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
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
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
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
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.
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