At the end of April I flew out with former SkySchool Student, Patrick Coleman, for the iconic location of Oludeniz in Turkey, the coastal town with the impressive Babadag mountain as the backdrop.
The next two weeks of our lives would be spent Paragliding, both under the instruction of Jack Pimblett of Rise Paragliding and independently. The trip to Oludeniz can best be described as the Paraglider’s Pilgrimage and this trip was our second to further our skills under the watchful eyes of the Rise team. We were joined on our course by a few familiar faces, all former SkySchool Students who have grown to become lifelong friends over the years.
The Rise team consists of Jack Pimblett, Theo de Blic, and Cesar Arevalo operating as Instructors and Blaise Brogan and Andrew Twitty as Launch Marshalls, each with their own impressive history immersed in Flying. What they collectively bring to the table is difficult to put into words, but if I were pressed to I would say humbled professionalism with rare inclusivity. Rise offers courses tailored to each Pilot’s journey. Whether your goal is to feel safer under the wing by going through the SIV manoeuvres or pushing further into the world of Acro with Stalls, Helis, and Rythmic SAT to infinity (and beyond), the team have you covered.
So where do we as Paramotor Pilots fit in, and why is an SIV course important to us? My first SIV with Rise was back in 2019, a year after I had started Paramotoring and six months after my first Paragliding flight. Having always Paramotored in benign conditions and on beginner/intermediate kit, I had never exposed myself to any worrying conditions, suffered no collapses and pushed very little in terms of spirals and wing-over progression. Looking back I believe the reason for this was that I knew an SIV was on the cards and it made sense to save any further progression for this course, where every aspect of safety is as calculated as possible. That said, I did suffer my first asymmetric collapse while Paragliding in Annecy, causing me to fly straight to landing as quickly as possible! Looking back with what I know now I am kicking myself at the thought of the missed flying all because of a small 40% deflation that came right with no Pilot input…
We do these courses because we are driven to progress as Pilots and we understand the risks of doing so in the wrong environment. The skills are for the most part transferable, certainly when it comes down to safety, between Paragliding and Paramotoring. One of our long-time Students, Jordan Schlipf, joined us for his second SIV having accomplished his first back in 2019. Needless to say, he had an unforgettable experience, but I asked him why, in his own words, he chose to go on these trips. This was his response;
"I was flying in Chamonix by myself one winter. Out of nowhere, I got an asymmetric collapse completely unexpected quite close to a ridge that I was gliding along. I over-piloted my wing, twisted my wing, and went for my reserve. In the process of reaching for my reserve my wing sort of fixed itself a bit, I managed to untwist the risers and eventually land but I absolutely shat myself. I realised I don’t really have the skill sets to be flying in those extreme conditions, the Alps. That’s why I joined Rise. I wanted to become a safer Pilot again and keep progressing so I could feel comfortable flying by myself. My first SIV with the rise in 2019 was game-changing, just a quality of teaching, a quality of progression, understanding my wing and the limits of it, it’s just intense as fuck as you know but there is literally nothing I have experienced in terms of sheer progression in skill set and mindset as a Pilot under Jack and Rise’s tuition. My mindset now is that if you do a Rise course once a year you will progress at an insane rate as a pilot and that just opens up so much more flying opportunities, preventing us from making any mistakes that will hurt us, because we all know it can be a dangerous sport!"
The successes I’ve had and the progression I have made as a Pilot make me want to share the experience, so much so my group of friends, all Paramotor Pilots, are sick of me asking them to join on the next SIV! That said, I did manage to convince SkySchool’s very own Cameraman, Oscar Manville-Hales, who had this to say following his recent trip with Rise;
"Lots of the Paramotor Pilots I know had done an SIV course out in Turkey with Rise Paragliding and they said that it had done them wonders in transitioning more smoothly into Paragliding with their already amassed Paramotoring skills. To have the benefit of training in such an excellent location, from take-offs as high as 1700m - 1900m, landing all the way down at sea level, you are given plenty of time and opportunity to gain the confidence needed to feel safer in the skies. I have since done an SIV with the guys at Rise and have had exactly the same results; gaining huge confidence in reading weather forecasts, equipment knowledge, reading conditions at take off, take off/aerial etiquette, how to recover from wing collapses etc. All of this combined has helped shape me into a safer pilot in a relatively short amount of time. I cannot recommend an SIV with Rise highly enough…"
Rise offer courses throughout the year and I would urge anyone who may be interested to contact me via email Dan@SkyOpsx.com