Stories from The SkySchool Family: Harry's Story


My Directing Staff were muttering disapproving tones from behind me whilst I clambered up a sixty-degree muddy slope in the middle of the Bruneian jungle. Excruciating cramps had started to kick in and my coordination was failing causing me to bounce left and right between the trees. My memory here begins to fade. Finally, I lost consciousness and collapsed…
Harry's Paramotoring Story from SkySchool

That single moment, Charles, was the conclusion of a 10-year military journey which had taken me from the Commando Course in 2005, through Sandhurst in 2008, two kinetic operational tours of Afghanistan and three failed attempts at SAS selection. The magnitude of ‘what the f**k do I do now’ didn't properly hit me until a month later. I was back in London during the chilly spring of 2016 and, like generations of soldiers before me, it was time to figure out what I wanted to do in the real the world. Life as a soldier ticks most of the boxes for people with an adventurous streak but the civilian world was clearly going to be very different! As long as I could find a new challenge or adventure with some like-minded people I would be satisfied.

Paramotoring with Harry at SkySchool

My flying journey started in May 2006. I had returned home to Dorset from Exercise Trade Winds in Jamaica with Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines. While languishing around the house, as 19 year olds do, my loving (nagging) mother told me to meet up with Alex Ledger who she had heard through the Dorset ‘jungeldrums’ was doing some ‘parasailing thingy’ and was looking for someone to join him. I went to meet him in the pub in Mere that day, and within an hour of our conversation I found myself soaring above the South Wiltshire countryside! This was the start of a 2-year stint as a Paragliding and Paramotoring Instructor which took me to Cyprus, Spain and France. In doing so I not only developed a lifelong passion for flying but also a strong friendship with Alex, both of which are summed up in this film we made in Nepal.

Paramotoring Courses with SkySchool

In late 2007 I joined Sandhurst where I met Ed Robinson who promptly became another best friend. A kindred spirit, we bonded through the adversity of miserable, wet military exercises during which I would regale him with flying stories of Alex and I. Little did I know at the time that I was sowing the seeds of what would become SkyOps Executive Ltd 10 years later.

Both friendships were forged through adventure and having a disgraceful amount of fun together. However, sadly in life one must also deal with the inevitable hardships that come our way. In 2012 I was serving in Afghanistan as a Captain and Troop Commander on my second tour leading a Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF) troop. My point man, Cayle Royce (Roycey), knelt on an IED whilst climbing out of a ditch amidst a firefight. It instantly amputated both of his legs and caused immeasurable and irreversible damage to the rest of his body. The most inspirational man I have ever met, he not only survived 48 days in a coma (dying several times over the period), but within a year and a half he had rowed across the Atlantic Ocean. During the early days of his recovery I asked Alex to visit Roycey and see if a) it would be possible for him to fly and b) see if he was interested; the answer was a resounding ’Yes Boss’. One of the most satisfying moments in my life was helping Roycey take off and fly in tandem with Alex on the same ridge where I had experienced my first flight 7 years before hand. Since then Roycey has flown up the Rift Valley in Kenya with the Flying for Heroes expedition and learnt how to fly solo in a ParaTrike. In 2015 he completed the inaugural Icarus Trophy and then flew the length of the UK in 2016, both record breaking achievements. It’s amazing what is possible when you put your mind to it!

Paramotoring with the team at SkySchool

I am therefore extremely proud to be part of this exciting new enterprise which aims to spread the joy and excitement of Paramotoring, Paragliding, and ParaTriking, in a safe and professional manner, around the world. Alex, Ed, and I had always dreamt of working together and as it turns out our passion for flying and enjoyment of life has not only made this dream a reality but also brought us together as lifelong friends. If our past is anything to go by, the future could be quite exciting, so watch this space...

So if you are thinking of learning to fly, already fly and looking to take it to the next level or simply want to know more about how to get involved with the SkySchool Family please do get in touch.

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