Written by: Paramotor Padre (Rob)
I first got the bug for flying when I lived near the German Alps and saw the paragliders soaring thousands of feet above me. That was about 30 years ago. I moved back to England and life got busy; family and work commitments meant I had no time to even think about pursuing a hobby of such proportions.
Eventually, I became a vicar (as one does) and after ten years of service in the church took a much-needed sabbatical. It was then that I finally had the chance to give paragliding a go and booked myself onto a course abroad. This was a great experience, but it soon became clear that there are so few places close to where I live that would allow me to continue down the paragliding route and fly seriously. Ridge soaring at Dunstable Downs didn’t really inspire me as a long-term activity.
It was then that I discovered paramotoring and after watching numerous YouTube videos I went to Membury Airfield last summer to meet Simon and arrange some training. It was a great decision! Simon and his team were extremely friendly and welcoming, teaching me how to control a wing and getting me to run like a maniac up and down the airfield attached to a wing with a harness, although not usually in my vicaring gear!
To be honest, I had some concerns about flying but Simon was quick to dispel them. I learnt about the reliability of the equipment which can literally hold tons of weight – I’m a little heavy but certainly not that heavy! It was also good to find out that modern design wings simply can’t collapse in normal flying conditions. Safety is a core value at www.paramotortraining.com and I was comforted to discover that risks are never ever taken.
Finally, I was ready to take my first flight and that is a day I shall never forget. It was a glorious summer’s day with a clear blue sky, no wind, and no reason not to put my training into practice. The experience of climbing high into the sky with so much to see around me was breath-taking. The take-off and landing weren’t perfect, but someone had taken a video and Simon was more than happy to talk me through the mistakes I’d made and gave me lots of good tips for my next flight.
I’ve now had a few flights and each one has been better than the last. I’ll shortly be flying again with no one on the radio to guide me up and back down again, but I’m confident that the excellent training I’ve had so far will stand me in very good stead.
I’d like to thank Simon and the guys at Paramotor Training for opening a new and exciting path for me as I embark on this amazing sport and meet more great people in the paramotor community who share the same passion.