Travel

Take Off. Land. Inspire. Repeat.

Deb Miller Landau iQ Managing Editor

How a 2 in 1 computer, GoPro video cameras and a desire to make a difference in the world led one Intel employee on a great Peruvian adventure.

He packed his paramotor and several GoPro cameras for his trip to Peru, but Jean-Pierre Navarro had something else to bring. It was a sleek, versatile 2 in 1 computing device that converts from a laptop into tablet.

Navarro, a 21-year veteran of Intel France and global account manager in the company’s Software and Services Group, is an intrepid traveler, tech geek and a fanatic when it comes to taking pictures and flying through the sky.

His mode of transportation is a paramotor — basically a paraglider with an engine. It’s a gear-intensive contraption that allows flyers to easily experience the beauty of flight.

The rig consists of an ultralight frame that houses a motor, propeller, harness (with integrated seat) and cage. A paraglider wing is attached.

In May 2014, Navarro and two colleagues from Des Ailes et des Hommes (Wings & Men) set off to fly above the ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert in Southern Peru. The trio is part of an organization dedicated to capturing photo and video images of Earth (from paramotors) while supporting local humanitarian efforts.

In Burkina-Fasso, for example, they helped supply fresh water. In Benin, they helped furnish a school. In Peru, they’re helping create a spirulina aquaculture factory to help pregnant women and newborn babies get access to dietary supplements.

One of his objectives was to come back with spectacular shots and 360-degree flight videos of the famous Nazca Lines and the other-worldly landscape of San Pedro de Atacama in Chile.

To get the footage, six GoPro cameras were tethered together to capture the images in all directions. Then Autopano GiGa from Kolor, installed on the 2 in 1 computer, enabled Navarro to stitch the videos together to create a 360-degree effect.

In addition to the paramotor, Navarro packed Lenovo Yoga 2 in 1, a GPS and several cameras including a 360-degree Ricoh Theta video camera.

He used his Lenovo to prepare for his trip so he’d have all geographic information accurately recorded in a Google Earth file.

On location, the 2 in 1 also allowed him to load detailed satellite maps to define the best spots to take off and land safely.

Traveling in remote areas with loads of gear has its drawbacks. At one point, Navarro’s colleague inadvertently landed near a chicken farm, forcing the team to spend four hours in a remote police station trying to convince the locals they had no intention of harming the chickens.

While Navarro and Wings & Men were flying over the remarkable landscape of Peru, they also had their humanitarian mission in mind. There they donated 2,000€ toward construction of a spirulina aquaculture factory. Protein-rich spirulina was developed by Aztecs and other Mesoamericans until the 16th century (known then as tecuitlatl), but it was relatively unknown in modern Peru. The blue-green algae is known for being a high source of protein, minerals, vitamins and calcium — a beneficial supplement, especially good for pregnant women and babies.

Navarro and his team say they will follow up with the project in the near future. In the meantime, they are planning their next great adventure.

Kurt De Buck of Intel Belgium, contributed the original version of this story.

 

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