When Tim was two he asked his Dad if he could fly. It was another seven years until he took his first solo flight in Allevard, France. Three years later, watching Thomas Merigout and Michel Macquet flying acro, the 12 year old Tim was inspired.
“At the beginning it was not so easy because my parents didn't want me to fly acro!” he says. “I began slowly and progressed step by step. So the first moves I did were Asymmetric Spirals and Wing Overs but especially on the ground I spent a lot of time, just playing with my wing, getting the feeling!”
Still only 22, Tim’s acro paragliding has gone from strength to strength. He is currently ranked 7 in the world by the FAI and last year he took second place at Acrojam in Obertraun, Austria.
We asked Tim what it was about acro flying which most inspired him:
“The adrenaline, the freedom! Acro is special, the wing becomes a toy and you can’t be afraid, you feel confident, you can be where you want and use the earth like a playground!”
Success in competitions generally requires a pretty competitive character, but Tim thinks he’s more of a showman than competitor. Whatever the inspiration, it has not only driven him to fly but also ski, climb and slackline.
Tim’s love of acro flying hasn’t excluded other forms of paragliding, asked about XC flying he told us:
“I love to fly XC, but sadly I don’t really have the equipment so I manage to do some flights during the year but not a lot. I have flown some XC competitions and I liked it, but I really have no time to do it with a fully acro season.”
Tim’s methodical and progressive approach to acro has paid off, he’s only ever thrown his reserve once and has had a life completely free from accidents (touch wood!). Perhaps this has helped calm his mother’s nerves.
“My Mom was completely afraid but she is beginning to be more and more proud like the rest of my family,” Tim says. “My friends think that paragliding is cool. They would all love to fly but it’s quite expensive at the beginning for a student. I have already begun to give lessons to my flatmate and it’s a really nice feeling to share my passion.”
Now based in La Chapelle du Mont du Chat, Tim has Verel and Chambery on his doorstep. We asked where his favourite flying spots were and he told us: “Verel for good and safe training, Organya to fly with all the acro family and the Dune du Pyla to play on the ground.”
Seldom struggling for motivation he told us: “I’m always excited but sometimes I if get bored or when I don’t manage to do what I want to do, I take a break! And then I come back to the sky, even better.”
His favourite trick: “At the moment I like hard MC Twists or XChoppers and Twister or Helico to sat. But I like every trick!”
His advice to aspiring acro pilots:
“Take your time. You have all of your life to fly! Don’t burn one step and learn to say no. It’s my secret! I had to throw just one rescue in my acro life, so I think this advice is working.”