SkyWeek Brazil

feet on Parajet above the sea

Nicola Wallis |

SkyWeek Brazil

We are joined on this month’s 'Stories from the Sky' by Ted Drinkall, one of SkySchool’s most recent Assistant Instructors. He has just returned from SkyWeek Brazil, but while he was out there he graced us with his presence to talk about the trip and his time spent with SkySchool!

“Hello Ted!”

“Hey Dan, how are you doing?”

“All good thanks, how are you? It sounds like you have some noisy paramotors in the background!”

“Yeah we do indeed! We have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Paramotors, we’ve got one guy setting up tandem, we have a trike setting up, it’s all happening here!”

“Excellent, a nice busy day then! So it makes sense to start at the beginning of your SkySchool journey, where did it all begin for you?”

“So it all began probably 3 years ago now, during Covid. I thought it would be fun to start something new whilst we were all stuck inside. I booked onto a SkySchool course in the UK. I did my first week in Hinton, thoroughly enjoyed it, and then went over to Portugal to do my second week. We had perfect weather, some incredible flights, and I passed and became an APPI PPG Pilot. University then took hold of my life for another year or so. As soon as I finished I bought the equipment through SkySchool and flew as much as I possibly could for the next year, before contacting Alex to see if there was an opportunity to come and fly more with you guys and help out in the school!”

“Excellent Ted, and you’ve done a lot with us since then! You recently became an Assistant Instructor alongside Jef Leirs. Very well deserved!”

“Yeah, so towards the tail end of last summer I joined the team in Hinton and spent a month and a half with them learning the ropes and fine tuning my skills, before eventually joining SkySchool out in Portugal, which was fantastic, towards the end of the 2023 season. Sorry, some Paramotor noise in the background!”

“We’re used to that!”

“And I’ve just finished my third stint with SkySchool in Bornos in March, and now I am over in Brazil with Ricardo!”

“You’ve packed a lot in! And now Brazil. You’ve been there for a week now! I’ve seen photos and I am very jealous… How is the trip going?”

“It’s going really well! Every day bar 1 has been flyable. Everyone’s enjoying it, we’ve had lots of lovely cross countries across the coastline, stopping at restaurants for lunch. Yesterday we had a sightseeing day in Rio. Today we headed from our base in Saquarema, about 40-50 km down the coast towards Rio, to Rio Paramotor where we have our Brazilian Paramotor friends. We are joining them for lunch, and then another cross country to Elephant Rock which is another 30 km towards Rio, so yeah, it’s going to be a really good day.”

“I remember it well, I flew there back in 2021 on the first SkyWeek Brazil. We flew over Elephant Rock, it was fantastic. I was just trying to remember, it was post Covid, a few people on the trip got Covid, adding stress to the end of the trip!”

“Haha we will keep that out of the blog post! Yeah exactly, so this afternoon will be exciting. Just starting a ParaTrike up in the background so excuse the noise! Yes, all is good…”

“So Ted, how was the journey out there, was it pretty straightforward?”

“Fairly straightforward Dan. I flew out straight from my time with SkySchool in Spain, so I went from Malaga to Lisbon, then Lisbon to Rio. Everything was fairly straightforward, although I did have to sleep on the floor in Malaga airport! I arrived in Rio and thought it would be a shame not to spend a night there, so I booked into a hotel right on the beach. The next morning I went for a beach walk and saw some Paragliders flying in the mountains in the distance. I couldn’t help myself so I grabbed my paragliding stuff, hitched a lift to the top of the mountain and did my first bit of spring/summer paragliding in a mountainous region.”

“I think that is probably the coolest and most typical SkySchool story I have ever heard. You wake up in a beach hotel, see some Paragliders, grab your kit and go flying!”

“Honestly, I had to check out of the hotel by 12:00 but they allowed me to keep all of my bags in a storage room. I walked out and spoke to a guy who spoke very little English, he asked for my Paragliding license, I showed him, he chucked me in a car with some tandem passengers and drove me to the top. It was terrifying, but also amazing!”

“Perfect Ted, well done! So you obviously brought your Paragliding kit with you. You also brought your Parajet Maverick Moster with you?”

“Yeah, exactly, I’ve got my Parajet Maverick Moster 185, my BGD Magic, and my Gin Switch 2 with me for my Paragliding stuff, and my Gin reserve. So yeah, got everything with me. After this I’m heading straight to Switzerland to do some adaptive ski training, and I thought I’m not going to miss the opportunity to Paraglide whilst I’m away. So straight from here, back to Spain to drop off my Paramotor kit for the next SkySchool courses starting 21st April. Then I’m flying straight to Geneva, hopefully to do some Paragliding and more skiing.”

“Excellent. Just back to Brazil quickly, how would you describe your typical day? I mean, you’re waking up on the beach and doing cross countries up and down the coast, right?”

“Yep, pretty much. So the hotels we’ve been staying in are all along the beachfront. We get up, have breakfast, and at around 9 am depending on the weather and when the sea breeze kicks in, we meet at HQ and set up the kit, refuel, go through the briefing and then fly!”

“Sounds pretty perfect! And when you’re not flying?”

“When we aren’t flying, we eat a lot! There are loads of restaurants on the beach, so we fly down to them, eat, then take back off and fly back to base! We have been across to Cobo which is further North than Rio, to a lovely beach about 40 km away from HQ, and then a boat trip. The boat trip on the weekend was fantastic. Crystal clear water, swimming all day, it was just sublime.”

“So you’re there and I am here and it’s raining and windy and you get to swim in crystal clear waters. Is that what is going on?”

“That is exactly what’s going on Dan. My top is off. It’s too hot! Way too hot…”

“Yeah, I’m definitely jealous. So I take it you’re planning to go next year?”

“That sounds like a plan, I’ll be looking forward to it very much!”

“Excellent. And finally, what other trips have you got planned Ted, anything exciting?”

“Well to be fair heading back out to Spain after Switzerland will be lovely. I know Alex and I are planning to go to Normandy for a SkyWeek in May / June, yeah, it’s hard to keep track! I’m trying to do as much Paragliding as possible! Oh, and the SIV!”

“SIV! I was going to see if you had forgotten about that!”

“Yes, I had forgotten the SIV! Yeah, honestly that shows how packed and amazing the last few weeks have been. I’d forgotten I’d booked an SIV in Turkey with Rise Paragliding in May. Heading out for two weeks with Jef to meet up with some of the SkySchool team and some old students, to better our flying skills, get more comfortable in the air, and recover from incidents!”

“Fantastic. Well Ted, I’m going to let you get back to your sunbathing and your busy schedule with all of the flying and dealing with SkySchool Pilots. You have fun, fly safe, and I’ll speak to you soon!”

“Sounds perfect, Will do. Enjoy the rain…”

“I’ll do my best, thank you very much Ted!”

For more information on SkyWeek Brazil, or any of our upcoming flying trips contact us.

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