The lead coach at Seattle's SANCA School of Flight really does fly through the air with the greatest of ease.

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Paul Peterson

What do you do? I am the manager and lead coach as well as one of the catchers for flying trapeze at SANCA School of Flight in Georgetown.

How did you get started in that career? I first had the opportunity to try flying trapeze at Club Med in the Dominican Republic. I was working at the resort in another department, and on the recommendation of a friend, gave the trapeze a try. It was terrifying and thrilling and challenging, and almost immediately, I wanted to do it all the time. Almost 18 years later, I still haven’t stopped.

What’s a typical day like? Our classes are mostly in the afternoon and evening. It takes three coaches to run a class, and we rotate through assisting students with their takeoffs on the platform, pulling safety lines as they fly, video review of their flying, and catching the tricks they have worked on. We also work with camp groups in the summer and school breaks, corporate groups and parties of all ages.

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What’s the best part of the job? For me, it is seeing the joy and excitement of new flyers as they discover the magic of flying trapeze. In addition, watching our consistent students make breakthroughs in their flying, whether it be physical or psychological. There are so many challenges on so many levels, and helping people go beyond their self-imposed limitations is very satisfying. We know they can do it, and we help them find the way.

What surprises people about your work? First, people are surprised that such a job even exists! That someone that didn’t grow up in a circus family, with no related background, could learn to do this is another thing folks wouldn’t imagine is possible. Also, the fact that almost anybody at any age has the chance to try flying trapeze is amazing to most.

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