Icarus Trophy Report Day 10

If you think you could be a contender for the crown next year, or want to join the flying hobos in Adventure Class, applications are open for the 2016 Icarus Trophy.

Here they all come. 

Great scott, they've finished. In the end, we were even treated to a race in the final surge towards the chequered flag. 

The Adventure Class have spent the evening celebrating their victory at Blackhawk Paramotor Ranch. Today's report will be a bundle of self-congratulation: slightly delirious and utterly deserved. 

They almost didn't get there.  The biggest group clustered around Willow Airport in the morning didn't really read the weather report properly and ignored all the advice our Weather Guru had lovingly prepared for them.  Today's prediction was pretty darn perfect too, if only our pilots had heeded his advice:

Don. First at the finish line on Day 10

"The most sensible course line is to fly generally Southeast in order to avoid the higher winds on the West side that will dominate in the afternoon. For all remaining adventurers, it would be advisable to pass north of Sacramento as the Wing-It team did vice tracking around the southern side where you will be exposed to North winds nearing 20mph by 1300 on the West side of Sacramento and which will increase closer to Napa. "

The only man to take the "most sensible course" was veteran adventurer, Don Mclester. Even accounting for the delay when he landed in a field enclosed in barbed wire, he still managed to get to Blackhawk first.  "I didn't have the heart to tell Shane that I never read it. I just made a route the night before." Ah well. There's a reason we call this the Adventure Class. Congrats Don. 

“Make sure you say Tom Morgan bounded across the finish line on his ass. That asshat cannot land for shit. He sucks at landing. He cannot even pass the finish line without bouncing on his ass and I say that as someone who equally can’t land. I’ve spent enough time in welding shops fixing my gear, so I know what a bad landing looks like. It was funny as hell.”
— Don McLester

Don, we're more than happy to oblige. We wish we'd been there.  

Holly molly. We've made it. Last flight was awesome. 100k in smooth air. Landing at the finish line at Blackhawk ranch...

Posted by Ky Ahmad on Wednesday, October 21, 2015
There was a moment when I thought I was going to get so far and then crash into our welcoming committee.”
— Ky Ahmad

Ky is so fired up that he is already planning the next trip: to the North Pole. "It would be awesome because you could have sleds and when the weather's bad just stick the motor on the sled. You might need gloves and a wooly hat though." A plan we can't fault.  

I live in Switzerland where paramotoring is illegal. It seems a waste to learn these awesome skills and never use them, and I’ve gotten so much better.

Actually that’s a lie. I don’t think I’ve improved at all. It’s just my level of risk tolerance has gone up
— Ed Hamilton
We couldn’t have asked for a better finish.
— Cayle
I feel like a rockstar. A really really poor rockstar.
— Harry Waugh

Also over the line are Harry and Ed. After a frustrating morning, the final flight "smooth as a baby's pancake" says Harry. Probably good then? 

Here's Cayle Royce enjoying a well earned beer thanks to Ninkasi Brewery.  

Meanwhile, Cayle Royce's trike is showing no damage from yesterday's experiment in the water. Apparently "she's totally amphibious now" and can be converted in minutes into "HMS whatever-it-was." They are hoping they can make adjustments to minimise her "quirks." If anyone can do it, the man who has rowed the Atlantic is probably a safe bet for the job of raft engineer. 

The only person flying from the Central Valley who didn't quite make it was Hans Sprecher. He managed to fix up his mangled motor with packing tape and hemp rope, landed out about 20miles north after running out of fuel. He was retrieved by Race support and plans to return to finish the job tomorrow. "Bit of a bummer" he says, but apparently it was an excellent landing and his motor is currently stashed in Mexican restaurant. There's always a silver lining and this time, it's Mexican food. 

The Icarus is now over and Day 10 will be the last daily race report. 

We'll continue to cover the race, and of course, the pilot's post race antics on the blog


If you think you could be a contender for the crown next year, or want to join the flying hobos in Adventure Class, applications are open for the 2016 Icarus Trophy.

The first 10 pilots to sign up will get in for the 2015 entry fee.


There are still limited places on the October beginners training course at SkySchool, 29th October - 1st November in Figueres Spain. This is a four day course that could get you flying solo by the lastday. There aren't many places left so email us if you want a spot.

If you're stateside, Team Fly Halo are having a holding training sessions December 4th-13th in Morro Bay run by Shane Denherder, race referee, and Byron Leisek, Icarus Trophy Race Class Pioneer.

For our Aussie chums, David Wainwright and High Adventure Paragliding is your port of call.