‘Lawnmower man’ flies paramotor from Ireland to Africa to raise funds for Gorta

Oisín Creagh with the paramotor which he used to fly to Africa in aid of Gorta. Picture: Cathal Noonan

An Irish adventurer dubbed the ‘lawnmower man’ has become the first person to fly from Ireland to Africa by paramotor.

Architect Oisín Creagh, from Cork, touched down in Morocco yesterday, after completing the last leg of his epic 3,000km flight, using his lawnmower engine-powered, back-mounted aircraft and parachute-style wing.

After days of waiting in southern Spain, he finally got a break in the weather and took off at dawn, yesterday, from a beach just north of the Rock of Gibraltar.

Thanks to a tail-wind, he made the 15km crossing over the Straits of Gibraltar and touched down safely in Ceuta, northeastern Morocco, about 45 minutes later, to become the first person to complete the remarkable journey using a paramotor.

It is one of the longest ever paramotor flights.

“The last flight was calm and beautiful,” Oisín said.

“It’s been an amazing trip. I always felt it was possible. I just didn’t know how long it would take. But I’m delighted with the achievement.”

Oisín embarked on the Fly Africa paramotor challenge to raise funds and awareness for Irish-based international development organisation, Gorta-Self Help Africa — a charity that is working in drought-stricken Ethiopia, where crop failures have ravaged the food supplies of 20m people this year.

He set off from the North late last month and, over the last three weeks, has flown through Scotland, and along England’s eastern seaboard to Dover, from where he flew unsupported across the English Channel to Calais.

Oisín crossed the Pyrenees last week, and overcame soaring, 40C temperatures and bumpy thermals in Spain, which restricted his flying time to just a few hours after sunrise.

“But I made good ground, despite the challenges,” he said.

“Crossing the Pyrenees at an altitude of about 2km was a big milestone, but, despite all my research, I didn’t realise how many mountains I’d have to cross in Spain.

“I climbed the same height as I did over the Pyrenees about five more times during the trip down through Spain.”

He caught a ferry back to Gibraltar, yesterday, and was recovering last night. He said he was keen to get back to work, before deciding on future adventures.

“I have some very patient clients back home that are waiting for me to get back to work,” he said.

Oisín said the adventure was to raise funds for Gorta’s work in Africa and he is encouraging people to donate through his website, www.flyafrica.ie.

Mr Creagh is one of a handful of paramotoring enthusiasts in Ireland and one of the country’s most experienced such pilots.


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