In their own words, here's a little lowdown on a few of our Icarus X pilots that will be hitting the skies later. You can keep track of the race here.
I am planning on entering into Race Class. I’m in to win it with a side of adventure while making sure I don’t have to change my undies to many times.
I have about 130 hours of flying paramotors and I was trained By David Wainwright the main man.
I Mainly fly the flat country outback area I live in so I am looking forward to the challenges of the mountains and what the adventure has to offer. My usual flying area is so flat I can watch my dog run away for a week. Once I’m in the air the view is endless. We often fly to chase the odd feral animal or find some stray stock for the farmers on the ground. Most of my flying to date would be in the 2 – 10 meter height range but I have done the odd flight to 3000 + meters just to blow out the cobwebs and chill my beer.
I have wanted to the US Icarus since David told me he was going the first time. Unfortunately small business and family commitments has limited the funds and time available to complete the main event. I have been an avid armchair racer since watching Dave, Scotty and Dean the “chicken man” fly their way across the states. It’s a shame Dave couldn’t make it this year as I would of liked to see him and Tucker battle it out.
Let’s see where the adventure takes us all. Can’t wait.
I am 95% sure I will be in adventure class, unless weather forecast is absolutely perfect.
I started learning paragliding 3yrs ago, have flown in NZ, France and Switzerland (highlight a sleddie from Jungfraujoch with snow launch). Not a huge amount of experience but some time on speedwing as well. Did my paramotor endorsement with Dave Wainwright a year ago.
Signed up for the Icarus X to gain more experience, meet more PPG pilots, have fun and most importantly to learn more from the 2 time Icarus Champion Dave Wainwright
I'll start off in Race division and fall back to Adventure if needed
Learnt para-motoring in 2015 with Poliglide via the straight through PPG syllabus (evidently I was the first in Australia). I have 127 hours experience most of it flying at Lake George which is about 20km by 5km with bumps of perhaps 10 cms. When the Icarus X was cancelled earlier this year, Matt Smith and I went on the "Not the Icarus X adventure" to Victoria - see the video below.
I've been infatuated by flight forever. I tried to learn to fly a hang glider in the 70's . Thankfully the glider was so fragile that something always broke before I got too far off the ground. I ended up learning to hang glide in the late 80's when gliders were much stronger and safer. And then in 2015 I learnt to fly a paramotor and my hang glider has not been off the shelf since. I imagine that when I next fly it, I will thermal up to 5000 feet and I will hear a little voice say: "Peter, you have not played with me much lately ... now you are in my world."
I find the magical and technical aspects of flying very evocative. Flying a paramotor is also a good way to appreciate my real place in the world ... as a small speck of meat in a large and indifferent sky.
I'm not "in it to win it" for a couple of reasons. I'm flying a slow wing that flies at 39 kph and when fully accelerated it tops out at 41 kph. My next wing (on order from MacPara) is a lottle faster. Another reason is that over the last month my powerful but very punctilious little motor has not been reliable. I think its demands have now been satisfied (with help from Skymec Scotty) but two short (43 minutes in total) trouble free flights are not enough testing to allow me to focus on winning rather than safe landing options in case of more engine problems. And at my age, the goal is to be still moving when everyone else has stopped because they have reached the end.
But I have already won by being born in a time and place where I can carry my motor and wing, set it up in 20 minutes, take off from a small paddock and do significant flights up to 140 km and up to 9,999 feet (outside controlled or restricted airspace). Leonardo would be very envious.
I’ll compete in race class and see how I go I’m not in it to win it but will give it my best shot I just want to finish unsupported. I’ve flown in the mountains in NZ and done coastal flying here. I decided to enter to challenge myself and basically have a good time
I’m a Kiwi living in Sydney and have around 10 hours flying I trained at high adventure with Dave and got hooked on the sport. Turns out Kiwis can fly
I’m a mechanical fitter in the M4 tunnel project in Sydney, so spend most of my time underground in the dark and try and make the most of the sun when I get out so flying helps with that
Adventure. Unless I manage to get way ahead and find a way to survive on my own.
Green. I am green as. Last month I completed my Powered Paragliding Certificate. F-Yeah!
After looking at paragliding for years and thinking it was probably boring; kinda like mowing virtual grass in the sky, it finally dawned on me that it might be a little like the flying we dream of when we were kids. After a false start (weather) at the free course, and then watching lots of YouTube videos my wife and I were booked into High Adventure's paragliding course. I had totally forgotten that I really don't like heights, or flying.
It's a pity my first flight wasn't a flight at all, but a shitty half-arsed tentative attempt at launching that ended with me falling in cow shit. After repairing the propeller (watching Dave repair it) over lunch, we headed to the beach where the real magic happened. I still have no adequate words for that first powered flight. There was something shit scary, but very exhilarating and magical about it all.
I'm a desk jockey in a council IT department. I met an Erica from NZ and married her. She's nice (she also kindly offered to be back-up support). I try not to take things too seriously. I don't watch much TV. I like being outside. We get one life, and I don't want to have too many regrets at the end of it.
The race kicks off later on today. Keep track of the action here.