A local thrill seeker has been taking to the skies of Rickmansworth – and residents have been watching him in awe.
Jez Walsh, 22, has been using his paramotor to fly over areas such as the Aquadrome in style since 2017, and has even put on air shows in Ricky and Maple Cross.
The community became concerned for his wellbeing after a wing malfunction during a routine flight caused him to crash land and injure himself in March – he spent four days in hospital and couldn’t walk for a week.
Jez told RickyNews: “One of the wings malfunctioned, which was just really unlucky. The odds of that happening are about the same as a wheel falling off your car as you’re driving – so not impossible, just very unlikely.”
Despite the mishap, Jez was soaring across Ricky skies again in a matter of weeks, much to the delight of onlookers.
Jez said: “It didn’t put me off at all really, I had no doubts about going back up. Perhaps if I’d caused the accident myself I’d have been more reluctant but because there was nothing I could’ve done about it, I don’t doubt myself.”
While it may be hard for the more squeamish readers to understand Jez’s compulsion for unconventional flying, he makes a case for it that will resonate with many.
He said: “It’s not just the thrill of flying – it can also be incredibly peaceful.
“It can be a cloudy, gloomy day where no one wants to go out, and I’ll just grab my equipment, go to a field and fly up above the clouds and it’ll be a totally different day of sunny skies – it’s stunning.
“There’s a freedom up there I’ve never experienced, it’s like there’s no bounds. I used to ride motorbikes and think that was the ultimate freedom, but with flying there are no roads, no gates, and no boundaries that can restrict you.
“It’s hard to put into words – you have to experience it for yourself.”
Not everyone is a fan of sales worker’s hobby – Three Rivers District Council has put up ‘no flying’ signs in some open spaces.
Jez said: “I understand where they’re coming from, they’re just looking out for people’s safety.
“But I’m incredibly cautious and I would never put anyone in danger – then I’d be public enemy number one!
“If it’s a busy day and people are out in the parks or the fields, I never fly from there.
“It’s really nice to see people wavinig at me while I’m up there and I get a lot of nice comments from friends and others in the community.”
Jez is happy to teach local people how to fly themselves. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for his details or Facebook message him privately.