& Test Pilots

Bear Grylls

Parajet Maverick

What do you most enjoy about paramotoring?

Over the many years that I have been a pilot, my paramotor has given me many breathtaking and inspiring experiences that have enriched my life. Nothing beats that sense of freedom and calm when flying amongst the clouds and taking in the vast landscape below.

In contrast, my innate desire to defy convention and to push the boundaries of human endeavour has taken me on adventures to various different countries and continents; to vastly different types of climate and to extreme altitudes. From the remote jungle plateau in Venezuela, to the record-breaking heights above Everest and the harsh wilderness of the Antarctica, paramotoring has given me the chance to explore some of the world’s most remote regions.

Most notable accomplishments?

Angel Falls is located in the Guayana highlands, and it is just one of the five great adventure regions in Venezuela. 15 times higher than Niagara Falls, the highest point of the falls reaches 979 meters, with water falling from a height of 807 meters.

In April 2005 I was fortunate enough to lead a team to be the first to fly a paramotor over this fascinating waterfall. The whole area is shaped by breathtaking mountains called Tepuys, and once airborne we were able to see the rivers, lakes, waterfalls, forests and savannahs spread out beneath us like a green sea. The experience was the perfect combination of magic and reality and definitely calls for a visit at least once in life.

Conventional wisdom says that technology has tamed the elements and removed risk from almost every human activity. Against all odds I turned conventional wisdom on its head in the pursuit of a feat that many deemed impossible.

On the 14 May 2007, I took off from the foothills of the high Himalaya, some 20 miles south of Everest in eastern Nepal, kitted out in a three-layered thermal suit and carrying equipment totalling around 120kg. Once airborne, I flew north, over glaciers, towards Mount Everest. Once south of the infamous Nuptse Wall, a sheer ice and rock face that soars eight thousand feet high, I began to circle and ascend towards my target altitude. At around 9.30 am, with great relief and excitement I reached the height of 29,500ft to claim a world record!

In December 2008, I led a team of four adventurers to one of the least explored regions of Antarctica in an audacious bid to climb one of the most remote unclimbed peaks on earth and to explore part of the great continental ice-shelf. The expedition aimed to promote alternative energies as a source of power in the future and raise funds for Global Angels.

During the mission I was fortunate enough to fly both an electric-powered and a bioethanol-fuelled paramotor across some of the vast 14.4 million km2 ice desert – an environment so hostile and remote that it has no indigenous or permanent inhabitants. The landscape is otherworldly, like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Stark, cold, beautiful emptiness. Unfortunately, our expedition was cut short after I suffered a broken shoulder while kite skiing across a stretch of ice.

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