We've all heard the saw "there ain't no
free lunch" and it turns out to be just as true for paramotor instruction.
effective marketing tool, for sure, but precious few people get valuable
training for free. An instructor who includes training in the cost of a
purchase is training for the value of his markup—completely fair given the
enormous work required to give good, thorough instruction on these craft.
Self training usually incurs the greatest cost. It includes
damaged gear, more injuries or the
ultimate price. Even instruction has turned out to be dangerous but self
training is way worse. Nearly everybody I've talked with who muddled
through it said they should have gotten professional instruction
first. Many self-attempters give up after scary
experiences, frustration, equipment destruction or injuries.
Training with friends is barely one notch above self training
(depending on the friends) and is a huge imposition. There is a lot more
to this than learning to kite and throttling up.
An experienced, conscientious
instructor using the USPPA/USUA syllabus will know what to look for, how
to prevent the common maladies and have training aids to make it safer.
Those who advertise free training with or without purchase make
it up elsewhere, frequently making a deserved $1500+ on the sale of a
wing and motor. There's nothing wrong with that but don't think a $7500
kit with free training is a better bargain than a $6000 kit with $1500
worth of training. Go with the best training whether included or extra.
Those who sell inexpensive motors expect you to either already be
trained or arrange your own training. Do so. If they do include
instruction it's likely to be a quick and dirty course lasting no
more than a first flight. That's dangerous. A pilot who leaves training with less than 5
flights is woefully under prepared, especially if the flights were
assisted by the instructor on radio (see How
was my training).
A quality new PPG with wing, motor and training will cost about $8000 one way or
another. So find good
training from a reputable source then go and get the most out of
Quality instruction will cost $1500. As one having done some training
and, more importantly, having watched numerous good instructors,
that's a bargain. Make sure they use the USPPA/USUA syllabus (or
USHPA with additional motor content). Even some certified instructors
don't. Ask for it.
The best money you'll spend in this sport is thorough training with a
dedicated instructor who uses the USPPA/USUA syllabus. Insist on it and initial each item
so that you know that its been covered.
Ask to get the PPG2 rating, especially given that there is a $200
reimbursement available to you from the USPPA. It will take more flights and
more effort, but your survival odds will thank you.
If you've ever struggled with iron-contaminated
sand in your brake toggle keepers, you've swore off every buying another glider
with those infernal magnetic clips. Pilots who loft from the green grasses
elsewhere may not relate, but imagine being unable to use your toggle snaps. We all know what a tangled mess that weaves.
Enter the solution that I tried a few months ago. It was on the Reaction
paraglider (may be on others, too) that I was testing in California. They have solved the
problem! Check out their "Easy Keepers" magnet holders at right.
no place for the iron sand to stick to because the magnet is concealed inside
a thin coat of fabric, impervious to gunking up. Simple, elegant,
I've only used them on two or three
occasions so maybe there are drawbacks that I haven't encountered. I'll
welcome input. But they sure worked perfectly for my trials. I may have to
craft some kind of fix for my own wing, an otherwise wonderful glider.
So please, if you're building wings, please, please offer your risers
with something similar. The "clog free brake retaining system"
is so much better!
Apco which is also using the clog-free magnetic clips.