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Sat, Jan 02, 2016

Four Thousand Five Hundred Miles By Paramotor!

Sacha Dench To Fly 4,500 Mile Bewick's Swans Migration Route Using Just A Paramotor

A powered parachute, that’s a powered cart suspended below a parachute, has made a trip around the world, but this flight is being made with a paramotor, that’s an engine strapped to the back of the operator suspended below a paraglider. This is going to be quite an adventure!

We picked up this story from the Gloucestershire Echo out of the UK, and it sounds like quite an adventure. Sacha Dench, who works at Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetland Centre, will face polar bears, extreme weather as well as the challenge of finding safe places to land, in her bid to fly with the swans. Her mission is to follow the migration route of swans from Siberia.

The report says her first challenge will be to cross the Russian tundra, one of the most wild and remote places on earth. Over 10 weeks Sacha will cross eleven countries and will become the first woman ever to paramotor across the Channel, and fly along the River Thames through central London to land at Slimbridge in November. She will face many of the same challenges as the swans, from extreme weather and polar bears to a hostile landscape of pylons and tall buildings, as well as finding places to rest and refuel.

In the report, Sacha is quoted as saying, "This expedition is very close to my heart. It's a chance to learn more about Bewick's swans and why they're declining. But just as important, it's a chance to bring people from very different cultures together because the swans' fate rests in our hands. We can't let the Bewick's swan population's decline continue for another decade."

Sacha provided background about this endeavor by explaining, "The idea formed as I realized that many of my paramotoring contacts in Europe were also farmers and hunters – two groups that are crucial to the swans' survival. This adventure seemed the perfect way to spark the interest of people on the ground.”

She added, “Wherever you land as a paramotorist, whoever's nearby is understandably curious to know where you've come from and why. I'll be using that interest to tell people the swans' story and to invite everyone I meet - from reindeer herders to town planners – to get involved in helping them to survive. As we develop the expedition, we're exploring new research opportunities, from doing an aerial survey of the swans' breeding grounds to documenting the turbulence from a wind turbine."

Volunteers are wanted to join Sacha's team. They need a person to plan the expedition, and volunteers to work as a mechanic and filmmaker.

(Image from project support web page)

FMI: Project support

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