Well, now I've gone and done it.
I don't know if I ever blogged about drones and my frustration with our rules regarding drone use in Canada, but to put it nicely, they're ridiculous.
What Transport Canada has done is force owners to spend hundreds of dollars on training in order to fly a drone legally as well as create no-fly zones far larger than logic would require as well as making it mandatory to file a flight plan with the feds prior to flying. It is because of all this red tape that I have decided to take my aerial photography in a different direction when the opportunity presents itself.
A couple of years ago during my midnight surfing of YouTube's "Recommended Videos" section, I stumbled on a guy named Tucker Gott from New Jersey. His videos were first-person recordings of himself flying his powered paraglider. If you click the link and open a few of his videos, you might find yourself also interested in this sport!
Why is this better than a drone? It gets you in the air, taking in the view that nobody else can, not just seeing it on a video screen. You get to see the view, smell it, taste it. You can fly above the clouds or skim a couple of feet above the ground! I don't know about you, but that sounds like magic come to life.
While powered paragliding is expensive, it's an investment that will last a few years before upgrades and replacements of gear (assuming I don't break anything too often). I had hoped to get into it last year, but besides having a lot going on in my life, money wasn't there to do it and training just wasn't going to be possible. Today I still don't have money, but you know who does? VISA!
With the help and training from Andre Zeman of Powered Paragliding Ontario, I will begin lessons at the end of May and if it goes well (and the weather cooperates), by June 1 I should be well on my way toward having the required number of flights and hours to become licenced.
Andre's website goes into great detail of what is involved in participating in the sport, I think from the new pilot's perspective, documenting the journey can give great insight to others who may think they would like to enter as well. I'm planning on taking lots of photos and video as time goes on so others can be fully informed about what they're thinking of getting into.
Powered Paragliding is pretty physical - the rig weighs somewhere around 70 pounds and requires you to run with the motor on your back to get up the speed to get airborne. Well, that's going to take some serious getting used to. It's very heavy and very awkward. I can't imagine how it will be with the propeller spinning. I can see myself face-planting pretty hard. Hopefully the GoPro captures that.
For now, here's where I'm at as of today:
I've gone ahead and bought my essential equipment. I'm guessing many don't do that until their lessons are done, but I know what I want when it comes to sports so I commit. Here's what I'm working with on Day 1:
- Kangook Paramotor from RS Ultra
- Cima PWR wing (orange)
- GoPro Hero 4
- Tylenol & Advil
- Patience and truckload of enthusiasm!!
I'll be needing a few other things either before or soon after training like a wind sock and some other accessories and maybe, just maybe, a rescue chute. I'm expecting to make a few blog posts as this goes on and who knows, maybe I'll post some videos of flights. Who am I kidding, of course I will. Fingers crossed that they go smoothly. I fully expect there will be bumps and bruises but hopefully no serious injuries!
Stay tuned for more!