Gerry Charlebois, born July 14, 1959 in Iserlohn, Germany to Gerard Charlebois and Theresa Moody, went on to fly high with no human constrainsts on March 11, 2014.
He is survived by his parents, two brothers, Tony (Anthony), and Joe (Joseph), his partner, Julie Mann, countless friends, and was predeceased by his sister, Carol.
Gerry lived his life fully from the day he was born. His mother says that when he was born, he was waving his arms as if to say, “I’m here, let’s get started”.
Gerry began flying hang gliders in 1978. A year later he began teaching hang gliding off the Kahuku sand dunes and the cliffs above Makapu'u on Oahu’s north shore. In 1983 he won the Hawaii state hang gliding championship, bringing him corporate sponsorship and propelling him into competition on the national and international hang gliding circuit.
He discovered trike flying while spending the winters competing on the Australian hang gliding competition circuit.
Since the mid 1980's, Gerry had mounted cameras on his glider wings to shoot stunning visuals. He was one of the most published sport-aviation photographers and writers in the world with sixty (60) magazine cover shots to date. The first magazine to feature him on the cover was the leading European hang gliding magazine “Drachenflieger” in 1983. In 1997, he was named “Photojournalist of the Year” by the U.S. Ultralight Association.
Offering tandem hang gliding instruction, Gerry founded Birds in Paradise on Kauai, Hawaii in 1990. Since then, Gerry logged more than 17,000 hours operating ultralight trikes, and he and his instructors have shared the experience with more than 23,000 people.
Birds in Paradise has been featured on HDNet’s extreme travel show “Get Out!” & as well as on Discovery Channel and Travel Channel programming, among other numerous productions. His mosquito flying antics from his home in Kapahi on “Buying Kauai” was recently aired on the Discovery Channel.
Gerry continued to combine his passion for trike flying with his passion for still and video photography. Using the cameras mounted on the wings of his gliders and shooting a hand-held camera from the cockpit, he captured breathtaking Kauai scenery and marine life, and shared them with the world.
Gerry started a production company, Extreme Productions, to combine his love of flying with his passion for filmmaking in order to share his adventures above and below some of the most beautiful places in the world. In the recent years, Gerry had turned to producing films that showcase the beauty of Kauai from the land and sea, as well as the air.
In 2012, he celebrated the recent release of his newest film, “Epic Kauai”, a journey around the spectacular and breathtakingly lush island of Kauai to places never before filmed.
His past productions include, “Monumental Triking”, (1999), “Top to Bottom Odyssey” (2001), “Extreme Kauai” (2003).
Some of his accomplishments included; member of the USHPA (United States Hang gliding Paragliding Association) Ratings: Master Rated Hang glider PilotPilot: Sport Pilot Certificate and CFI (Certified Flight Instructor), Mechanic: LSLA/ELSA Repairman/Inspection Maintenance certificate.
Aside from his passion for flying, he had an engaging personality. He was not just the life of the party, he was most often the party.
His eye and the beautiful photographs he produced, as well as his zest for life, his friendship and smile, living each day as it were the last, will always be remembered and appreciated by anyone who crossed his path.
A Celebration of Life is being planned for April 13th. Details will be posted soon.