Marc Radloff was age 8 when he saw his first BASE jump. “Since then, I’ve always dreamed of being in the sky.” He learned to paraglide five years ago while working as an English teacher in South Korea. His first sky dive was two years ago. His first BASE jump, just over a year ago. “It’s all been a progression and my way of experiencing the world under canopy,” he said. “Since my first flight in South Korea, I’ve been infatuated with spending as much time off the ground as possible.”
What inspired you to want to teach paragliding?
While in South Korea, I assisted my own instructor in teaching my best friend, James Hayes, to fly. It was through watching James develop his skills and technique with my assistance that I knew I wanted to teach people to fly for the rest of my life.
And when were you finally certified as an instructor?
When I arrived in America in 2012, I went to an instructor clinic in Atlanta with a truly inspiring pilot named Luis Rosjenker from Atlanta Paragliding. Through his passion and drive for teaching paragliding, my desire to get people flying was reinforced.
What brought you to St. Louis, and what led to On The Marc Paragliding?
My wife is enrolled at St. Louis University. When we moved here, it seemed there was no flying in the area. Flying had been a big part of my life, and now it was nonexistent. I saw a need, as well as a way for me to fly, and I jumped on the opportunity.
What sorts of courses do you offer, and what will people learn?
I do introductory courses, which take approximately two days. They get you from the ground to your first solo flight. This is a great way to experience paragliding and push one’s boundaries. My main courses are U.S. Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association (USHPA) P2 programs. These involve extensive theory, ground work, and 25 solo flights, followed by an exam. I also offer first mountain flight clinics once the P2 program is completed.
What’s it like to fly higher than birds on a fabric wing?
It’s a true sense of freedom. It’s that one place where you are fully in charge and where you can truly escape into a world that not many experience. Looking down from cloud base is like being on top of the world, emotionally and figuratively.
What’s the most gratifying part of being a paragliding instructor
This happened recently in Oklahoma. I flew up to cloud base to meet a student of mine at over 4,000 feet. While we were circling together, it dawned on me that he is a great and safe pilot and I helped him get there. I helped someone understand the beauty of paragliding. It was a remarkable realization.
What’s the most memorable thing you’ve done on a paraglide?
Wow, there are so many magical moments. The one that stands out is the first cliff launch I did in Moab, Utah. The sun was setting and I was standing atop a cliff with my mentor, Scotty Rogers. I let everything go and took off. For the few minutes it took me to get down, I was purely in the moment. Nothing else mattered.
On The Marc Paragliding
Author: Brad Kovach is the editor of Terrain magazine.