Women With Wings: Janejira Chui-Noei

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At just 14-years-old Janejira Chui-Noei is without doubt one of the youngest competition pilots that you’re ever likely to meet. From Thailand, she has been a regular on the international competition circuit in Paramotoring for the last two years.

Her most recent competition was at The World Games 2017 in Wroclaw, Poland, where she was one of three Thai pilots competing. “This competition has been so much fun,” she said. “We have many people from many countries here.”

Thailand is strong in Paramotoring, and will host the FAI Paramotor World Championships 2018. “It will be a big competition and we’re so excited to invite everyone to come and fly in Thailand!” she said in Wroclaw.

Janejira was introduced to the sport of Paramotoring by her father when she was just 11-years-old. “My father flies paramotor. I liked the look of it, and I tried it.”

It turns out she was good at it too. After learning how to handle the paraglider on the ground and familiarising herself with the equipment under instruction, she finally took to the air.

She loved it immediately, and now flies twice a day, before and after school, sometimes dragging her father out of bed to take her to the airfield. Now when she and her father race against each other, she beats him. “It makes him sad!”

Janejira, known as Gege to her friends, first competed internationally at the Asia Oceanic Paramotor Championship in 2015, where she was the only woman to take part. She made her debut on the world stage at the FAI World Air Games Dubai in December 2015.

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Then in 2016 she competed in her first FAI Paramotor World Championships, in England. She was still only 13-years-old, but she won Bronze in the Women’s competition. She was given special dispensation to compete at such a high level at such a young age.

Paramotoring in Thailand is popular but fragmented. “There are different groups around the country,” she explained. “I live in Bangkok, and it is a big city, it’s a capital city. We have a small area to fly there, but we have to go out of the city really.”

Some parts of Paramotoring competition involves demonstrating skills close to the ground, and it is these elements that she excels at. “My best task is slow/fast, and also football,” she said.

In the Slow/Fast task pilots must navigate a course as slowly as they can in one direction, before turning around and flying back as quickly as they can. In Paramotor Soccer, pilots must fly a pylon course before coming back in low and slow and kicking a ball. The tasks test precision flying.

With the FAI Paramotor World Championships on the horizon in Thailand, she is earning as much competition experience as she can, before hopefully doing well again next year. She draws inspiration from those around her. “My favourite team is the French team,” she explained. Both Female and Overall Paramotor World Champions are currently French [Alexandre and Marie Mateos] and they are one of the strongest nations in the sport. “They are the perfect team.”

The 10th FAI Paramotor World Championships are due to be held at Pasak Jolasid Dam, one of the biggest reservoirs in central Thailand, 27 April to 6 May 2018

Janejira Chui-Noei