The 2014 running of the traditional European season opener Las Candelas in Andalucia, Spain was a success with flying taking place on all three days. Pilots who arrived early on the unofficial early-start of the weekend on the Friday enjoyed some smooth flights while the organisers put the finishing touches to the site.
Saturday saw most pilots take to the sky in the morning before the wind built making it only suitable for the true experts. But with many top pilots including acro star Malagita and his brothers from nearby Malaga, Ramón Morrilas, Nicolas Aubert, the Guerra brothers, Aurélien Ganaye, Ant Green and others there was plenty of display flying to keep the crowds happy. They were treated to high octane shows, from infinite tumbling on paramotors to pilots showing off their ground skimming slalom skills.
For those interested in the latest kit there was plenty to see in the trade tent, mainly from Spanish brands but a few others had made the long journey or were represented by their Spanish dealers.
Local firm PAP had their new frames on display with a stronger geometry. They are available with a selection of different motors or as an ‘add-your-own-motor’ kit.
Liberty to Fly had a selection of their foot-launch motors and trikes on display.
Spanish engine makers H&E had a massive range of motors on display in the tent. The company are concentrating on supplying their units to frame manufacturers.
Italian company Fly Products had brought their latest machines, including the new single trike which uses a 4-stroke motor they have developed themselves.
Miroslav Svec made the long journey from Slovakia to show off the Scout paramotor. It has a carbon fibre construction, and aerodynamic wings in the cage compensate for torque. Malagita proved its sturdinessby performing a succession of infinite tumbles on it, and there was a constant queue of pilots looking to try it out. We will talk to Miroslav in a forthcoming issue of the magazine.
Team Niviuk were busy all weekend. They had two new wings at the show with the Doberman slalom wing finished and new prototypes of the Kougar 2 also in the air. Company boss Dominique Cizeau told us the Doberman will be load tested only with DGAC certification. The Kougar 2 should be available by the end of March.
Although Dudek didn’t have a stand they were on hand to show off their new wings – the new Synthesis 2 and Universal wings were seen flying at the event.
Mike Campbell-Jones and his son Remi were on hand to talk all things Paramania, although they had no new wings on show, but Mike told us they were working on some new ideas for the coming season. After the problems with production capacity last year Mike was keen to stress that things are back to normal this year and they are working hard to meet the demand for the GTR and GTX wings.
The prize for the furthest-travelled trader probably went to Robert Kittilä from Viking PPG who had brought over a selection of his polyurethane engine mounts from the USA to sell and show manufacturers.
There were plenty of dealers selling all sorts of accessories including Syride who had their new SysOne V3 vario on display, which includes a visual lift indicator for paramotor pilots.
Saturday night saw the traditional bonfires in the village with pilots and locals enjoying the festivities. This traditional fiesta is said by some to have originated as a way of attracting young women from the surrounding countryside to meet the eligible young men of the village. These days it attracts visitors form the nearby cities of Cordoba and Seville. For some, the promise of a good flying day on Sunday meant more restraint in the partying department than we have seen on some years!
Sunday’s flying didn’t disappoint those that had managed to keep a check on their partying. The first pilots were in the air at 8:30 and the last ones landed just before dark at 7pm. Pilots flew all day. While some played around the local area with its paramotor-friendly landscape and lake (complete with rescue boat to foot-skim), others headed off exploring the wider countryside, touring the lake or further afield. By the end most pilots were tired but happy as they packed up their kit for the journey home.
With plenty of flying, great partying and lots of chat and catching up, Las Candelas lived up to its reputation as the early season opener with a Spanish welcome that shouldn’t be missed.
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