There’s a rumour that most of the meteorologists working at The Met Office have a little trick up their sleeves when it comes to booking their UK holidays. Regardless of what their own forecasts are saying, when it comes to their personal free time they always check out the dates of the Paramotor Club fly-ins before making any bookings. I imagine they have all been enjoying the weather this bank holiday weekend - And so did we, thanks yet again to our very own weather god, Simon Westmore.
As usual, 130 pilots spent the prior week glued to weather charts and forecasts which served up three glorious days of flying in the warm and sunny Gloucestershire countryside and surrounding areas.
The PMC events are always a cosy affair and this one was no exception; enough pilots, families and doggies to keep it busy but the right numbers to keep it all manageable, easy and friendly. As previously, food was provided by Killins Kitchen mobile caterers, but sadly the bar failed to to materialise. However Simon’s crack team carried out an expedition to the local booze emporium and came back with enough supplies for the event. The rest of the facilities were up to PMC’s usual high standard.
The bulk of the crowd arrived throughout Friday and by the evening the skies were filled with paramotors. The weather was good enough for flying to commence again early on Saturday morning, with some pilots flying through the majority of the day. But Saturday night was a joy to behold and the field self-managed itself with no issues or marshalling required - and it was the busiest skies at a PMC event that I can recall, bursting with colourful wings and buzzing motors right up until last light. And Sunday morning carried on where Saturday had left off, only with lighter winds, if any at all. As the field emptied, a handful stayed on until the evening which provided some lovely air for the final flights of the weekend. And then it was over.
As usual, the fly-in provided a great opportunity for sharing ideas and knowledge, asking questions, hanging out with all your buddies and having a great time. It was clear that there were more kids and dogs than at previous events, but that didn’t detract at all - in fact the kids were great and were clearly loving it and the dogs were enjoying the attention and freedom. And during the weekend I only spotted one dog turd, so owners were being responsible too (well, except for one maybe!).
An inevitable issue with fly-ins is congestion around the airfield and the risk of annoying the locals. This year there was one simple rule - take off and cross the river and stay on that side. This immediately cured any issue with pilots who insist on flying around the airfield constantly and getting in the way of those trying to launch or land, and also prevented any disturbance to the locals. And the difference it made to the quality of life for the campsite was noticeable.
I felt sadder than usual at the end; it was as good as it could have been and, as usual, a big thank you goes out to Simon, Col and the crew who made it all happen. And to everyone who attended and contributed to the vibe and fun. Only three months until the Summer fly-in where we can do it all again - get praying to our weather god now.
For over 150 more photographs of the event, visit Facebook.