To Africa by air, powered by lawnmower engine

6 August 2016
By Tom O’Sullivan
tom@TheCork.ie

Charity
Charity

Cork man Oisín Creagh aims to create a new record when he flies from Ireland to Africa this weekend on a craft that is powered by little-more than a lawnmower engine.

Oisín will conclude his preparation for his upcoming expedition when he undertakes a day of safety and rescue training, including a series of simulated crash-landings on water, at the National Maritime College of Ireland at Ringnaskiddy, Co. Cork, on Wednesday next, 10th August.

During the training, Oisín will simulate a crash landing into water and the necessary measures he would be required to take, should this challenge present itself in the open sea. The simulation is scheduled for 12.00noon.

A self-employed architect in Cork, he is aiming to become the first person to deploy a ‘paramotor’ for a journey that will take him from Ireland, through Wales, England, France and Spain, before arriving in his final destination in North Africa.

Weather permitting, he aims to depart from Ireland on his 3,000km journey on Sunday next, 14th August. He is embarking on the month long trip to raise funds and awareness of the work in Africa of Irish-based international development organisation, Gorta-Self Help Africa, and has to date collected near to €4,000 in sponsorship.

He expects to be travelling at an altitude of approximately 1,500ft for much of the journey, although over the Irish Sea, English Channel and Straits 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 mountain range, which separate France from Spain.

One of a handful of paramotor enthusiasts in Ireland, Oisín Creagh 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, he should potentially be able to cover up to 150-200km of his trip, per flight, travelling at up to 60km an hour.

The Paraglider (known in paramotoring as a ‘Wing’) is essentially a parachute, very similar to those used for paragliding, but with a motor. Oisín is predicting that it will take him approximately a month to cover the distance, but says that a huge amount of the expedition is dependent on getting the right weather conditions.

He expects to be travelling at an altitude of approximately 1,500ft for much of the journey, although over the Irish Sea, English Channel and Straits 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 mountain range, which separate France from Spain.

The Irish flier says that he is currently planning for the trip, and is in discussions with the Irish Aviation Authority, and their international counterparts through whose airspace he will travel on his journey.

Oisín is hoping to raise thousands of euro to support the work of Gorta-Self Help Africa, whom he describes as an organisation “making a real different to the lives of some of the very poorest and most disadvantaged people in the world.”

“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 that millions of people will be able to work their way out of poverty,” he says.

He is specifically hoping to fund work that the Irish 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 Oisín Creagh’s Paramotor to Africa visit: www.flyafrica.ie

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