The propeller in the cage behind his back in full swing, Teng Peng Seang was gliding in the sky with excitement while gazing down at the fields of Meanchey district’s Boeung Snoar commune, a half-hour’s drive from Phnom Penh.
Teng Peng Seang, a master’s graduate in space technology, is the director of Phnom Penh Geoinformatics Education Centre, the first company to produce and assemble paramotors in Cambodia.
In the last decade, paragliding was forbidden by local authorities along with a tranche of other risky sports. Now free to practise his hobby, the 50-year-old pilot says he is not afraid of the risks because he has been paragliding for 10 years already.
The paramotor built and used by Teng Peng Seang consists of a frame that combines the motor, propeller, harnesss seat and cage. It provides two attachment points for the flaps of a paraglider wing that allow for powered flight. The pilot controls thrust via a hand-held throttle and steers using the paraglider’s brake toggles in a manner similar to sport parachutists.
“This is the first time that paramotors have been used in Cambodia after 10 years of developing the technology,” Teng Peng Seang said.
The man who loves to spend his free time paragliding also hopes to share his passion for flying with other daring people by producing his paramotor and introducing it to a wider market.
In the past decade, he and his employees have constructed six paramotors which are now ready for use.
His 10 employees not only learn how to produce the paramotor, but are also trained how to operate and manoeuvre the vehicle.
Five of them are able to glide professionally like Teng Peng Sean. All the materials to produce the vehicle are found in the local market rather than being imported from abroad.
According to Teng Peng Seang, his Cambodian paramotor is about half as expensive as those produced in other countries, with his company retailing them for $US3,000-$4,000 compared to $5,000-$6,000 in the West.
With this reasonable price, Teng Peng Seang believes that paramotor has a bright future in Cambodia’s leisure market.
“I hope in the future I can build small-scale factories in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville because these are all the famous tourism destinations in the country,” he says.
“I’m so proud to be able to produce the paramotor in Cambodia. I always bring my paramotor when I travel to the province with my family.”
Teng Peng Seang says that paramotor is a great leisure activity that melts away stress from work and refreshes mind and body.
He says that while there are 24 paragliding clubs in Thailand, the one he has established is the first here, and he hopes that the activity will prosper in the years ahead.
However, he also warned that before jumping on a paramotor, it was vital that people were confident in their ability to operate and manoeuvre the vehicle. Otherwise, a day’s paragliding could end in a lifetime’s paraplegia.