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.
1. Saw a video of some crazy kid on YouTube last year flying up to 15,000 feet and here I am.
2. Let’s just say my nickname will likely be Caboose by the end of the race.
3. Looking to enjoy the 30-40 degree tropical paradise down in Florida.
I've been flying for 7 years. I'm a retired Fire Captain/Paramedic from Maryland. I've lived in Florida for 10 years. I fly a Nirvana HL230 and a 24m Dudek Nucleon XX Or a 25m Dudek Universal. I'm in the Adventure Class just to have fun and push my limits. I'm flying to raise awareness for Lyme disease. It's going to be colder than a saline tit on a winter Wisconsin night and I don't even own winter clothes. I predict I'll freeze to death before reaching altitude. My plan is to complete the first leg on Friday and sleep at home in Melbourne Beach Friday night. I may not get up on Saturday. We'll see.
Been flying for 2 years almost. It’s my first Icarus, so I’m a newbie.
If I win, I win, otherwise I’m in it for the adventure. I will say I have yet to launch with this much gear, so it’s going to be exciting.
Love doing new things, it keeps life interesting.
Team pilot Jon Eisele is proud to represent Resurgence PPG, a 501c3 adaptive sports charity focused on helping disabled and ill veterans overcome new life challenges through powered paragliding.
Resurgence PPG provides personal flight experiences to adaptive capable wounded, disabled, and ill service members and veterans through the exposure of tandem paramotor training flights and solo training progression. The exposure to personal flight is both therapeutic and rehabilitative, as it allows the participant to overcome personal challenges in order to experience a type of freedom experienced by very few lucky souls.
Jon is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, where served with the 2d Marine Division in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and Sangin, Afghanistan. Having been taught by his father to fly an airplane long before learning how to drive a car, he has been enthralled with all aspects of aviation throughout his entire life. He is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, where he earned a Commercial Pilot License with Multi-Engine and Instrument ratings, and Bachelors Degree of Aeronautical Science. Jon learned how to fly paramotors at Aviator PPG in 2014 before joining the team in 2016. There, he contributed a wealth of instructional skill, leadership, knowledge, and customer service acumen, and was also instrumental in bringing the first ever paramotor aerobatics event to a major U.S. air show at EAA Air Venture in Oshkosh, WI. Today, Jon continues to teach at Aviator PPG, in addition to ParaCosta in Jaco, Costa Rica.
Jon says he's in it to win it… "I’ve wanted to compete in Icarus for the longest time, but until now have never had either the financial means or opportunity."
First regretter of choosing Race over Adventure for Florida Icarus last year.
I've done dozens of hundreds of flights.
Friday, August 3rd 2011, I took my first solo flight on a powered paraglider trike.
The backstory: I had seen videos of paramotoring on YouTube and knew I had to do it one day! But I didn't know it would happen so soon.
It was the summer of 2012, my friend and I were having lunch and and he located a paramotor for sale on Craigslist.
Within a month or two, I sold a 2007 Honda CBR1000RR to buy my new toy. I bought a Fresh Breeze Simonini, Skip One Trike and a 30m Power Atlas.
At the time, I had no real knowledge of the quality of equipment I was getting, but it got me in the sky.
My first training session was 3 hours on a Friday night. I had my first flight that night, about 15 minutes. I was mixed with emotions and feelings at the time, as this was completely new to me and my training was very brief. I would describe that first flight like being a grown adult and riding a roller coaster for the first time in your life! (August 2012)
The next morning at 6am, we started training for 3 more hours and I had my second flight, which was about 45 minutes. At that point, I took my equipment home and hoped for the best!
It didn't take long for me to outgrow the wing. At 25 hours, I purchased a uses Ozone Roadster 27m. And at 80 hours, I purchased a GTR 22m.
After about 100 hours, I traveled to Fort Myers, FL to purchase a foot launch unit and switch to a GTR 20m. I spent about 2-3 days training/transitioning to foot launch with Bobby Benn and Matt Minyard. I left Florida with 28 flights under my belt. (Around Oct 2014)
Over the following year, I would finish up with 200 flights prior to being involved in a mid air collision on Aug 22, 2015.
I don't remember much from that day or weeks. I spent 3 weeks in the hospital, 3 weeks in rehabilitation, 3 months in a wheelchair and 9 months before returning to the skies!
This accident has brought many difficulties and challenges into my life and others around me. And continues to do so every day. However, my passion of flying and sharing my experiences through photography and videos lives on.
I am different than most people. I am a doer, an achiever, and am motivated to live life to the fullest. I believe life is an adventure and you must pick them wisely!
Adventurists HQ: Are you in it to win it?
I love the idea of competing in a cross country with others, with the unknown element of where exactly you will get gas, food and shelter! Adventure is my middle name and I can’t wait to make some lifetime memories.
I knew I wanted to compete in the Icarus race in 2015 when I first heard about it. Unfortunately, I encountered a major setback in Aug 2015 when another pilot collided with me and I fell 175’. Nine months later, I returned to the skies flying a trike.
The race kicks off later on today. Keep track of the action here.