Paramotor Safety

OverArm Throttle Hold To Avoid Maiming

2017-07-22 For Most Paramotor Throttles | All Prop Safety | Rope Trick another version | A Better Paramotor

A horrible accident happened while a pilot was walking with his paramotor. It was idling but, at some point, possibly after powering up to warm it up, the throttle stuck at a high power and he lost his footing, falling mostly sideways then face down. It went to nearly full power and his throttle cable got sucked into the prop, pulling his hand in in severing the cable. With no kill switch he couldn't shut it off and his hand got chewed to bits.

By far, the best solution is to make your paramotor resist the possibility of the throttle cable getting to the prop. That will usually be as simple as a well placed wire tie holding the cable to the fame in a way that makes it impossible.

In the meantime, consider the following.

 

Typical (potentially dangerous) hold method in next two images.

This is the standard hold and may be dangerous on many machines that use this throttle style.
If a throttle CAN get to the prop, even if you have to work at it, even if it seems difficult to do, you are at risk.
The Miniplane, unfortunately is one such machine.

 

It took bystanders nearly half a minute to help since the motor was still at high RPM and, by the time they got it shut down, it was too late. He's an airline pilot who may be done flying. That struck home to me.

Several people have suggested a simple solution which is to hold the throttle so it's cable goes OVER your arm rather than the more common method of going under. We have created an illustration below to show. Thanks to photographer Ray Khan for his help.

Many paramotors have at least two dangerous flaws.
Weak areas in their netting and a way for the throttle cable to get in the prop, pulling the strapped hand in for a chopping.
The cage SHOULD be modified with a safety hoop (the 2nd ring seen on this machine) and a throttle/netting design that completely prevents throttle cable ingestion.

But in the meantime, put the throttle cable over your arm as shown. Make sure the throttle still moves freely and always use all normal precautions.

The Best Solution

By far, the best solution is to have a throttle and cage design that cannot allow this to happen!!! It's not hard.

People forget, they regress into old habits, etc., and it shouldn't be a maiming sentence. But until that point, until your paramotor has a proper cage or is modified to have a proper cage, this technique is a great stop-gap.

Do NOT Use the Technique If

On one of our Miniplanes, throttle routing is such that the Overarm method increased friction enough that the throttle could stick. That's unacceptable. Even though the kill switch would still work, it can cause problems either inflight or on the ground.

In this case, consider a different throttle routing that allows either 1) using the overarm method or 2) where it can't get into the prop using the more common underarm method. That could be as simple as wire-tying the cable to a different place as it exits the frame or adding netting in the hole where it could go.

Another Approach

You could also not put your hand in the throttle's strap but that introduces another possibility: dropping the throttle which is like having an engine out--the machine goes to idle. If you choose this method, practice on the ground, then practice up high before doing it low to the ground.

Thanks

At least two people suggested this technique after we posted about the "Rope Trick" method of starting clutch machines to dramatically reduce the chance of propeller injuries. Thanks for the suggestion!

Rest assured, this will be in the next edition of the PPG Bible and added to the "Better Paramotor" page.

 

 


© 2016 Jeff Goin & Tim Kaiser   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!