Jerry Thwaites is the owner of Sunsoar. He has had a lifelong love affair with aviation. He first learned to hang glide in 1978 before taking up paragliding in 2004. He flew helicopters and fixed wing aircraft in the military for 25 years.
He has thousands of flying hours and a broad wealth of aviation experience.
Since retirement he has taken over Sunsoar with the aim of carrying on with the Sunsoar ethos.
Sunsoar invented the idea of providing pilot development overseas and taking group trips to exciting destinations (much copied by others but never bettered!). He has competed successfully in many paragliding competitions and is an instructor and dual pilot.
Gwen is the other half of Sunsoar, the beating heart of the setup. She is Jerry’s partner and they live together in Cornwall and Slovenia. Gwen first found paragliding as a tandem passenger whilst on holiday in Oludeniz and now loves the sport! She is CP qualified.
Gwen does most (well actually nearly all) of the behind the scenes administration and keeps everything Sunsoar on track. If there’s anything you need to know, ask Gwen!
Pete Gallagher is a legend! He is a BHPA senior instructor and has been flying paragliders for 20 years.
He had a long career in the Army before settling in to teaching paragliding in all forms. He is a massively experienced skydiver and BASE jumper. Pete is the former owner of Sunsoar and now supports the Sunsoar family as the experienced guide and instructor. He’s been there and done that! (and got the T-shirt).
Pete is a keen cross-country pilot, tandem pilot and speed flyer. He’s done it all.
Shane is the Jam in the Sunsoar Jelly Doughnut, the cream on its scone and the extra shot in its ‘one for the road’.
Like most of the Sunsoar Family he learnt to fly in the Forces and has guided, taught and flown all over the world including India, Colombia, Slovenia, Morocco, Spain, Bavaria etc etc. Shane has an avid enthusiasm for travelling, paragliding and just making the most of life, gained his Instructor rating in 2006 and has been a part of the Sunsoar family since 2012.
Shane will not only assist you in developing your flying abilities, but will also do his best to ensure you go home from your holiday with plenty of tall stories, proud of your achievements and wrapped up in a big, fat Sunsoar hug !! Beware - those of you lucky enough to end up on a trip with Shane, will be competing with those who were not to book your very next Sunsoar Trip.
Geordie Petts is a seasoned XC guide, based in the UK and France. He has considerable knowledge in all aspects of flying, guiding and teaching, from Day 1 beginners through to advanced pilot training in big mountain or the flat lands.
He is dedicated to the sport, flying and working all round the world as a guide and instructor - in countries such as Colombia, Bulgaria, Spain, India, Brazil and Turkey. He is a paragliding Air Experience Instructor. In addition, he has over 20 years of instructional experience in skiing and diving to the highest level.
Geordie is also an active and successful competitor when not guiding. Geordie now transfers what he has learnt, both solo and tandem, enjoying the progression his students make.
Andy Macdonald has had a career in aviation and is currently a professional helicopter pilot instructor. He is a paragliding instructor and AEI, DSC Chief Coach. Andy has a wealth of aviation knowledge and supports the BHPA with his technical knowledge. He is an enthusiastic competition pilot with many successes under his belt.
He enjoys teaching all things aviation. For him, paragliding exercises the mind and calms the soul.
Dave Neal first started paragliding in the 1990s with the RAF. He did his Pilot rating around 2006 in Bavaria and also dual qualified in 2008. He has flown extensively in Cyprus, but also in Spain, Nepal, Slovenia, Slovakia amongst other places. Now living in Gloucester and flying mainly Avon sites. Dave has been a TI for... well let’s say many years. Motivating circumstance is; life and day job got in the way.
Over the years I’ve taught students both military and civilian and always enjoy doing so.
His only ambition is to fly, have fun and share the love with others!
Chris Hobbs started paragliding in 2008 and paramotoring in 2010. He added a tow rating in 2012 and is PG winch operator licenced. Chris tandem trained and qualified with Sunsoar.
He has flown all over the UK as well as France, Spain, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Macedonia. Now living in Essex (hence the Paramotor - it’s pretty flat!) he has a 2 hour drive to the nearest hill or tow site.
He started flying in amateur competitions in 2016, Ozone Chabre Open, Gin Wide Open, BGD Weightless, a few BCC rounds and the BP Cup.
His ambition is to paraglide as often as he can in new places, meet new people and share the flying experience.
Aaron starred paragliding in 2014. His background is skydiving (2006) and then speedflying (2008) so paragliding was the natural progression upon moving to the mountains of South Wales. He has been coaching, guiding XC and instructing since 2016. He enjoys cross country flying, in particular hike and fly as well as speedflying, he enjoys passing on what he has learnt in this sport and strives to continue learning himself.
If Jim is in the air, especially in an XC gaggle, he is happy - simple. He has flown various aircraft for more than 36yrs and paragliders for the last 17. He was a fast jet pilot in the RAF and is now a professional pilot instructor on the Typhoon. He is a genuine Top Gun but never happier than when paragliding. He has flown all over the world - India, Slovenia, Nepal, Morocco, Brazil and so on! Always willing to help others, Jim will talk aviation to anyone who will listen and is happy to pass on his wisdom and vast aviation experience.