When I first got into paramotoring got USHPA paraglider training because there was nothing standard in paramotoring. That wouldn’t do. I went to Jeff Williams who guided me through my P2 rating.During those two freeflight periods I discovered how cool soaring was. That’s not surprising, given that my first flying was gliders, but this turned out to be even cooler. You could feel the air. And coring a thermal is an identical process. Afterwards getting my P2 it was time for propulsion.
I remember when one seller said that “I’m not interested in tire kickers” so I thanked him and moved on. After all, I was indeed a tire kicker and had questions before shelling out $3000–the going price for a direct drive which was common at the time for lightweight pilots. Mind you these were Wright Brother’s dollars–it was a long time ago.
Javier at Aerolight was willing to answer questions and said he knew a guy. That turned out to be Mark Sorenson, then a pilot for Air Tran, who was also teaching paramotor and selling a modified Fly 70 that he called a Fly 75 owing to its bigger prop. We agreed on the price and inclusion of a day of training.
It was pretty humorous during that training when the wind picked up and skittered my flailing arse halfway across a gravel lot. “You’ll have to take that harness now, you know.” I still have that paramotor (2019) and it still sports that road rash.
Once I got this kit home there was no stopping. I would fly every day the weather cooperated. I would leave the house early so nobody could catch me at home. Given that I lived on an airport with a nice grass runway it didn’t take much driving.
I was completely taken by the idea of draggin my feet in the grass then throttle up into flight again, soaring around my home area and the nearby prairie preserve. At first I’m sure it didn’t always work out and my foot drags turns into runs, but at least I was already on the ground and could just run back into flight.
I’ve been told by a number of people that seeing my fly around there is what inspired them to get into the sport. The Internet wasn’t a big deal in 1999. Those were the days, and they were just getting started.
Above are various pictures of me with the Fly 75 and Apco Santana 28. Time has lost who took the pictures.