13 years ago I saw a powered paramotor fly over my house in North Carolina – I immediately thought that one day I would have to do it, I only wish that I would have pursued it sooner! I’ve always enjoyed adventure sports – scuba, motorcycle racing, rock climbing, mt biking, water skiing, etc. The feeling you get from accomplishing personal goals in those sports always provided me a lot of satisfaction. Fast forward to 2015, I relocated to Tampa, FL which is a 180 from rural NC. I soon realized that enjoying my motorcycle was more stressful & dangerous than it was worth in the Tampa area traffic and decided to exit the sport. A short time later I began researching powered paramotoring options in FL. To my surprise there seemed to be many options and the sport had some traction here. I made some phone calls to various instructors and then followed up on an invite to Aviator PPG in Lake Wales, FL.
I met Eric and his brother James, as well as their family – and immediately felt very much welcomed. I spent most of the day being introduced to the sport on a very personal level. Eric showed me how to kite a wing and discussed training options. Although I wasn’t ready to commit to the sport just yet, I continued to research it by reading and watching videos. I stayed in touch with Eric the next few months (through which he never pressured me to train, just encouraged J ) I again visited Aviator PPG during one of their fly-ins and met a few more folks in the sport. I had the opportunity to speak and learn even more – and watch some flying up close. Hanging out with the people in this sport is already becoming very rewarding and enjoyable!
So finally, this May 2015 I dedicated a week to complete my training. Eric was very accommodating of my desired schedule and made every effort to assist with any question I had.
When I arrived I met Travis and James and headed right out to kiting practice. I enjoyed working with James – the kid has crazy skills and is always fun to be around. He helped me get a good feel for wing control, enough so that we could move on to powered taxis.
The next few days were spent reviewing the syllabus material – learning about air space, weather, risk / reward and hopefully what not to do. When we weren’t reviewing syllabus, we were at the Lake Wales airport in the mornings and early evenings. Aviator PPG has a great selection of equipment – all well taken care of, inspected and ready to fly. I spent a lot of time comparing machines, wings & accessories so when I’m ready to buy I will have the knowledge necessary to make an informed choice.
The airport provides a very open space which is inviting to beginner pilots. On day two I had my first flight – a nervous but exhilarating experience. Eric makes this process quite smooth though, constant radio communication and instruction makes you feel like he’s got you at all times. I never felt un-safe…not even for a second the entire week.
Each day after our flights we downloaded – discussed how we did, what opportunities we had and even reviewed video from our flights – a great way to learn. Winding down and talking about the day was always a good time – like hanging out with your best buds.
As the week came to a close, I logged roughly 15 flights. I progressed to taking off and landing without radio comms (even though it was there if needed), did both high and low level flight, group flying and learned the basics of more advanced wing control.
Overall my experience was very positive. The team at Aviator PPG has one goal in mind – to teach you to fly safely and confidently. They are a constant source of inspiration and admiration for your achievements. I know I have made lifelong friends and will make many more through participation in this sport, and for that I am very thankful.
So if you’re undecided about the sport or which PPG instructor to use, here’s my advice – do it and do it with Aviator PPG. Eric, James and Travis will help you succeed in the most professional and memorable way possible.
Dan Provenzano, age 44 from Land O Lakes, Fl.
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