Some say our pilot of the week only owns Ducati socks, and that he mumbles “clear prop” at night.
All we know that he is called
How did you find out about paramotoring?
I was on my motorbike one day and saw some paramotors flying across the desert and thought that looks like real fun and something a bit different. I mentioned this to my wife and expressed an interest in flying learning to fly and she spoke to the Skyhub team, got all the details and gave me what turned out to be an amazing Christmas present.
Did you feel excited about it (the present)?
Didn’t realise what it was at first. She bought me a book on “Clouds” and the card said turn to Page 78. I said “What’s all this about? We don’t get clouds in the UAE”. It didn’t sink in as I thought she had got me a one-off tandem Xcitor trip.
Did you go online and investigate the sport and what it involves?
I went to the SkyHub FB page, then found some “Paramotoring Fails” on YouTube when I searched initially, but then watched some of the professional videos by the manufacturers - they were superb and this motivated me to start the training straight away. Having done free-fall parachuting and a paragliding course years ago, I knew roughly what I was getting myself into, but didn’t realise how much fun it was going to be.
How was it when you started? What was your feeling on the first period of the course?
My classroom session with Tony was really interesting and gave me a good foundation on the theory of flying, weather and other elements that were unique to paramotoring. Having completed that on Day 1, we moved outside to practice some ground handling skills. Like most people, I had flown kites before, but when the wing lifted off the ground for the first time, I thought WOW, this might take a bit of time to learn how to handle properly. After a few hours of being dragged around the field, my skills improved, but I soon realised there’s always room for improvement and you need to constantly practice this skill.
How was your first flight?
I was training a couple of times a week at first and managed to get to a point where I joined a small group for the towing flights. Three tandems and three solo flights – what a memorable day. Similar to being under the parachute canopy, but it seemed more stable and gave you time to plan and pick your landing area. The only thing I forgot was a bit of ground rush on landing and the fact that speed can be your friend rather than your enemy in some situations.
So you’re coming here on a weekly basis. What makes you wake up in the morning to come here and fly. When most people want to sleep and lie in?
I really look forward after a long week at work to doing something that is both exhilarating and challenging. The fact that every flight is different keeps you from getting complacent. It is pure escapism, I forget about work and focus solely on what happening around me and on the ground. Flying with the other club members, balloons and chasing after the off-road crowd in their cars, quads and bikes is great fun. Paramotoring is like riding a bike in the sky, but having that third dimension puts a huge smile on my face.
How did you find the course?
From start to finish, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The training team are first class and with their vast experience, they add so much to the course syllabus. It was a great learning experience, not only learning new skills, but also learning about myself. There are times when you need to totally commit and take that leap of faith and the course gives you the confidence to make those decisions, but be comfortable knowing that if you need advice, there are some real experts on hand to guide you.
Tell us about one of your favourite stories or adventures from flying paramotor?
Most fond memories to date are my first take-off, first solo trip and low flying across the desert.
What are your goals in the future in the sport? Things you might want to learn or improve at?
I am still very much a novice and the more I fly, the more I appreciate there is so much to learn. For me it is all about becoming more skilled and competent pilot. I want to attend the Advanced Modules soon and then buy my own equipment. Foot dragging and skimming a wing tip on the ground are the equivalent of a wheelie and getting a knee down on the bike – definitely on my list of skills to learn.
Any last tips or bits of advice?
There is no such thing as a stupid question - Be bold enough to take that step when necessary and be humble enough to know your limits.