SENECA, Kan. — For Lucas Niehues, keeping his feet on the ground is easier said than done.

27 News spoke with Niehues, a local paramotoring enthusiast hailing from Nemaha County, about his unconventional hobby. Niehues relies on a paramotor, or powered paraglider, to take to the skies, capturing some truly eye-catching photos and videos while in the air. He said he first got involved with paramotoring in January 2020 just prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in what he called, “the best way to social distance.”

“The first time I had ever really seen it was through a YouTube video,” Niehues said. “It was one of those moments where I was like ‘I have to do that.'”

Niehues says taking up paramotoring changed his life. Before taking his first flight, he had to go through extensive training at a school in Florida and acquire all the right equipment to be able to achieve aerial feats of his own. Niehues says he played out what it would be like to lift off a thousand times in his head, but it didn’t fully prepare him for the actual event.

“To be honest, it was kind of a sensory overload,” Niehues said. “I had an instructor talking to me in my ear. There’s so much happening all around you. The loud motor, the wind… there’s a lot going on.”

Photos courtesy of Lucas Niehues.

Niehues says he was hooked after that first flight. Since then, he’s put in between 300 and 400 hours of air time with his paramotor and continues to go out as often as he can.

Niehues has taken his trusty paramotor on several road trips, mostly through the Midwest and western states in what he called a “Westcapade,” capturing some amazing shots from high above. Niehues says one of his favorite places to explore from the air is Utah, due to its many hard-to-reach areas and open scenery.

“I’ve done a couple really big road trips,” Niehues said. “The beauty of wearing it on your back is that it’ll fit in the back seat of your car. It’s very portable.”

Aside from helping him experience travel from a whole new perspective, Niehues says there’s another important reason he likes to soar above the ground.

“The reason I got into was for my own pleasure,” Niehues said. “Just to see the look on other people’s faces, waving at all the kids as I fly overhead.They look at you like you’re a superhero.”

When it comes to cost, Niehues says he spent around $2,500 on training and another $11,000 on equipment. He says there’s a wide variety of gear to pick from when getting into paramotoring, depending on what you want your experience to be like.

“There’s a lot of untapped potential,” Niehues said. “Its a very versatile thing. The sky is the limit.”

You can keep up with Niehues’ adventures online on his YouTube channel, Facebook profile or Instagram account. If you are interested in seeing more paramotorists in person, check out the Endless Foot Drag Fly-In at Fredonia in southwest Kansas which is slated for later this year.