The Team

Peter Gallagher

Pete is a BHPA senior instructor and has been flying paragliders for over 20 years.  

He is a former skydiver and BASE jumper. He’s been there and done that and got the (Sunsoar) T-shirt. 

Pete is a keen cross-country pilot, tandem pilot, paramotor pilot and speed flyer.  His main role now is organising trips and making sure they run smoothly.  He will probably be your first contact when enquiring about a holiday.

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Jerry Thwaites

Jerry 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. Jerry has competed successfully in many paragliding competitions and is an instructor and dual pilot.

Jerry will mainly appear as a guide on the Slovenia trips.

Shane Askam

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, and Bavaria.  Shane has an avid enthusiasm for travelling, paragliding and just making the most of life.  He gained his paragliding instructor licence 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!   

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Geordie Petts

James 'Geordie' Petts is a seasoned XC guide, with his own company - Sky Summits.  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 tandem 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. He now transfers what he has learnt, both solo and tandem, enjoying the progression his pilots make.

Andy Macdonald

Andy has had a full career in aviation and is currently a professional helicopter pilot instructor.  He is a paragliding instructor and tandem pilot and the Derbyshire Soaring Club 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 and for him, paragliding exercises the mind and calms the soul.

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Dave Neal

Dave first started paragliding in the 1990s with the Royal Air Force.  He achieved his Pilot rating in 2006 in Bavaria and became a tandem pilot in 2008.  He has flown extensively in Cyprus, Spain, Nepal, Slovenia and Slovakia amongst other places.  Now living in Gloucester and flying mainly Avon sites, Dave has been a Trainee Instructor for... well let’s say many years.  Over the years he has taught students both military and civilian and always enjoys doing so.
 

His only ambition is to fly, have fun and share the love with others!

Chris Hobbs

Chris started paragliding in 2008 and paramotoring in 2010.  He added a tow rating in 2012 and is a licenced PG winch operator.  Chris trained and qualified as a tandem pilot with Sunsoar in Morocco.

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 started flying in amateur competitions in 2016, competing in the 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.

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Aaron Binks

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.

Jim Haskins

If Jim is in the air, especially in an XC gaggle, he is happy!  He has flown various aircraft for more than 36 years 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 he is 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. 

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