WITH A motor at his back and a parasail above his head, Mike O’Shea has scored an amazing first.
The Kerryman flew almost 600km along the rugged Atlantic coast of Ireland to get from Mizen Head in Cork to Malin Head in Donegal.
O’Shea kept in touch with a support team using mobile technology to navigate treacherous conditions, and often sub-zero temperatures at heights of up to 10,000ft.
Even his heartbeat was monitored through a smartwatch which relayed his pulse and other vital signs to the ground. And no wonder he needed to keep his pulse in check – watch the video above as he looms over the edge of the Cliffs of Moher and skirts the rocky outcrop of Sligo’s Ben Bulben…
O’Shea is no slouch when it comes to adventurous feats – he has been climbing mountains since he was 13, has reached the North Pole twice, crossed Lake Baikal in Russia, Chile’s North Patagonian Icecap and Kilimanjaro’s Southern Icecap.
Setting himself the challenge to be the first person to paramotor from Ireland’s most southerly point to its most northerly tip was another story altogether. Changing weather conditions and galeforce gusts that threatened to throw him off course were all risk factors.
Even taking off wasn’t easy:
Wind is an issue for us, rain is an issue for us, there are a lot of inherent dangers. If anything is going to go wrong with paramotoring, it’s either taking off or landing. You’ve got to get the wind up, you’ve got to get the power on at the right time, you’ve got to control your brakes and then you’ve got to start running.
The challenge was supported by the Vodafone Firsts programme which has been running globally to help people use mobile technology to achieve their most adventurous dream. Mike O’Shea’s flight is the first such project for Vodafone Ireland.
They enabled ground-to-air tracking through GPS (especially handy when he was obscured by clouds!)
Are you wondering how some of the shots of Mike flying above the landscape were taken? That would be the helicopter that shadowed the entire flight using high-definition mobile signals which picked up even the faintest transmissions.
After his trip, O’Shea said:
I’ve achieved many things in my life but this certainly ranks up there with the best of the. And the great thing is that I can also share it with anyone who wants to watch.
You can see more and get involved by clicking here at firsts.com.