Irishman is flying to Africa on a craft power ed by LAWNMOWER engine
Architect Oisin Creagh, 52, from Cork in Ireland will become the first person to deploy a "paramotor"
A man hopes to set a new record when he flies from Ireland to North Africa on a craft powered by little more than a lawnmower engine.
Oisin Creagh will become the first person to deploy a “paramotor” for a journey that will take him across Wales, England, France and Spain before arriving at his final destination.
The self-employed architect, 52, from Cork, will embark on the gruelling 3,000km journey, which will include flying over 100km of open sea, in late summer.
But a huge amount of the expedition is dependent on getting the right weather conditions.
Oisin said: “Too warm, too windy or too wet and you just can’t fly.”
He is undertaking the challenge to raise funds and awareness of the work of
Irish international development charity Gorta-Self Help Africa.
The trip will take him about a month – so it probably rules out a family holiday with his wife and two daughters.
Oisin added he regards his sport as “one of the simplest forms of powered aviation available to humankind”.
His paramotor is a specific type of motorised unit fitted with a propeller blade that is mounted on his back on a rucksack-like frame.
Powered by a small two-stroke engine similar to the motor of a lawnmower, Oisin should potentially be able to cover up to 150 to 200km of his trip, in each flight, travelling at up to 60kmh.
He will be satellite-tracked all the way and have a support boat on the Irish Sea when he makes the first leg of his journey from Strangford Lough, Co Down, across to British airspace.
A pal will be Oisin’s ground support in the UK, following him in a camper van so he has somewhere to sleep when he touches down before resuming the following day.
The paraglider – known in paramotoring as a “wing”– is essentially a parachute, very similar to those used for paragliding, but with a motor. If that cuts out, he will continue to glide.
Oisin, originally from Dublin’s South Circular Road but living in Cork city for 15 years, is planning his departure from Ireland for some time in mid to late August, with much of the trip taking place in September.
Flights will generally be early in the morning and late in the afternoon to avoid the “active” conditions of the warm middle of the day.
Oisin expects to be travelling at an altitude of around 1,500ft for much of the journey, although over the Irish Sea, English Channel and Strait of Gibraltar he will be higher.
He will also need to ascend to heights in excess of 6,000ft for the leg of his journey through the Pyrenees, which separate France from Spain.
Oisin said in planning for the trip he is in discussions with the Irish Aviation Authority and their international
counterparts through whose airspace he will travel on his journey.
He added: “Because paramotoring is a relatively new sport and a very different kind of flying, there are differing regulations on it in different jurisdictions.
“I have been good while planning the route and I am addressing the varying rules and issues as they arise.”
Oisin is hoping to raise thousands of euro to support the work of Gorta-Self Help Africa, which he describes as an organisation “making a real difference to the lives of some of the very poorest and most disadvantaged people in the world”.
He said: “In a region of the world where up to 70% of people rely on small plots of land for their very survival, it is only by improving farm production millions of people will be able to work their way out of poverty.”
Oisin is specifically hoping to fund work the charity is implementing in drought-ravaged Ethiopia, where crop failures are impacting on the food supplies of close to 20 million people this year.
To find out more about Oisin’s journey to Africa, visit www.flyafrica.ie