top of page
Student Spotlight.HEIC

Student Spotlight

Our students tell their stories better than we ever could. Check out these student spotlights to learn more about the training experience with You Can Fly PPG.

Raymond Boutotte - I had a hard time finding someone good to train me and willing to train me at 77 years old and David Nickerson gave me the chance to learn to fly. I have done everything except fly but expect to get there early this year. I am a runner and run races almost every week and because of that and other commitments, I missed some training so didn't get to fly before the cold weather. I was originally going to just do trike but now I am also going to foot launch.

Student pilot standing in front of his trike paramotor.

Jeff Cleghorn - Fantastic instructor (Dave) fixed all the bad habits a self-taught, ex-military aviator (me) had! I came to paramotoring last April with a P1 (paragliding basic) rating and over 2,000 hours and 30 years flying Cessna’s, B-1B bombers and many things in between.

 

However, only bits and pieces of fixed wing flying transfer to parawing flight my takeoffs were chancy and my landings painful. On my fifth flight in my Parajet Maverick, my crash landing resulted in a frame bent out of limits for safe flight. That’s when I reached out to Dave for help.

 

Over about two weeks, he helped me straighten my frame, improved my kiting, strengthened my pre-flight, taxi and take-off skills, and completely fixed my landing problems.

 

Now that I can take-off, fly and land with confidence, the real learning of paramotoring (the kind you get through experience) begins. The paramotoring community enjoys the fellowship of aviators in one of its truest forms

women, men, in-shape, less-than-in-shape (me), old (me again) and young all experiencing the joy of flight. Paramotoring is truly as close to flying like a bird as possible.

Instructor and student after first flight landing.

Kevin Doyle - Dave is a dedicated and skilled teacher who enables his students to progress at a pace commensurate with their own dedication and determination. He stresses progressive skill development and a systematic approach that includes making safety habitual. I was well prepared for my first flights and look forward to continuing my training. Highly recommended.

Student preparing for flight in the cold in Simsbury, CT

Marie-Pierre Gastineau - I discovered You Can Fly PPG thanks to my friend Sarah last summer. She signed me up with her for the fall paramotoring training and it was a great adventure.

 

I have always been attracted by the skies. From as long as I can remember I have enjoyed watching clouds and dreaming one day to join birds and fly endlessly. I have practiced many aerial sports but none of them offered the opportunity to fly outside of a cabin for a long period of time, to fully experience the sky, to feel the air on your face, the freedom to take off and land from so many different places and discover a different world. Paramotoring offers all of that and more!


The training was amazing. David Nickerson is an excellent teacher and adapts to every student. Learning how to kite is a lot of fun and when the weather does not allow flying it is very enjoyable to kite with a bunch of friends. David even organized races of students kiting! Learning how to fly can be challenging but taking off is the most rewarding experience and well worth hard labor!


The community of students is wonderful, and I can’t wait to start the season again and meet friends for some new adventures in the sky of New England and elsewhere. The world looks so beautiful from up there! Blue Skies!

Paramotor pilot coming in for landing in Simsbury, CT

Michael Gay - I learned to fly paramotors with David in Simsbury Connecticut in June of 2022. He is a great instructor with years of experience. Having taught at one of the most well known flight schools in the US and flown with some of the biggest names in the sport, it's clear David knows his stuff. In terms of training style, David seems to have boundless energy on the field and IMO offers the perfect mix of motivational and constructive feedback (and taunting!) while teaching. I felt completely safe under his instruction both on the ground and in the air. During our session I witnessed him skillfully adapting his 1:1 teaching approach based on the varied aptitudes of the students. In terms of location, David will post up at an airport in New England for a few weeks and fly any am or pm window that the conditions allow during that time. For me this worked out much better than dedicating 7-10 days at a remote intensive class in FL, UT, TX, etc. That said, since he is available on any flyable/kiteable day, you could treat his training like an intensive class if you wanted to... In addition to instruction, David also seems genuinely interested in fostering the growing PPG community in New England and equipping his students to do the same. He teaches about respectful PPG piloting and general ultralight aviation etiquette. Contacting local airfields, making sure to minimize disturbances, etc. I would absolutely recommend David to anyone in New England (or willing to travel to New England) who is looking for paramotor instruction.

Paramotor pilot in fight

Rick Gott - Don't let your paramotor dream turn into a nightmare by choosing the wrong instructor. I made that mistake in early April 2022 when I traveled to the west coast for vacation and to learn to fly...BIG MISTAKE! I only got 2 flights in due to time constraints. Then I waited and waited for my gear. After significant effort and threats, I finally received it 3 months later. At that point, I had spent a lot of money, had months of downtime, and was emotionally put off by the sport and this instructor. Guess what...I still couldn't fly because I forgot what little training I did get. My dream had turned into a nightmare.

 

Two words of advice...Learn locally. Thankfully, I found Dave Nickerson. Dave is a pro who learned to teach from pros. All the things you read in these other student reviews about him and YCFPPG are spot on.

 

One of the things that I find most valuable is, when you train with YCFPPG, you become part of this amazing, physical community of like-minded pilots in New England that Dave and Emily are creating and nurturing. So not only am I regularly flying now, but I only fly alone if I really want to. This is because of the community and all of the great friends and flying buddies I have found through it. Thank you, my friend, for helping me to realize my dream.

Instructor and student after first paramotor flight in Fitchburg, MA

Emmett Hitz - Oh man, where do I even begin?

David is one of the best teachers I've ever been privileged enough to learn under. Period. David will match your aptitude, comfort, and pace at every step of the journey to learning to run into the sky. I can count on one hand the number of instructors that have even met 2 of those criteria, let alone all 3. As someone who is chronically disabled with no prior aviation experience, I could not imagine the situation going any better than it did. If you live in the northeast (or even outside it and just looking for some of the best) and are looking for fairly priced, quality paramotor instruction with a phenomenal community behind him, David is your man.

Instructor and student after first flight in Fitchburg, MA

Jim Miesel - I've had a lifelong dream of flying and had always been interested in getting a private pilot's license. However, it wasn't until I discovered paramotors a few years ago that I realized how easy, affordable, and safe it could be to learn to fly. In the summer of 2022, I had the opportunity to receive training from Dave, who has been an excellent instructor. His flexible schedule accommodated my work schedule and he provided a comfortable learning pace. After my first flight, I knew my life would never be the same. The sense of freedom and adventure that comes with paramotoring is unparalleled, and I’m now constantly looking for opportunities to experience the thrill of skimming over treetops and fields time and time again.

Paramotor pilot in flight over the ocean with the sun setting in the background.

Dave Myers - You Can Fly PPG is the ideal place to earn your paramotor wings in New England, with a focus on safety, hands-on training, and the requisite skills and knowledge. You’ll learn your craft in a comfortable environment with an approach and pace that’s customized to your learning style. Flexible scheduling allows for follow-on training to the PPG 2 level. You Can Fly PPG provides the latest well-maintained equipment throughout your training and will guide you as a direct dealer to buy your own gear when you’re ready. Best of all, you’re always welcome to return for additional coaching and guidance as you build your new pilot skills. Come join the You Can Fly PPG community and fly with us!

Paramotor pilot taking off from the training field in Massachusetts.

Sarah O'Donnell -  I discovered You Can Fly PPG simply by driving by David's trailer one summer evening. I stopped to inquire as paramotoring had always piqued my interest although I knew very little about it. David, Emily, and the rest of his class were extremely welcoming. They answered all my questions and even let me take a stab at ground-handling one of the wings. Their enthusiasm for the sport was contagious and before I knew it, I was signed up for their next course (which happened to fall on the two weeks leading up to my wedding - oops... but WORTH IT).

The format of the class was incredible. I cannot recommend it enough. You will learn everything you need to know to safely participate in paramotoring plus you'll meet some pretty incredible people along the way! The most relatable way I can describe flying a paramotor is that it's similar to the freedom and power you feel when driving a motorcycle but without the limitations of roads plus you're FLYING so it's ten times more fun. Paramotoring has introduced a whole new world to me, and now a whole new list of trips I want to take!

Shortly after the course, I took a spontaneous trip to the Salton Sea in southern CA - the Mecca of paramotoring. My flights there were some of the coolest experiences of my life - flying through canyons at sunset and along the water. I flew over 12 hours in 3 days. Not to mention, the community was phenomenal. It's clear why so many pilots move there for the winter season. I will certainly be back.

 

But don't think you have to travel far to enjoy this incredible sport. One of my favorite flights recently was when 4 other pilots and myself got together on a frosty winter day and explored an area 20 minutes from my house, hopping from farm field to farm field. The world truly becomes your playground.

I could really use some more friends to fly with so hope this convinces you to join!

Paramotor pilot in flight over the canons at the Salton Sea.

Jared Reini - I got one word to describe David with You Can Fly PPG. PASSION! I have never met anyone that has passion for a sport like David. Since a kid I have always wanted to fly, David made that dream come true!
I trained in Fitchburg, MA with a fun group. Started class with a bunch of strangers, and finished class with a bunch of friends.


YCFPPG has top-notch equipment to learn on and an incredible helper named Emily. Emily is awesome! Extremely pleasant and helpful!


I was amazed at David's energy and enthusiasm he puts into every aspect of training, from ground handling to class time to getting us in the air. It really is the most amazing feeling to run into the sky! I believe David has the world record for most miles ran backwards in a day!;)


One thing that really sticks out about David is something he said/quoted many times, "The only thing better than flying is teaching someone how to fly!" Isn't that awesome!? I firmly believe David means that with his heart. THAT is the PASSION he truly has for the sport!


So, you ready to fly? Stop waiting and make that dream become reality like I did with YOU CAN FLY PPG!

Paramotor pilot giving a thumbs up with instructor after first flight.

Joe Skrip - Dave is awesome. He is a great teacher in all aspects of the sport, he made me extremely comfortable going in the air for my first flight. Very knowledgeable and answers all questions clearly. Don't even look anywhere else, Dave is exactly who you want as an instructor.

Paramotor pilot giving a thumbs up with instructor after first flight.

Scott Slauson - Because of the way my brain absorbs information, I was extremely fortunate to find David and the YOUCANFLYPPG team. The thing is, I really don't like to have a bunch of information thrown at me all at once, especially with deadlines. That tends to make me shut down and become discouraged. Plus, I'm 61 years old and perhaps not as flexible in my thinking as I used to be.

 

During this class, I was able to learn and process by experiencing one thing at a time until I gained confidence, and then introduce the next step, until it all came together. For example, the classroom instruction provided a great overview. Then we were allowed to practice controlling the wing (ground handling) at our own speed and with no pressure. We were each taken up with the instructor in a trike to get a feel for control inputs and to just have fun. We got to practice throttle control, radio procedure, and weight shifting on a simulator. Then we got comfortable with the thrust of the machine while taxiing without a wing.

 

During all of this, we had as much time practicing ground handling with our fellow students as we wanted. We encouraged each other and exchanged knowledge. I got input from the instructors while trying to imitate a student named Emmett, who seemed to effortlessly be keeping the practice wing exactly where he wanted it. All these things took time for me, but it all finally made it into my brain until I had the confidence to run into the sky. Even then, I had a voice over the radio, giving me one instruction at a time until I was back on the ground with a huge sense of accomplishment and an even bigger smile.

Instructor and student pilot smiling after first flight landing.

For more Testimonials, be sure to visit Parayelp and Google!

bottom of page