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Copyright 2009
Jeff Goin

 

 

Paramotor Reviews 

Powered Paragliders include the motor, frame, propeller and harness | Ratings: 1 is bad, 10 is good

There's a lot that goes into making a paramotor good. Engine, prop, harness, frame, cage, fittings, and accessories must all work together. Surprisingly simple changes can dramatically alter safety and/or comfort. When reviewing a motor I try to bring any complaint to the dealer or builder to see if it can be improved by adjustment. It frequently can.

Empty weight means everything needed to fly except fuel (or batteries for an electric). That means the weight includes harness, gas tank, prop and oil (for 4-strokes).

Weight Shift (Riser Shift) Note: All machines have some amount of weight shift, even those that don't intend to. The high hook-in fixed j-bar machines have the least but, even those can achieve an inch of riser differential (the whole purpose of weight shifting).

Motor's can be categorized by suspension systems and pilots frequently prefer one over another, sometimes religiously. They all have their advantages and disadvantages and one is not better than another, just different. Certainly one implementation can be better than another which is the point of these reviews.

Motors that hang back (see picture at left) will tend to have worse torque induced riser twist than machines hanging more vertical. Plus tilted back motors are harder to launch and land. Frequently adjustments can bring a motor to a more desirable attitude. Although low hang point motors tend to have the most leaned back suspension, others can do the same thing if not setup properly.

Certification

There is no certification of paramotors save Germany and Austria. If certification were offered, hopefully it would test things like cage strength, starter safety, proximity of prop to gas tank and other criteria as mentioned in A Better Paramotor

Paramotor Weights:

At the 2007 Florida Convention I walked around with a digital hanging scale weighing motors that I had either reviewed or planned on reviewing. The scale claims an accuracy of 1/2% but I used a pulley to half the weight so the accuracy would be 1%. These will be put in their respective reviews but, for now, are listed here.

2001 or so Fly Castellucio, Solo with box muffler = 48 lbs, 8 oz.

2007 Paratour, Black Devil Motor = 61 lbs, 12 oz.

2005 Paramotor FX5 Frame only including gas tank (no motor or harness) = 27 lbs, 10 oz.

2004 I-Flyer Top 80 = 40 lbs, 7 oz.
  (was 44 lbs with 3 lbs, 9 oz of fuel subtracted)

2007 Miniplane Top 80, 53" prop without weight shift = 42 lbs, 8 oz.

2004 Paralite Skycruiser Chromolly frame, Black Devil 172, 48" prop = 59 lbs, 0 oz.

2006 Paratoys Blackhawk, Black Devil 172, 56 lbs, 14 oz.

2007 ParaDiablo Slingblade, Black Devil 172, 72 lbs 6 oz.

2007 Aerothrust ZG Pro, Montari Mighty Max 130, 50 lbs, 2 oz.

2005 Fresh Breeze Simonini 122 w/ comfort bars, 63 lbs, 4 oz.

fromRichardShelton09.jpg (52218 bytes)

Fly Castelluccio's QuiXo design incorporates inexpensive injection molded parts to eliminate welds. They are intended to be plenty strong for normal use but break in a crash and can be replaced cheaply. This machine is not available in the U.S. at present. Photo by Richard Shelton. If I get my hands on one, I'll review it.

 

Wanna see how the tests are done? Go here.


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