My oh my... What can I say about this group of guys?! It has been such an honor to have them come here, to join our little family of passionate pilots and learners.
This batch of pilots is without a doubt, somewhat special to me. Though I've been teaching people to fly ultralight aircraft since my high school days, this is the first batch of pilots I've trained since breaking my back January 5th... And I am just SO honored to have had them here. To have had their understanding of my physical condition and to have them be such passionate learners. Every day of training, they've worked hard to keep me from overdoing it, yet have pushed me to share as many little tips and stories as I can think of. They asked some seriously good questions!
Though our schedule for this training was a bit odd (we built it around their precise work schedules... which is not easy to do with so many different jobs to think about!) each student started off the beginning of phase one EAGER to learn and having already seen nearly every video available on the internet regarding powered paragliding. As with all classes, we took some time to walk through what they should expect from our schedule, what their daily expectations would be, and when they should expect to be experiencing the sky for the first time.
The next couple of weeks were a real and true joy.
Meet James Peace and Eric Tucker... I'm the scrawny guy in the middle ;) James and Eric were the early arrivers to our training and both came with an insatiable thirst to learn.
Eric or "Tuck" is a fabricator with a thriving career in the beverage industry as well as his own business building airboats, trailers, (and more than a few projects for AviatorPPG in the near future! This guy is talented!) he is a 38 year old husband and father and he seems to have always dreamed of the air... From the first time we met it's been very clear that he was going to give this sport his all.
James Peace is a 43 year old father of two and security specialist from South Florida... and let me tell you... This guy LOVES to fly! On day one, he went from being completely lost to having agile control and a certain level of composure that is usually only seen on folks with much more experience. He came to us with a lot of enthusiasm and having done a plethora of research on every other Florida Paramotor Training program. He knew his stuff before he arrived and he left with a massive smile :)
Steve Morgeson won the prize for the furthest traveled as he came all the way from Kentucky! Steve is 36 years old, a father of two, and both a pipeline fitter and a safety officer. It was such a cool experience to both teach him, and to learn from his OSHA background of safety. We work hard to be as safe as possible. He gave us a thumbs up and a stern gaze (see above)... lol.
Cory Suttle story is one of the coolest stories with a student I've had yet... Eleven years ago I taught Cory how to fly a fixed wing ultralight... A few years ago, he found me on Facebook after his last Marine deployment to Iraq and we re-connected... Since then, he's toyed with the idea of learning to fly paramotors but just came to officially train recently, I'm so stoked to help him learn to fly again!
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