I sort of spaced on blogging for the past couple months– I’ve been really busy running the school and keeping up-to-date on software engineering (I can’t live on flying alone– yet). I’m considering a vast expansion of the school next year or 2020, but the details and the debt are a little scary. Approximately 120 people asked for lessons or details since this Spring, and I’ve had to wait-list almost everyone. I sold my school motors in the Spring… whoops!
Last month Diana and went to France to visit the Coupe Icare. It’s a free-flying festival (with paramotors too!) attended by over 100,000 people. I rubbed shoulders with the manufactures of our wings and motors, and examined new technology. The crowds were a little overwhelming, and I peopled-out after a collective 2 hours of waiting in various lines. The show was spectacular– I’m not going to post all the pictures, but do look up this event sometime! Before and after the Festival, I flew Annecy and Chamonix, two paragliding sites in the Alps. These are European free-flight hubs. There is plenty of infrastructure for moving pilots around in Chamonix.
I didn’t really blog about all the wonderful people I met who came to learn how to fly. Everyone has been enthusiastic about it, and it was fun to watch their skills click. The tandems have been a useful tool for introducing prospective pilots to PPG flight. I’ve been teaching and doing tandems every weekend. I even had the privilege to fly some of my friends, family, and friends’ family tandem and show them what we’re doing up there.
I’m finding it takes A LOT longer to get you flying around here if you can only take weekends off. Though the 9-day compressed courses weren’t ideal (I want to do 14-day courses next year), they did get pilots up and flying sooner.
The season is coming to an end soon, but I’m still available for Tandems and one-off lessons. On the plus side, the Town of Biddeford just started clearing the Japanese Knotweed off the north-facing kiting hill (just in time for the winter’s north wind).