Race Report - Week 1 Round Up

Yesterday's sun summoning dance didn't work and there is a weather front moving across the Icarus Course. For the weather geeks, we've got the lowdown in this handy weather report updated daily. For the non-weather geeks, we understand it's like Glasgow in January over there.  Not good for flying. 

So today our pilots are grounded. With no flying to talk about, we are going instead for a classic sitcom trope: today's report is going to be a Clip Show.  

The Icarus Trophy began last Saturday with the qualifying weekend. Cayle Royce, a double amputee flying with a custom built trike and the support of Help for Heroes, had a frustrating time when two different engines failed on him. Luckily, he managed to dodge the tall trees surrounding Eatonville and find a suitable landing zone. Alex Ledger to the rescue:

Well this morning could have gone better!!!

Posted by Alex Ledger on Sunday, October 11, 2015

Even the Adventurists own Mr Tom, got the seal of approval from the race team, although SkySchool's Alex Ledger and Icarus race referee said "he keeps overshooting the 3000ft runway."  So room for improvement then?


Day 1. Ahhhhh launch day. Mr Tom, inventor of the Icarus Trophy, managed to land in manure. So did Bobby Frankham, inventor of the flying Reliant Robin. "It was definitely pig shit, you could smell it" said our source. An excellent start.

Bryan West, an instructor at Austin Paramotors,  had a fantastic mornings flight, before a problem with his throttle cable meant he had to land in the hills north of Portland.

His morning flying companion David Wainwright made it all the way to Bend, land of micro-breweries. 

It takes a long time to get twenty four pilots off the ground from one airfield and especially as the conditions got gradually worse. The group of Adventure Class who missed the window decided to make a road move to an airport with better conditions. They congregated at Chehalis Golf Course, and prepared for Day 2.

Byron Leisek, co-owner of Team Fly Halo and Ryan Southwell, videographer, try to catch up on the ground they lost after getting parked over a mountain on Day 1. Luckily, on Monday night they "landed at an airport with a hot tub and washing machine."  Jackpot. Even with this promising set up to Day 2, they still had a slightly rocky time - only narrowly escaped a collision with a Delta 747 plane. 

Anyone who completes this race is a total beast
— Bryan West

Further south, Bryan realises he can't make the necessary repairs to his throttle cable in time to finish and win, so he decides to drop out. 

On the eastern side of the Cascades, Kristan Fischer, Aussie adventure man, is flying pretty quickly. So quickly in fact, that his girlfriend in his support RV got a speeding ticket trying to keep up with him.

Day 2 was also the day that we received this video of David Wainwright's incredible take-off from a truck stop. Owner of High Adventure Paragliding, David's been motoring since 2012, picking it up after four years of free-flying. This guy's a pro and this launch shows it:

This guy just stopped at the premier Fueling station a quick snack and off he went like a Boss!!

Posted by Ellsworth Lang on Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Day 3 was dominated by the nailbiting finish of the leading two pilots. As they raced down past Sacramento to the finish line at Blackhawk Paramotor Ranch, Fisch's landed at 1115PST. David, arriving four minutes later, took the Trophy for Race Class. 

 Tom and his new friend, the tree

Tom and his new friend, the tree

Elsewhere, Mr Tom decided to take on the Mt Hood pass. It went a bit wrong though, and he got entangled in a tree.

Team Below Us the States: Edward Hamilton, a trader living in Singapore, and Harrison Waugh, a project engineer, also took on the same route but with slightly more success. It was "just magic" said Harry. They managed to get over the pass, although not quite to the next airfield and trekked the last few miles on foot. 

This is Mr Tom taking off on Wednesday morning. 100% visibility. Shockingly, this wasn't when he hit the tree. 

This guy on the other hand, knows exactly what he's doing:


Day 4 was the day that ByRy arrived at Blackhawk. After a hairy few days, with two engine failures on day 3 they were thrilled to make it: "Four exciting days that were such a blast. Best wingman ever" said the Ry about the By.  "Ryan, You can be my wingman any day" said the By about the Ry. I guess they enjoyed it then. 

Their words come illustrated too, thanks to professional photographer Ryan:


On Day 5 James Borges, a experienced sailor and member of Icarus Team Wing it hit a snag trying to cross Klamath Falls. When his phone (and therefore map) conked out and his back-up compass turned out to be polarised he was forced to, literally, wing it. Nominative determinism strikes again. 

Meanwhile Bobby was flying with Ben Ingram, an avid motorbike fan, east of the Cascades when they had their own spot of trouble. Taking a wrong turn and getting pinned on a ridge they made an emergency landing and a new friend in a state trooper.  

Friday's late-breaking story was of Ed Hamilton's escapades. He also made an unexpected landing in the middle of nowhere but still managed to run-into a friend of teammate Harry's mum, which under any normal circumstances would be noteworthy. Except that what happened next was so much more bizarre.  Dropped off at a gas station and with Dorris an inflexible goal, Ed attracted the attention of a toothless itinerant truck driver: "I'm not going that way but if you pay for my gas I guess I could be." 

He opened up the back of his truck and it turns out he lives in his truck, has no teeth and he’s quite clearly a meth addict
— Ed Hamilton

Everything was going swimmingly then, until the weather descended: "when they're tying down the chase plane, you know its the time not to fly" said Ed. Wise words.

There there, Mr Tom. Our weather geek is hopeful things might improve as early as tomorrow afternoon. Or Monday. Or Tuesday. Apparently the experienced weatherman knows not to make promises. 

Joolz Ingram


Content overlord at Adventurist Towers