Judgement, Experience, Emotional Intelligence
Mark Zinkel has been flying various kinds of aircraft since he was 18. He's had a passion for aviation for much longer. In middle school he formed a rocket club. At 16, he bought and began rebuilding an ultralight aircraft. At 18, he left his high school graduation and interned at an ultralight aircraft manufacture where he first gained a knowledge in aircraft construction. This is when he first soloed an aircraft. From there, he studied at an aviation maintenance school while working towards his Private Pilot Certificate. This is also the period of his life where he learned to fly paragliders and powered paragliders. After learning about some of the unfortunate realities of working as an airline captain, he started Elite Paragliding in order to share his passion with others. He's currently a Basic Flight Instructor with AeroSports Connection and has taught over 100 people how to paramotor.
Bonita, aka Bonnie, Bon Bon, or Bonkers learned to fly in the year 2009 in Hawaii. As a result, she has more barefoot flights than any of our instructors. Aside from paragliding, she speed flys, paramotors, and is learning to skydive. She may have been flying for a long time, but she has more passion for paragliding than nearly any other pilot. When the wind is too light to paraglide, she will hike up the 700 foot cliff 3 or 4 times to speed fly. When the wind is too light and in the wrong direction to speed fly, she will paramotor. If there is a storm coming and it's likely to be bad weather all weekend, she and her boyfriend will travel to Southern California to escape the storm and fly somewhere else. We don't know how she gets all her energy, but she has more of it than any of us. She is currently a tandem instructor with the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association.
Shane was born with aviation in his blood. He and his father built a helicopter (Rotorway Exec 162F) and flew an amphibious airplane (Searey) together when he was growing up. He was first exposed to paragliding in the late 90s and learned in 2012. Now he lives 10 minutes away from one of the most popular paragliding sites in California. When he's not paragliding, he may be paramotoring, speed flying, or playing the role of "papa" when he's not up in the clouds. He's currently finishing up his private pilot certificate. He is currently a tandem instructor with the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association.