Andrew Scaramanga and his UK X Race
I was going to be racing with a full tank of fuel, a reserve and speed bar none of which form part of my usual set up…
I arrived at the top of a remote hill in Dorset at 6 in the morning to find the race start shrouded in fog. I’d been a bit concerned about the race all week, particularly my launch technique. I was going to be racing with a full tank of fuel, a reserve and speed bar none of which form part of my usual set up. I had spent my evenings leading up to race day plotting my route on a map, locating possible re-fueling stations and fretting over my kit. George and Dan at the Parajet workshop helped me with preparing my Polini 190 Light engine. I bought 2 stroke oil in 100mm shot bottles to make it easy to get the fuel oil ration right.
So…as we waited for the fog to lift I talked tactics with other racers and worried that everyone else was using cunning electronic navigational aids as opposed to my trusty map and compass. My reasoning had always been that I would be in the air for about 7 hours and that having something to do on the way would make the race more interesting for me — rather than being on auto pilot. I was also concerned that I would not be able to see my phone very well in the bright sun, also with wind and vibration to contend with. However, I was persuaded otherwise and downloaded PPGPS which did seem to be a very good app for navigating and included lots of stuff like fuel consumption and estimated times to way points. I did a crash course on how to use it, turned the brightness up on my phone and mounted it alongside my map.
The fog sat stubbornly on the top of the hill and we kept kidding ourselves that it was getting brighter. I tried to settle my nerves with yet another delicious bacon butty from the organisers BBQ to no avail. I decided that I’d not brought enough layers and managed to borrow a sweater from Parajet Team Pilot Kester, which I shoe-horned inside my flying jacket to give myself a Michelin Man appearance – a strong look!
Eventually the sun burnt through and we were given a start time of 11.20, over 4 hours after our scheduled departure. I tried to set up into the wind but it kept switching about and there was a lot of rearranging of kit going on. A couple of pilots got away but none at the first attempt as they battled light twitchy winds. I was determined to make a good show, applied plenty of power, set off like a steam train, planted my foot firmly in a cowpat and fell flat on my face.
Another pilot kindly offered to set out my wing for me and I set off again, the wing came up a treat and I gave it the once over only to find that the wing tip was knotted in the lines. Another aborted landing and I was getting hot with Kester’s jumper amply performing the task that his granny had knitted it for.
Time to strip off and regroup. I stuffed Granny, by now very soggy, into my map case and had a breather to calm myself. A helpful old pilot advised me to slow down and take it easy.
For my third attempt I followed his advice and all went well and after a protracted run I was airborne. I set off towards the West and soon identified my first landmark which was the radio mast at Rampisham. I was flying pretty much into wind and initial progress was slow so after settling into my harness and sorting my shit out, I let out the trimmers and played with the speed bar. I soon got the hang of it and watched as fields skipped past my boots. I tried to stay low into the wind to minimise the headwind but not so low that I would encounter rotor coming off obstacles in front of me. It was the middle of the day by now and although the start had been shrouded in fog the rest of Dorset had not been and the ground was now warming the air to produce some distinctly bumpy conditions. I began to reflect on the wisdom of the bacon butties and my stomach became more and more dodgy. I didn’t really enjoy this stage of the race and was definitely of the opinion that this would be my last.
The wind pushed me a bit South of my ideal course and I had to track North a bit to get around the radio mast at Rampisham. With no obvious landmarks on the horizon I got out the compass and plotted a course to take me just to the North of Exeter airspace. I had abandoned the PPGPS app which I was struggling to read and operate in the turbulent conditions and as I suspected using the map added a lot of interest to what could otherwise have been a long few hours in the air. I made my way around Exeter and could make out the heathery lump of Dartmoor on the horizon which was to be my first turn-point. I checked on fuel with my mirror and reckoned that I would be alright to reach the services on the A30 at Whiddon Down.
I navigated my way over some stunningly beautiful country often using pylon lines to guide me - they are well marked on the air maps and it’s as well to identify where they are If only to avoid flying into them. I joined the A30 and followed it until I came to Whiddon Down services. There was a good animal free field just to the west which appeared to face the prevailing north westerly wind. I managed to land without too much drama, stuffed my wing in the hedge and set off on foot to collect fuel with just under a litre to spare. I was accosted by a number of holiday makers and grilled about what I was up to. I filled up, rehydrated and set off back to my wing with a heavy paramotor. When I got back to the field I could see from a flag that the wind had swung round to the west and that there was going to be no chance of taking off from where I was. I left the V3 there and set off to find something a little better. I walked through the village and saw a beautifully mown hay field gently sloping towards the westerly wind. I asked about the field at a house that backed on to it. They said that the owners weren’t there but said they wouldn’t mind. I then used all my charm to persuade the rather attractive blonde lady of the house to take me back to my landing field in her Range Rover to collect my kit. This she seemed delighted to do (Hmmm…I’ve still got it!).
A nice easy take off into the wind and down the hill, plenty of vigorous waving to the blonde and I was off again. I flew back over my take off field and then climbed to avoid any rotor coming off the top of Dartmoor. I turned north east over the first turn-point and tried to locate an obvious landmark to guide me to the second on top of Exmoor. The country was littered with wind turbines but sadly my map predated them so they were not marked. I ended up flying a compass bearing and identified roads, woods and villages along my route. As I climbed up the foothills of Exmoor it became more difficult to identify features as everything looked the same but the turn-point soon appeared as an obvious lump on the horizon and I made a beeline for it.
As I turned for home my ground speed increased noticeably with a lovely tail wind. I checked my fuel and calculated that I needed one more stop. From my Google Maps recce I had seen what appeared to be a nice landing field beside the M5 services at Wellington. I slightly lost my bearings at this stage but quickly worked out where I was when I recognised my cousin’s house at Wiveliscombe. I settled back in the calm early evening air on full trim, full speed bar and a lovely gentle tail wind giving me an estimated speed over the ground of over 40mph. In no time at all I was over the M5 services. The field that I had planned to land in was full of cattle so I found another beautifully mown flat field right alongside the fuel filling station. I put in 4 litres which I calculated was enough to get me home and launched into a lovely evening breeze. An ideal flight in perfect conditions at full speed soon had me skirting around Yeovilton airspace and then a straight course back towards the landing field over some of the most beautiful countryside you will ever see.
This is what it’s all about!
As I approached I saw Kester and another pilot take off to welcome me home. They guided me in perfectly and I landed to be told that I had finished second. Now, in normal circumstances I would have done a little show boating for the crowd but I was thoroughly exhausted after standing on the speed bar for nearly 7 hours and just wanted to get down for a beer.
I really enjoyed the whole experience and felt a great sense of achievement. My only regret was that because I managed to complete the course in a day I did not have the opportunity to knock on someone’s door to beg a bed for the night.
A big thank you to the Adventurists who organised a great event - sign me up for the next one!
Intrepid traveller Scott Ritchie in South America
Columbia, Equador Peru and more ticks off another southern spell and takes me and my Zenith closer to the goal.
Hello fellow pilots! We just returned from another flying expedition in Peru and I’m finally taking some time to write a travel review on my Zenith paramotor and, in particular, why it is my best travel partner to date. This is a ten min read…
A few years ago I realized that my old paramotor’s travel credentials and repair history were not impressive. Typically, whilst on one of our abusive trips, some small section of bent cage or a broken part needed repairing, or the larger frame required ‘special packaging’ or fees to get through the airlines. So, after significant research on which paramotor frame/cage would be the best for traveling, I decided to buy a Zenith. The incredibly small size and weight of the Zenith was initially enough for me to give it a go, but I sought out the U.S. Parajet Head of Operations (John Erickson) to see if this thin, lightweight piece of tin could really be strong enough for my rough adventures and harsh travel conditions. After handling a demo machine at one of John’s Parajet booths my apprehensions subsided. It appeared strong enough and definitely small enough (disassembled) to give it a try on the next leg of our expedition – continuing down the Pacific Coastline of South America.
After receiving and assembling the Zenith, my initial impressions were good. What I didn’t know and have come to realize after a few years and a half dozen hardcore adventures is the incredible strength, engineering ingenuity, safety features, and its overall travel friendly characteristics. Each of these topics deserves way more attention, but in terms of this post, we’ll stay focused on the transportable design aspects.
Over the past few years of travelling I have packed/unpacked and entirely disassembled the Zenith at least a dozen times. Although I typically ship the engine (cylinder, piston, head, and carburetor) in an aluminum box to my final destination to avoid commercial airline issues, all of the remaining paramotor parts travel with me in my check-in luggage. In fact, I have created a detailed packing list for these expeditions which lists each part, the weight of each item, and the bag it will travel inside for the journey. Specifically, this includes items such as the Zenith backplate, tank, harness, swing arms, frame stand, spars, cage rings, exhaust, silencer, airbox, spare parts, tool bag, etc etc. It should be clearly noted, none of this system’s gear requires oversized or overweight luggage (unlike a few of my friends who fly different gear). Two standard sized check-in bags work for all of my flying gear – carry-on luggage excluded (clothing, free flight wing, harness, etc). Cleaning, assembly/disassembly, and packing usually occur in a field, at a hotel, a boat dock, or next to a picnic table on the beach in less than ideal conditions.
In an effort to continue my long term goal of flying south (this time with better equipment), I took my new Zenith to Columbia. I have done my absolute best to abuse the Zenith frame and cage to test how it could hold up to extreme travel and flying conditions. Although a large part of successfully traveling with a paramotor includes how well it has been cleaned, disassembled, and packed; the actual ‘abuse’ begins after assembly and during ground transportation (or a rough high wind landing). Typical ground transportation doesn’t take a toll on most paramotors with a bit of care. However, when your only mode of transportation is on the bow of a small wooden boat getting beaten and bashed about in the waves of the Pacific Ocean to reach a remote beach along the coast of Columbia, the engineering and rigidity of a paramotor’s frame, cage, and stand are truly tested.
After two weeks of the Zenith being thrashed on the deck of a small boat (usually unable to be tied down) with a heavy dousing of salt water, not a single Zenith part was compromised. Every safety feature and moving part still functions as originally created. None of the CNC machined aluminum pieces bent, broke, or suffered in integrity during these mad trips. The robust Zenith’s quality becomes clearly evident as other paramotors along such journeys have suffered failures. One exception to the above is a bit of minor abuse the netting received from crew mishandling the paramotor during loading and unloading onto boats, beaches, and vehicles. However, after a few years of these expeditions, I have found the skills of local fishermen repairing the netting to be far superior to mine.
After flying the entire west coastline of Columbia and Ecuador (two years and many trips later), we flew across the border into Peru. Unfortunately, our Ecuadorian crew and chase vehicle were substantially delayed by Peruvian officials. Once we realized our crew was not coming anytime soon, we had two choices: wait or continue flying. Fortunately, the Zenith is conveniently designed to allow the fuel tank to easily drop out of the frame with one locking pin and a push button quick disconnect for the fuel line (brilliant!).
After hiking with our gear to the nearest road, we hired a driver to take us to the top of the mountain to find the nearest gas station. We found the last remaining bottle of generic outboard two-stroke motor oil (definitely questionable oil quality) and filled our hand-carried fuel tanks to the brim. Thanks to the uniquely designed ‘trave’ handle and the slim profile of the Zenith fuel tank, carrying a full tank (over 3 gallons / 12.5 liters) was like carrying a briefcase full of gold. We knew we could continue on our own for a few days without support if we had flying equipment, fuel, oil, a bit of money, and a GPS. After installing the filled tanks and grabbing a bite at a beachside food shack, we flew south to the next inhabited area before the winds picked up and nightfall arrived.
Nearly three days of traveling without a chase crew, fuel cans, and luggage to dip into for a clean pair of underwear created a memorable and aromatic experience. In this hot and humid environment along the equator we needed to find a hotel, a clean bed, and a long overdue shower. But the instant we landed near the local ship yard constructing oil platforms, we were overwhelmed by hundreds of excited Peruvians. We hastily agreed our best option was to leave the area before we were overpowered by the locals and potentially having our equipment stolen or damaged. We hired the nearest three wheeled moto-taxi carts and tied the paramotors to the back. After fitting between the rear fenders and tying off with shoe strings, we were underway. The dirt and cobbled roads filled with potholes and speed bumps created a bit of angst amongst us, but the strength of the CNC machined alloy parts of the Zenith withstood the mototaxi ride with only a few rub marks on the cage’s anodized coloring. This is a true testament to the solid design.
As we continued our journey south along the Peruvian coastline, we knew one of the effects of the 1983 El Nino (the most devastating weather-related disaster ever recorded from an El Nino) destroyed many of the few roadways along our route. We decided we needed to hire a local guide with a small 4x4 pickup for this more extreme off-road section of our expedition. The driver followed us along our two week journey to carry us, our motors, and our gear. Day after day we tied our motors and gear to the bed and roof rack of the 4x4 pickup. The extremely remote and rough terrain of the area, coupled with the incessant high winds in the afternoons, effectively sand blasted our paramotors for a new kind of torture for both the Zenith and pilot. Every day (several times a day) we loaded and unloaded motors and gear to sit in the sun baked bed of the pickup. The 4x4 drove through sand drifts (getting stuck twice), rocky canyons, dusty trails, and blazed through self-made paths with the gear exposed to all the bumpy and breezy glory. With a bit of cleaning, the Zenith remained strong and true without a fault to be seen in one of the harshest and driest places on earth.
Through this short story and testimonial of my use and abuse of the Zenith, I can confidently say there is no other machine I would rather have by my side as a travel partner. Throwing everything a crazy paramotor pilot and Mother Nature could muster at this piece of equipment and the Zenith still asks for more. Whether it is stripped down and carried as luggage, soaked in salt water, sand blasted and baked in the sun, or pounded in the back of boats and 4x4’s, the Zenith wants to go with you. This transportable design will go wherever the adventure leads… thanks Parajet!
Our team pilots inspire in China
Team buddies Phil Jennings (left) and Ric Womersley have been out having fun in China. Ric wrote back to Parajet central with the following words…
One of the great things about being part of the Parajet team is some of the opportunities we get to travel! Added into the fact that these opportunities are often seriously last minute can make life interesting.
When waking up last Monday to rain and low cloud meaning another flightless day in Yorkshire it was great to get a call from Parajet asking if I was available for a trip to China – that Wednesday!
I joined up with fellow Parajet team dude Phil Jennings to pack two Zenith’s and we set off to Heathrow on Wednesday afternoon to catch a flight to Hong Kong. The amazing Zenith is what makes these trips possible and after getting rid of any trace of fuel we were able to pack our gear into a few extra hold bags and the adventure began.
After meeting the team we will be working with on Thursday night we were picked up in the morning to head to the base we’d be flying from. In this incredible 50m high inflatable hanger we assembled our machines and located fuel. Harder than it sounds in China where it’s currently forbidden to store fuel outside of your vehicle.
Unfortunately heavy rain would put a halt to the demonstration and the pressure was on with so many officials around to see the action – hints of flying inside the hanger were made but luckily the rain lightened which gave us the opportunity to really show what is possible with our Parajet’s. We managed 15 minutes of formation flying for the officials and film crew before rain and a strengthening side wind stopped the fun.
For Phil and I it was then onward to explore this amazing city and check out the food!
The next day started leisurely with some very tasty Dim Sum before traveling to Guangdong with a mission to scope out the area for a future trip. After traveling around the whole town, the prefect area was found very near where we started which was funny. Plans were then hatched over some more local cuisine!
Sunday morning and the weather was still wet so we used this opportunity to take time packing our Zenith’s, it is very important to get rid of the smell of fuel when traveling with Paramotors so it pays to take your time. We started by draining the fuel and running the motors dry. We then cleaned the whole paramotors with brake cleaner and washed out the fuel tanks. Then we taped up the intake and exhaust and sealed the motors and fuel tanks in black bags. Finally packing the ‘water’ (fuel) tanks in with the wings.
Arriving back at Heathrow we had no issues so it was worth the effort!
The best competition I’ve ever been to
Getting an invite to compete in the World Air Games was a great achievement for me. These events only happen every 4 years and are the equivalent to the Olympic games for air sports.
With over 850 competitors from 55 countries competing in 23 different disciplines, which range from aero modelling to skydiving and from microlights to hot air balloons, I knew it would be a great event.
The paramotor competition was part standard slalom race around pylons but with added show elements to impress the big crowds that would be watching. The exciting part for me was that although I had flown in Dubai a couple of times previously it had always been out in the desert which is very different to the green fields of the UK but after 5 minutes there is nothing new to see. However this time the competition was to be held at the Dubai Marina drop zone which as you will see in the picture is right on the edge of the city with huge skyscrapers directly behind us. Also as this was going to be the first class 1 FAI paramotor event held entirely over water, we would be flying over the sea just off the beach. This meant automatic floatation devices were mandatory and it was a good idea to leave anything electronic that wasn’t waterproof behind!
Due to the size of the event and number of competitors we were having to share the airfield with Skydivers, aero modellers, microlights and Autogyros. This therefore limited our airtime available and allowed less tasks than we would normally have at a dedicated paramotor slalom event. This however did mean we got to experience most of the other disciplines at very close quarters, and until you’ve witnessed two full sized helicopters racing each other right in front of you then you haven’t lived!
We had displays from Al Fursan which is the UAE Air Force display team with their distinctive smoke generators. Then Yves Rossy and Vince Reffet the Dubai Jetmen flew in close formation with 3 fixed wing aircraft which was a real spectacle.
Anyhow – back to the competition! After a few lost days early on with logistical difficulties we were ready to go. In total there were 38 paramotor pilots from 17 countries which meant may different languages and sometimes a little miscommunication to overcome. Lucky for Mark and I the official language is English so we had no excuse for mistakes!
All our equipment was shipped out so I was using my Parajet Zenith with the awesomely powerful Polini Thor 250 combined with the latest 15 m Dudek Snake XX. This allows me to use maximum speed of the wing and have power to keep the turns really tight when banked at 90 degrees around the pylons.
After a rather short number of tasks and a few days of high winds we had run out of time and the results were in. I was in 15th place with mark 23rd but the Gold medal went to the previous WAG Gold medal winner Alex Mateos who flew a faultless event winning all but one task outright.
I would really like to thank everyone that helped me make this all possible, from Parajet with all their support, Dudek for creating such a great slalom wing, all the staff at Skydive Dubai for working tirelessly during the event and Dubai for hosting what was the best flying competition I have ever been to.
—Phil Jennings 2015.
My way of saying Thank You
Five years ago, there was a knock at the door of my home. Thirteen strangers stood silently on my driveway with four rented RV's parked behind them.
15 Min read…
The only English speaking stranger (Luc Trepanier), albeit with a strange French Canadian accent, explained he was told to come visit me for advice on where to fly in the local area of Sedona, Arizona. Knowing the PPG world is small and most PPG pilots are good people (despite which state, country, or region of the world they may live), I invited them into my home for the week. At first, it was a game of charades with my new friends as I didn’t speak a word of French and my Spanish was weak. An open kitchen and a lot wine seemed to make the communication game much easier. Despite the language challenge, we all flew well together and thus began a five year flying journey together. Each year I travel at least once to France, Spain, or Quebec to attend their flying adventures. Each year they send a small group of pilots to the USA and I join in on their planned route.
This is where this particular story begins. After years of my foreign friends’ hospitality, providing me with a Paramotor, lodging, transportation, food, fuel, and wine while I was overseas, it was time for me to repay the favor. My goal was to provide a PPG trip they could never forget (my way of saying “thank you”).
Now slightly capable of having conversations in French and Spanish through immersion on the last few years of adventures, I invited these great friends and all their colleagues on my planned journey for them. I spent over a year researching routes, flying sites, and planning cross country flights throughout the southwestern United States. I knew small fields or dirt roads could not handle this many pilots launching and landing at one time. Coordinated cross country flights with multiple destinations while still remaining as one large group traveling together was the goal. I had to find a way to develop a bullet-proof itinerary and route for both pilots and non-pilots to enjoy – to put into the record books as “the best trip ever” (in their eyes).
In October of 2014, I flew most of the legs of this 1,500-mile (2,400km) Southwest Tour ahead of time to scout the planned itinerary, confirm landing options, and find remote camping sites able to accommodate such a large group size. It took another six months of planning and “negotiations” to secure flight permissions from the FAA, the Navajo Nation, and local airports to address a group size of about 85 people and 60 pilots. My goal was accomplished – at least on paper.
In September of 2015, motors and gear started arriving from overseas. On October 2nd 45 people from France had finally arrived and were reunited with their 35 paramotors in 5 huge crates. Another 22 people and motors arrived from Canada and 12 more from Arizona and California. Some of the French Canadians flew commercial airlines to Phoenix, Arizona while others drove over 40 hours with their friend’s equipment in tow. Kudos to those hardcore pilots from Quebec! I arranged for a friend’s six-door custom 4x4 limousine with a 20-foot trailer to shuttle the new arrivals between the hotels and the nearby Cruise America office where they rented RVs. When the group finally got underway, there were 30 RVs and about 85 people caravanning the southwest highways for this two week trip.
After assembling motors, we commenced our flight journey from an old abandoned air strip north of Phoenix. The plan of starting at low elevation to keep the potential crashes to a minimum worked flawlessly. Once we arrived two days later in the mountains of Sedona, Arizona at higher elevation, all pilots and gear were stretched out and warmed up. That is, until a pocket of rain clouds soaked our clothes and wings leading to the near-cancellation of the cross country leg from Cottonwood to Rimrock (via Sedona). But a few shivers and encouraging words later, some careful routing of pilots around the remaining storm clouds lead to an epic flight through the majestic red rocks in Sedona. I heard one foreign pilot say it was his new all-time favorite flight… ever.
Our next day of travel followed close behind the rain storm as the elevation continued to increase and the temperatures dropped to near freezing in the morning. When we arrived in the forested high mountains of Flagstaff, no one from the group was excited to venture into the mud left by last night’s rain and the lingering low clouds for our next cross country flight to Winslow, Arizona.
Cross country journeys such as this deal with more than just weather, group logistics, and flight GPS coordinates. The planned route started at an altitude of 1,100 feet (335m) in Phoenix and step-by-step rose to 7,200 feet (2,200m) in Flagstaff. This was a big challenge for those not accustomed to low air density. Launching at 7,200 feet is not for the faint of heart. Only six die-hard pilots attempted to launch in the muddy and cloudy morning in Flagsttaff to attempt the cross country flight to Winslow (via Meteor Crater). Two of the original six turned back to only fly the local launch area. The four of us who managed to fly on hoped we could overpower the cold with the views of the untouched natural beauty of the southwestern high-desert plains. Unfortunately, we lost one more pilot at the refueling spot with a broken propeller. Out of the six of us who braved the weather, only three of us (Luc Trepanier, Cliff Stone, and me) completed the entire cross country leg. We climbed to 9,000 feet (2,750m) and found heavenly smooth and dry air above the clouds. The sun dried our wings and warmed our souls for yet another epic flight on this journey.
In spite of this initial weather hiccup, all of the remaining days of the trip cooperated incredibly well with plenty of sun and low wind levels. This allowed most pilots at least two flights every day of the two week trip. Most of the pilots completed each cross country flight as well as flew each local area in the afternoons as planned in the itinerary.
One of the highlights of the trip was camping on private Navajo Nation land near Window Rock. Since campsites cannot be found within hours of Window Rock, I coordinated with the local Indians and brought bags of coffee, chocolate, and food to trade with the Navajos for their generosity and hospitality on their land. The Navajo Indians prepared traditional food (including the “Naniskadi” – their sacred traditional fry bread), open fire BBQs, live music, and a sound system to share their personal historical experiences and stories around a camp fire. An old Navajo woman told stories of her past from before the arrival of “the white man” and recounts of the Navajo Code Talkers from World War II. She said this was the first time in history where the white man had “circled the wagons” (our RVs) around the Indians - not the other way round. It was truly a multi-cultural and memorable evening.
The next morning we flew from Window Rock north towards Crystal, New Mexico. Everyone was speechless from the amazing southwest scenery we all experienced. I couldn’t help think about Cars (the animated film) as many scenes in the fictitious place of Radiator Springs along Route 66 looked nearly identical to the scenery I was witnessing on this flight. For a second, I thought I heard my paramotor talking to me in the voice of Mater the tow truck from the film (Larry the Cable Guy). Of course, the altitude might have contributed as well since the launch was at 6,850 feet (2,100m) and we flew another 1,600 feet (500m) higher through the first half. A few of us discovered ancient images (petroglyphs) carved into the walls of red rocks as we flew in, out, and between the towering vertical cliffs of these small plateaus.
After we stopped for lunch in Canyon De Chelly (a hidden canyon and Navajo oasis), some of us went hiking down into the canyons with an Indian guide while others braved horseback riding for the first time before we continued our journey north. Although the cross country flight from Kayenta to Monument Valley was initially blown out, a few of us found completing this leg of the trip in reverse a few hours later in the evening worked out great. Most pilots flew this leg on the last day of the Monument Valley fly-in event as we departed. As I looked back at the planning of the itinerary on paper, my dreams of creating cross country expedition were becoming realized each day as my friends flew all legs of the planned trip.
By the end of the first week we had finally arrived at The Gathering at Monument Valley Fly-in event. Earlier in the year, I was asked to organize the annual event for 2015. So continuing to coordinate and organize another 50 pilots from across the USA fell right into place. Combining our group with the attendees of the fly-in resulted in the largest turnout in history. The airport was overflowing with wings and motors. Parking overflowed beyond the airport grounds into nearby fields and turnouts. I held the annual flight briefings in the morning (translations by Luc Trepanier), coordinated takeoff’s and parking, and organized group dinners both Friday and Saturday nights. Friday night’s dinner was held at the outdoor community pavilion where people from 6 countries gathered for a BBQ meal, singing, and a PPG movie (thanks to Cliff Stone) around an open fire. Saturday evening’s banquet dinner filled the house with more people than anyone could remember in over 10 years. Prizes from the first week’s scavenger hunt were awarded and an appearance from “The PPG Moron” (Paul Anthem’s character) attempted to translate my evening presentation into a unique Moron language (very funny).
Each day of the journey brought new excitement as the scenery changed. Starting in warm Phoenix’s low desert surrounded by sculpted mountain ranges, saguaro cactus, and wild donkeys, to the green hills and towering red rocks in Sedona, the forests in Flagstaff, the high desert plains of the southwest, and finally the mammoth monoliths of Monument Valley. I heard one pilot from France explain how he had always dreamed about flying in America and his dream had been fulfilled after flying this trip’s first week. But this (Monument Valley) was an unexpected surprise for him. He was overwhelmed in awe of the scenery and full of joy.
Yet, each day’s cross country flight seemed to top the last. By the time everyone reached Lake Powell, Utah it was hard to believe it could get any better…But we were wrong. The beauty and contrasting colors of the sparkling blue lake, the surrounding brown desert and rolling hills, the towering red and white cliffs, and the deep black and orange canyons were tearfully overwhelming. A pilot from Quebec (JF Leblanc) actually had tears of joy streaming down his face after he returned from a flight through Marble Canyon. A few of us brave (or stupid) pilots flew down into the deep cravats and explored the 1,200-foot (366m) vertical cliffs of the Marble Canyon area south of the Lake Powell Damn. It was definitely a “top five” flight we’ve ever flown. Flying under the Marble Canyon bridge was stunning. We camped on the beach at the lake for three nights which allowed time for some swimming, kayaking, sightseeing, and local tours through Antelope Canyon and inside the Lake Powell Damn facility. We also finally had time to relax and recharge our batteries after a grueling first week.
However, the trip was not over as our crowning achievement was still yet to come in a few more days. Early Wednesday morning we all launched from the Page Airport and flew to the Tuba City Airport (90miles/145km) before driving the remaining part of the leg into the Grand Canyon. Somehow, nearly a year prior and with six months of persuasion, I secured permission from the FAA and the Grand Canyon Airport managers to allow our group of pilots to fly from the Grand Canyon Airport to the Valle Airport within normally restricted airspace. It took many calls and emails to even find a sympathetic ear and two personal visits to the airport and control tower before things started to fall into place. Ultimately, the authorities agreed to issue a NOTAM and shut down the airport for two hours. No one could remember anything similar ever happening before. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for us all.
As pre-arranged, we were met by the airport managers and a paramedic team before dawn at the gates. Our launch window was 6:00 to 7:00 and airtime from 7:00 to 8:00 within the vicinity of the airport. But we had a huge paved tarmac to set up multiple rows of wings in a very organized fashion. Seven wings wide (laid out tip to tip) and seven rows deep littered the tarmac by 6:15. Multiple pilots were ready to launch at the same time and awaited the one of three air boss’s permission to take flight. Thankfully, a light north wind aided our high elevation launch at 6,800 feet (2,070m). We were authorized to go nearly to the canyon edge three miles north of the airport and then we needed to clear the area before 8:00am to allow normal commercial aviation traffic to resume.
This was it… the moment everyone was waiting for… the first ever, legal flight in a paramotor to fly at the Grand Canyon! Over fifty pilots managed the difficult launch to be in the sky with this group’s one-time, historic flight above the Grand Canyon – in a paramotor. I carefully coordinated with the officials and directed our group’s flight traffic before launching last. I saw one propeller break, two defective engines, and one out of gas stop, but the rest of the team made the easy 50 mile (80km) journey to the Valle airport. As I swept the air from behind herding in the last remaining airborne pilots, I landed last to the cheers of all the other pilots for our final flight of this two week journey. This was the Grand Finale Flight and everyone roared with enthusiasm, high fives and joyous hugs to all those around.
After two full weeks of flying and nearly 50 hours of flight time, about 50 people from the remaining group prepared their gear and motors for their long journey home. A final celebration for the larger “two-week group” was held at the Blazin’ M Ranch where the French and Canadians were indoctrinated with some good old west American values – guns and alcohol. I am not sure who drank the most but Martin from Quebec won the sharp shooter pistol award. A western music show accompanied dinner and the costume photo gallery was booked solid all night.
With such a large group we were fortunate to have no serious injuries and only one difficult retrieval during the entire trip. After the first three days of dodging storms, the weather became perfect. Everyone seemed to have good training, know their gear, and stay within their limits. In the end, all the initial efforts to plan an exceptional trip for “them” resulted in the most unforgettable trip I have experienced. In addition, planning is only a small part of a huge trip like this one. The execution and coordination with all of the other people who helped along the way allowed this journey to be so successful. Many thanks to everyone who helped facilitate this trip (Luc Trepanier, Sarah LeCoq, Oliver Durant, Bernard Bretin, Lex Hemeyer and others) for such a superb and successful Navajo Nation Southwest Tour 2015.
Epilogue – Week 3
Although many pilots departed after the first two weeks with huge smiles and few sniffles, myself and 23 others continued on. We flew a third week in “undisclosed locations” (possible hidden secrets within the southwest waiting to be discovered by paramotors).
— Scott Ritchie
I keep a list, I suppose it’s a bucket list of sorts
I knew that two things on the list could be ticked off together if the right opportunity came along – Surfing the famous Severn Bore and flying over Snowdonia.
When Soph (my girlfriend) and I saw this opportunity we hit the road early.
The Severn bore is a tidal bore on the River Severn in England. A natural spectacle that can produce a 7ft wave and ride times of over an hour. Sadly, on this particular day we arrived to find it was tiny and pretty much a waste of time. On the bright side—after getting covered in mud and feeling a bit crap, we managed to get a free hot shower at the local pub and after breakfast we were on the road again.
…Next stop Snowdonia national park!
When we arrived the wind was actually really strong so no chance of flying that night, but a quick swim and scout around was a perfect end to the day. After a good nights sleep in the car I took off from the side of the road and in no time I was above the low lying cloud and then I popped through the inversion…I was then on a level with the summit of snowdon, more than 3000 ft high.
I didn’t actually know which peak it was but as I climbed up the east side I could then see the train line and the station on the top—breathtaking views, super smooth and surprisingly warm.
I had a slight concern that the cloud might fill the valley I took off from making my return tricky! But actually, the part of Wales I had come to explore remained brilliantly clear—thanks Snowdonia.
You were on my bucket list, or was I on yours? Either way, I’d flown over the peak which looked truly incredible so it was now time to see it from a different perspective—it was time to run up it with Soph.
We chose the Watkin Path (named after the railway owner Edward Watkin) as it appeared to be the path less traveled—maybe because it’s more demanding than the others. It took us 1 hour and 35 minutes to get to the top where we were greeted by the most amazing views. After a quick bite to eat at the cafe we ran and jumped our way back down to the icy cold water falls at the bottom, where we got naked and cooled off …Seemed like the right thing to do!
— Kester Haynes
Cayle Royce and his Icarus Trophy
Childhood memories of sweet South African winds to 48 bitter days in a coma to Rum Punch on a finish line in Antigua to an MBE from the Queen.
Cayle grew up on farms in the wilds of Southern Africa with minimal supervision and access to vast expanses of the great outdoors. He blames this for becoming totally obsessed with adventure and travel and all of the highs and catastrophic lows that it could offer.
Whilst on deployment in Afghanistan in 2012 he stepped on what he describes as “an oversized party popper.” He spent 48 days in a coma whilst the doctors worked to patch him up. Within 18 months, he was rowing across the Atlantic Ocean as a part of the Row2Recovery crew; two able bodied and two wounded crew members rowing from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua. A 3000 mile unsupported row broken up into 2 hour-on and 2 hour-off shifts, pelted by horrendous weather and gargantuan waves, salt sores and a diet of dehydrated goo bags for 48 days.
Due, he says, to the fabulous memories of Rum Punch at the finish line he has now entered into another Atlantic row in December 2015. Row2Recovery will be the first all amputee crew to ever attempt an ocean row; “We are four men in a boat and have three legs between us. What could go wrong?”
Last year, he went with SkySchool’s Alex Ledger to Kenya with eight wounded servicemen to fly from Kilimanjaro up the Rift Valley to Mount Kenya in three weeks; “I have spent a lot of time in Kenya, but to see it from the air was absolutely incredible. A truly amazing trip with some incredible people.”
He has been training for the Icarus Trophy with SkySchool and will be competing using a Parajet prototype solo trike that he’s been practising with in Spain. Cayle and Seth have received significant support from military charity Help for Heroes to undertake the Icarus Trophy.
He was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list in 2015.
“I am participating in the Icarus Trophy for the adventure and to meet the kind of people that this sort of event seems to attract. My brother Seth and I will be working together to hopefully complete the race in good time and enjoy what should be an unforgettable adventure.”
“We are hoping to raise awareness for Help for Heroes who are supporting us and hopefully encourage others who are having a bit of a hard time to not quit just yet. If a scruffy legless African like I can give it a go, then who couldn’t?”
Fancy entering the Icarus Trophy? Learn more about the challenge from the amazing Adventurists.
Bear Grylls Survival Race and Festival
Thousands of runners had just taken part in the very first Bear Grylls Survival Race run around the beautiful North London Trent Park which dates back to the fourteenth century.
“A walk in the park?” was the question I asked. “You must be joking” was the answer I kept hearing. Thousands of runners had just taken part in the very first Bear Grylls Survival Race. With a kids race on offer, a 5k, 10k and 30k options everyone found a suitable challenge, with a smile on their faces – plus a lot of mud.
The race was run around the beautiful north London Trent Park which dates back to the fourteenth century where you’d hardly know you were in London.
But it wasn’t just a weekend of obstacle races, the event was also a chance for many like minded organisations, musicians and charities who all share the BG spirit to gather and experience a memorable weekend.
Parajet were invited to attend and of course show off our amazing Bear Grylls Paramotor, the Volution 3 and the Zenith paramotors. Arriving at the park in the afternoon it was dark by the time we’d finished assembling our area and the only thing left to do was work out where to sleep.
A thank you goes out to the hundreds of amazing people who stopped to talk to us across the weekend – I hope we’ve inspired you to learn to fly. For those looking skyward at just the right moment a sight of Bear Grylls flying his BG Parajet paramotor over the event was a definite highlight. Parajet hope to be back next year and you never know – maybe one of us will be mad enough to enter the race!
New Parajet Madagascar long distance record
On 6 June 2015 I finally realised one of my dreams, to fly from Toamasina to Sainte-Marie Island in Madagascar by paramotor, a distance of 220km.
Last year I had already set the Madagascar record for the longest paramotor flight at 4h30. It was with a Parajet Zenith Thor 200 Evo and a Paramania GTR 24 wing. I had covered 200km, returning to my departure point.
After various other shorter cross country flights in varying conditions I knew I had to get a lighter paramotor and more stable and efficient wing. So after some good advice from my best friend Nic from Parajet Africa, I ordered myself a Parajet Zenith Thor 190 light and a Dudek Nucleon WRC 29 wing.
The Zenith Thor 190 light has met all my expectations. It feels like a more powerful Thor 100, the engine of my first Zenith. I’d had fuel quality issues running local 95 octane fuel in my 200, so following recommendations from Parajet HQ, I tuned my 190 to run on AVGAS 100LL. The result is a beautifully smooth running and powerful engine.
The Dudek Nucleon WRC wing has also met my expectations. It is extremely stable in turbulence and very fast, a bit like a Paramania Revo2 on steroids.
Planning the flight to Sainte-Marie brought up some challenges that had to be solved.
First: the weather. The prevailing wind is from the South East, and steadily increases during the day, and then drops off in the evening. The first 160km would probably be with a steadily increasing tailwind, but the final 60km would be with a strong headwind. I had to have perfect conditions to avoid having to carry more than 5 hours of fuel – 3 for the first 160km, and 2 for the last 60km.
Second: the ocean crossing. Although the distance is only 7km at the shortest point between the Mainland and Sainte-Marie, I had to take into account the possibility of ending up in the soup. I fitted my Paramotor with an AGAMA paramotor inflatable life vest. I had tested it once by accident when it rained on my paramotor and set off the gas cylinder. Suffice to say it’s pretty impressive. But being able to float wasn’t going to help me much. So in addition I had planned for a boat to follow me and a standby Cessna 172 airplane to spot me if required. I also had a vehicle on the mainland ready to come and pick me up if I landed on the beach somewhere.
Third: alternates. If things weren’t going to plan because of the weather, I had identified alternate destinations where I could land in safety and wait for help.
Fourth: communication. I not only had my Icom aviation radio to listen in on the aviation VHF to avoid traffic or call for help, but also my iPhone with Bose noise cancelling earphones with which I can make surprisingly clear phone calls and of course listen to music the whole way. I also had a Satellite Personal Locator Beacon just in case all of the above failed and I was injured or floating somewhere and couldn’t get help.
Fifth: Fuel. I had previously adapted a 20 litre Turtlepak flexible jerry can underneath the standard tank with a small transfer hand pump. It worked very well, but I didn’t find it ideal. Since then I had purchased a 14 litre belly tank. It is connected to the main tank by replacing the filler cap. As the engine uses fuel it sucks fuel from the belly tank until it is empty. In addition the tank serves as a nice cockpit to Velcro the GPS and iPhone in place.
Finally the day had arrived with the perfect forecast. I was ready, having tested everything. I was at my take-off spot, a local football field at 7h30 am. There was a faint breath of wind. I was going to have to make a heavy no wind take-off, something I had never done before.
I took my time to set things up and do a thorough pre-flight. By the time I was all strapped in and ready to go, I realised that the wind had shifted direction by 45 degrees. With all that weight on me I decided to try and launch anyway, but as expected one side of the wing collapsed. 15 minutes later and already feeling the strain of the extra weight I was ready for my second try. I knew that I would probably have only enough strength for three tries. Concentrating on technique rather than brute force I launched myself forward. The Nucleon WRC came up swiftly and I smoothly applied the power as I ran. Within 20 metres I was in the air climbing steadily, but to my dismay I found myself hanging by my leg straps, incapable of getting into my seat.
I had never tested the fuel tank full of fuel. I had misjudged the connection points and the result was a fuel tank that was weighing my legs down. Within seconds after take-off I new that I had only a few minutes remaining before the pain inflicted on my family jewels would be unbearable. I had to either get into my seat or attempt a potentially dangerous landing with 26 litres of fuel. It is amazing how adrenaline can increase ones strength, as I managed to inch myself up by pushing down on the swan necks one side at a time until I slid into the seat.
I could now focus on the trip. I started by flying around the world-class Ambatovy Nickel Plant where I work, and headed north. Once up at 500 feet altitude, I untrimmed my wing and accelerated to 55km/h as I flew around the town of Toamasina, staying far away from the airport control area by flying several kilometres inland over the hilly forest. Looking down into the forest I new that if I had an engine failure now it would take me days to get out, but my Thor 190 was humming beautifully at 6200 rpm.
Soon I had flown around the town and was back over the safety of the beach. The ocean glittered towards the horizon and the beach seemed to stretch out for infinity. The conditions where incredible with no wind at all and perfect visibility. The Dudek Nucleon WRC was rock solid on top of me. I could let go of the controls and fly just by weight shift as I took photos of the stunning scenery below me.
After an hour of flying I reached the lagoon of Foulpointe, marking the start of the bay of Sainte-Marie. The island was straight ahead, but I had to follow the coastline around as I did not want to attempt a 60km water crossing. I could overhear my friend on the radio in his Cessna talking to the tower asking for take-off permission to Sainte-Marie. He was my ticket back home once I had reached Sainte-Marie safely.
The flight continued on without incident. After 2 hours I had covered 115km. I was not covering as much ground as I wanted so I started climbing to try and catch a bit of a tailwind. The tailwind increased but then starting dropping off as I climbed to 5000 feet. I was at 60km/h and apart from a ready to burst bladder and feeling a bit chilly with an air temperature of 19 degrees all was well.
I decided to descend slowly back to 3500 feet, the safe altitude for crossing the channel. I was finally coming up to Laret Point, the closest point to Sainte-Marie island. At 2h30 into the flight I had already consumed 14 litres, having burnt fuel heavily on the climb. All was looking good for the crossing. I reached the crossing point after 2h45. I could see the safety boat below and I sent an SMS to confirm I was about to cross. As I turned I got a bit of a headwind and I pushed full speedbar to cross as quickly as possible. I maintained altitude for the first few minutes and then started losing altitude as I crossed the middle point. Less than 15 minutes later I was safely across the channel, heading to the safety of the east coast of Sainte-Marie island and its shallow lagoon and wide beaches.
I dropped down now to 100 feet and enjoyed the last hour of the flight along the east coast of this incredible paradise. Nearing the south of the island I crossed over to fly over my friend’s pontoon at his hotel. A gave my friends a couple of beat-ups and wing overs to celebrate the successful journey, much to the delight of the local children watching from the beach. I carried on to the football field on the southern tip of the island and circled until my friends arrived with a quad bike and a classic Citroen 2CV.
After chasing the local Zebu cattle off the field with a couple of low swoops I landed cleanly, overjoyed by a successful arrival. I checked my GPS before switching it off – 3h59 minutes and 220km. I next checked the fuel and found I had 4 litres left, enough for another 45 minutes. I packed up my wing into the bunch bag I had kept in the pocket of the seat and loaded it onto the front of the quad bike, while I strapped the paramotor back on and climbed onto the drivers seat. It was now time to go and celebrate!
Paramotoring is the ultimate flying experience. The Parajet Zenith is the ultimate paramotor. And Madagascar is the ultimate virgin paramotoring destination.
— Stephan Hodgson
Parajet Attend Paramotor Mondial 2015 Blois, France
Parajet MD, Tom Prideaux-Brune and Brand Manager Dom McLoughlin recently road-tripped to the Loire Valley region of France to attend the very first Paramotor Mondial trade show.
Paramotor Mondial has been developed to follow in the footsteps of the famous Basse Ham event which now no longer runs. If Parajet’s experience in Blois is anything to go by then this new event will make a worthy successor. With over 400 pilots in the air and a row of international trade tents as far as the eye could see this event should be in everybody’s
diary for next year.
Tom and I very much enjoyed meeting an international crowd and talking about the benefits of owning a Parajet Zenith or Volution 3 and the Pink Zenith we had on show put a smile on many faces. Parajet would like to thank everybody for their amazing hospitality and the local paramotor club, A Voile et a Moteur for getting this event off the ground!
Parajet Win Local Business Innovation Award
Parajet International, a manufacturer of paramotor backpack aircraft, has been named the ‘Great Innovation Shown By a Business’ award winner at this year’s Western Gazette Annual Business Awards; an event celebrating the success, hard work and achievement of businesses in Somerset and surrounding areas.
“All of our winners and finalists have demonstrated what is possible with a clear vision, planning, a little bit of courage and great people,” said Western Gazette editor Emma Slee in front of a crowded ballroom at Westlands Yeovil. “As always with the Western Gazette Business Awards, judging was incredibly hard – in fact I’m sure it gets harder every year. Each of our panellists spent hours poring over the submissions before coming up with their own individual scores which were then calculated to produce the overall results.”
“Innovation is at the heart of Parajet and parent company Gilo Industries Group, and has become a decisive advantage within the aviation sector,” said Tom Prideaux-Brune, MD at Parajet. “Everyone at Parajet is extremely pleased to win this award. It has been a very strong year for business in the South West, and the shortlist for the Western Gazette Annual Business Awards contained some genuinely outstanding companies.”
Green Twins break tandem record
Ant and Tim Green flew tandem paramotors to over 5,000m above Mont Blanc, on 22 April 2015. The twins successfully broke the previous record using their Zenith Parajet paramotors.
Parajet would like to Congratulate the Green Twins on their amazing feat and look forward to seeing what else they achieve aboard their Zenith Parajet paramotors in the future.
Parajet Attend Beach Blast 2015
Parajet MD, Tom Prideaux-Brune and Team pilot Kester Haynes recently crossed the pond to join US Distributer, John Erickson at the world's largest beachfront powered paragliding event - Beach Blast 2015.
With pilots from over 16 countries flocking to Panama City Beach Florida, the event promises a safe and enjoyable place for powered paragliding pilots to bring their families, fly the 27 mile stretch of white sands and green waters, and enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded pilots. Parajet and other major manufacturers were in attendance to showcase the latest products and tell the public about this fast growing sport.
“When I heard that the Beach Blast event had been re-instated this year I jumped at the opportunity to attend and catch up with our US Parajet dealers”, comments Tom. “John Black, Alex Donaghy and their team work so hard to host such a great event, it was an absolute pleasure to be part of it and I look forward to attending again.”
During the event, Parajet MD Tom met with members of our US dealer network to present a detailed insight into the vision, values and future of the brand and gave dealers an opportunity to become better acquainted with the Volution and Zenith product ranges.
“It is extremely important for us to maintain a close relationship with our dealer network”, continues Tom. “I wanted to reiterate how important their individual contributions are to our ongoing success, and how much we greatly appreciate the great work and support they are giving us. I was hugely impressed by the level of professionalism, dedication and positivity and I look forward to working with such a great team of like-minded people to ensure the continued growth and development of the Parajet brand”.
Parajet Helps Launch UPS Campaign in the UK
UPS today unveiled a new positioning message in the United Kingdom, UPS United Problem Solvers, which communicates the company's unique capabilities to solve problems for all customers, ranging from small businesses to the largest global enterprises.
“The scope of UPS services has expanded significantly in the United Kingdom and around the world,” said George Willis, managing director, UPS UK, Ireland and Nordics. “We continue to change in response to customer’s needs. We’re transforming UPS from a logistics provider to a full-service partner that offers world class expertise and capabilities that help British customers increase revenue, improve cash flow, minimize lead time and reduce cost.”
UPS offers deep industry knowledge in several specialised industry segments. These include healthcare, high tech, aerospace, automotive, retail, professional services and industrial manufacturing and distribution.
The campaign features several real-life customer stories, including that of Gilo Cardozo, founder of Gilo Industries Group in the UK, who develops aviation and engineering products for recreational, commercial and military aviation customers. Gilo relies on UPS for multi-modal transportation options, customs clearance, consistent timely deliveries, and full supply chain visibility so his team can focus on doing what they do best, which is designing and building innovative engines, personal jetpacks and the world’s first practical flying car.
“UPS United Problem Solvers shows how our over 400,000 employees, including approximately 8,000 in the United Kingdom, solve problems with expertise and dedication to help our customers grow their business,” said Willis. “With this message, we’re inviting customers to challenge us with their business problems. We are confident that we can offer insights that will help them be more successful.”
UPS’s innovative problem solving capabilities and custom logistics services are implemented through the power of its global transportation network. That network serves 9.4 million customers every day around the world.
Specialty services leveraging or complementing UPS’s transportation network include:
- Extensive customs brokerage experience and express international shipping to quickly and efficiently export and import everything from small consumer goods to large industrial manufacturing machinery.
- Global e-commerce solutions for business-to-business and direct-to-consumer transactions that include returns management and the ability for customers to change delivery times and locations.
- Refrigerated and temperature-controlled shipping and warehousing for pharmaceuticals and regulatory expertise to help healthcare companies meet stringent and often complex regulatory requirements.
- A Package Design and Test Lab to determine optimum packaging for shipments that range from household goods to speciality products and equipment.
The campaign’s television advertising debuts in the United Kingdom during Sky Sports coverage of the US Masters Tournament, of which UPS is a sponsor.
The UPS United Problem Solvers advertising invites customers to bring their business challenges: “We want your sticky notes, sketchbooks, and scribbles… Because we’re in the the how-do-I-get-this-startup-off-the-ground business. The taking-your-business-global business. We’re in the problem-solving business.”
The UPS United Problem Solvers campaign was developed in partnership with UPS’s global advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather.
Duke of York visits Parajet at WIRED 2014
Parajet were pleased to attend WIRED 2014, Wired Magazine's fourth flagship event held at Tobacco Dock in the East End of London; the first two days were aimed at an adult audience and the final day was their "Next Generation" event for 12-18 year olds.
The event revolved around some truly extraordinary guest speakers from diverse backgrounds such as design, advertising, digital media, life sciences, publishing, programming, humanitarianism and more. Some of the more notable speakers were Will I am, Mark Chapman (Bloodhound project), Sir John Hegarty (Bartle Bogle Hegerty), Zee Frank (viral videographer) and over 40 others. Between talks, delegates were free to wander through the Test Lab, four large areas showcasing innovation and technology with exhibits on 3-D printing, robotics, surround vision/sound systems, glasses that would data-stream to the wearer and many more. It was with a great sense of pride that we were invited to display both our Parajet paramotors and the SkyRunner flying car.
As exhibitors, the show fluctuated between extremely busy in the breaks followed by quiet periods during the conference talks. On friday morning we were extremely privileged to be visited by the Duke of York who spent some considerable time talking with Parajet MD Tom Prideaux-Brune about the technology and engineering that has gone into the SkyRunner and its vast possibilities. The newly launched Bear Grylls Paramotor that was on display caught the eye of another notable visitor, international popstar and technology enthusiast Will.I.am who was very intrigued by the idea.
The show was a huge success, allowing a very diverse group of people who were leaders in their fields to meet and exchange ideas and the Parajet team are very much looking forward to exhibiting there again next year.
Parajet Launch Official Bear Grylls Paramotor
Parajet International has teamed up with world-renowned adventurer and survival expert Bear Grylls to create the brand new BG Paramotor for intrepid explorers looking to take on new ways of experiencing the world.
The BG Paramotor specially configured by Bear Grylls, is the latest in ‘one man personal powered flight’. The BG Paramotor can offer aerial views like nothing you will have experience before accessing remote back country, to trailing your feet through the clouds or skimming the tops of corn fields. Paramotoring is a sport where the sky really is no longer the limit.
With a flight time of up to 3 hours, and the ability to take off in just 20 metres, this is aviation at its most free. From flying long cross-country expeditions to just soaring above the local countryside enjoying the view, these are just the beginning of the adventures that open up before you when you take to the skies in this remarkable machine.
Simply strap on the backpack propeller and the powerful one man engine will give the paraglider ‘wing’ above you the thrust it needs to climb, swoop and soar like a bird. Take off is fast and easy, flight is stable and dynamic and landing is gentle.
Learning to fly the BG Paramotor is safe, easy and fun via one of the Bear Grylls Accredited Parajet Flight Academies, with the majority of students completing training within 10 days. As a foot-launched aircraft there is no license requirement in the majority of countries and pilots do not need an airfield to operate from, with open fields, grass strips and secluded beaches becoming the runways of choice. The BG Paramotor is quickly and easily put together, and once dismantled can be placed in a large case or the boot of your car making it compact and easily transportable.
The BG Paramotor Adventurer Package includes: With these added extras the BG Paramotor is the ultimate adventure and exploration machine. Encompassing flying, adventure and survival, the BG Paramotor allows you to explore the world like Bear Grylls, from a different perspective. The BG Paramotor Adventurer Package costs £10,688 + VAT. This includes all training and equipment.
- BG Paramotor including a bespoke harness, wing and helmet
- Chassis Bag including first aid kit and water bottle pouch
- BG Ultimate Survival Knife
- Prop Covers
- Travel Luggage System including Travel Bag
- Spar case and Cage bag
- 10 days training at BG Accredited Parajet Flight Academy
Bear has long been a keen paramotor pilot and supporter of Parajet, using the paramotors on numerous expeditions including flights over the remote jungle plateau of the Angel Falls in Venezuela as well as teaming up with Parajet founder Gilo Cardozo to fly over the summit of Everest in 2007, creating a world record and raising $1million for Global Angels projects.
Bear Grylls, said: “I’m so excited by the launch of the BG Paramotor – I’m a huge fan of the sport and take every opportunity to take to the skies and explore—for me it is my escape!”
Founder of Gilo Industries and Parajet, Gilo Cardozo MBE, said: “We have always loved working with Bear and we feel so proud of what we have created with the BG Paramotor, perfect for the adventurers out there looking to take to the sky for their next expedition.”
Parajet’s New Green Credentials
Parajet is extremely excited to announce that Timothy and Anthony Green, otherwise known as the 'Acro twins' will be joining the team for 2014. Since launching Acrotwin Productions in 2007, Tim and Ant have passionately dedicated themselves to bringing the sports of Paragliding, and now Paramotoring, to a wider audience through synchronised displays and extreme filmmaking techniques.
They now run a successful independent aerial filming company called Cloudbase Productions and use the versatile Parajet Zenith Moster 185cc along with full HD digital cameras and Keynon KS-6 gyroscopic camera stabilisers to capture the most beautiful images and film which will leave all pilots wanting to immediately don their equipment and take to the skies.
The guys also work closely with various wing manufacturers testing their new products to the extremes, and Anthony collaborates with industry publications Paramotor and Cross Country Magazine to provide them with comprehensive reviews of all new and emerging equipment.
Tim and Ant are true ambassadors for the Parajet brand and we’re very proud and excited to have them as part of our team. We’re really looking forward to working with them and doing some great things for Parajet this year.
For more information about Tim and Anthony, watch out for their upcoming Team Parajet blogs and also find them at http://www.cloudbasepro.com
Parajet MD Attends Bahrain International Air Show
Parajet Aerial Defence & Security Systems (PADSS), a newly formed division of Parajet International focused on supplying paramotors as an affordable and sustainable aerial recon platform, recently attended the Bahrain International Air Show to show off its capabilities.
Parajet Managing Director, Tom Prideaux-Brune, took part in the three day aerospace exhibition alongside Gilo Industries Group partners, Martin-Baker which hosts 20,000 trade visitors, from 35 countries, and 84 aircraft taking part in daily displays. It is known as one of the best organised events for any industry around the globe and has established itself as the most elite business-to-business on the global air show calendar.
The Parajet Zenith paramotor stirred up quite a storm with Arabian Aerospace News who briefly interviewing Tom for an article published in their Show Business magazine highlights. Read on for the full story by Arabian Aerospace:
Arabian Aerospace, Show Business Magazine. Issue Two. Friday January 17 2014.
ZENITH LOOKS TOP CLASS
Parajet Aerial Defence and Security Systems (stand P6) is displaying the Parajet Zenith – a paramotor and wing that can be used for either leisure purposes or aerial support.
“While the paramotor is not a replacement for anything such as a helicopter, it is a clever response to the escalating costs of aerial reconnaissance that can be used for search and rescue, crime prevention, medical supply services, border patrol, pursuit observation and aerial scene assessment services, to name but a few,” said MD Tom Prideaux-Brune. “With low acquisition costs, it is among the most inexpensive manned aircraft available.”
Designed and built to be built to be lightweight, compact, and easily portable, the engine and fuel tank have been positioned to create superior airflow, reduced wind resistance and increased fuel efficiency, while offering the best possible thrust line and in-flight manoeuvrability.
“The connection system enables the Zenith to be easily put together and launched from virtually anywhere within minutes. And it can be dismantled with just an allen key, and then fitted into a large suitcase, making it one of the most compact and transportable paramotor units available,” said Prideaux-Brune.
The MD, who flies one himself for fun, added that the Parajet Zenith can fly from 500 feet up to 12,000 feet, and that the fuel can last up to three hours. He said it is also really easy to learn to fly.
“Learning is quick, easy and safe. Pilot training takes around a week for people using it for leisure activities and about a month for aerial support services. Training covers all aspects of equipment and safety.”
Fly an Endless Summer with the New Parajet Flying Suit
The Summer is over and the Winter season is upon us, but don’t let that stop your enjoyment of flying. Parajet International, the UK based paramotor manufacturer, have launched their new flying suit aimed at paramotor, paraglider and microlight pilots. Strategically designed by pilots for pilots, the result is a suit that works with the pilot to enhance comfort and flying experience.
The Parajet Flying Suit offers a 3 layer barrier against the wind, rain and cold. Its insulation and water-repellency takes warmth beyond anything pilots have felt before, keeping them in the air for longer in cold conditions. The premium low-profile and powerful insulation maximises core comfort with the breathability and mobility demanded by pilots. Engineered for maximum heating efficiency the Parajet Flying Suit serves as a low-bulk heater that feels like summer all year round.
Its performance oriented, articulated fit enhances the function-first design and style while delivering a higher degree of mobility and comfort both on the ground and in the air. From the integrated communications cable management to the multitude of pockets, every feature and element has been well-thought through, right down to the last detail. Other features of the suit include fleeced lined collar, lateral YKK leg zippers for easier suit access, elasticated & Velcro cuffs with extended Lycra gloves and reinforced instrument holding loops on chest and thigh. Thanks to the benefits of its high-quality design and manufacture combined with a fully integrated array of functional pilot aids, the Parajet Flying Suit delivers performance, refinement, comfort and practicality—a flying suit that is pure Parajet.
“Dread the winter no more. I’ve been wearing this suit for a while now,” explains Parajet Team pilot and 2012 British Paramotor Champion Dean Eldridge. “It’s the warmest, yet comfiest of flying suits, packed with a full list of great features as standard. Every part of the suit has been designed with the pilot in mind and it shows. This suit will enable me to comfortably continue my aerial exploits through the colder months ahead.”