Chair Air

$285 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 5 people in 6 months

My name is Bruce Busby, I live in Calgary and have been a life-long aviation enthusiast.  I began flying Cessnas after an introductory flight at 16 years old.  I became a private pilot in 1988.  In 1993, I began hang gliding and occasionally dabbled in paragliding beginning in 1998.  Since then I’ve flown Paragliders all over the world in recreation and competition.  I have thousands of hours on a variety of aircraft types and models.  I volunteered with the OHPA the AHPA and later HPAC for 15 years as the Alberta rep, V.P. and President ending in 2017.

I recall my short time as a HG tandem pilot and loved the feeling of sharing the joy of free flight with other people.

Tandem paragliding has a different meaning to me now.  I have been thinking about tandem Paraglider flight for several years and, I suspect, for different reasons than most pilots.

A few years ago I became aware of Chris Santacroce’s “Project Airtime” program ( www.projectairtime.org).  ‘Santa’ has been developing a system of tandem and solo paragliding using a specially designed wheelchair/paragliding harness combination for people with physical mobility limitations.

I watched as two of my long time Canadian pilot friends, Stewart Midwinter and Dannie Wolf, as they individually took to the air with Santa a few years ago. You couldn’t have anticipated the enormity of the smiles they both had!

Stewart Midwinter was injured in an aviation accident while enjoying a hike and fly trip in Canmore. Stewart is doing great and is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast.  He is adapting different mobility devices to maintain his connection to nature off the beaten path.  He holds/has held several Canadian and world records.  He continues to be a crucial volunteer with the HPAC.

Dannie Wolf was injured in an aviation accident and continues, as Stewart, to be inspiration and beacon of positivity in the flying community.  Dannie and Stewart volunteer at “The Willi”, an annual event for HG and PG Near Golden B.C.  The Willi has the distinction of being the best attended event annually with competitors numbering consistently over 100 entrants.  Danny tracks them, all of them, and can tell where they are within 10 mins.  It’s one of the safest meets in Canada because of the organization and because of Danny.

Several of us have been talking about getting a tandem rating and learning how to fly the chair. 

Recently, I met Joe Stone.  Joe is a graduate of the project airtime program and fly his own chair.  Seeing him land and chatting with him at length was a turning point for me.

For me, I thought, “If not me, who? If not now, when?”  So, I attended a tandem course and began the journey of becoming a tandem pilot.  So far it’s been some of the most wonderful flying experiences I’ve had.  I’m hooked!

So this is where you all come in.  After speaking with several people and telling them what I’m up to, I have been encouraged repeatedly to start a GoFundMe campaign so that they can contribute.  I see this taking off (pun intended). I have a volunteer’s heart.  I think most Canadians do too.  I have the ability to do this and share the love of free flight with my pilot friends.  The program will include tandem flights, Passenger flying, passenger training, passenger becoming the pilot, transitioning to independent solo pilot with the assistance of the chair to the extent that it’s possible and desirable.  Moreover, going forward I think this program can include others that have a desire but have been unable to participate in foot launched aviation.  Paralysis, mobility issues, age, cognition, genetic or degenerative issues and conditions, etc. can be minimized by the use of the chair.

Some other tandem pilots I’ve been speaking to throughout Canada, from Quebec to B.C. to the Yukon, have expressed a keen interest in joining the journey as it unfolds.  My goal is to bring this to Canada and make flight accessible.

Initially we’ll want to purchase a new tandem wing, harnesses and reserve parachute.  Additionally we would like to order 2 chairs.  I’ll need to spend some time with Chris Santacroce and later Joe Stone for some chair specific tandem training.  All the equipment and training should total approx. $25,000 Cdn. Below is a summary of the costs:

Tandem glider $5,500

Pilot and passenger harnesses and pilot reserve parachute $3,500

Chair(s) with integrated harness $10,600 ($5,300 each)

Travel for training and chair shipping costs $5,400

I’m really excited to be at the beginning of this venture.  As the program progresses and tandem pilots become proficient in chair flight and including people that can benefit from this program, it will without a doubt take on a form much bigger than all of us could imagine.

Let’s make this happen for some really great people.


Bruce Busby.
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$285 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 5 people in 6 months
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Randy Parkin
5 months ago
Michael Robertson
6 months ago
Terry Ryan
6 months ago
Chris Wilson
6 months ago
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6 months ago
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