A few shots from some of my first speedflying flights.
I started speedflying in August 2014, self-taught with some help from friends. So far, I've really enjoyed learning about this relatively new sport.
As you can see from the video, this learning process has not been without mistakes or injury. After downsizing to a Fazer 2 12 from my first wing, a Gin Yak 16.5, the learning process had to speed up.
Unfortunately my first day on the Fazer ended with a crash on my 4th launch (see video). I spent a month on crutches. Another month went by, and I could finally start flying my Yak again. I had a couple of days to ride the lifts in Chamonix- I decided not to use my GoPro, but instead focus on flying well.
In December, I started flying my Fazer again. I hadn't flown it since my crash. I hiked up 700m above Le Tour, and found a grassy area suitable for launching with no snow. The launch and landing went well, but I didn't fly as nicely as I'd hoped.
In the following weeks, I did a few more hike and flies, including my first ski launch from Le Signal. Finally the Plan Praz lift opened the day before I was due to fly home for Christmas- I took this opportunity to fly with Harry Bloxham, a friend who kindly helped me stay alive during this whole learning process, much to his surprise!
For me, speedflying gives a feeling that I've never before experienced. I believe that putting oneself in a position where any mistake could (and most likely will) result in death or serious injury is an incredible way to learn about yourself and develop mental strength and focus. The closest thing for me is soloing a climbing route, which I find equally fun!
I was first inspired to fly by the idea of climbing alpine routes on 4000m peaks in the Alps, and launching from the summits, something called paralpinism. For me, soloing a big alpine route, then flying a small canopy from the summit is a really special way to enjoy the mountains. This is my dream, and something I will pursue in the following months and years.
The ability to experience flight in such a simple and pure form is a real privilege. I could not have done this without the help of my friends; Harry Bloxham, Thomas Foote and Ollie Stevens. Thanks to these guys for the advice, support and transport to the hospital!