The Perks of Flying a Paramotor Trike

Once again the PPG sport has shown us just how flexible and adaptable it is to people of all shapes, sizes, and physical capabilities thanks to the beautiful invention of the trike. Just as the name depicts, the trike sits on three wheels, with the paramotor being mounted on the back and a seat situated just in the center. What this apparatus has to offer pilots is outstanding – the perks of flying a paramotor trike not only allow for less wear on the body, but it opens up a whole new world of exciting challenges because of the unique set of skills it requires for operation. 

We’ve outlined a whole list or reasons why we at Aviator Paramotor love it, so enjoy our thoughts on the perks of flying a paramotor trike.

FLYING A TRIKE IS LESS STRESSFUL TO THE BODY

While traditional foot launching has it’s own set of thrills and wonderful challenges, it’s undoubtedly taxing on the body, especially in the beginning stages of learning. You’re expected to run on average with 50+ pounds on your back in the launching process, so obviously the heavy load is wearing to the knees, groin area, and back. Not to mention, it overall fatigues the body until you reach more intermediate/expert levels in your skillset, and even then the normal wear involved in the sport just comes with the territory. Here’s where a trike might be a better option for you.

We love flying paramotors because it quite literally is for a diversity of physical capabilities and body types – add in a trike and even more people are able to fly! One of the greatest perks of flying a paramotor trike is the fact that it eliminates extra stress on the body because you no longer carry the paramotor on your back, instead you sit and let the trike do the work for you. Now you can roll into the sky without any additional strains.

So, if you’ve long dreamed of flying, but maybe have concerns over your on physical abilities, consider learning to fly a trike.

FLYING A TRIKE IS A SPECIAL, UNIQUE SKILLSET TO DEVELOP

Now that you’ve removed the physicality of foot launching, the game is learning the mechanics of operating a trike – which is a very specific skillset that takes time to develop. Our recommendation is to get thorough training for this to optimize your experience, enjoyment, and success. After all, as humans we naturally grow because of things that challenge us.

So, of course, learning the proper skills to operate a trike is focal, but once you do your whole world is opened up to new experiences. Of new ways to take on the skies. Think about it, you’re quite literally driving into the sky. What could be more exciting? It’s all about developing those crucial skills to be successful, which in and of itself is a stimulating challenge. Don’t underestimate this unique skillset and how richly it can alter you as an individual and as a pilot.

Just be patient, take your time, and fully immerse yourself into the learning process. Trust us, the reward that mastering the trike brings is worth it.

NO TO LOW WIND IS NO PROBLEM

Let’s talk about launching, when it comes to getting off the ground the trike is your new best friend on those low wind days. Paramotor pilots understand that those no to low wind days make for some of the most gorgeously smooth flying conditions, but the catch is that launching can be quite a difficult task. It’s a hard tradeoff, but successfully launching means you get to soar through some seriously coveted, prime flying weather.

The perk of flying a trike, again, means it does the physically hard work for you. In this instance, where you’re have to more actively work to launch in low wind conditions on foot (which typically means you have to run, run, run, and then run some more!), the trike is going to better utilize the power produced by the motor. The trike freely rolls you forward, giving you the forward momentum needed to generate lift with that power from the motor coupled the wing inflating overhead, which is something that’s tiring to accomplish when running and with no wind to help you out in the process. This is also where having the proper skills needed to successfully use a trike is crucial.

But for many, not having to sweat for a launch is a God send, and another reason to consider learning to trike.

FOR FOOT LAUNCHERS, IT’S A WELCOMED CHALLENGE

Maybe you’re already well-acquainted with paramotors. Perhaps you started out foot launching, and you’ve grown a lot as a pilot. If you’re looking for a new skill to add to your arsenal, or even if you’re just trying to find more ways to make flying paramotors exciting, consider learning to trike.

If you’re already on the inside of the wonderful world of PPG, expanding your skillset is an excellent way to deepen your love for the sport. Deepen your knowledge base as we already mentioned, sharpen your existing skills, and learn new means of flying too! Another perk of flying a paramotor trike is that it opens up a whole other side to PPG. So, get a new perspective and love flying all the more.

TRIKES ARE INCREDIBLE FOR TANDEM FLIGHTS

Again, while this is directed to seasoned pilots, yet another perk of flying a paramotor trike is the joyous challenge of learning to tandem. After you reach a certain level in flying a trike, and you feel you want to up your skills, you can still go further with tandem flights.

While it’s a big step in not only being responsible for your own life in flying, but the life of someone else, the overwhelming happiness of getting to share flight with others is nearly inexplainable. Truly, there’s nothing quite like that feeling, which lends itself to being one of the ultimate perks of flying a paramotor trike. Seriously, if you know someone who’s reached this level as a pilot, ask them about it sometime.

That brings us to the end of our list, however these are just some of our favorite reasons to fly a paramotor trike. We could go on and on about why we love this particular outlet. Hopefully it’s inspired you to pursue flight all the more. Paramotoring is a diverse, special sport, don’t rule yourself out of experiencing flight until you’ve researched all the options there are, because you my friend can soar through the skies with the rest of them if you’re willing to make the leap.

Will Flying Ever Get Old? Here are Five Ways to Keep Flying Paramotors Exciting

Arguably, the majority of people that explore the world of powered paragliding fall in love with it quickly. Whether it’s the peacefulness of the skies, the range of dynamics in flight, or simply the amazement of superhumanly flying all on your own, it’s clear that there’s more than one reason people can’t get enough of flying paramotors. Excitement is a given in PPG. However with that being said, some of those still researching the sport have asked a wonderful, thought-provoking question, “Will flying every get old?” 

Is it really all it’s cracked up to be, and is this something I’ll seriously continue to do after I’ve completed my training? And, if this is something I want to continue to doing, how do I keep the desire to fly fresh?

To that, all we have to say is, do it – just try flying. Until you do, you’ll never know how incredible it really is. But, we’re all different, we get it. There is a small percentage of people out there who need more to keep the spark alive. It’s all good, folks, we’ve got you covered!

Will flying ever get old? Here are five ways to keep flying paramotors exciting.

(In case you’re the type that really likes to do there research, here are 10 Reason Why Flying Paramotors Is NOT For You too)

FIND PEOPLE TO FLY WITH; MAKE FRIENDS!

Like we said, we get it – we’re all unique, and for those of us who are a little more social, we need interaction to stay interested. Sometimes we aren’t good with hobbies based on the individual, but rather we want to share our interests with others who enjoy the same things we do. You’re in luck! Flying paramotors fits both of these personality types. Not only can you fly solo, but there’s an incredible, somewhat hidden world of PPG enthusiasts out there – and just a head’s up, they’re pretty friendly too!

Not only can you search the web to find sites highlighting the sport of paramotoring, but there are countless social media groups open to those interesting in flying with friends. There’s groups for beginners, there’s groups for adventure flying, there’s even groups for bargains and trades. Just hit up Facebook and see what you get with the keywords “Paramotor,” “PPG,” and “Powered Paragliding.” You can even scour the comments on your favorite Youtube PPG videos, there’s always fellow flying spirits lurking about the threads.

Seriously, because flying paramotors is such a uniquely different interest, more often than not you’ll be able to find friends who are eager to add someone new to their flying circles!

SHAKE THINGS UP WITH TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE FLIGHTS

With flying paramotors the sky’s not even the limit! In fact, us pilots view it as the road to bigger and better explorations. Imagine soaring high above soaking in everything from a coveted bird’s eye view, that in and of itself is incredible. Who else gets to see the world from that perspective? But if flying around the same ol’ spot you always do is getting old, why not shake things up a big? Venture outside of your own backyard and start researching for new places you’d like to fly, it might be the just reminder that you need of how amazing flying really is.

Fancy seeing the United States in a whole new fashion? Pack up the paramotor and go! Other countries aren’t even out of bounds, as Aviator and many of our friends have adventure flown Costa Rica, country after country in Europe, and many other destinations. 

See more of our feelings on traveling and the spirit of adventure here.

It’s a well-kept secret among pilots that flying gives you access to portions of the world often barricaded via ground travel, so of course it gives you a unique way to see the world and very often you make new friends along the way. Flying new places genuinely births a renewed excitement and vigor inside of you. So, if you’re feeling a bit bored with flying around the airport at home, maybe a road trip is in order. 

PUSH YOURSELF TO GO FURTHER

Once you’re well-acquainted with flying, and you’re looking for more than casual flight, don’t be afraid to push yourself to go further. There’s so many different ways to make flying exciting – ways that suit your unique personality and style preferences too. Seek out additional training for even richer flight experiences.

For instance, if foot launching has become old hat, try learning to operate a trike.

Have you racked up a surmountable number of flight hours? Maybe it’s time to share flight with others and learn to fly tandem.

Or if you’ve gathered a lot of experience, take your proficiency to the next level and seek additional training – try taking a Simulated Incident in Flight (SIV) course. 

Are you confident in tackling more turbulent conditions? Perhaps learning the art of thermaling is next on your list. 

And for those that need to satiate that drive for excitement and adrenaline, start learning more about dynamic flight. Begin dipping your toes into the world of aerobatics!

Seriously, there’s so much to be explored through the sport of PPG. There’s plenty of room to challenge yourself and keep flying exciting.

TRY SOME NEW EQUIPMENT

Take it from the experts, experienced paramotor pilots will tell that trying new equipment makes the sport feel brand new again. Every time you try a new glider or motor you open up the door or exploration. Dive into breaking down the subtleties between each new wing you fly. Feel the variances of strength and power from motor to motor. Even trying out new strobes, helmets and communication pieces, cameras, and adds to the excitement of flying.

You won’t be disappointed at furthering your knowledge base of flight and equipment in this hands-on way.

For an in-depth breakdown of the many different types of wings and how they affect flight, check out our article here.

GO WHERE THE PILOTS AND ENTHUSIAST ARE

As we said, go get you some flying friends! If you’re hitting dead ends online, here’s another way to not only find friends, but to surround yourself with aviation lovers: go to fly-ins and airshows. There are countless aviation-centered gatherings held around the world throughout the year. What better way to soak in some energetic skyward vibes than by jumping into a collection of pilots and air enthusiasts?

In the United States there are PPG specific fly-ins, along with other aviation-related events, including (but not limited to): The Palm Bay Fly-In and  The Sun n Fun Aerospace Expo in Florida; the Bad Apples/Hodges Field PPG Fly-In in Georgia; the Lycoming Balloon Festival in Pennsylvania; and one of the largest aviation and airshow events, Airventure Oshkosh in Wisconsin.

Of course, check out your local areas for other events, whether its PPG related, another balloon festivals, or a general aviation even, there are sure to be like-minded people in love with flying that might lend to your own enthusiasm.

So, will flying ever get old? Perhaps that’s up to you, however it doesn’t change the fact that there is more than one way to enjoy the world of paramotoring. Don’t be afraid to try flying, to make new friends, and to find places that support the wonderful experiences that the sport naturally brings.

The Spirit of Adventure and Flight Go Hand in Hand

The spirit of adventure is something that ensnares us all. Chasing the unknown, daring to explore places unchartered by ourselves. It’s a desire that’s fueled mankind since the dawning of time. And for the world of paramotoring the spirit of adventure and flight go hand in hand. Now you can soar the skies, go where few men are able, and let the winds direct your path into adventure from a whole new perspective. 

We all have dreams of flight and exploration, and now the sky’s not even the limit – it’s the road to more. Some may enjoy the bird’s eye view of their own backyard, others explore their home states, while even more cover the diverse spans of the nation. Even overseas travel and flight has inspired many a pilot to pursue adventure. It’s a well-kept secret that flying gives you access to portions of the world often barricaded via ground travel, it gives you a unique way to see the world, and very often you make new friends along the way. 

So, let us ask you, where is your dream flight? What destinations do you long to explore with your paramotor? The world is your oyster, and PPG is the pearl! Below we’ve highlighted some of Aviator’s own adventures as well as the adventures of our friends. 

Are you ready to fly? This is just a start. We live in a world of limitless possibilities!

SEE ALL 50 STATES LIKE NEVER BEFORE PARAMOTORING

With the vast and diverse landscapes that the United States has to offer, it’s a treasure trove for pilots and explorers alike. From deserts and canyons to meadows and streams, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, beaches low and mountains high, all 50 states promise unique, breathtaking views. Undoubtedly for U.S. pilots, getting to travel with the purpose of flying paramotors is a huge draw to the sport. Who wouldn’t want to experience the country from up high, like never before?

One of our favorite examples of a spirited adventurer is Aviator’s dear friend Harley Milne, founder of the 50 x Challenge, who has inspired us all to travel North America more. Harley’s dream was to see all 50 states of America after he immigrated many years ago, so when the idea came to him to FLY all 50 states something instantly clicked. In crafting the 50 x Challenge, Harley steadily checked of each state, while also earned money for charity in the process. Not only has he grown as a pilot, but Harley heartily affirms that “the world really is my oyster,” and adventure flying the U.S. has been nothing short of amazing.

Check out some of Harley’s Adventure Here:

FLY PARAMOTORS AND SEE PLACES YOU COULDN’T NORMALLY SEE FROM THE GROUND

Whether you’re in the U.S. or traveling overseas, one thing’s for certain, and that’s flying paramotors allows you to explore places you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. While hiking and driving along scenic places is always a draw, those outlets often have limits. To point out the obvious, there are trails to follow and barriers in places that limit exploration. The draw to adventure flying, regulations permitting, is that you’ve freed yourself from the roadblocks in taking to the skies.

As Aviator’s most famous alumni Tucker Gott showcased in his Icelandic adventure series, almost nowhere was inaccessible from the skies. From deep ravines to cascading falls, where walking left him at a distant viewpoint, flying allowed him to see a portion of the world that’s seldom trekked by man. Once again proving that the spirit of adventure and flight open doors to the world often lost because of physical barriers. Inspired yet?

EMBRACE NEW FRIENDS AND CULTURES THROUGH FLYING PARAMOTORS

Today you can now find people who fly all over the world. Pilots of all nationalities are soaring the beaches of Vietnam, sailing over cityscapes in Istanbul, and even exploring natural wonders little inhabited by humans. While regulations vary from country to country, we at Aviator have had our share of adventures in Costa Rica, Jamaica, portions of Europe, and across the United States, along with many other locations.

Check out some of our adventures with our Costa Rican friends:

Flying the world definitely has it’s draw, to say the least. Not only do people enrich their lives by exploring new lands, but they often make a whole slew of friends along the way. Paramotoring other countries opens up the doors to many, many new adventures all the while giving you a unique way to immerse yourself in the cultures at hand. Because, more than likely you’re doing more than fly when you travel, but you’re also mingling with the locals and soaking in as much of the sites as you can along the way. 

What better way to embrace the world than through flight? We couldn’t imagine a more in-depth, immersive, transformative outlet to experience travel. What might begin as a singular endeavor can turn into so much more as you see new places, make new friends, experience new cultures, and ultimately create a life of exploration – all from the completely unique perspective of flight. The spirit of adventure is undoubtedly tethered to flying, just as flying is tethered to the heart’s desire for exploration.

So, we’ll ask you again, are you ready to fly all of those places for yourself? Let the spirit or adventure and flight inspire you, and we’ll see you in the skies.

10 Reasons Why Flying Paramotors is NOT for You

It’s time to tell the truth. As difficult as that is sometimes, deep down we all know that honesty is the best policy, and for Aviator Paramotor we feel like it’s time to come clean… a recent inquiry into the minds of our students and into the public has led us to consider a very serious matter, something that could completely reshape our industry. It’s about flight itself and why it’s really not for everyone. Because this topic keeps resurfacing we feel that it needs to be addressed, and if we don’t talk about it perhaps we’ll never truly understand the real depths of independent flight. So, in an effort to move forward here it goes… let’s talk about why flying paramotors is NOT for you.

1. IF YOU HATE BEAUTIFUL VIEWS… FLYING IS NOT FOR YOU

Like we said, now’s the time for honesty if we ever want more people to understand the true nature of the PPG sport. So, the first issue we’d like to address are the beautiful views. If you’re someone who hates gorgeous sites from a bird’s eye view, then paramotoring is not for you. If you feel blinded and overly stimulated from the vibrant glow of the rising or setting sun, with it’s pink and purple hues and radiant golden waves, you really should consider a different hobby. It’s a crying shame that prime flying windows for paramotor pilots fall right around sunrise and sunset.

Really though, why bother soaring the skies when, as a natural land dweller, you can always look up? Actually getting to be one of clouds drifting from high above seems a bit pointless when it takes less than a 90 degree angle turn of the head to see them. It’s not exactly normal to wonder what it might be like to be a bird and see the world from above either.

We know it’s also a bit of a time waster. It only takes a matter of minutes to run into the sky in order to see views that only the highest mountain peaks have to offer, but that’s minutes spent on other important things – like scrolling through your Facebook feed or starting the next episode of your latest binge. Life’s a balancing act, after all.

2. FORGET FLYING IF YOU WANT LESS STRESS IN YOUR LIFE

If you’re someone who thrives on stress, forget flying paramotors! Like most of the world, it’s probably a big part of your life, there’s no need to distract yourself with a relaxing evening of flying after work. Definitely forget soaring your cares away too, what with the irritating glow of the setting sun kissing your face as a soft breeze embraces you in flight. It’s just intrusive at times.

Finding a way to get out of the rhythm of stressing at work, stressing over family ordeals, and stressing over life would only set you back. We are creatures of habit, as you well know, and diverting from the norm means you might experience something new. You might just experience something that makes you happy for once. Tranquility is overrated, and more often than not people describe flying paramotors as one of the most serene, peaceful things they’ve ever done in this world. Definitely don’t let that ruin your life of stressing… and then stressing some more.

3. LEARNING NEW SKILLS AND BETTERING YOURSELF IS OVERRATED

Speaking of new experiences, if you’re someone who hates learning and bettering yourself, flying paramotors is not for you. Who likes adding to their knowledge base, really? Come on now, that’s for eggheads and intellectuals and no one takes them seriously. Plus only a handful them ever end up on Jeopardy anyway, and if you don’t get to meet Alex Trebek then what’s the point?

@Blue Sky Chasers learned to fix paramotors, taking her skills to a whole new level

Could you learn all about wings and motors, weather and wind patterns, actually fly and spectacularly change yourself for the better? Of course you could! You could completely gain a brand new skillset, hobby, lifestyle change – joining the ranks of pilots and aviators – but that might make your life exciting. We’ve also heard that people who’ve learned to fly experienced incredible spiritual, emotional, and overall uplifting changes in their lives. But if you aren’t really interested in that sort of long-term effect, then flying isn’t for you, obviously.

4. DON’T FLY – YOU MIGHT MAKE TOO MANY FRIENDS WITH THE SAME INTERESTS

It’s another painful truth that flying paramotors attracts all sorts of people. They’re unique, interesting, and most certainly diverse. And yet, despite those differences too often people end up bonding over their completely niche love for PPG and gaining a brand new family of friends. Lots of them. 

Who can keep up with that many people? 

Further more, who wants to talk about their hobbies? That’s something you wait to bore all your relatives with at Thanksgiving dinner between the tryptophan induced comatose and dessert. So, you definitely don’t need a group of friends to share flying with.

Not only that, but then you start getting excited about fly-ins and hangouts, seeing your friends throughout the year at airshows, and wasting your time meeting up to fly paramotors together. It just changes your life too much. If you aren’t in the mood to add thoughtful, uplifting people to your world avoid paramotors altogether.

5. PPG ISN’T STREAMLINED ENOUGH, THERE’S TOO MUCH CHOICE IN HOW YOU FLY

How can we ever expect to broaden the sport of paramotoring when it just isn’t streamlined? A basic style of flying for everyone to follow would so much better for expanding to a larger demographic. Instead we have all kinds of pilots! We’re stuck with a huge variety of flyers.

People who enjoy leisurely cascading through the air get to fly as steadily as they want, like they were out for cruise on the town in their car… but so do people who like a bit more thrill. Have you seen those aerobatic pilots? They love flying dynamically, with speed, dexterity, and challenging themselves to reach new heights. Who needs that type of growth and versatility? Today’s modern individual like’s a streamlined pattern, and a sport that caters to some sort of imaginary individual-centric desire just isn’t going to appeal. 

No one ever claimed that diversity was the spice of life.

6. TOO MANY PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO FLY, WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT THAT?

Have you heard that men, women, and even children are able to fly paramotors? Of all shapes and sizes too. There’s just too many people suited to this sport, so if you’re looking for a place where only a select few can participate, PPG isn’t for you. 

Apparently all these weight lifters and gym rats have some competition now, so if you want to fly paramotors you should get ready to meet a lot of regular people. The average Joe and Mary love flying because apparently it has nothing to with strength and everything to do with learning to work the equipment. Paramotor pilots have figured out that precise utilization of the motor and wing generate power and lift that allows you to fly, it’s nothing to do with muscle and everything to do with finesse and physics. 

This just means loads of people can actually learn to fly, you don’t have to be talented or anything like that. Boring.

7. YOU MIGHT TRAVEL A LOT IF YOU START FLYING PARAMOTORS

It’s already silly enough that people fly just so they can look at beautiful sites, but it’s just ridiculous that they actually like to travel to fly too. Why waste your time and money, enriching your life, just to fly over all sorts of new, diverse landscapes and even around oceans? Isn’t the spot you have at home good enough?

This is a legitimate problem to consider, so if you’re worried you might start traveling a lot more just to fly over exciting and exotic places reconsider paramotoring. What’s wrong with your own backyard? Travel is overly glorified, let’s be real – how many people are actually interested in seeing the world, let alone new places in their own country? Most people are satisfied watching travel videos on Youtube, no one actually wants to see those places in person, let alone fly over them with a paramotor. Watching some twenty-something-year-old hipster fly his drone around is good enough.

8. GET READY TO WRECK YOUR MUNDANE SCHEDULE

If you aren’t ready to fit something that excites the soul into your lifestyle, maybe you shouldn’t fly paramotors. You’ll only wreck your mundane schedule of waking up, going to work, coming home, going to bed, and doing it all over again the next day. Instead you’ll just end up waking up a little earlier to start the morning off with a refreshing flight just before sunrise – you might even ditch your morning cup of coffee because flying is just too revitalizing of a way to start the day. After work you might start using flight as a relaxing way to unwind. And you weekends? Forget it. No longer will you find yourself wanting to sleep in only to veg out like a zombie on the sofa for the day. When the weather’s just right you’ll only waste your weekends off flying instead. 

 

Many of us don’t like to break the habitual, hobbies are too risky, and sometimes they do things like bring you joy. Think very hard about learning to fly if you aren’t in the mood for extra happiness.

9. NEW DISCOVERIES ARE FOR THE BIRDS

We know just how much the gorgeous scenery and traveling are turnoff for a lot of people, so definitely take into consideration that paramotoring leads you to new discoveries. Not only will it take you to new places you’ve never seen before, but the bizarre thing about flying is that you discover a lot about yourself in the process. There’s plenty of time for self-reflection as you take in the beauties of the world. Many PPG pilots have attested that they discovered new strengths, as well as re-awakened old passions through the process of flight. There are even a few people that have found a brand new zeal for life in this sport. They seem to believe it’s “refreshing” or something like that.

We don’t know about you, but that type of change is a little unnecessary. Who wants to discover more about themselves? That might change your life for the better.

10. THERE’S JUST TOO MUCH FREEDOM INVOLVED IN FLYING PARAMOTORS

We’ll say it again, you’ve probably never imagined what it’s like to fly – that’s just not normal. “What is it like to be a bird?” has probably never crossed your mind. Nor have you thought  things like “What if I could just soar into the sky on a whim?” or “I wonder if flying is like it is in dreams?”

It’s weird though, Paramotor pilots say flying is just like you imaged it would be. They seem to think that dreaming of flight has happened to just about everyone. Crazier still, they say it’s like being Peter Pan. You remember, right? “Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning?” How Peter would fly to Neverland but also soar over trees and through city streets too? For whatever reason, these guys have imaged flying is like being a kid all over again and living out some sort of long lost dream. But what do they know? They don’t fly every chance they get or anything like that. They aren’t often spotted high above the trees sailing through the skies like the birds themselves. 

Paramotor pilots experience too much freedom. Just look at them, they get to fly whenever they want, they have access to the best views, and they end up breaking away from ordinary life to enjoy happiness and make new friends.

As you can see, the actuality of flight poses a very serious issues to our PPG society. It seems that flying brings you freedom, happiness, new relationships, and challenges you to reach for more. Hopefully our efforts in exploring this sensitive topic has helped broaden your understanding on why flying paramotors is not for you, and if it has definitely don’t check out Aviator Paramotor’s training page for more information – you might fall victim to certain joys and freedoms too.

Eric Snyder: An Amputee’s Story of Flight

“Nothing can stop you. Your limits are whatever you put your mind to… ”

Breathe.

One deep, inhaling breath spreads across the lungs, as his eyes soak in the rising sun. The horizon beckons him forward. 

Exhale. 

Run. 

Pulling the throttle, a slight hum hum from the engine’s belly propels him on, sprinting, he chases the sky. One leg leads, the other mimics its stride, an imitation, but no less strong. Determined to feel flight, he runs and runs until he leaves the earth behind. 

 

 Eric’s story is no different than anyone else’s – he was determined to fly. And a fairly recent loss of his left leg wasn’t going to hold him back either. Perhaps by happenstance, or maybe there were greater works at hand, but as time would have it Eric found himself in flight school at Aviator on a very special date – the day he was supposed to begin his rigorous trek on the Appalachian Trail, March 14, 2020.

“I used to be really into backpacking,” he explained. “I’d be out for a week or two at a time going to different peaks of mountains up in the Adirondacks and stuff like that.

“I was planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail a couple of months before I lost my leg and my actual planned departure date was March 14, which was also the starting date of this class, so I felt like ‘I’ve got to do it – it’s meant to be.’ I signed up for the class 200 days before it started,” he said, a smile tugging at his face before adding, “So, before I came I was pretty much bothering my friends every day with a countdown; you know, ‘just another 100 days… ’”

Standing seven-feet tall, Eric was deemed a slender, gentle giant by his classmates, and “para-pirate” when he took his first flight. Greeting everyone with a smile, the warmth of his nature and light-hearted presence puts those around him instantly at ease.

One Foot in the Grave emblazoned across the back of his right calf is simply an outward testament of his jovial personality, but a constant stream of laughter and grins prove more than a sense of humor about Eric, as he takes everything in stride and his true heart comes out. He is tenacious, determined, and kind.

“This is definitely out of my normal bubble, per say. Like, five years ago I would never have been able to see myself flying around with a fan on my back and with a piece of fabric over my head,” he exclaimed. “I generally stay close to the ground – I was completely out of my element. 

“I definitely have a different perspective now – I’ve seen things I could never have seen before, in places I wouldn’t be able to get that kind of view,” Eric elaborated. “I thought flying was going to be way harder, but it wasn’t. It just came natural, it didn’t feel weird on my leg, or hurt, it was just fun.” 

 Having a heart for wandering, and newly altered mobility, the once avid hiker, snowboarder, and all-around outdoorsman sought a way to continue his life of endeavors, so taking the plunge to fly paramotors seemed like a good place to start. “I kind of thought of it as another way to explore nature like I like to, get some good views, without having to walk really far,” Eric beamed. “This was another way I could keep pursuing adventure.”

But flying isn’t even the end goal, as he recently made some big decisions regarding the rest of his life. From quitting his job, learning to fly paramotors, and starting his own business of creating custom cabinets and furniture, Eric chuckled before admitting, “I’ve kind of been winging it lately.

“I quit my job, came to do this. I saw it as a turning point in my life as I started my own little business thing. I was pretty miserable with the job that I had, even though it paid well, and I was just like ‘I don’t want to do this anymore, it’s time to figure out something else.’ I don’t really know where I’m going – but I’m going.”

 While the future is an uncertainty, the gentle giant admitted that since learning to fly it’s given him confidence in other aspects of his life. Seeing the possibilities of the future, coupled with that new found confidence, hope and ambition have been sparked.

With great enthusiasm Eric’s desire is to encourage others to pursue the same, no matter who they are.

For those in a similar situation to himself, he explained, “I’m pretty good on my prosthetic, it’s not too different [flying]. Instead of only putting my pants on in the morning, I put on my pants, then put on my leg. It doesn’t really hinder me most of the time. Sometimes I have to take it off during the day, it hurts me, but most of the time I don’t even think about it.”

“So if you’re thinking about it  – go for it! Definitely go for it,” Eric breathed excitedly, smiling yet again. “Nothing can stop you. Your limits are whatever you put your mind to.”