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SkyWeek Dolomites

Man flying parajet through gap in mountains

Daniel Kaye |

SkyWeek Dolomites

During the winter of 2023 SkySchool CFI Ricardo Maciel was invited to run an APPI ParaTrike Instructor Workshop in Northern Italy, which was organised by a local Pilot called Fabio. He was so impressed by the location that upon returning to the UK he could not wait to visit once again. His desire was further strengthened by Fabio’s invitation to run a trip there. We therefore studied the previous winter weather forecasts, put together a plan for February 2024 and promptly signed up 10 qualified pilots to join us on our first ever SkyWeek Dolomites trip.

Ricardo, Pete and Oscar drove the SkySchool van with the Paramotoring equipment from the UK out to Italy. From the moment they set off, it rained heavily. Not a great sign! Alex joined the team from Chamonix and the Pilots flew into either Venice or Treviso Airports. 

Having woken up on Day 1 we were all extremely relieved to see that the clouds had parted and that the winds were extremely light and favourable. In the Alps the trees start to thin out at about 2,000m however the snow line was well below this altitude, which made the surrounding mountains look even more stunning with a fresh covering of snow in the coniferous trees.

After providing the Pilots with the plan for the forthcoming week we went straight into setting up the Paramotors. Less than two hours later we were ready to fly in this stunning location for the first time. Alex was first up to test the air. He landed and then gave the Pilots a briefing on the surrounding area, the circuit pattern and the flight plan. The take off site was at 950m above sea level. The temperature was not that much above zero! The high altitude, low temperatures and virtually nil wind conditions required each Pilot to use the correct forward launch techniques. Naturally this was challenging as none of them had flown in an environment like this before, however they all quickly adapted and were rewarded with amazing views of the snow covered Dolomite mountains.

Prior to the trip each Pilot had purchased some Heated Gloves, a Flight Deck and extra warm clothing. All of this extra kit was especially important during long cross country flights however it did make feeling the throttle and the brake toggles quite a challenge. Other items Pilots used for flying in the mountains included goggles, buffs, flying suits, thick socks and ankle supporting boots. In order to navigate we used the Gaggle app on our phones, which meant everyone had to fly with a battery pack so the phones didn’t run out of juice due to the cold! Most Pilots were flying the Parajet Maverick with the Vittorazi Moster 185 engine, however some of the lighter pilots flew with the Atom 80 engine, which still produced enough power at these altitudes. When it came to wings, most of the Pilots were on Ozone Roadster 3’s or BGD Magics. It’s not the type of place for fast and dynamic wings, that’s for sure!

Half way through the trip we relocated to the coast north east of Venice. It was a surprisingly warm day which gave the Pilots a welcome respite from the cold! The conditions were also ideal for both forward and reverse launch, and at this time of year there were no thermals, making it possible to fly all day long. 

One of the best flights lasted over 2 hours and involved Pilots reaching altitudes of more than 3,000m! Alex flew with Fabio in his Fly Products Luna Trike, allowing them to guide the Pilots from peak to peak. They were lucky enough to fly over, as well as through, the famous Tres Cime mountains, also known as the Three Peaks. The footage and photos speak for themselves! Fabio said afterwards that we had been very lucky with the conditions as there was barely a breath of wind even at altitude, which is extremely rare.

The trip culminated in a day spent skiing in Cortina for those Pilots who were ‘flown out’. This included exploring some WW1 tunnels dug into the side of a mountain at 2,700m. We can therefore count this as yet another one of our Battlefield Tours!

What an unbelievable week, 6 days out of 6 being flyable!  Whether we are as lucky next year remains to be seen. You can watch the video of our epic trip here!

To reserve your space on the next year’s SkyWeek Dolomites trip contact us -  info@skyschooluk.com 

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