It almost seems too good to be true.
Being able to fly sounds like a superhero power straight from the movies. But the truth is it’s within reach.
You may not be rescuing anyone from a burning building soon. However, you can enjoy the views from above by trying out powered paragliding.
If you’ve ever dreamed of taking flight but aren’t sure how you can get into this sport, then we’ve got answers. Read on to learn how powered paragliders work and how you can fly away in one of your very own!
If you’ve always dreamed of flying but getting your pilot’s license has been out of reach, then consider a powered paraglider or a paramotor. These aircraft don’t require a license to fly and you can learn to fly one in under a week.
They’re also affordable to purchase. According to the United States Powered Paragliding Association, you’ll spend between $4,000-$12,000 for the motor and $1,800-$4,500 for the wing.
There are two different types of paramotors. You can opt for a “foot-launch” style where you wear a two-stroke motor on your backpack. With this type of paramotor, you will need to run on foot to become airborne. This is the most popular type of powered paraglider.
The other type is called a quad or trike. In this version, the motor is mounted on a go-kart type vehicle. You will want to discuss which style paramotor is right for you with a professional.
Anyone Can Do It
One of the nice things about powered paragliders is that you don’t have to be a thrill-seeker to enjoy them. In fact, paramotors are all about slow leisurely flights. You can just take your time and breathe in the fresh air.
It will probably be one of the most incredible experiences of your life!
Unfortunately, just because you can learn to fly a quad in 3 to 5 days and a foot launch in 5 to 7, doesn’t mean that you should learn from just anybody. Since no inspections or license is required, you should be sure you get lessons by a teacher who is certified by the USPPA.
Some people new to the sport will fall for scams by trainers who aren’t certified. Don’t be fooled by one-day crash courses or offers of free training. You won’t be ready to fly on your own after one lesson.
Also, keep in mind that you should never try to teach yourself how to fly a powered paraglider. Even if you already have your pilot’s license. This sport is very different than any other aviation. So never risk trying to fly one without proper training from a certified instructor.
History of Paragliding
Did you know that foot-launch style paragliding was created by the military? They wanted to teach soldiers how to safely land while parachuting. It was costly and time-consuming to have an airplane land and take off constantly to help them practice.
They first started by attaching parachutists to a truck with a tow rope. As they would pick up speed, the parachute would float higher and higher. Eventually, they would release the rope and allow them to float back to the ground.
Some of them began to make a sport out of running and jumping off cliffs then floating down. They started to perfect the parachute after many years of practice and trying different techniques. They also learned ways to keep themselves in the air longer and steer better.
The modern-day sport of paragliding we know of today was founded in Mieussy, France in 1978. It is very popular in Europe and still growing in the U.S.
Powered paragliding allows you to continue to fly using your motor to propel you through the sky. You can soar like an eagle at speeds between 25-40 mph.
How Powered Paragliders Work
As part of your training, it is important to understand how a powered paraglider works. You will be using the paraglider’s handheld throttle and brake toggles to make the paraglider gain altitude or go faster.
A powered paraglider can reach up to 18,000 feet. This the legal limit set by the FAA. You can also reach as far as 80 miles through the air. When you start running the pilot carries the 45-80 pound motor on your back. Then once you gain speed, the wing lifts the motor and pilot off the ground.
After take-off, the pilot will get into the seat that remains folded until you are airborne. You then sit suspended in the air and use the brake toggles and hand-held throttle to guide their flight.
To become a paraglider instructor or fly tandem with someone, a pilot is legally required to become certified by the United States Powered Paragliding Association (USPPA) or the Aero Sports Connection (ASC). Be sure the instructor is also thorough in their training and closely follows a syllabus.
Is Powered Paragliding Safe?
Believe it or not, it is one of the safest aviation sports out there. This is because if your engine fails, you are able to glide slowly to the ground. In fact, losing your motor will only make it impossible for you to gain altitude.
You will descend at a rate of about 3 mph and a distance of 20 mph. There are also best practices that can determine how safe paramotoring is. Just as with any sport, it is as safe as you make it.
When following recommended guidelines, like flying in the appropriate weather conditions and adhering to best practices in flight, it is very safe.
One aspect of paramotoring is remaining aware of weather and having an understanding of meteorology. You most likely cannot fly your paramotor every day since strong winds are an issue.
Ready to Take Off?
If you’re wondering where you could take off from, the answer is almost anywhere. Some paragliders will take off right from their yards. You don’t need a lot of room, just 10 to 50 feet depending on the size of your paraglider.
A pilot’s skill level, weight, and wind factors can all affect a takeoff. Also, if you are flying a quad paramotor, then you will need more like 30-125 feet to become airborne. When landing, a quad can touch down and come to a complete stop within 10-50 feet.
Practice a bit before trying to land in your backyard though. It takes skill to perfect your take-off and landing. There are also obstructions to consider such as trees and powerlines when taking off. So you will want there to be plenty of space for you to make the climb.
It’s amazing just how fun and simple this sport is to enjoy! You can soar through the sky in a matter of days.
If you’re ready to train and look into purchasing one of these powered paragliders, then we are your go-to source. Let’s get you flying!
Visit our website to find quality gear and reliable paramotors. Let us know how we can help you make your dream a reality.
Powered paragliding (AKA paramotoring) is classified as a recreational/competitive adventure sport. The activity is picking up as a fan favorite in sports and seeing it through the eyes of a paraglider will make you see why the appeal is great.
Simply put, the activity entails a motorized steerable wide canopy, that looks like a parachute. The paramotor is then attached to someone’s body using a harness. This harness is what enables them to glide mid-air.
There are so many paramotors to choose from in the market. As a new pilot, it may be a task to determine the best paramotor. Not to worry, we have a list of not one, but 7 tips that will help you want to buy a paramotor.
How to Find the Best Paramotor
The first thing you should do before you get down to the technicalities is to focus on quality paramotors whose spare parts are easily accessible. The best way to do that is to shop on a credible website where you are assured the manufacturers are legitimate and if you will not have a hard time in the eventuality that you need parts or servicing.
Once you know that you are buying from a trusted source, you can determine what type of paramotor to choose. Having the best paragliding experience can easily turn into having the best paramotor experience when you have the right paraglider motor. Here are 7 tips to help you decide:
1. Thrust and Power: Motor Weight Ratio
Body weight and launching altitude are linked as they determine the thrust needed. Generally speaking, the heavier the motor, the more power it will have. But do you really need more power? You want just enough but not too much. Talk to a flight instructor or to other pilots and you’ll start to understand what works for you.
If you don’t want to get too technical, many companies have a list of the recommended maximum weight range for different motors that they sell. Do your research and settle on a motor that has enough thrust to enable easy launching when there are light winds.
It is important to note that the list does not normally take into account your flying altitude. At higher altitudes, if the power is too little, you will have to run longer and harder at each launch attempt.
Do note that more isn’t necessarily the best thing. Remember that more weight equates to more power which could make the motor a task to launch. Finding the right balance for your paraglider with motor is key.
2. High Hang Points and Low Hang Points
Some paramotors are configured with high hang points while others have low hang points. High hang points may feel more stable in the air but they are less dynamic in how they handle. With high hang points, it’s difficult to weight-shift in your harness (leaning into the direction you want to turn). This will require the pilot to use brake inputs to turn. With low hang points, the pilot can lean into the turn and use less brake pressure. This translates into a more efficient turn.
If cost is a factor, be aware that wooden propellers are generally more inexpensive than carbon fiber. The downside is that they are normally a little heavier and noisier than their hollow composite counterparts which are lighter, quieter and more expensive. The biggest difference you’ll notice is that carbon fiber props are more responsive to throttle inputs.
Both wood and carbon fiber props can be repaired for minor knicks and dings but it’s not uncommon for newer pilots to It is not uncommon for newer pilots to go through a couple of props before gaining confidence.
When selecting a paramotor frame, take into account how you plan on transporting it. How do you plan to move around with it? Will you disassemble it and drop it in the trunk of your car or do you have a trunk that can fit the entire unit without having to break it down?
Most frames come with their own set of complications during assembly so ensure that you try it yourself before heading out and finding the one that works for you.
Most paramotor brands offer their frames with one of five popular motor brands: Vittorazi, Polini, EOS, Air Conception, or Cors-Air: These brands are reliable, powerful, and lightweight. The advantage of choosing a well-known brand is that you will easily find tips, maintenance advice, and tutorials online and in person within the paramotor community.
There are many brands out there and many models within each of those brands. While there are people who will tell you that one specific brand or model is the best, the truth is that there are pros and cons to all of them. Instead of searching for the “best” paramotor setup, look for the setup that is most suitable for YOU. Your skill level, weight, flying style, elevation, budget, and other factors will determine which one is the best for you.
We couldn’t possibly leave this out. This is based on an individual perspective. Check out reviews or personally try out as many paramotors as you possibly can.
Lift it off the ground and move to a standing position with the unit on your back to test how easy it is to make the transition. Are you comfortable walking or standing with it?
Prepare to Fly
With these tips, you should be ready to pick the best paramotor for you. Take your time going through the different tips and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If still in doubt, visit our website to find out more about paramotor gear, servicing and financing information.