The Icarus Trophy just became slightly more real after a few days training here in Northern Spain. Brave fools from around the world came to see if they were courageous enough – and indeed stupid enough to partake in the pioneer race. Some had flown kites before, and a few had even done some paragliding previously – but nobody had yet had the genius idea to combine that with a bloody massive engine on their back.
To avoid unnecessary impressions of strawberry jam, it all started off in the classroom. It was a bit like being back at school, but with a willingness to listen and learn. When the idea dawns on you that if you actually pay attention you're going to be far less likely to die that seems to happen. In fact being told that “if you don't do this you'll die” and “if you do this...you'll die” became a frighteningly common occurrence. I think the instructors were simply trying scare tactics though. Right?
It soon became clear that ground-handling the wings was a hugely important part of the procedure. Some made it look a lot easier than others, some a lot harder. Getting to grips with all the equipment wasn't so tough once you paid attention. The seeds of adventure have been sewn, and everybody got to take to the sky on a tandem ride. It's actually rather relaxing once you're up there skirting with the clouds, honest.
Both Kieran and Simon from the UK also managed a solo flight. Kieran having a great launch, with Zeb the instructor screaming into his radio "full throttle you full retard". Good, strong words of comforting support there.
So, are any of these people up for the real Icarus Trophy challenge? There were mixed reviews ranging from the subtle and to the point “fuck yes, I want that trophy on my mantlepiece” to a rather less enthusiastic “That was fucking brilliant, but the idea of doing that for days on end is probably the most mental thing I can ever imagine”.
Sounds perfect then.
Huge thanks to all the guys at Sky School for a truly wonderful few days. We shall look forward to seeing you next year.