn't expect to get in at all. Then Petra (note.
Petra Slívová - teamleader of the national XC team) called me that some nominees had cancelled their participation,
so I got in. And I was very surprised.

How was your preparation for the championship?
Well, the championship was in November and I hadn't flown since August. The last few races have been completely
so I took a break from competing and after two or three months in Argentina.
I was flying again. But I think it helped me a lot. If you keep flying and trying to do
to get good results, it's a detriment and you lose motivation. You need that break sometimes.
And I managed to get some good results.
Sure, first championship and then a team medal...
Well, I wasn't on the team, so my results didn't count...

... but your flying contributed greatly to the great team result and you were announced with
the team...
Yes, that was nice.

Did you guys do joint preparations before each task, or how does it work on big
international competitions?
The night before the bag, or in the morning when Petra came back from the briefing. The organiser had already published
the course, we loaded the bags into the instruments, looked at which way and how we could fly.
We evaluated how who was doing in terms of points, who had what "cuts". So we were wondering who would
who could take a risk and who had to fly safe with the group.

So did the team spirit work a lot?

Exactly, I liked it a lot. The first thing that happened was that Honza Jareš came in and said we're not here
for solo results, but we're here for the team and to help each other. We're all
tuned in on the same frequency. We tried to communicate on the air. And I think that's enough
worked pretty well. If someone was up front, they'd report to the group in the back that it was
wasn't coming in, tell them to turn up. I think that's a big advantage when you communicate like that.
When you compete with the world's top paragliders, do you take inspiration from their flight tactics?
The way it works is that the teams also help each other a little bit - they communicate with each other,
passing on information when they know something, and there's a lot of communication at the briefing. And what
in terms of inspiration from other teams, it's definitely the English and the French. There you can see the
good communication, they all have hands-free in their helmet and they communicate with each other. And I think
I think that's quite evident in the big races.

What are your plans for the next season?
Now it's studying and exam period. The boys talked me into going to Brazil in the spring.
for the World Cup in Brazil, so that's the biggest thing in sight. Of course
the Czech national championships, and then I'd like to go to more World Cup races.
(PWC), like one round in Macedonia. Then the alpine competitions, Ikarus,
the Austrian League, we'll see.

That's a lot of interesting race plans to study. Cool. You still have some time left
to train? Are you still in the young talent program, are you still participating in the camps within the program?
Not so much anymore, I try to go to meetups in the spring for the bunch. And I'd like to go
to SIVlk in the fall, if there's room.

You come from an aviation family, your grandfather, Jindřich Horáček, designed and sewed the first parachutes in
Bohemia, your mom and dad flew too. It was obvious you were going to be involved in air sports,
or did you "have the chance" to do other sports and hobbies?
My family didn't push me into flying, it wasn't a given, like "you'll get your papers at 15".
and fly." It was my initiative. When I was eleven years old, I expressed an interest in wanting to
to fly and my grandfather encouraged me, explained things to me, we went to the airport together. First
...when I was a kid, I was a competitive skier. Then I had some health problems, so I did
sailing and windsurfing and then I got into flying later. I knew my dad flew, but I knew that
I was encouraged to fly... not really. But of course they encouraged it when they saw that
I was getting into it.

To sum up, you've been involved in "wind sports", so knowledge and awareness of the flow
of air, wind, meteorology from an early age?
My grandfather was a competitive sailor before he started making parachutes, so it was one thing with another. He also sewed
sails and he used to go on the boat, so I used to go with him to Croatia, to the seaside. That's what got me
I think I got it.

And then paragliding. Did air win over water?
I first thought about flying gliders because I spent most of my time at the airport in
Hodkovice. But then I tried paragliding once and it was clear that it was more for
for me. It seemed more sporting. You put a pack on your back and go up a hill and you don't have to go anywhere.
sitting in an airport waiting for a tow truck to come and pick him up.

Then you can keep gliding "hidden" for the future, a few good paragliders have become
good glider pilots...
I'm not thinking about it yet, it's a long way off. Maybe when I can't walk....You reminded me of the aviation legend Bambus (Vlastimil Klikar), who with two
endoprostheses on his legs, he still paraglides and won't get on a glider because his main
specialties include taking off from any runway :-))) But we've turned to flying here.
But you have also flown valuable triangles in the Alps, which many seasoned pilots dream about.
What is flying in the Alps like from your point of view?
Flying in the Alps is my favourite. I find it the most beautiful flying - the views...
Well, but how do you do it, flying such a high on an EN B parachute? Tell me...
It's one thing to get the conditions right. You have to be in a group that's watching
the forecast, and when the weather's good, they plan those triangles. It's the same thing over there,
so there's not a lot to figure out about which way to fly. We'll choose the optimum track with respect to
the valleys, how the hills are lit during the day, so it works out. And the other thing is that
I've studied a lot of literature on flying. I think the book that helped me the most was Thermals by
Burkhard Martens, 2017 edition. Everything is just beautifully explained there, where it would
and where not to fly, what to avoid. So that helped me
a lot. There are nice pictures in there that make you picture it in your head,
when you're flying.

And you assess the weather yourself?
No, again, we have a whatsapp group where we write that we could do it. It's scheduled
a quick raid on the weather, you don't want to step on that Antholz twice anyway. That's three hours with
with a pack on your back. You can't do that two days in a row when you're still flying for ten hours.

So it's more of a collective work on the best choice of the right weather?
Yeah, it is.

You already mentioned the book Thermics. what other materials do you draw on?
I was watching videos of Babtiste Lambert, the young French
pilot who shoots various tactical videos. And as far as theory goes, he gave me a lot of it just
my grandfather, who, among other things, worked on Richard Plose's legendary textbook Paragliding.
There wasn't much on the subject anywhere at the time, so Grandpa was able to do the math,
theoretically deduce and explain. He was a mechanical engineer, well, in textiles, but whatever he wanted,
he learned it. He bought loads of books, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics. So I've got a lot
a lot of his stuff now.

(Here we got stuck on talking about a forthcoming book about the history of paragliding, whose author -
along with other personalities of Czech paragliding - Mr. Horáček gave interviews. Jonáš
summed it up by saying that it would be quite difficult for the author to choose a "golden mean", as
could be :-))

Do you think the theoretical knowledge of aerodynamics that your grandfather passed on to you at a young age
that made you such a good flyer? Because you must have spent more time on it than on a normal course.

It helps a lot in the beginning. If you don't know much about the theory, it flies, something in
and he can't explain it. The moment you have the knowledge of the theory, you know how the
air behaves and what's going on in it, and then when something happens to you - a wing flaps, you fly
into the lee, you go, "oh, I did that," and you connect the dots and you somehow rationalize
explain it rationally, rather than trying to come up with your own theories about what it could be. A
how many times I think there are all sorts of ridiculous notions and theories among skydivers...

Did you fly Grandpa's 3TP parachute?
Yeah, when I was a kid, I parachuted down Hodkovice...

So now you don't have an actual comparison?
No, I don't. I started on a Sky wing, then an Advance Iota 2, then I had an Omega. Now I'm flying
Ozone Enzo 3.

What is your view on the promotion of paragliding on social media, where many young
pilots want to show off? Is it helping or hurting paragliding?
It depends... When they do really "crazy" stuff that ends up being bad, of course it doesn't help.
But when they do "good caravans", for example in cooperation with RedBull, then a lot of people
say it's "really cool" and that's good publicity.

Are you going to make videos like this too ;-)?
I hope so, I'd like to do some of these projects sometime. I'd like to start with
more in the Alps with my friends. So then I would like to do climbs and downhill.
I'm very inspired by Aaron Durogatti, he's great at flying, doing acrobatics, and he's a big
alpinist, mountaineer. But it's because he grew up in the heart of the Alps and he's been doing it since he was a kid.
It's a bit more difficult from the Czech Republic 🙂

So winter Hike & Fly or acro ?:-)))
I would like to get into acrobatics as soon as possible, as it is a good preparation for racing. A
Hike & Fly as well, but I think I'm going to learn to fly well on the cross-country now and
then I'll have a better advantage at Hike & Fly. If all I did now was Hike & Fly, I'd just
I'll practice, but I won't learn to fly as well. That's the question....I would definitely like to
Hike & Fly, but when I have more time, like after school...

So Hike & Fly isn't in the cards now?
Absolutely not. I was planning on doing flyovers and Hike & Fly, but my lightweight gear was lying around.
at home, so I sold it because I flew it twice a season. I say the most expensive
parachute is the one that's lying around the house, so I sold it...
When I was flying a year ago with my old parachute gear, I would still Hike & Fly with it.
races, but this season I wouldn't have bothered with it. A wing with all that stuff on it will be 35
pounds. A lot of the parachutes and seats have started to differentiate themselves depending on what you fly,
whether it's flyovers, hike & fly or acro. That didn't exist before.
It's a quid pro quo, either you're comfortable on flyovers or you've got light gear...
Absolutely, and as I've found out, you can't do those big races without proper race gear.
That's where the differences are made.

We kind of discussed the plans for the next season, what are your long-term plans and dreams?
I've talked about acrobatics, I'd like to work on that next season, but we'll see how
the timing works out. The "blue two-kilo" (200km FAI triangle, ed.) in the Czech Republic is also still
so if it works out, that's my goal for the future. I like flying in the Czech Republic - when
the weather is nice, it's nice. You fly over what you know from the ground and you can then
see it from the air. ... But even though I like the Czech Republic, I would like to go on a study trip to
some Alpine country, and if I can, I'd like to spend as much time there as possible.