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English Channel attempt help required.


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All,

Tracey, (a member) has decided that she is going to fly from France to England on her Paramotor. I instantly offered help from the Paramotor Club with organising the event.

Tracey will be the first woman to fly the channel by paramotor.

A small amount of sponsorship will be required, so if your interested.... give me a bell.

We need, take off and landing areas, met advice for the channel, sea based support, and a general tream of helpers for the event.

This is a nice fun one, (a bit of a scary thought to be fair!) but nice and easy to arrange.

If you can help, make yourself known now please.

WELL DONE FOR TAKING THIS ONE ON 'T' AND GOOD LUCK! :D

SW :D

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Hi All,

Thanks Simon!! As you mentioned... a bit scary... um, actually, a LOT scary... it's a loooong stretch of water, that's going to be very, very cold if I "land" in it... but hey... what could go wrong?!

I really appreciate the offer of help and support from you and the Paramotor Club, so any assistance anyone is able to offer will be most welcome.

To give a bit of background about this attempt... Bascially, I realise the Channel is only about 26 miles across, which is something we all fly on a routine basis. But for me, the difference between just flying 26 miles locally, and flying across the Channel, is that it's an adventure, it's well out of my comfort zone, and it sounds like a great challenge to get across that water.

I know some blokes have done it "unassisted" in the past (and it would be great if they are on this forum and could contact me), so I wouldn't be the first "person" to do it - but I would be the first woman, and I'm keen to have this little record.

I'm aiming to do this sometime during the last two weeks in January next year (any day that the weather's good during this time I'll make the attempt). And Dan, in response to your earlier question, I'll be doing it for Guidedogs for the Blind (however, you're also correct in thinking that it will be for personal gratification!)

I've got a whole list of points that I need help with, so perhaps that will be a good place to start...

1. Sponsorship - does anyone have any contacts who might want to take this on? I've got a breakdown of costs that I could email to someone through private messaging.

2. I'm going to fly from France to England (both beacuse it will be nice to fly back "home", and because someone told me the prevailing winds are generally from France). Could someone advise...

2a. How can I get my engine across? Will there be problems with fuel, etc?

2b. Launch site in France?

2c. Accommodation near the launch site?

2d. Will I have to get insurance/a licence to fly in France?

2e. Will I have to get permission from someone to launch?

3. Any Met advice? I've heard the winds start to do funny things mid-way across the channel. Can someone let me know what it is and what I've got to look out for?

4. CAA permission to fly across the channel and land in Dover?

5. What are peoples' views on the right altitude to fly at?

I'll leave it at that for now. If anyone would like to email me by private messaging, please feel free.

Oh... and I'll be at SPLASH to chat with people there too!

Thanks guys!

Tracey :wink:

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Hi Tracey,

Good luck with your venture and l hope you get all the support that you will need, not only physically but with all behind the scenes activities like met and French laws etc. As you say its not a long flight but its going to be over water.

I am sure you will be elated once its accomplished. One question, which motor will you be flying out of curiosity.

You take care and fly safe

Mike

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Tracey,

You might want a breeze at you chosen cruise altitude from the prevailing West of course. Remember you will need a fair old climb before you cross the coast outbound - with a tailwind behind you if the motor stops you will turn to the nearest coast.... which initially will be into your 'tailwind'. So that wind strength during the climb and cruise is fairly critical if you are not in a 'bad place' barely a couple of miles off shore. You will quickly hit a point of no 'dry return' and just be looking for you boat to land by.

A short course at Mountbatten (they don't pull their punches)or somewhere like it might prepare you well for what you hope will never happen. You will find them very helpful and if you can't do a short course with them they 'may know a man who can help'. I will make a tentative inquiry with the Navy who live opposite me. :lol:

You might do well to talk to V23b as he has some expertise in the area.:wink:

You will need to look at customs, immigration and Special Branch requirements. Launching from Lydd or Manston might be a good idea to complete them if required. Grab a current copy of Poolies Guide from Transair and you will have these requirements, airspace and everything else that is GA related in one book.

Drop me an email if you need any questions answering, if I don't know I may know where to look or know someone who can help.

Bon chonce TT

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sounds like a great adventure, I am afraid i dont know enough about the channel or boats and stuff to be able to give any real worthwhile help, but I wish you luck and maybe you can put up the details once they are finnalised and few of us can organise a welcoming party on the kent coast to cheer you home.

Good luck, Dave.

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Tracey, best of luck with your adventure.

All other things aside, it may be best to avoid Dover and move along the coast a bit. Purely from a traffic point of view. You would also have a better choice of landing site because farmland is nearer the sea as opposed to ferry terminals and truck parks/trading estates.

A great place to head from would be Sangatte as opposed to Calais for the same reason. Sangatte is a great little seaside town that is very used to mad English people doing nutty things to cross the channel.

Attempts to/from there in the last couple of years have included canoe crossings, pedaloes, single seat hovercraft and of course Top Gear's nautical challenge, crossing in a modified Japanese pick-up truck.

I have a mate with a 12m fast RIB, I'll ask him if he's up for lending it as a support vessel

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Hi All,

Thanks Simon!! As you mentioned... a bit scary... um, actually, a LOT scary... it's a loooong stretch of water, that's going to be very, very cold if I "land" in it... but hey... what could go wrong?!

I really appreciate the offer of help and support from you and the Paramotor Club, so any assistance anyone is able to offer will be most welcome.

To give a bit of background about this attempt... Bascially, I realise the Channel is only about 26 miles across, which is something we all fly on a routine basis. But for me, the difference between just flying 26 miles locally, and flying across the Channel, is that it's an adventure, it's well out of my comfort zone, and it sounds like a great challenge to get across that water.

I know some blokes have done it "unassisted" in the past (and it would be great if they are on this forum and could contact me), so I wouldn't be the first "person" to do it - but I would be the first woman, and I'm keen to have this little record.

....

Tracey :wink:

As far as I know (sorry if I've missed any) Paul Mahoney, Giles C+?, Michel Carnet+? and Peter Searle have done this a mix of ways, wings and motors. I don't think any are active on this forum.

Pete is the most recent I think, and he didn't land in France...

PM me if you want contact details

Good Luck!

Cheers

Paul

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Hi Guys,

Thanks for your emails of support!! Just to respond to some of your queries...

Mike... I'll be flying my miniplane. It's been a super little engine for me since I first started, and hasn't ever given any real problems... so I'm hoping it'll behave and get me across the water! I'll also be flying with my Dudek Reaction Wing... nice and fast!

Norman... thanks for the info about Mountbatten. I had wondered where they did all that navy training. I'll look into what's on offer... though if it's going to cost a fortune to take a course I'll just have to skip it! I am looking into buying a very sexy and flattering orange rubber immersion suit though. Mmmmm!

Regarding reading all the info about immigration... er... I'll do my best to get a copy of Poolies and read up on it... but I might also try to see if someone could just quickly tell me things... it goes in easier that way! :wink:

If you're at SPLASH Norman, I'll have a chat to you there!

Dave... I can't tell you how lovely your offer is to cheer me home!!! Honestly... it would mean the world if there were some folks waiting for me in Dover! I might have to delegate you as my friendly landing windsock-buddy!!?

Dragon...Oh... you've hit on a huge hurdle for me! The major cost of the attempt is the support boat... which at the moment I have as £950! If you have a mate who would be keen to get involved it would be terrific! Please let me know. And yes... you're right about moving a bit away from the ferry terminals... I'll keep that in mind!

Paul... I'll send you a PM!

Thanks guys...

Tracey :)

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I knew I forgot something...

Just thinking about equipment and stuff... I'm just wondering if I could beg, borrow, or steal (well, maybe not beg)... any of the following if someone could part with them for a while...

1. A Dry Bag (if I land in the water, a bag to put all equipment in).

2. Idiot-proof video camera (to go in the dry bag if I water land!).

3. Two radios so I can communicate with the support boat.

4. Life vest (hopefully to be returned un-used).

I promise to replace any equipment that's damaged! :!:

Tracey

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I'm afraid I won't be needing any lard or goose fat, thanks Togsie... though a massage would have been lovely before the start!

How about you help me to get out of my rubber immersion suit in Dover? I'll be all sweaty, so you might have to peel it off me!

:lol:

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Hi Tracey,

I posted a generic "you go girl" post ages ago but it appears to have got lost. Ho Hum.

I have a couple of dry bags I use when kayaking. They'll each hold a camera, phone & radio etc. Not masses but everything you'll be needing to keep dry.

Radios I can also do. In fact why don't we add a SPOT tracker to your load so that all the friends and family who can't be there with you can follow you on-line?

Now there's a thought, I wonder if we can get a live webcam feed from you all the way over. If you're up for it I'll talk to some geek friends and see what we can rig up. We might need help from Dragon for a light weight but half-way decent camera.

See ya soon,

Stuart

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I'm afraid I won't be needing any lard or goose fat, thanks Togsie... though a massage would have been lovely before the start!

How about you help me to get out of my rubber immersion suit in Dover? I'll be all sweaty, so you might have to peel it off me!

:lol:

Rubber :D Now you're talking. Seriously though just shout if there's anything at all that I can help out with.

Togsie.

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I've just been talking to a very nice chap who regularly accompanies swimmers across the channel and he brought up a very valid point.

Does the figure you have been quoted include a qualified channel pilot?

Obviously being one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world it would be all too easy to fall foul of the authorities on either or both sides of the channel and a qualified pilot should go a long way towards making sure that doesn't happen.

On another note, I have been looking at possible take-off and landing sites. Sangatte would still be my favourite for a take-off. Big wide beaches and fields if the tide is in.

As for landing, the area between Folkestone and Hythe looks ideal. Class G airspace and there is a big sports field complex at Sandgate which is just under a mile inland. Total distance in a straight line is 28.15 miles.

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As a starting point,

I would be tempted to talk to the peoplw who have already done it..

I will be with two of them tomorrow Gilo and Neil so will ask the above questions and ask for assistance.

Back on Monday (or late Sunday.)

Thanks to everyone for kicking in, in the normal Paramotor Club way and helping to arrange this!

Tis brill!

SW :D

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Hi again everyone!!

Slim... Ah, it's a shame your "You go girl" message didn't come through! A girl's always on the lookout for messages like that! :) But thank you for your new message... and for all the offers! Dry bags... tick, SPOT... tick, Radios... tick, Webcam... tick if someone can sort that out... what a fab idea!! See you on the 14th and we'll have a catch up!!

Dragon... Yes, the guy that I've got the quote from is one of the regular guys who does the quirky crossings with people (like Clarkson and Top Gear). When I spoke to him he said that he would be able to sort all the finniky stuff out and so yes, I suppose that where he makes his money - he's able to sort all the authorities stuff out. Hmmm... I hadn't really though about the fact that people can't just blast their way across the channel without going through the authorities. I keep forgetting that it's France and I'll have to take my passport with me when I go!

Simon... Looking forward to what the guys had to say! And yes, everyone on here has been so supportive... really warms my cockels :)

Tracey

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi guys,

Would anyone know a paint I could use to put my logo / registration on my wing. I know the Loft print logos, but I'm hoping to save some expsense and do it DIY.

If no-one can suggest a paint... can anyone point me in the right direction of some self-adhesive ripstop material? I've found a source on the internet, but just wondered if anyone's got some insider information?

Thanks guys,

Tracey

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Depending how complex and big it is, I have a 'vinyl' printer and a few different colours. It is not my job, just picked it up somewhere and use it for bits and bobs (that's my 'I don't really know what i'm doing and i'm not a pro disclaimer'). I'm not even sure if there should be a specific vinyl to use on your wing. But the offer is there none the less. If it is out of my saftey zone, then I could defo just whip up some simple vinyl to go on your kit (fuel tank, helmet, arms etc.)

Ben

Thinking about it, isn't there a real vinyl printing guy on here?

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Thanks guys :D

I'll get in touch with Mags!

For anyone who might be interested in a short update... this has been a steep learning curve for me, which has been well worthwhile, simply to find out the technicalities of organising something which sounds relatively simple!

My initial idea was to just be the first woman to fly across the channel in a paramotor. Nice and simple. Perhaps a photo to record the moment of triumph, and a new article in Paramotor Mag. What it has developed into, is something much more complicated.

I am now looking at getting a radio license, and making sure that I will be able to send an SOS if I need to. I've been in touch with Heathrow and the CAA several times and have discovered that I will have to register / licence my wing, so they know how to identify me if I ditch in the water. It's not sure if I can launch from the beach, or will have to start from Lille. And I'm still struggling to find a sponsor in this recession climate. I've bought a lot of equipment, such as immersion suit, hook knife and life jacket, and have had very generous offers from all you lovely guys for odds and ends... which has given me a lot of warm and fuzzies!

Thanks to everyone for all your good wishes and support so far. I'll write a decent report on this when it's all done.

Hope to bump into some of you at SPLASH.

Tracey :D

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  • 1 month later...

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