Jamie Campbell's training UK or Abroad

Today we have esteemed Jamie Campbell sharing with us his experiences in paramotor training and the million pound question. To train here in the UK or abroad? I trust you will find his insights and humour enlightening.

- By Jamie Campbell

"Deciding where to train for paramotoring (or paragliding) can be a dilemma for novice Pilots. The UK sounds easy as it’s on the doorstep and we feel that maybe we could train over a couple of weekends whereas training abroad, which many people rave about, seems a bit of a hassle and means we need to take a week’s holiday.

I have done both so I think I can help any would be pilots with this dilemma. My first paragliding course was in Dorset - I spent a week in the rain and with high winds which meant all I got for my money was the exciting chance to buy some kit which I couldn’t use. Thereafter I did all my Paragliding training abroad and had a great time. My first Paramotor course was also in the UK, in 2012 - three days of dodgy weather followed by a rushed and therefore unsurprisingly fouled takeoff which left me having to fork out on a new propeller for the school. Since then all my training has been abroad - and I have had an awesome time.

I did a lot of research in choosing my school with which to train abroad and asked various paragliding schools and other flyers for their tips. The unanimous advice was to try SkySchool. So off I trotted to Spain for a week’s basic training with them. The weather was perfect - early morning and afternoon training with lectures and sunbathing during the middle of the day. I learnt quickly because I was immersed in the environment and managed probably four or five hours a day ground handling (I was driven and determined) and so I progressed to powered flight rapidly. By the end of the first week, I was competent in general flight in good weather and had a great tan.

Spain Paramotoring Holidays James Campbell

Coming home to England I joined a club and managed a lot of local flying albeit sporadically because of our uncooperative weather. In an effort to rapidly gain skills I toddled off to Spain for a further two courses over the next year and learnt my intermediate and advanced skills. Since then I have also popped off to Italy each year for a week's general flying with SkySchool when I felt that I needed some serious airtime to polish skills becoming rusty through English rain.

By the way, SkySchool is running courses in Italy next month from 10th Sept - 8th Oct. Take a look here and join the crew.

All that led to me being invited onto SkySchool expeditions - I have done two separate expeditions to the WW1 battlefields, flying the Somme, Ypres, Cambrai and Vimy Ridge - even flying over the site of the Red Baron’s fatal crash! Sadly, I missed out on the John O Groats to Land expedition through other commitments, however, I will be flying the desert adventure in Oman this winter.

Check out winter courses and flying trips in Oman from 20th October onwards.

So, flying abroad has given me bags of airtime, allowed me to fully develop my skills and has led to some amazing adventures. It has also meant that flying at home has been much easier for me - and more fun - because my toolkit of skills was built solidly through rigorous and sustained practice. Of course, I’m feeling a bit rusty now as our summer has not been kind to us Para Pilots. So, in a couple of weeks, I’m off to the Alps for a few days Paragliding with SkySchool where I should get serious airtime and bring my skills back up to standard.

If you live in the UK and plan to do most of your flying there, I suggest you train abroad to get the best bang for your buck!"

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