As promised, here it is, video proof that I actually got in the air with nothing but a paramotor on my back, a wing above my head, and an extra layer of underpants!
[vimeo 86800702 w=800 h=450]
The training ended up being around 3 days because of the rain, and in between we did a bit of theory, drank a lot of coffee, and went to San Francisco for a day trip. This video covers just the first day in about 4 minutes, mainly because day 1 was so full of activity. We started training at around 9am, got towed into the air by around 12pm, and were flying solo by about 5pm!
I was incredibly nervous this day, but as it went on it became all about the training and the cool guys I was sharing this experience with (Joe and Billy). The weather was perfect for Powered Paragliding, which is lucky because it wasn’t perfect again for most of our time there.
The first part of the day was spent getting acquainted with the equipment, learning about the wing (parachutey thing) and what all those cables coming off it are called. Learning how to kite the wing (fly it from the ground), and then getting to know the engine and best practices when using all of the above.
The engine is a pretty serious piece of kit, and with everything attached (the cage, the harness, fuel) it comes in at around 60 – 70 pounds. Make no mistake, this thing is heavy! So much so that the first time you put it on you truly question how the hell you are going to run with it.
The cool thing is that the better you get, the less time you spend standing around and running with it on your back, and the more time you spend sitting comfortably in your harness watching the ground float away.
I was nervous when we got there. I was nervous the first time my feet left the ground when being towed with just the wing. I was nervous when I put that weight on my back and I just about soiled myself the first time I had to run while pulling on the A-risers (it makes the wing go up), throttling the engine about half way, and getting ready to pull softly on the breaks, all of which meant hands full of cables and gadgets. All of this with about 60 pounds on my back, a helmet on my head, and an engine/ chopping machine of death whirring away inches from my soft mushy flesh.
It was almost too overwhelming, and then I left the ground and took to the skies, and it was all worth it. The rest is history. Enjoy the video of Day 1, Powered Paraglider training at the Blackhawk Ranch.
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