The Resurgence PPG Adventure Wingman expedition was the culmination of work that brought together program alumni, the instructors from various program associated schools, and special invited guests that have been especially influential in the growth and success of the Resurgence PPG program.
In November of 2020, in the midst of a world wide pandemic, Resurgence PPG was able to gather 31 pilots in the high desert of central Arizona to begin a 10 day adventure that would take them around the beautiful state of Arizona and into southern California.
November 8, 2020 was the planned arrival day for the participants. We rendezvoused on an open desert plain just south of Sedona, AZ. The location, although beautiful provided its own set of challenges. The first challenge was the altitude. The location, being in the mountains of central Arizona, sat at an elevation of roughly 5,000’ above sea level. Experiencing a density altitude of this height could be challenging for pilots that are most accustomed to flying from beaches and coastal locations.
The next challenge that we faced was the various experience levels that we were dealing with regarding the veteran pilots. Although these pilots had all been through a powered paragliding school with a full curriculum, there were certain cases that some pilots only had literally a handful of flights upon their arrival to the adventure. A third challenge that we faced was the fact that we unintentionally timed our arrival to coincide with an early winter storm. Our first evening together would see temperatures dropping into the teens with a light dusting of snow. Although beautiful, this added to the difficulties of getting pilots into the air.
Finally, the greatest challenge that we faced, that would be present for the entire trip was the actual disabilities or adaptive abilities of the gathered veterans. In the group of veteran pilots was the first double amputee to ever foot launch a paramotor. We had a single leg amputee that was a foot launch pilot. There was a pilot that was a paraplegic that was flying a quad wheel launch unit. Several other veterans, although they may have appeared able bodied, were dealing with injuries and ailments from IED blasts, years of wear on the body, and PTSD.
This group of pilots was exceptional to say the least. Not only had they served their country in combat, making enormous sacrifices, but now they had all joined together for this amazing adventure of paramotor flight around Arizona.