In 2008 Reem tried her first air sport adventure ever (Tandem Paragliding) in Corsica, France. That’s how her passion for flying started.
She has been on tandem paragliding and hang gliding many times in Europe, Turkey, USA and the UK. This became an obsession! She then decided to get licensed in the ultralight aviation field and in 2012 she joined Qatar flying club as the first female member in the club.
In 2014 she went to the UK for an intensive training to obtain the National Private Pilot License (NPPL) in microlight. It took almost 4 weeks of hard work, day in day out, morning until evening.
Reem completed her training and passed all the required tests from the first attempt in August 2014 to become:
- The first Qatari with an NPPL issued from the UK civil aviation (CAA).
- The first Arab and Middle East female ultralight sport pilot with a microlight weightshift-control licence.
- The first Qatari female ultralight sport pilot.
Qatar's 1st female owner of a registered aircraft A7-URD
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Microlight altitude flying
In 2018, she started an advanced high altitude winter flying training in France. Flying on a microlight weight-shift with skis rather than wheels above 12.000ft. The take-offs and landings at high altitudes need special training not only because skis are difficult to balance on a snowy runway, but also due to the difference in air density and atmospheric pressure at higher altitudes. The higher the altitude, the longer the runway must be for take-off in particular. The airfield is at about 8000ft.
A typical winter altitude flying day for Reem would starts as she gets up early in the morning, packs her ski equipment, takes the chairlift up to about 9000ft and then skis to the airfield location at about 8000ft. Having reached the airfield, it’s time for a warm drink and prepare for flying. It’s freezing cold flying at temperatures reaching as low as -20 in-flight, but they are all equipped with special winter gear (flying suit, boots and electrically heated gloves). After landing, she puts her ski gear back on as the only way to get back down to the hotel at 6000ft is by skiing.
Reem has been doing microlight winter flying every winter since 2018 as the only one in Middle East and among few people around the world. This became an annual winter plan for her. Skiing and flying winter holiday!
Powered Paragliding (Paramotor)
Reem has been training and building hours in many other types of microlight aircrafts such as gyrocopter, fixed wing aircrafts, powered and non-powered gliders.
In Aug 2020 Reem obtained her (Paramotor) powered paragliding licence (APPI PPG) in Qatar. Few months later she completed an intermediate paramotor training followed by an advanced paramotor training in Portogul to become the first Qatari Advanced female APPI PPG pilot.
BGD’s 1st team pilot from Qatar
At the end of 2020, she became a team pilot with the world famous fly BGD, one of the best designers and manufacturers of paragliding and paramotor wings in the world.
Qatar’s 1st female Paraglider
In June 2021, Reem decided to travel to Turkey to start her paragliding training which she completed within two weeks and in July 2021, she completed an advanced paragliding training in France.
The 1st paragliding take off for Qatar from Aiguille du Midi 3842m.
Flying at high altitude is a real adventure that needs physical and mental preparation especially when it’s done for the first time. The low amount of oxygen in the air at high altitudes causes high-altitude sickness. The notorious steep ridge walk in Aguille du Midi to the take off point takes almost 30minutes. The weight of equipment was about 15kg. Walking with crampons and mountaineering gears for the first time made this adventure even harder. “I was shocked and nervous when I first saw the route in reality, it was very steep and narrow ridge with no safety fences around! I was linked in a rope between my instructor and a mountain guide that’s it! So I decided to keep my eyes and stay focused on my goal (the take off point). 40 minutes later, I reached the take off point and made it to achieve the first paragliding altitude take off for Qatar and myself from this peak in Mont Blanc Massif in the French alps” Reem said.
Flying is all about that magical and spiritual sensation you get from watching the world from a whole new perspective. It’s absolutely outstanding and positively changes one’s mindset!
Capt. Reem Al-Kuthairi