View from above: Paramotoring over Fort Collins

Matt Tackett

Colorado State University students watched the skies Oct. 1 as a bright orange wing circled overhead. The paramotor, piloted by Fort Collins resident Jason “Chief” Smith, later landed successfully in a field south of Prospect Road.

Smith’s dream of flying began in 2008 while he was living in Telluride, Colorado, where he first saw a paramotor buzzing through the sky. Immediately, Smith was intrigued, and in 2017, he purchased his own paramotor and began flying.


Smith originally moved to Fort Collins in 1992 and after a short stint away has since moved back.

When asked how often he flies, Smith said, “Not often enough. I’ve been missing a lot of opportunities because I don’t know anyone to fly with, so I’m not as encouraged to go out there.”

Flying gives Smith the opportunity to see the world from above, but the best part is “landing safely,” Smith said. “The rest is just a distant second.”

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Matt Tackett can be reached at or on Instagram @mattjdtackett.