Hey Everyone, Justin Boer here. On Apr 23, 2019 myself and 12 other US pilots flew to Turkey to fly Babadag Mountain. This has been a huge step forward for Sky ThAIRapy because with the support we have received thus far, we were able to fund the trip for Daniel Velasco to fly out with his chair and join in on the SIV training.
Oludeniz is an incredible place for progressing acro training and also for SIV safety courses, which every pilot should complete. There’s so much knowledge available to absorb and lots of very experienced pilots willing to share information. The incredible part about Oludeniz is that Babadag Mountain is about 6500’msl and flying by big fat coastal cumi’s at altitude is quite the sight! You will be easily over 4k’ when you arrive to the box. Flying over beautiful green landscape, blue waters, surrounded by friends and landing on the beach makes this location a magical place.
Turkey is beautiful; the Mediterranean Sea water is bright turquoise! We’d swim at the end of a long day of training, the salty ocean was great on the muscles. Local food is incredibly healthy and I could eat that stuff everyday. I love Turkish people, they are the most kind and genuine people I’ve ever met.
I organized this group of pilots from the US to participate in a SIV (safety maneuvers clinic) with my good friend and champion acro pilot Veso Ovcharov. (Fly The Earth) The goal was to provide a fun yet controlled setting where our pilots could gain as much knowledge and experience with their paraglider as possible.This trip also provided a great opportunity for Sky ThAIRapy to help our friend Daniel Velasco continue his progression with Adaptive paragliding. We are very thankful for all the support we have already received and are excited to let all our supporters know that this has been the first Sky ThAIRapy funded activity and we couldn’t have done it alone! So Thank You All!
The trip challenged us to see how well we could travel with the trike equipment and how the trike would do in SIV training. We basically did as much R&D as possible so we can progress adaptive paragliding and improve the design of the flying chair!
I met Veso in Hawaii while flying and sharing the passion for adaptive paragliding. We worked together for several years on a motivational documentary called Fly Again. After a lot of hard work and determination we managed to help our brother Daniel Velasco get back into flying after being paralyzed from an accident about 5 years prior. With the help from Chris at Project Airtime we were able to use a loaner wheelchair trike that was custom built for paragliding, like a “flying chair”! Once Daniel got back into flying, we immediately started dreaming about taking him to other flying sites all over the world to gain the most experience as possible. SIV with the flying trike was a goal and we were hopeful it could happen someday.
We’ve been innovating and progressing adaptive paragliding in Hawaii since 2014(?). The last time the team got together was January 2018 when we met up on Oahu to fly Makapu’u, a technical coastal site with 2000’ cliff faces, strong trade winds and a tight LZ. We also cruised over to the Big Island for some fun thermal flying to switch it up. We found how important continued training in various environments is to the progression. Even in the early days of Fly Again, an on going documentary about adaptive paragliding, the goal has always been to learn and progress the adaptive side of our sport as much as possible in the safest manner possible.
That is why it was so important to get Daniel and his chair out here to Turkey. We needed to experience an adaptive approach to paragliding through an SIV course with an actual flying chair.
Under Veso’s coaching, Daniel was able to recover from some big intentional malfunctions and really progress with spirals and wingovers. One day we even sent Daniel without the trike, in an acro harness, as he was interested in trying it. We learned a lot and took notes. Now we have a ton of ideas on how to improve the equipment and the progression of adaptive paragliding. Completing an SIV with the trike is just the beginning for Daniel and the entire adaptive paragliding community.
We made some great strides forward in learning how to safely and effectively progress adaptive paragliding! We even managed to have loads of fun along the way!
Thank You to everyone who has taken the time to read this article, follows our social media accounts or donated! We are very fortunate to have such an amazing community of people supporting our mission to inspire through adaptive paragliding! With your continued support we will keep doing great things!
Special thanks to Tony Pimblett for helping with a lot of the organizing and daily fun during this SIV trip!