Life Skills

Paramotoring Adventure

“Adventure feeds the masculine soul”

John Eldredge

That which stirs a man, deep in his soul, comes from a heart of adventure. Adventures that test a man’s grit, what he’s made of, validation that affirms he has what it takes.  Some men throw themselves into an adventure, desperate to discover their identity.  Others hold back, reserved, hesitant. They question, they calculate, they do what is just one step above safe.  And then, with each success, the safe line advances. Eventually, they get there; adventure. 

Recently, Mentoring Warriors sat down with paramotoring enthusiast Lucas Johnson to talk about a new adventure he’s discovered and what it’s doing to stir deep in his soul.  Follow the link at the end of this article on Lucas paramotoring in Minnesota. 

MW: First, tell us how you became connected with Mentoring Warriors.

Lucas: Wild At Heart Men’s Boot Camp in Colorado, February 2020, before the pandemic. Met up with MW’s David Riffel. We hit it off! Great conversations ensued after boot camp as I journeyed through my manhood experiences.

MW: Lucas, until we talked, I had barely heard about paramotoring. Tell us what it is.

Lucas: Paramotoring is like paragliding, except you strap a 2-cycle motor with a propellor to your back. This allows you to take off in a short distance by running and gaining lift.

MW: What’s your normal altitude when flying?

Lucas: I tend towards the lower elevations, say 50 feet off the ground, just above the trees, but I’ve also been as high as 1000 feet. Without a parachute.

Lucas on take-off!

MW: Without a parachute?

Lucas: The paramotor system consists of a motor, propellor, and a harness with a seat; which are all connected to the frame. Your paraglider (or wing) then connects to the frame as well with carabiners. After laying your wing out, and strapping yourself in, you start the motor, run several feet forward until the wing is centered over the top of you. Throttle the motor up and off you go! My favorite flying is “low and slow” with my feet grazing the grass fields or the tops of corn stalks; which is why I have not bought a reserve parachute yet.

MW: How fast do you fly?

Lucas: Around 25 mph.

MW: Are there ideal weather conditions for paramotoring?

Lucas: Typical mornings and evenings are the best for flying. when the wind is calm. It’s important to check weather forecasts. You might wake up on a Saturday with your heart set on flying, only to find out the winds or a storm will ground you. Typically, winds at 5 mph or less, minimal gusts. Cloudy days are OK, but if there is rain or storms coming in, it’s safer to reschedule for another time.

MW: Where can you fly?

Lucas: There are aeronautical charts you need to follow. You can’t just fly anywhere. FAA has no-fly zones; much like they do for drones. So, get some charts and be check out the no-fly zones in your area. There are some smaller airports you can take off from. Otherwise, a soccer field, big lawn, or pasture could work.

MW: How long is a flight?

Lucas: I like to fly for about an hour, maybe 90 minutes. The motor has enough fuel to go further, but for me, that’s about how much time I like to be up there. It’s good for clearing my head.

Lucas in the air.

MW: Explain clearing your head.

Lucas: Have you ever gone through your week with just a lot on your mind? Some guys go for a walk, others, like you, David, pull out your bike and hit the trails. When I land, it’s as if life gave me a reset. I see things more clearly.  Not that all my problems disappear, but now I have a better perspective.

MW: Talk about the spiritual aspect of paramotoring.

Lucas: When I talk about a reset, two things happen when I fly. The first is, flying is risky. There is danger, like riding a motorcycle. Adventure always involves risk. With flying, you have to think through your steps and the assembly of the paramotor and wing. It all comes together. When I take off, I trust in God for safety. Ultimately, he’s the one who keeps me in the sky.

The second thing that happens is I sense God’s presence. It’s a freeing thing to be up there, with essentially nothing between you and the sky. I can think and pray while I fly. That’s what I mean when I say paramotoring gives me perspective.

MW: Have you ever crashed?

Lucas: No.

MW: How often do you fly?

Lucas: During the summer, at least once a week. You want to be down before sunset and only fly when the weather is calm, as I mentioned earlier.

MW: What are the essentials to paramotoring?

Lucas: Buy a good motor and prop system. Be sure it and the glider are sized for you. You can get tandem units, but I’d suggest you start out with a solo system. And, don’t forget lessons. I had 10-15 hours with an instructor. You will not regret getting help before you do a solo trip.

MW: How much does it cost to get into paramotoring?

Lucas: You can spend just about anything you want, but for starters, I’d budget $10,000, if you are going to get all new equipment. That should get you a decent paramotor, a glider, and the accessories. 

MW: When did you first start paramotoring?

Lucas: 2019

MW: Any final words of wisdom for a would-be paramotorer?

Lucas: Before you invest in your own system, find someone to take you up in a tandem system. If you are slow at trying new things, let this be one of those small steps to test the grit of your soul, the man God is shaping you into.

And, I’d say what you say at Mentoring Warriors,

Warrior On!

Follow this link to Lucas paramotoring in Minnesota.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/MPvYSPpwzYeNP2tQA

Lucas Johnson

Lucas is a husband, son, brother, friend, and Jesus follower. He works for a commercial construction company as a project engineer, and in his spare time, he can generally be described as an adventurous hobbyist. If he is not at work or investing time with his church community, some of his regular activities include paramotoring, snowboarding, woodworking, cross fitting, pickleball, and battling his wife in board games.

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