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Hi Ian

You were right about Portugal - another great Sunsoar destination, thanks. 

Great company, great coaching, great location, great bars, beautiful beaches ......l had a brilliant time and two fantastic days flying – many thanks to Ian and Pete for taking good care of us all – I’ll be back! Please book me on the spring trip back to Portugal – and the St Hilaire Trip – and count me in for Costa Rica in 2016!! 

I am already looking forward to more trips next year - please let me know as soon as you have decided on dates and destinations and I will be booking up!

 Alastair Page 

Fantastic trip, Finally realised I need to buy a new wing…. Good job Christmas is coming…Andy Cranmer

Trip and location were excellent.....Pravin Shingadia

 Dune de Pyla, France

While looking around for a place 9Or organisation) with whom to go paragliding, it was the enthusiastic and informative phone conversations with Ian B and Ian C that persuaded me to chose Sunsoar.

I thoroughly enjoyed the week's EP course at the Dune and the laid back but professional atmosphere that the two Ians provided.

I look forward to beng able to join Sunsoar for another memorable trip in the future.   Steve Porter.

Neil and Pete were fantastic instructors and created a great atmosphere in the group for the week.

It was commented by other schools at the Dune that we benefited from the enthusiasm, drive and professionalism of Neil and Pete as we were often the first out to enjoy the conditions and managed to make the most of the opportinities provided by the weather. When others were often sitting on their hands, meaning that we covered the EP syllabus easily and some of the CP.The Dunes were perfect for the EP course, a great location with reliable weather and not too crowded sites.  Matt Bateson.

The whole package was excellent and I would recommend it to anyone. The value for money was supreb and the instructors were very informative and a good laugh too! Bundled together this made for a truly memorable experience and I would really enjoy going on another Sunsoar trip again--and would love to get my CP with you guys.Overall a fantastic week that is more fun than any other course anyone will ever attend!-Jason Hudson.

I was really pleased with the whole package. Looking back on the training I have to say that it was first rate......Ian and Pete really got the very best out of the conditions.....Greg Butt.


'Last night in Kathmandu, still struggling to comprehend what's happened in the last two weeks, going to take a while for it all to sink in i reckon! 
An adventure of a lifetime to coin a cliché I guess. Many thanks to Pete Gallagher for his expertise and watchful eye, always ensuring we were as safe as we could possibly be, and to Al Robinson and Charlie Fryer for being on hand with advice and sharing their wisdom of the skies. Thanks also to Sunsoar Paragliding for making it all possible, and last but not least, all the fellow pilots and new friends I have made, you couldn't have asked for a better bunch! Looking forward to seeing the missus! Where next chaps?' Dave Lee


                      Paramotoring with Sunsoar in Gap, Southern France.

Eric Edwards:

This is a course I decided to do after much soul searching; I had done a paragliding Elementary Pilot's course at the Joint Services Centre at Crickhowel in Wales back in 1999 and wanted to resurrect these interests in my retirement. Problem - I have lived in France since 2002 and although we chose a very beautiful part of the country, there are no mountains or hills immediately available. I had heard about paramotoring and after some research on the Internet, I found "SunSoar's" site advertising a paramotoring course in France so I telephoned them to ask for professional advice. The enthusiasm and advice from Ian & Ian tipped the balance and I decided to go for it, a decision I am now delighted that I made.




I finished the course in May at Gap Tallard in the stunningly beautiful Department of Provence Alpes Cotes D'Azure (PACA) and even if I hadn't have achieved solo flight at least I know where I want to go and live if I win the Euro Millions! My week there was hard physical work culminating in 5 solo flights during the latter stages of the course albeit under strict radio supervision on the ground from Thierry, our very accomplished instructor.

The majority of the course is done at a ULM airstrip next to the reservoir at Serre Ponçon, 40 kilometres away from Gap Tallard. This is a round trip we made every day, Thierry only has one spare seat in his van so personal transport is required, luckily I had my old station wagon with me so was happy to help out. WARNING, the last 700 metres of the route is down through a very uneven quarry road so it would be a good idea not to try this in your Porsche 911!

From day one we were thrown into the deep end and kitted out with a wing and a paramotor frame without an engine. The forward launch is the first thing you attempt, inflating your canopy over your head with a large circular frame strapped to your back presents a problem in that it is necessary to get the risers around the engine guard. This requirement results in a rather uncomfortable arm position at the beginning of the pull up but you get used to it. Then, back to the basics of keeping your canopy inflated correctly over your head - easier said than done and this is where Thierry's video debriefs are invaluable; he videos everything you do.

Once the forward launch technique was achieved, we strapped on real engines and tried doing the same with full weight and it is at this point that you appreciate the assistance of your course mates in helping you sort out your risers when you have an awkward wing collapse. The next stage was to put on an engine with a propeller fitted but without a wing, start the engine and feel the thrust of the machine and the resistance required to push back against it at half power. This was done so that we were aware of the assistance to the run forward to launch we would receive when we eventually came to do a solo flight.


Day three saw us going through a live launch sequence using the motor to push us forward once the wing was positioned correctly overhead but stopping short of take off. By the end of this day it is fair to say that we had run a considerable distance with a large weight on our backs and were beginning to feel the strain on our bodies. Our reward was a tandem flight with the instructor, after we were airborne, Thierry gave us the controls and got us to do a few simple turns and manœuvres, just permitting us to fly around and enjoy the experience and the beautiful scenery below before landing and finishing for the day.

Day four was to be the big one, first solo! The excitement of putting all the lessons into the correct order in one successful sequence to achieve the aim gets the adrenalin running. I had two aborted attempts, first was a wing collapse because I corrected the wrong way and the second was called over the radio by the instructor but, after giving myself a severe talking to, on my third attempt, I took off for the first time on my own. What an experience! I had floated down hills in Wales before in a paraglider but this was completely different. Opening the throttle to full power for the first time and feeling the weight of the engine lifted off my back by the wing followed by my own weight and, for a short time skimming along the ground (see attached photo). Once the full thrust kicked in and my airspeed increased I was climbing steadily and correcting my course to head down the beach. I mused to myself that I must have looked like an albatross at take off, all legs and flapping, but once airborne the serenity and complete feeling of freedom were overwhelming and the indignity of my two failed attempts were forgotten in an instant. At some point on this day the wind became too strong to do forward launches so Thierry got us practising reverse launches with empty engine frames. Once I had worked out the cross over configuration on the risers for the way I wanted to turn to launch, I found this method much easier to stabilize the wing over my head and succeeded in doing my second solo launch by this method.

Friday, the final day, gave the opportunity for more solo flying and advice and Saturday morning was also available. My two other course mates, Rémy and Fred decided to leave on Friday afternoon but I took the opportunity to go and watch Thierry instructing more advanced students on Saturday, I declined the offer to fly because my body ached and his students looked as though they meant business but I learned a lot more useful information. All in all, the course was expertly instructed, intense, exciting, enjoyable and conducted in a most beautiful corner of France and the best week’s holiday I can remember (I hope my wife doesn’t read this!)

I hope to continue with this activity and have purchased a new wing from “SunSoar” and a reconditioned engine from “Back Bone”, Thierry’s business. I have scouted the local area for clubs and have had no difficulty in finding like-minded enthusiasts and an added bonus is that the 80 acres flat field in front of my property has just been harvested and will remain fallow until next Spring. There is no controlled airspace over my area and I have just been given permission by the landowner, my only other neighbour for a radius of 2 km, to use the space for take off and landing. In between working this Summer, I am hoping to hone the take off and landing techniques taught to me by Thierry and, hopefully, go back to Gap to learn more later in the year.

Eric Edwards has lived and worked in the Poitou-Charentes Region of France since 2002 and is now 61 years old.


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