Gillian Wintermute

Hometown: Clinton, New Jersey

Profession: Paramotor Instructor

First flight: 2021 (at 20 years old)

When and how did you start to fly a paramotor?

I met a few friends in New Jersey who flew paramotors and would constantly watch them fly from the local parks. I saw a video of someone flying in Iceland, which perfectly captured the essence of flying paramotors and made me want to go for a tandem flight. I was instantly hooked on paramotors and convinced I needed to learn to fly for myself. I trained with Aviator Paramotor in January of 2021.

Tell us your favourite…

  • Wing: Currently a Sirocco 2, 18m
  • Motor: Vittorazi Moster 185
  • Place to fly: Salton Sea, California or anywhere above the clouds

What other passions do you have, or activities do you enjoy?

I am very into photography and love to combine that passion with flying. I currently live in a van and love to travel and hike, but also play guitar, read and write, crochet, and onewheel.

Tell us the best advice you have on:

  • Learning to fly: Keep trying. Understand you’re going to make mistakes in the beginning, so be gentle with yourself and keep trying. And always smile, you’re learning to fly, it should be fun.
  • The gear: We all move at our own pace, so stay true to yourself and your skills. You have all the time in the world to progress into more advanced gliders and motors, so don’t rush it. Master your skills on beginner gear before moving up.
  • Progressing your skills and overcoming challenges: Repetition is key. The biggest thing that has helped me advance my skills and increase my confidence is practising over and over. If there is something I want to get better at, I go out and do as many as I can in a row until it starts clicking. Having good role models and instructors as well is a huge help.

Please tell us more about the current … that you’re working on:

  • Mission/project: My mission is to inspire more females to get into this sport. At one point I was a girl who thought this was a crazy, adrenaline junky activity that I was incapable of doing, but quickly learned it can be peaceful, healing, and therapeutic. Through instructing I have been able to help many females, and I try to spread my flying through social media to continue inspiring others.
  • Goal: My goal is always to be a better pilot. I want to start competing in competitions to create a bigger female community, and create more traction with competition to potentially bring them to the United States.

Why is flying important to you, and what does flying mean to you?

Flying changed my life. I dealt with a lot of health issues growing up, and as a result felt very lost as a human being. Flying was a catalyst into a life of adventure and made me realize I can enjoy my life, and has been a huge source of therapy to me. It also has introduced me to a lot of my favorite humans.

Flying accomplishments (competitions, projects, records, airshows, etc):

  • Paramotor STOL Competition Winner (unofficial)
  • Master of the lazy launch
  • Hoping to devote more time to competition in the next few years

Do you have any goals, dreams or plans for the next 1-2 years that you want to share?

In the next 1-2 years I am hoping to fly and travel as much as possible. One of my biggest goals is flying in Iceland. I also want to start paragliding more.

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