Paramotor

More and more you see paramotors appear. Reason is probably the low price for a self launching air vehicle. But watch out ...not all paramotors are cheap. You have a lot of very expensive, less basic looking paramotors lately. They have landing gear, roll cages, ... .

More advantages

  • very easy to transport (if backpack edition)
  • Very easy controls

More disadvantages

  • landing on feet with engine on your back  :-/

Picture by Daniel Magrin
Picture by Daniel Magrin

Explaining the graph

Speed

Paramotors are like paragliders the slowest fliers. That is good for beginners as the landings are easier to do.

Low Cost

Paragliding is the cheapest way to fly. Buying a powered harnas might look like a easy next step, but ...take in count the maximum weight of your sail. Might be that you need a larger sail.
If you respect your material, you might fly a long time with the same material. Sails scraping over the ground get damaged.

If start/land on grass, all your stuff gets green. Strong herbs can puncture your sail. If you start/land on concrete or other stone, all your stuff gets like sanded with sandpaper (sails wear off easier when sanded). 

Range

Range is not the goal of paramotoring. Many people use paramotor to start from A and land on A. You can go cross-country if the weather is good. Some tail wind might help. But don't expect to go hundreds of km or miles.

Picture was taken during worldwide WUFI 2015 event.

Open air

Open air is a disadvantage in winter. Flying at low temperatures is only for the die-hards. But ...when flying in warm weather, you can enjoy more of your flight. Even in warm weather the breeze, generated by the prop behind you, can feel as cold.

Keep in mind that normally the higher you go, the colder it gets. On the ground a T-shirt and during high flight a extra windstopper or sweater is pretty normal in paramotors or other open air aviation sports. But ...you need to decide before taking off. Putting extra clothes on seems to be impossible to me for paramotors.

Flying in rain

You don't want to fly in rain with a paramotor!

I got this advise from Mikael Gawlik of www.skycaribe.one:
"When the wing get wet, it will be impossible to take off. If it gets wet in flight due to rain, the pilot will end in a "parachutal stall". This means that motion forward will decrease to that point that the wing, due to the extra weight and insufficient speed, will sink. Of course this affect the maneuverability severely. When its raining, even lightly, don't fly. If you are catch by the rain, land emidiately!"

Are you a toy of the wind?

Pilots know there is a thing called turbulences. It is when the wind does things you would not expect in a steady wind. Suddenly you are thrown upwards or pulled downward. Or you get diverted to left or right. And ...you cannot predict it.

Some air-vehicles have not much trouble with those small turbulences. Reason: they are really heavy. They are harder to push around. Now ...paramotors are very light. So ...if you are in a turbulence, you get shaken around. So, as a beginner you need to keep track of the weather. Weather with a lot of turbulences or areas with a lot of obstacles that create turbulences are to be avoided. Learn your weather forecast. Ask a expert if doubting.

Trailer

The need for a trailer depends on what type of paramotor you have. Is it a backpack edition, you are probably able to get it inside your car. If you have a trike or any other devise with landing gear, you probably need a trailer.

Hangar

Depends again on your choice of paramotor. If you have a backpack edition or not.

Group or solo

You can use your paraglider as a single person.

In some wind conditions you can need helping hands to keep your sail down or to help you from being blown away when the wind gets too hard while your sail is pulled up. So ...having people around you when you are still a beginner is good. 

Also, when you are in a group. You can hear how other pilots observe the weather and decide to fly or not. Follow the advise of the experts. One tip: that guy that makes loopings and flies when drinking is NOT the guy to ask safety tips.

Last but not least. Paramotors is one of the only air sports you can really fly in a bunch of friends. And that is fun. But ...use the same system like the others. Don't go in opposite direction!

To trike or not to trike

 It is a choice you need to make. Trikes have the benefit you no longer have to land on your feet. But ...they demand a trailer and maybe even a hangar. Another advantage of a trike might be the rollbar, if it is installed on your trike. It keeps pilot and passenger safe during rough landings or bad starts.

But like everything ...it adds a extra cost to your hobby.

I let you see a few variants of trikes.


All these pictures were taken during the worldwide WUFI 2015 event (unless otherwise labeled)

Video

This video is from a firm that makes paramotors. But ...it gives a good view on how paramotors are build. Sure worth the view.

MOST COMMON MISTAKES

  • Don't underestimate the wear and tear of the paramotor sail. It is touching the ground during take off and landing. Make sure to inspect the sail and rope lines before EVERY flight.
  • Don't underestimate the pendulum effect you get under a paramotor sail. You are hanging a few meters under the sail. So ...if you make short turns, you are thrown around that sail . Some stomachs don't like to take punishments like that.
  • Don't underestimate the forces you receive in your feet when landing with a backpack edition.

SCHOOLS FOR PARAMOTORS IN THE WORLD

FUN THINGS FOR PARAMOTORS