Charley Boorman Log- Day 23

July 4, 2012

Parajet 1In which Charley paramotors amongst the vibrant, beautiful skies above Zulu Nyala.

We’re up early as today is very special. Today, some great guys are taking me paramotoring. For those who don’t know, it’s where you wear a large propellor on your back and a large parachute-type wing. The theory is that the prop gives you enough momentum for the wing to lift you up – and away you go. It’s a great way to see the animals in the Reserve here, although it’s not for the nervous. They won’t even let you near one of these until you’ve had about a week’s training. I’ve been up in one before, but it was a while ago, and there’s plenty that can go wrong.

Parajet 2As the light of dawn stretches across the Zulu Nyala landing strip (just some flat land with the grass cut short) the guys prepare the equipment and my nerves start to rise. We’re lucky enough not to have much wind so the launch can go ahead, and there’s no backing out for me now.

I heave the heavy propellor onto my back and brace myself for a couple of test revs. The force of the prop makes me brace as I squeeze the throttle. All systems go.

With the all the gear ready and the wing attached, I start my launch by running across the grass. As the wind catches the parachute I’m suddenly pulled violently to the right and momentarily loose my balance. I could be in bad trouble.

I manage to pull back to the upright and with a few more steps, I’m flying!

Russ said later that it looked like a pretty rough takeoff, but I say it’s the end results that matter. The flight wasn’t at all easy and you’ll see why on the finished TV show, but for now let me just say that it was an exhilarating ride and I can’t wait to do it better next time.

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