Jun
1
2016

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Learning to Fly: Day Three at BlackHawk Paramotors (Tara)

by Tara

Today was rough. It began with not nearly enough sleep (4 hours to be exact), and being so sore and battered from the previous two days of training that it felt like I'd been run over. The only good part about the morning was getting towed a few more times. It's such fun to get a bit airborne! After that brief thrill, however, my mood took a nosedive.

Tara Learning to Paraglide w/ Toe Rope Tara Learning to Paraglide w/ Toe Rope

The day continued with demoralizing heat and two dog bites (not serious, except to my mood), followed by frustration at not picking up skills as quickly as I'd like. I practiced kiting with the motor on my back for the first time, which was horribly uncomfortable and heavy. With all the extra weight, I could barely get up enough speed to bring the glider up.

Joe Affixing Tara's Helmet Tara Testing BlackHawk 125 Paramotor

Working against me were two things: there was zero wind to help lift the glider, and I was afraid of popping my weak shoulder out of place trying to do so myself.

Tara Forwarding Launching Paraglider in No Wind

In my more with-it moments, I was able to comfort myself with memories of learning to scuba dive. On our first day, we lugged our gear seemingly forever (actually like 100 feet) along the beach before finally getting in the water. I remember freaking out because the gear was so heavy and awkward. I thought I would hate diving.

Our instructor Ellie helped me understand that the gear isn't meant to be comfortable on land, and she was right. Getting in the water was incredible, and suddenly everything made sense. I was weightless. Now, I just have to trust that this flying gear will be equally comfortable in the air.

Tara Wearing BlackHawk 125 Paramotor

Still, it was hard to keep my shit together. Having Joe as a kind, patient, reassuring teacher helped immensely. Having Tyler as a kind, perceptive, supportive husband buoyed my spirits, too. At one point, Tyler sensed when I'd crossed the line into "Will Possibly Freak Out Like a Screaming Banshee Any Second Now" mode, and came to be with me. Having him by my side made all the difference.

I'm glad today is over.


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