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pilot profile / Farnoosh, 31, Iran

April 4, 2013

Farnoosh flies tandem

Farnoosh caught my eye on Facebook when I saw her tandem picture through a mutual friend. I mean, how many female tandem pilots can there be in Iran! Turns out there are two :-)


Farnoosh Samadzadegan

Farnoosh Samadzadegan

Farnoosh Samadzadegan, 31 years old

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I’m from Iran and live in Karaj

Employment / studies / what do you want to do in life?

I’m an Electronics Engineer … but I work in an IT company.

I’d like to be a Paragliding Instructor, and become a good and Professional pilot.

Marital / family status / is your partner a pilot?

I’m single

Do you have or want children in the future?

Yes, I like children.

What does ‘Freedom’ mean to you? What gives you freedom?

It means to me, do what ever I can do… like flying… live free… riding a motorcycle… I mean do what ever men can do.

Farnoosh is on the left. The one in red is the best motorcycle girl in Iran, Nora Naraghy. And in the middle is Nora’s mum Shahrzad Nazhifi.

If you had one wish in the world, what would it be? For yourself or anyone or 


I hope me and my family be safe … and I could fly with wing suite …. :D

When, how and why did you start paragliding?

I started 4 years ago. I like Skydiving, but unfortunately we don’t have in Iran… so I start paragliding. I start last year for tandem and now I HAVE A TANDEM License.

Why do you still do it?Farnoosh tandem 2

I love it.

I can’t imagine my life without it.

Last year I had a very bad accident, but still I do it.

Do you prefer XC, acro, soaring…? and what are your goals in paragliding?

I like both XC and acro but I’m not very good yet. Im learning and trying to become good.


ParAAvis Joy 1-2



Vario / gps / radio / camera / other electronics while flying?

Yes I have all of them.

Do you log your flights, how many hours / flights do you have?

Not completely… but I have about 600 flights and about 200 hours.

Memorable flying experience: the best one? the worst one?

Most of them are good memories for me. But one of them is very bad, that I  had accident. Last year I flew into a powercable and I was hanging for 7 hours…

How do you handle fear?

Before my accident I have no fear… but after that some times I FEAR … But try to make myself relax and try to fly.

Farnoosh Accuracy prize

Farnoosh recently won 2nd prize for females in an accuracy competition and this was her prize! She told me she can’t cook and she gave it to her mum ;-)

What’s next / coming up in your life?

I don’t know… I do my best, and hope to continue. And I like to experience new things.

Can you tell me something about paragliding in Iran? Is it safe?

Farnoosh, 2nd place to the left. 1st place, Maryam Babaie. 3rd place, to the right, Sanaz Hamidavi

Farnoosh, 2nd place to the left. 1st place, Maryam Babaie. 3rd place, to the right, Sanaz Hamidavi

YES it’s good in Iran. Ofcourse we have problems, specially in Tehran our land is not safe. We have buildings, bus and river… and the worst is the power cable…
but because we just have one site for flying in Tehran we can’t do anything.

Are there many female paragliding pilots in Iran?

There are not many female, but they become more… maybe about 60-70 women in Iran.

And is it acceptable?

It’s new for Iranian women, and they are beginning to be active in paragliding and some more like this.

Thank you Farnoosh for sharing with us an insight into your life, and I hope to see you in the Iranian skies sometime :-)


Kili no more

January 17, 2013
Photo: Agnar Örn Arason

Photo: Agnar Örn Arason

Hi there, long time no see :-) … how are you?

Well, this has gotta be my least favourite talk with you so long, as it is to say I’m pulling out of Wings of Kilimanjaro. I am now forced to make peace with the fact that I can not afford it. This is mostly due to my lacking in experience of the costs that creep up on you with an epic event like this.

I’m a bit bummed out for bumming out of the adventure, but I’m mostly bummed out for disappointing you, my supporters. I know you supported the project because you wanted to help me do something amazing (or to see me suffer ;-)

To my donators: I’m so sorry to let you down. Thank you for your generous support to my cause. Please know that your money has already been put to good use for people in need. These people will forever be thankful to the strangers who cared.

To my hopeful sponsors: Drift, Jónar, Hátækni and 66norður who had all agreed to sponsor me with their amazing products or financially. You believed in me and I hope you will do so again for my next great adventure :-)

To my ‘nearly fellow’ Kili adventurers: I wish you health and mental strength to get up there and good winds to fly down. Then have a Kili Lager for me too at the party :-)

Only 12 days until the guys start hiking up the tallest free standing mountain in the world, the Roof of Africa. Learn all about it and support the adventurers here.

Og auðvitað stend ég við ‘Viltu vinna farþegaflug’ dílinn :-) Dreg úr pottinum á komandi vikum… í tæka tíð fyrir sumarflugvertíðina heima :-)

A fine week in Cape Town

November 12, 2012

Recovering as full-time work is luxury. All I do is (not)sleep, take long walks, caugh into a tissue, take my antibiotics and eat healthy. Last night I got in a good 3 hours, and then a few hourly intervals of sleep this morning… between caughs. Keeping my energy levels up with healthy fruit shakes, various vegetable dinners, lots of water, hot lemon and honey, and scrumptious fresh desserts.

Dinner tonight: potatoes, baby marrow, butternut squash, broccoli, onion, ginger, garlic, chick peas. Soured cream, soya milk, curry poured whisked together and poured over, sprinkled with chopped mixed nuts, crushed coconut flakes and grated gouda cheese for the last 10 mins.

Dessert tonight: bananas fried in oil, cinnamon and honey. Vanilla icecream. Strawberries. Chopped dark mint chocolate.

Earlier today I went to have a look at accommodation for my Vikings Over Africa group coming in December. I’m devoted to planning their stay here as well I can as I want them to fall in love with South Africa like I have. I found a lekker house in the safe outskirts of Cape Town where they can all stay together the night before we start the tour, and the few days they are staying additionally after. The house has a big living area, outdoor balcony, view over to Lions Head, a swimming pool… and the live-in owner is a Paragliding pilot and guide, could hardly be better eh. But it is! as Pluto the dog will be there at all times guarding the house and making his guests feel loved :-)

The view from the balcony over to Lions Head.

A private swimming pool.

One of the bedrooms.

The living area.

Pluto the fierce guard dog.

Being mostly housebound and ending my daily walks usually at the super-market I’m cooking up a vegetarian storm for the meat loving oaks in my life now. I’m not so recipe compatable, but love experimenting with finding different ways of mixing my veggies and my spices for new tastes.

Spicy veggies with gaucamole sauce and spinach.

The oaks in my South African life; Dutton and Pete of WallendAir and Graham our neighbour, at our living room / dinner table.

On my walks around my new neighbourhood I’ve seen some interesting sights:

Jesus lives on every street corner.

Crucial information for when I can start going out running again.

Crucial information for the photo below…

… if my dream vehicle has a Diesel engine.

Gourmet boutiques.

The street next to mine, but I prefer to call it the Lady Smile :-)

Meadowridge is where I live.

Not the most horrible path in life.

A tiny bit overdressed in the +20° heat, supermarket in the background.

Today I met a woman who attempted to hike up Kilimanjaro in September. She unfortunately had to abort at 4.000 mtr due to a chest infection. But it was awesome chatting to her and getting some inside information about what to bring, what not to bring, how the toilets are, what we eat on the mountain, that we get popcorn and Horlicks in the evenings, that taking half a Diamox with breakfast and half with lunch is a good idea, that taking Viagra is not a good idea, to bring lots of wet wipes and walk slowly.

On Friday we’re driving to Wilderness for a beginners Paragliding course. Staying there for 10 days. Can’t wait, love the barefoot sand dune touchdowns! Will also meet up with the lovely Fran and enjoy free Wi-Fi at Pommodoros. AND I’m gonna be healthy by then :-)

Arriving in Cape Town

November 8, 2012

Boarding the plane in London. Take note how white I am… ‘cos this will soon change. Yay :-)

Nearing Cape Town. I’m wondering what that white stuff is now.

Approaching landing we fly over a Shanti town where the blacks live.

Caught filming the Customs officer. I wanted to film her giving my passport the stamp.
No no no, not allowed.

Mr Pete Wallenda, the legend himself, was there to pick me up.

I’ve made an effort to leave the house at least once a day, to get some fresh air and my limbs moving. One day I met this ever so friendly squirrel.

Superfood for a super ill me. Frozen yoghurt, strawberries, bluberries, dark-chili-chocolate and English custard. Yum!

In the pharmacy, so one does not get tempted to run off with the goods on the way from the dispensary to the till.

This morning, after yet another sleepless night, I gave up and went to see the doc. After a thorough examination he concluded I did not have Whooping cough (Pertussis, Kíghósti) as I had self diagnosed myself online during my darkest hours that night. Phew! He gave me antibiotics and said it would be another week of coughing. Advised me to sleep upright. Hmmmm…

Then, more superfood for superfast healing. Banana, orange, lemon, ginger, garlic, spinach. Mmmmm, my favourite :-)

My miserable first week back in Cape Town

November 7, 2012

My first week back in Cape Town has been what I now choose to see as a hectic training workshop for Kilimanjaro. Since I got here my body has been using the very effective torture technique of sleep deprivation and headaches while at the same time toning my abdominal muscles with regular extreme caughing cycles, sometimes finishing up with vomiting while my nose blocks up for a bonus lack-of-oxygen exercise.

The experience actually reminded me of that time me and Ása were both stuck with food poisoning in a cold hotel room in Nepal. Miserable and shivering it was the only time we were homesick. As soon as we got better and airborne we forgot all about our volcanic roots.

So today I emerged from my feeling-like-crap exercise series into the sunshine outside my window. I started with a walk around the block, read my book (The hundred year old man) in a café and then visited the local bookshop. The first thing I saw after stepping inside CNA was ‘Around Iceland’, a book about two South Africans travelling around Iceland in a kayak. That made me feel a bit closer to home… and a lot less miserable :-)

Now that my bedridden training days are almost over it’s time to start exploring the neighbourhood on the run!

Wings of Kilimanjaro, Iceland

October 17, 2012

Drifting again

October 10, 2012

I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it! Drift Innovation will be joining me on Kilimanjaro by providing the equipment I need to record the whole experience!

I first met DriftHD in 2010 when I took it to the Womens Paragliding Open in Spain. It was love at first snap, and this relationship is shaping up to be my longest ever ;-)

Here is a review I wrote 2 years ago. I’ll be writing an update soon and I can’t wait to see what’s new with this little gadget of wonder.

And you can get one too as Drift is doing a Weekly Giveaway. Get out there!

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