RAF Paramotor team attempt record-breaking flight around England and Wales

A Kirton man has helped to raise thousands for charity by attempting a record-breaking paramotor flight around England and Wales.

The team pictured with their paramotors.
The team pictured with their paramotors.

Squadron Leader Tim Taylor from Kirton, and two team mates took part in the 30-day air challenge - an experience they described as ‘breath-taking’ and ‘scary’.

Joined by Flight Lieutenants Andrew Whisker, of Bourne, and Mike O’Hara, from Anwick, the trio began their epic journey to navigate the coastline of England and Wales on Paramotors.

This is a feat which has never before been completed – but the team were eager to take on the hair-raising challenge to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

Tim takes a selfie mid-flight.

They set off from Winglands Airfield, in South Lincolnshire – where all three had previously completed their training with UFly4Fun Paramotor Flying School.

"The flights made excellent progress, completing an average of 70 miles per flight,” said Tim. “The flights allowed the team to see parts of Britain not easily accessed, and from a unique viewpoint.”

With blue skies and strong tail winds, Andrew was able to fly the whole coastline of Cornwall. He cruised along at 5,000ft, with a 270-degree view of land and sea. It was a journey he described as “idyllic and breath-taking to see”. However, he added that navigating around a very active Newquay Airport and taking off from Lands’ End Airport was a “tad scary”.

Mike set the challenge record by completing a 105-mile flight on one tank of fuel along the Jurassic Coast, while Tim took on the task of flying across the Lake District into North Wales.

RAF Squadron Leader Tim Taylor, from Kirton.

“I flew across the Snowdonia National Park, across the mountain range where sea meets land,” said Tim. "Hugging the coast meant I was looking along the valleys and following them up to the peaks of Scafell Pike and Snowdon that were looming over me - a breath-taking view.

"The stand-out experience for me was flying over Kent where the Wright Brothers first flew in England and then the Battle of Britain was fought out.”

Tim said he also enjoyed passing low over beaches, where people waved at him.

"On one of the flights along the a beach on the West Coast of Wales I could see some pretty large fish, there wasn’t much surf and the water was crystal clear,” he said. “I didn’t explore that too much as water and paramotors seldom go together.

Tim Taylor mid-flight with his paramotor.

"I also saw plenty of birds, but watching them pass under you is something you never really get used to,” he added.

By the end of the 30 days, the team had flown most of the English coast and a good chunk of Wales – but fell short of their target by 500 miles.

"The weather always wins,” Tim added. “It was disappointing to get close yet not quite make it.

"But the chance to gain this experience of concentrated flying was invaluable and the amazing feeling of flying a high-speed downwind leg can’t be beaten."

An aerial shot from the paramotor flight.

The trio were helped by a ground support team, who worked on logistics, provided transport, overnight camps and food.

“Our thanks go out to the support team members as without them, the challenge would not have got out of the station gates,” added Tim.

The team’s efforts raised £3,400. The paramotor challenge formed part of a coordinated programme of fundraising events throughout the year for the RAF Benevolent Fund to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the formation of the RAF Regiment.

Tim explained: “Events are still ongoing, but some, including a press-up challenge, a march carrying weight and a boxing evening, along with our paramotor challenge, have already raised £10,000 and the Regiment are still going.”

The Regiment’s various challenges will finish in the New Year, when the overall total raised will be presented to the Fund.

The stunning Cornish coastline, taken by paramotor pilot Andrew Whisker.
Flight Lieutenants Mike O'Hara, of Anwick near Sleaford.