Originally, when I was 14, I started flying sailplanes, going solo when I was 15.
While I enjoyed this I wanted to do a sport with more freedom. Naturally, I discovered paramotoring and did a 12-day course with SkySchool in the UK when I was 16 years old in 2020. In the last 3 years, I have been flying at every possible opportunity in England, Spain, Portugal, France, Turkey and Brazil, while also working as a Trainee Instructor for SkySchool.
I was first motivated to compete in this year’s British Open as a result of SkyWeek Brazil, where I had the opportunity to practice both Precision and Navigation tasks. When back in Spain in May I managed to secure sponsorship from Liberty Paramotors who encouraged me to enter the British Open in Kent at the end of June.
Considering this was my first competition, the marshals and the other pilots made it very easy for me to learn the format. In all, every one helped to make it a very enjoyable experience. Over the 4 days of competition, despite the poor weather forecast, we had the opportunity for 6 hours of navigation tasks plus 2 precision tasks. The first window went well, scoring 1000 points on both a snake task and a constant speed task, followed by 953 points on a declared speed task.
However, the next day of the competition proved more difficult. With strong wind and turbulent conditions, many people were unable to be competitive, however, the Freeride 2’s speed gave me an advantage over many other pilots and enabled me to collect several turn points and complete part of a navigation task. On the final evening of the competition, we had enough window to do a spot landing and a bowling task. The energy in the glider as well as the lightness of the Liberty chassis helped to make these tasks easier.
I was happy to place 2nd both in the Open and the National competitions and to get Best Newcomer. Throughout the year I will be practising for all aspects of the Classic Competition in preparation for the competition season next year. I look forward to competing in more events and also improving my acrobatic paragliding. However, as I will be studying for my degree in aerospace engineering, I sadly will not have the same flying opportunities with SkySchool as in previous years!