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Powered Paragliding Entertainment

Pilot Profiles: Past | Current

Our sport is about having fun, seeing the world from a unique perspective and enjoying amazing freedom. Part of the enjoyment is sharing our experience with others. To that end, this section features member stories 
and pilot profiles for the simple fun of it.

Santa Sighting

Dec 11, 2008

Roger Messerly of Fort Dodge, IA, looked up to find Santa Claus flying his paramotor. After a quick display of milk and cookies, Roger was able to get his machine back. Must have been a warm-up flight and, no doubt, Santa's gone feed the deer nothing but the best synthetic this year.

Santa was out for this practice run on "Black Friday" and reported a fun practice flight, with kids a waving. He also commented "you haven't lived until you've pulled off a no-wind forward in a full blown santa suit on a snowy field."

Apparently the newspaper thought it was pretty cool, too!

Santa Sighting

Dec 11, 2008

Roger Messerly of Fort Dodge, IA, looked up to find Santa Claus flying his paramotor. After a quick display of milk and cookies, Roger was able to get his machine back. Must have been a warm-up flight and, no doubt, Santa's gone feed the deer nothing but the best synthetic this year.

Santa was out for this practice run on "Black Friday" and reported a fun practice flight, with kids a waving. He also commented "you haven't lived until you've pulled off a no-wind forward in a full blown santa suit on a snowy field."

Apparently the newspaper thought it was pretty cool, too!

Car Kiting

Dec 09, 2008

I live in Fredericton, N.B., Canada. The father of one of my flying buddies, Dave Bradley, owns the nearby "Weyman Air Park" where we fly from regularly. On Nov. 1, 2008, flying conditions got a bit rowdy. It was too early to go home, so we decided to "ham it up" and show a new form of ground handling.

We attached the risers to the inside door handles. Dave, as Captain (driver) controlled the left brake, and I, as First Officer (passenger} did double duty with the right brake while reporting the wing condition as seen through

Thanks to Glen Boyd for sharing. Photo by Bob Matthews.

It's Still Winter

Mar 15, 2008

While much of the U.S. begins thawing from its frigid hibernation, our Canadian friends make the best of their continued winter. Frozen lakes are still thick enough to make great, wide launch sites as long as can stand up on them.

This flight was March 14th at Gondola Point, NB Canada.

Mark Dean shared his observation of fellow flyer, "The Brew Meister” (James McLeod). who "flies because he has to, he just can’t help it."



by Mark Dean

PPG in Dubai, UAE

Jan 05, 2008

Paramotor pilot Johan is a world away from most of us. But he's not far from the the world wide web and shared this view of an increasingly famous man-made development. It's another examples of how, given the chance, humans everywhere want to enjoy the simple, pure pleasure of PPG.

He writes:

"Although far away in Dubai in the UAE, I am reading the USPPA website regularly and recommending it to any flying enthusiasts here. There is about 10 – 15 of us flying paramotor, including some local sheiks!

Just wanted to share this aerial picture of one of the “Palm” islands they are building here in the sea. Incredible what mankind can do if there is a will…and money!"

Johan Vercruyssen

Children's PPG Cheer 

Dec 12, 2006

You never know who your flying will make an impression on. Rest assured, though, that it's making some kind a mark in your children's mind. 

Gary Brown, a Chicago area pilot, recently sent us some refrigerator art done by his kids that he found quite encouraging. It included commentary. Nice work. We'll look forward to seeing their future efforts in syndication.

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Kids will color the darndest things!

Balloonists Weclome PPG 

Nov 25, 2006

Another example of how to be welcome is the work of Ed Poccia and Derick DeGennaro, USPPA members from New Mexico. They have worked with organizers of the 2006 Socorro Balloon Rally to get paramotor pilots invited to participate. The Albuquerque based Route 66 Flyers PPG Club will have 5 to 7 members flying and generally representing the sport. A full article appeared in the El Defensor Chieftain newspaper.

Ed reports: Perfect conditions greeted PPGers from New Mexico's Route 66 Flyers participating in the Socorro Balloon & PPG Rally. The people of this central New Mexico town know how to throw a party. Pilots enjoyed the free motel rooms and food as well as a generous "goodies" bag. Seven PPG pilots launched into calm winds and clear, cool skies to join more than thirty hot air balloons to provide spectacle to the opening of the town's holiday season.

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One of 7 PPG pilots is shown here amidst the many varied balloons. Photo by Ed Poccia


Nov 11, 2006

Much of the time we're just tolerated. Sometimes it's a "don't ask, don't tell" policy with landowners looking the other way in hopes that having never given permission lessons their perceived liability.

So it was a nice change of pace that Texas City took the acknowledgement of fun to a new level. Thanks to Andy McAvin and others who helped pull it off and to the folks of the Texas City Dike who welcome paramotor pilots and their incredible craft.

Photo submitted by Beery Miller.

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Power Soaring

Oct 17, 2006

We fly Paragliders–—designed originally for gliding. Soaring, that is, without a motor. But the motor grants airtime when otherwise there might be none as shown by member Phil Russman on a well-known soaring ridge in Mexico. The site requires either a half-mile hike up a 700 foot ridge, enduring an hour-long bumpy drive around the back, or a 4 minute flight up in the paramotor. Tough choice.

Of course these mountain-type harnesses carry significantly more risk due to the lack of back protection, but they can fit in most motor harnesses carrying pouches or be worn while motoring.

Fly to the top, see if it's soarable by idling the motor, then if it is, land and strap on the free-flight harness. When you've had your fill, strap on the motor and go home. Elegant.

Click the image for a full size version.

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Lazy but Informed

Aug 06, 2006

Marty of the Florida Flyers found a way to prevent tired arms while flying and staying informed at the same time. Next we hope to see a flat panel display with rearward looking cameras to keep a vigilant watch on fast movers from behind.

The pilot would launch with this clipped harmlessly somewhere on his body. Then, when safely at altitude, it is clipped to the brake toggles where it is used for steering using the hand grips.

This prototype will not be put into production but does look nice!

PPG Showing

July 20, 2006

Dan Kriseler and James Coblents from the Dukes of Windsoar and a few pilots from the Velocity Flyers will be putting on a PPG demonstration at the Martinsburg, WV Balloon Fiesta. They have worked out details with airshow officials and, according to James, will be flying in the same space as some Air Force hardware.

Airshows typically have temporary flight restrictions around and require special permission to fly in. They are planning various stunts such as having one pilot trailing a long ribbon while the other pilot catches it.

The event runs August 4, 5 & 6 and PPG demonstrations will be flown each day.

Heavy Iron Meets Nylon

June 17, 2006

727e1.jpg (72914 bytes)Details were sketchy on this, but it would seem that a group of lightweights (PPG and PPC's) were allowed to fly from an airport not long after a pair of 727 charter flights arrived.

Lance Marczak of Kankakee, IL pondered how much runway it would take if he were pushing this aircraft with his motor. Our guess is that it would be just enough to get the door closed!

The 40 year old 727s, which are no longer used by U.S. Airlines, still ply the planet in charter service and for airlines elsewhere where noise is less of a concern. It's nice to have something making more volume then us, just don't get in their way.

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Robert & Boyd's Excellent Adventure

June 17, 2006

Taking your flying craft with you affords this type of travel. Robert Kittilä tells little snippets about the trip with his friend, Boyd. One place they stayed for 3 days was the 1800-ft sand dunes pictured below. He says "Great Hostel very expensive. $4.75/night. Breakfast (huge) $1.85 Lunch, dinner $2.75. Loved it, great flying as you can see!
Picture of us with the hostel staff. After a day we were family. Guy 3rd from the right is their happy chef Aldo. He kept us fed and with a good supply of libations. Great food, people and town. Loved it!"

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1. Aircraft Carrier.
2. Sand. Lots of sand in such beautiful shapes.
3. Oasis of life and the reason it can exist -- water..
4. More bizarre formations made of, yup, sand! 
5 & 6 Making friends everywhere we went. Marco (Boyd is on the left, Marco on the right), the coolest and funniest pilot in Lima--he had us in stitches the whole time! Marco was giving us launch pointers for flying downtown Lima, amazing.

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The whole trip we tried to eat Ginnypig. Everywhere we went they just laughed at us. Apparently tourists don't ever eat or even know about it. We finally found this little restaurant in Paracas
run by this amazing lady named Isabella and her two sons, Jorge and Manuel. She promised to fix us Cui the next night. Here is the famous "Cui" dinner. Ginnypig fried with garlic and spices. Tastes really good. Go Ginny!


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The Nasca Lines shot from a Cessna. It's nearly impossible to fly a PPG there. Planes fly essentially from dusk until dawn and there are huge fines for unauthorized flying. One  Japanese PPG pilot that landed on a line is fighting a $2M dollar lawsuit.

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1. Boyd handing out 
glow-sticks to the kids in Paracas.
2. he controversial Ica Stones. We had a private showing by Dr. Cabrera's secretary for 50 years. Amazing!

PPG as Watersport

June 11, 2006

Thanks to Marty for sharing their weekend. A group of Florida flyers set out for some fun and this is a glimpse of what it looked like.

1) We drove up to Daytona (Ponce Inlet) for an evening session on Disappearing Island. This is a very large Island at low tide but there's no Island at high tide. None. 
2) The boaters that surrounded the island enjoyed our flying there, as long as we didn't linger to close. 
3) Earlier in the day it becomes hard to find an open space to park your boat. Pilot's here should be aware that 1.5 miles just to the west is a small airstrip with a tower. We had no trouble with the Harbor Patrol but did get a lot of stares with our three paramotors strapped on the bow.

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4) Pausing for a moment before launch. 
5) The local hanglider trike group dropped in for a visit to watch our takeoffs at The St. Johns. 
6) All agreed, it's a Super spot to fly. 

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1. Kevin at take off. 
2. Rob Catto at Black Bear Res.
3. Rob Catto (left) and Jack Kimble make it look like they're going for the cone. No cones, however, were hurt in the production of this picture.


More Gator Gotchas

May 22, 2006 May 22, 2006

Alligators.jpg (39527 bytes)Mike.jpg (21011 bytes)Marty Hathaway shared some memorable flights with us in Florida. But be very, very careful where you fly: some of these sites would be most unpleasant with a recalcitrant motor.

The site was on the St. Johns River along the Eastern coast. Above left: These locals were over ten feet long, thus no foot dragging only touch and goes! Photo 5/14/06 by Mike Britt.

Above right: Mike attempts to balance on Nelsons motor?

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1. Mike at sunset 5/13/06 by Mike's daughter.

Over-Reacting in Austin, TX?

April 26, 2006

Paramotor pilot Jim King sent us an amusing account of how he became the focus of a false alarm involving two police cars, an ambulance and a fire truck Easter Sunday afternoon after he fell down while trying to launch his craft and
someone called 911.

"A gust of wind pulled me on my back and dragged me a short distance into a shallow ditch, but it must have looked a lot worse to some Good Samaritan," said King, 63, who was not hurt. He has been a PPG pilot for nearly three years.

"I was setting up to try again when I heard all these sirens," he said. "Then I saw a fire truck stop right by my pickup. A fire department lieutenant got out and approached me, and at the same time an ambulance came screaming across the grass from the opposite direction. Next two squad cars arrived with sirens and flashing lights."

At that point the fire lieutenant, seeing that there was no emergency, began waving off other rescue officials. King apologized for the false alarm, but the officers did not appear upset. The fireman told King someone with a cell
phone had called 911 saying "an ultralight airplane had crashed" in this vacant field in far northwest Austin.

The ambulance left but four firemen and two policemen stayed, questioning King about PPG, and one policeman asked if it was legal.

"I told him it was, that we're covered by specific federal rules, that I was familiar with them and the FAA sectional maps, that I was flying in Class E airspace at that location and I was allowed to fly as high as 700 feet above
ground," King said. 

Satisfied that no crimes were being committed, the six officials remained to watch another attempt. This time King pulled a reverse inflation without falling down and took off into winds that were definitely getting stronger. He made a couple of passes, taking pains to remain precisely above the 10-acre field, while his would-be rescuers watched from below. After they all left, King landed in increasingly turbulent air and fell down again. But this time he jumped up very quickly, moving around to show anyone watching he was all right.

The Other Side Of the World

April 26, 2006

After the mutiny, the absconded vessel's crew landed on this island and began a new life. While that is a fascinating story on it's own right, what's interesting to us is that the island's first ultralighter is USPPA member, Route 66 Flyers member (Albuquerque, NM) and paramotor pilot, Derick DeGennaro.

He is doing video taping for a planned documentary on the island and has gone through enormous efforts to arrive at the island with his PPG and has recently become the first civilian to fly himself over the island. The trip will be covered in the June Ultraflight magazine. It is a fascinating adventure with some victories, some defeats and at least one close call. We'll look forward to getting the rest of the story.

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Fast & Small

Mar 4, 2006

Shon from Paradrenalin near Phoenix may be a lightweight but, at 198 pounds with paramotor, he was still way overweight on a kiting-only Paratoys training wing. It was a short flight but sure covered a lot of distance. If you look carefully at the picture you can see that something just doesn't look right! It was a short flight for another reason, this is incredibly dangerous! Photo by Gavin Harrison.

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Mar 3, 2006

One of our members, Ryan Trujillo from Rio Rancho, N.M. has been busy in his garage. The finishing touches of his tinkering has resulted in the craft seen in these pictures. It is a nice-looking 4-wheel PPG cart.

Lord willing we'll get to see it at a fly-in sometime. As he says, it's "all heavy duty, many bells." No word on whistles.

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Ice Hockey

Feb 2 3, 2006

A group of Canadian flyers show their robustness by braving the snow, ice and cold for a winter romp in the Great White North. Frank Savignac tells us "who needs beaches, warm weather, We do! We'll see ya in Florida Polk City!" 

Pilots flying this New Brunswick, Canada site were Roger Harris, Mark Dean and Frank. Thanks for sharing and we'll all look forward to the March Florida warm-up.

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Wind Suck

Feb 2 3, 2006

Joe took off and wondered why everyone on the field was waving so wildly at him. Then he looked at his wing and saw way: he'd snagged the windsock from Arizona's Phoenix Fly-In on launch and it was still following him around. He landing uneventfully soon after the discovery.

After Joe was safely on the ground, we all had a good laugh about it, but there was quite the sense of urgency until after he landed. Interestingly, Joe says he didn't even notice it while flying. Photo courtesy of Joe Lakato

Dress For Success

Feb 22, 2006

Even in the south, cold air dips. Isaac Smith captured himself just before enjoying the wind chill on the shores of Lake Lanier, just north of Atlanta, Georgia.

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Gator Gotcha

Dec 29, 2005

Free flyers don't always have the option of choosing their landing site and must be constantly aware of their options. Motor pilots get lazy and don't think about when they should be but, eventually it will quit. One intrepid artist offered up this reminder of how important that consideration can be. There would be lots of regret from forgetting to always keep good landing options available in this situation!.

Thanks to TL Hoke of Farmington, MN.

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Pilot Profile for Mark Dean | Past Profiles

Jan 14, 2007 from a recently discovered lost archive.

Mark was born in December, 1955 and took his first solo paramotor flight on May 20, 2001. Here are his humorous responses to our pilot profile questions.

Weight? 210.

Longest duration flight? 1hr 37min.@ Parastars 2002 with 73 others.

Longest distance flight? 12miles.

Family status (married, kids, dogs, etc.)? married with two chillo's and a dog that may never fly.

What does your significant other think of your flying? not much, kind of makes her sick.

Where did you first see PPG? Wild bill's web pages - 2get1

What was your FIRST thought when you heard about or saw PPG? Where do I get $10,000. dollarettes for my machine?

How did you find out about it? George of the airways (dubbed "Skynut McFly"), a fellow flyer and chronic pilot, introduced me via PPC videos.

Who had the most influence on your flying and how? Eric Dufour made it seem sooo easy and safe when the beginner rules are followed. During my 8 days of training in Quebec, he told stories of mishaps and accidents that are easily avoided, the ones that re-occur if you get complaicent or hyper.

Describe your first flight including where and when: first flight tandem ride on May 19, 2001 at St.Jean Chrisostome skydivers airstrip (Quebec,Canada) I took the control lines and noticed a time lag between pilot input and glider response - soft steering sort of but that familiar sensation of moving through the air, only now in 3D instead of HD.

Several tow runs the next day then my motorized solo flight (end of day 2) was surreal, the weather perfect, instruction superb (the combination just doesn't get any better). Forward launch easy inflation with a long run (no brakes) nice climb to altitude and then all of a sudden it hit me...the only two things holding my ass up at 500' were these 1/4" D-rings...I got over that (right) and flew it out.trying to relax - knowing I had made poot prints on the shorts of time...power off stand up landing, begin new era.

Describe your most embarassing moment: Either the fuel out on my 39th flight - I neglected to consider that when checking for  remaining fuel, one must be level if you're calculating 1" of fuel across the tank to be a litre...or...attempting launch in an unexpected gust front - fortunately my fellow flyers noticed this and broke through the logic barrier and my craving for launch after three failed attempts (very stupid), but certainly not the full-power face plant in the morning dew of a foot high hay field.

What do your friends think of your PPG activities? The new ones think it's great.

Describe your most memorable flight? Either flying over 3 bald eagles...or... not knowing if I could turn   downwind because it was really windy for a pilot of my skill level (25/kph-yeah I know ha ha). The wing tuck
was up there too.

Your first motor and wing? SD 48" with a solo 210 modified for power (ARGH) Adventure wing Elle 34M² in hot pink (would have preferred black at the time).

Your current motor and wing (if different): 30 hours (young).

What is your favorite aspect of paramotoring? Wind in the face with very little traffic.

Where do you usually fly? The Maritimes where we make Moosehead and Alpine.

How often you fly? Not often enough - 45 flights in 20 months, a beginner forever.

What do you do for a real job? Property appraiser/land man for the highway effort.

How many motors and wings have you purchased to date and why? One and one because I can't get away with another one just yet.

If able, what would you change about the sport? A local flight park would be nice but I'll probably settle for an easier way than Stephans to launch from a snow-covered frozen lake. Then there's the wind-tunnell idea for training timid newcomers by tethering them to the ground with 6' ropes or perhaps in-flight fueling, a salmon spear and James Bond attachments like the JATO on my paramotor but alas, I'm sure someone has already thought of those things and it humbles me to fly just as it is.

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Comments on how you acquired your gear: After considerable shopping for the product, I found an experienced instructor and took his advice from A to Z, in spite of my wants for electric start, clutch drive, etc. I bought new equipment because I wanted to thoroughly wear it out myself and quiet gear because noise irritates me, and the rest, well, I just lucked out big time. I knew nothing about the sport and trusted the guy who did. I also thank the Dukes for their PPG problem solving flow chart, which I found was a good reference before purchase (just my opinion :-).

Now it's your turn!

We would love to hear from our members and feature your story here. If you have any pictures of yourself, whether flying or not, please include them! They may be at work, at home, with the kids, whatever. Especially interesting are pictures during your childhood. 

Copy and paste the questions below, add your text then Send it to us, along with the pictures. Our readers will enjoy hearing another delight in flight.

Name, Age, Weight: Your text
Started flying when? Your text
Family status (married, kids, dogs, etc.)? Your text
Where did you first see PPG? Your text
How you found out about it? Your text
Who had the most influence on your flying and how? Your text
Describe your first flight including where and when. Your text
Your first motor and wing? Your text
Your current motor and wing (if different): Your text
Where you usually fly? Your text
How often you fly?
Your text
What do you do for a real job?
Your text
What you like about ppg?
Your text
Most memorable flying moment?
Your text
Comments on how you acquired your gear.
Your text
What type of work pays for your PPG habit?
Your text
If able, what would you change about the sport?
Your text

If you have an interesting story or pilot profile, please send it, with pictures, to


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