Back in the USA for the first time after my training here just over nine months ago and I had my first Powered Paragliding flight in an amazing location, the Jean Dry Lake Bed outside of Las Vegas. I put together what I think is my best video yet (below) of my first Powered Paragliding flight back in the US, I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think.
The night before we had attended a lantern festival in the very same spot (video coming soon), and the burnt out lanterns strewn across the lake bed made for a pretty cool feature on the otherwise barren sandy expanse (don’t stress environmental types, people came to pick it all up as we left). We woke up at dawns crack and took the half hour drive to my launch site as the sun was rising. The bed itself was covered in a light haze as I unpacked and prepped my Paramotor and wing.
Shortly after, with a successful forward launch I was in the air flying above some amazing new scenery. Gotta love this Powered Paragliding thing! Because of the big open and FLAT space the dry lake bed offers, I was able to practice some low flying and work on stabilizing my height to cruise closer to the ground. It seems true what they say that the more you fly these things, the more you start enjoying the low flying stuff over the high flying, when you are up high you move pretty slowly (or seem to), and although beautiful, not a lot of stuff happens. When you fly low though it is more like racing a car that drive in a third dimension and you have to think fast and actively pilot more.
The goal is to eventually be able to do foot drags along the sand / beach / grass / snow and start doing some real tight turns. That is a little way off though as I am still building my confidence. I have to say though, this flight really felt like a turning point for me. I worry less now about the whole setup process and about what might go wrong and just focus on doing a thorough pre-flight check and then enjoying myself. I think I am starting to realize that I got this! I know what I am doing and if I don’t get slack, there is no reason for anything to go wrong. Sure one day I might catch an errant wind and have a bad launch or landing, but I also might not. The fear is leaving and I actually crave getting in the sky now with almost no trepidation.
Aside from the awesome Powered Paragliding video above, we also got some pretty cool photos of me flying around the lake bed.
Dust getting picked up by a few cars arriving for clean up
A great view from my Paramotor about 300 feet up
A lot of landing spots!
Flying over SOS and Senor Squeek, amazing to have loads of space to practice low flying
Thanks to SOS for showing us around Las Vegas and for helping me pig out on some awesome food, for taking us to the Lantern festival and for coming along for a very memorable Powered Paragliding session in the wee hours.
*I fly a Blackhawk BH125 Paramotor with a Kestrel weight shift cage and a Velocity Elektra Paraglider, and either I am just the best at forward launching or my wing is super easy to get up, probably the latter!
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