So now we are in Guatemala I am lucky enough to have found a trainer for Powered Paragliding. I say lucky because although I had a few great sessions with my paramotor trainer Joe Cruz at the Blackhawk Paramotor Ranch in California, I only had a few of them because it rained so much.
So my confidence is not quite where it should be, and in fact as I figured out today neither are my skills!
This morning Sarah and I met up with him in Chimaltenango which is 20 minutes outside of Antigua, and luckily, he is a great guy, from the get go he started telling me about the area, about the winds, what we would be doing in the upcoming days, and then even showed me around the flight park, all of this on a day off just to make me comfortable. Then to add to it he took me up to a nice flat field, got out my brand new Velocity Elektra wing for the first time, and proceeded to watch me struggle to keep it in the air.
To be fair to myself it was the afternoon and the winds change direction here from North to South every afternoon, which means very choppy air and lots of gusts.
Add to that my wing is a step up from the beginner Paramotor wing I trained on, and it was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.
“It’s a very fast wing” he told me, “So you have to react very fast”. Which I know is great advice, but at the moment I am just trying to remember to pull left break to make the wing go right and vice versa. It’s kinda like patting your head and rubbing your stomach, possible but not intuitive, especially when you try and do it quickly, and especially not when you are a newbie.
At the end of a couple hours we decided to pack away on the test session because of the crazy winds (a few close calls on being dragged across the field too, which would have made a great video, but not a great start to the training), and the trainer told me that I seem like a good pilot, so it will not take too long to get me back up to scratch.
So basically I have about 7 days of Paramotor training coming up here in Guatemala, and that will include a few cross country flights along the coast, a few flights around Antigua, and a few flights around Lake Atitlan. It will also likely include a lot of landing on my arse, a lot of sweat, and a lot of running, which is good because the local version of KFC, “Pollo Campero” has become a regular lunch place in lieu of struggling to find decent groceries, and my pants feel tight again.
All in all things are shaping up well. Our house in the suburbs / hills of Antigua is beautiful, the car is doing better, and I am going to get to fly again, and hopefully get a lot more comfortable with the fact that I am dangling hundreds or thousands of feet in the air!
Bring on the immediate future…
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