Paraglider & Paramotor Certification

See also DGAC | DMSV | Why Use Certified Wings For Paramotor We recommend new pilots fly certified gliders since they’re not equipped to be test pilots. Even though the motor may change a wing’s handling, and certification is not done with a motor,...

Paraglider Plastic Rods

Condensed version of a DHV article by Michael Nesler | Click here for his detailed original Plastic rods in paragliders have become ubiquitous. Is it hype or do they help as much as they seem to? DHV pilot Michael Nesler sheds some light. There are different types of...

Paraglider Certification for Paramotor Pilots

Normal paraglider certification is relevant to paramotor pilots, especially newer ones. Here’s why. It describes how a wing behaves in normal and abnormal situations. The excuse “it’s different with a motor” is poppycock. Of course it’s...

ParaWatt by Pierre Renault, France

These guys have been quietly building an electric machine for the past four years–work that has paid off by creating a salable drive train that can be used by other makers. After seeing pictures, I inquired with the usual questions and the lead developer,...

The Rogue Inspector

Sometimes our government lets us down | About Congested Areas see 2009 July 25 Confidence Restored in FAA see 2010 July 13: Problem moved Flight Service District Offices are where the day-to-day FAA operations are conducted. If you run afoul of aviation law,...

Changing the Ignition Coil on a Top 80

This is, unfortunately, a lot of work. You’ll need a drill, 1/8″ drill bit (for the rivets), a rivet gun, rivets, rubber bands (to hold the starter pawls) and nerves of steal. OK, copper nerves may work but you’ll still need that rivet gun. Thanks to...

Why Paramotor Ratings?

I fielded a question about why USPPA issues ratings. This person seemed weirdly upset, like they were put upon, or that USPPA was trying to pull the wool over pilots eyes that ratings are required. I never understand that since voluntary efforts at recognizing...

Kit Paramotors

Note: this post is kept for historical reasons. As of 2019 the only Kit that I’m aware of is an electric machine at OpenPPG.com. As of 2010, if you were looking for Kit Paramotors, there were two that I’m familiar with. Neither of them is still around....

Paramotor Engine Pull Starter

Most paramotors use a manual pull starter due to its simplicity and light weight. They’re slightly more reliable than an electric start because no battery is required but they’re far from perfect. Problem Possible solution or link. Pull starter feels...

Carbon Fiber Propeller Tip Repair

Ding the tip of your carbon prop? Is the prop in good shape otherwise? This may work to repair it if the damage is minor. It’s based on the same technique as covered in Chapter 12 of the PPG Bible. Flying a repaired prop could cause injure or kill a bystander if...

Engine Mx: Top 80

Spark Plug Selection Thanks Dave Moore and Brian Del Campo with this information. The NGK BR9ES is the most common plug. Do not combine it with a resistor cap–the spark will be too weak. Redrive & Bearings Visit the Top 80 parts site listed above to find the...

Motor: Fuel & Feed

Anything related to fuel or getting fuel to the motor including gas tank See also Choosing Fuel & Oil | Does Avgas Run Cooler? Is Avgas Cooler?  Priming  Fuel Tank Repair The fuel system provides fuel to the carburetor. It usually consists of a tank with vent...

Paramotor Overheating

Causes and cures of this motor killer Heat is a paramotor’s mortal enemy. Worst cases have the piston welding itself to the cylinder wall in the mother of all motor failures: a seizure. A close cousin is the piston burning a hole through it’s top. Molten...

Decompressor Issues

Automatic Decompressor These use vacuum from the motor to create a hole in the cylinder so that the motor is easier to pull through compression. It must remain open for easy starting and stay closed afterward for proper running. If the decompressor is stuck open...

Top 80 Exhaust improvements

For those who have aftermarket exhausts that vibrate and self destruct you will find this an early and easy fix before yours self destructs. Take a TOP80 standard crankshaft seal (for this application) and install it over the stinger. Place the silencer firmly against...

Exhausts: Preventative Mx

Thanks Scott Traverse There are a number of preventative measures you can take to avoid needing the troubleshooting guide. The picture at right shows one such mod but most are much simpler. Minimize vibration by using high temperature silicon around and through...

Exhaust Issues for Paramotors

One of the most likely places for problems to appear is the tuned pipe and muffler. They usually revolve around vibration and cracking from heat. Exhausts usually have two parts, the tuned pipe and silencer. A few, like the box muffler of the long-retired Solo 210...

Mx: Propeller Problems

Start with the simple and cheap. Here are some that qualify. Repair cracks. Under air loads they can cause an aerodynamic imbalance besides sapping power. Static balance. Make sure the bolts are tightened evenly. If the prop is askew widthwise on its mount (making one...

Choosing Fuel and Oil

Straight talk about this nearly religious subject | Fuel Feed Problems | Is Avgas Cooler Avgas or Mogas? Castrol or Pennzoil? 2% or 3%? What’s best for my engine? Ask this question in a room full of paramotor pilots then take cover. Instructors and dealers will...

Mx: Motor Problems

If your motor doesn’t start on the first few attempts, something is wrong. Continued pulling without corrective action will just wear the starting system and decrease your respect for the prop—making a life-changing prop injury more likely. Troubleshooting is...

Mx: Redrive & Clutch Problems

Problem Possible solution or link. Calculating Redrive Ratio If you have a paramotor for which you don’t know the ratio you can calculate it using one of several methods, measure the radius (or diameter) or count the teeth. Here are the details of each method....

Paraglider Care

Paragliders are like film. Remember that? They like it cool, dry and dark. Care is sweetly simple–keep them reasonably clean, don’t stuff or fold tightly, and get them inspected periodically. The paraglider is more important than the motor in that...

Airspace: When Control Towers Close

Can you paramotor at an airport whose control tower is closed for the day or night? I’ve always understood that when a control tower closed, the airspace reverted from D to E. That would keep the entire surface area off limits to us without permission from the...

Airspace: Where the Heavies Fly

To a paramotor, everything is heavy. But this article concentrates on where you can expect airplane traffic including airliners, to fly relative to airports. We know to stay out of the airspace around large airports but must also be vigilant when simply nearby. The...

Airspace: What’s Out There?

If you fly high, look out. A surprising amount of air traffic zips through airspace that we are allowed to use. Making matters worse is that we probably only see a fraction of the airplanes that pass within a mile of us.  You can almost count on it that they...

Paramotor Flying In Iran

People love to have fun everywhere and PPG certainly qualifies My impression of Iran, coming from the general news media, wasn’t one of people playing and having fun. In my head I knew better—that people are basically the same everywhere, and that most...

Training Risk

See also “Free Training In 50 States: Kurt Fister” It’s well established that skimping on training is a bad trade, especially the “Free Training” offers. Some may succeed but many more fail afterwards due to frustration, equipment damage...

Looking for Lift: Thermal Triggering

Really this is more for soaring pilots who look for the least little indication that a thermal may be about to “pop.” And if they’re low enough to be looking for these cues, they’re only a few dozen seconds from committing to landing. Chapter...

Choosing a First Paraglider

I get frequent questions about what glider is best for beginners. Training accidents show this to be a critical choice. Several trainees have died in accidents that would not have happened had they been flying benign, appropriately sized school wings. A good...

Why Know the Law?

Most of us who fly these things are free spirits, we want to be able to go where we want, when we want. But what if you spook your neighbor’s million-dollar stallion into an injurious Rampage? Laws are civilization’s way of defining the boundaries  between...

History of Powered Paragliding

There is a complete chapter on PPG history but it ends when powered paragliding first started in the U.S. This is an effort to both fill more detailed information and extend it. Those who have made a contribution to the sport in some significant way are included. If...

Clever Car Carrier

This clever contraption by Johnson Qu may be the best platform I’ve seen for ease of carrying. It’s better than a the standard version because the frame tucks under a rail, negating the need for straps. You’d probably have a backup strap that also...

Importing & Shipping Paramotors

Customs requirements for powered paragliding gear Getting gear across borders can be a hassle, even more so for those who are in the business. All a private individual has to do is show that it’s his and that he’s not selling the gear. That can be done...

Bicycle Transport

Dave Moore wants to save his fuel for flying. Fortunately he doesn’t have very far to go so pedaling is acceptable propulsion. Although this one people-power motor doesn’t go very fast, it has good fuel economy–about 18 miles per pizza slice. He...

Powered Paragliding With Music

Adding a soundtrack to flight makes the high that much higher. Few will dispute how music can evoke powerful emotions, amplify feelings and lift us to new heights. Movie makers spend millions perfecting the soundtrack—sucking the viewer farther into the experience....

Emergencies

Chapter 19 covers emergencies that involve analysis, Chapter 4 covers emergencies that requiring more immediate, essentially automatic, action. Feeling unwanted wing turn just as you lift off, for example, is a Chapter 4 type immediate action emergency. Students...

Leaving a Positive Image

There are a number of ways to put powered paragliding in a good light. These can do a lot to counter the bad press that is, unfortunately, what the media tends to focus on. Here are some suggestions of things you can do although some may not be likely depending on...

Class E Surface Area

Updated 2018-02-09  thanks to Bryan Schwartz and “aeroexperiments” on forum.hanggliding.org. We normally launch in Class G airspace and climb into E which starts at 1200 (or 700′) AGL and goes up to 18,000′. We canNOT fly in the “lateral...

Is Paramotoring Safe?

Is paramotoring safe? By learning from others’ mistakes we can make this sport safer by not repeating the causes of past tragedies. Its prevention through anticipation–what the airlines have done so incredibly successfully. These accounts and articles dig...

Paramotor Competition & Records

Competition and Records in the US | Setting PPG Records | World Air Games 2015 2015-Dec-15 A well played spectacle came to Dubai in December, 2015. Matt Minyard represented the U.S. after Ryan Shaw had to drop out due to an injury unrelated to paramotoring. It was...

Tip: Brake Toggle Bungees

A brake toggle entangling the prop can be fatal. Two fatalities have been caused by it, one captured on video. It’s most likely to happen right after launch, when thrust is pushing the motor towards the riser, and you let go of the brakes. It’s far more...

Paramotor Insurance

Individual and Liability insurance for Powered Paragliding It is the bane of many paramotor pilots—insurance, or lack thereof. Most pilots don’t notice the problem since they fly from places where it doesn’t matter, but for those who aspire to alight from...

Regs: FAR 103 Preamble

FAR 103 | AC 103 | Preamble to 103 | FAR 91 for Ultralights Adopted: July 30,1982 Effective: October 4,1982 (Published in 47 FR 38770, September 2,1982) SUMMARY: This amendment establishes rules governing the operation of ultralight vehicles in the United States. The...

Regs: FAR 91 (for Ultralights)

FAR 103 | AC 103 | Preamble to 103 | FAR 91 for Ultralights FAR 103.20 requires ultralight pilots to comply with these FAR 91 rules, mostly to address security concerns in the aftermath of Sept 11, 2001. Note that the NOTAMs referred to in this regulation can be found...

Regs: FAR 103

FAR 103 | AC 103 | Preamble to 103 | FAR 91 for Ultralights Secs. 307, 313(a), 601(a), 602, and 603, Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (49 U.S.C. 1348, 1354(a), 1421(a), 1422, and 1423); sec. 6(c), Department of Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. 1655(c). Source: Docket No....

Analyzing the Forward Launch

Crosswind launch | Nailing Every Landing | Analyzing the Reverse Launch This style of photography along with some Photoshop work allows close analysis of a light-wind launch. Chapter 4 contains many tidbits for trouble shooting such launches but this may help. A full...

Paraglider Review Overview

More than any other purchase, you should consult with a qualified instructor about a wing. It is probably your most important decision, right behind picking a good instructor. Also, there is a very good reason for choosing a beginner glider, it’s safer! The...

Too Much Regulation?

Do we have too many regulations in aviation? It depends on your perspective. If you’re trying to pilot aircraft or profit from them, than you will think we do. If you’re a passenger or ground pounder wanting not to get killed by airplanes, you probably...

Nailing Every Landing (Touchdown)

I get questions about running out of brakes on landing and touching down firmly.That’s common, especially in the beginning, but there are techniques to improve your odds. Big caveat: done aggressively or with bad timing you can break a leg employing this...

Analyzing the Reverse Launch

When Tim snapped this series of pictures it went crying for a quick treatment of reverse inflations, where you start by facing the wing. Most pilots prefer these since you can see exactly what’s going on. But they present their own difficulties. The first step...

Crosswind Takeoff

Your site is a driveway. It’s long, there are no obstructions except line snagging beans to your left and right. But it’s crosswind. What to do? This situation has come up in my flying a lot, especially since I deplore taking off over water at beaches. If...

Airspace: We’re not Alone

From Jeff Goin’s 2006 USHPA Magazine Article Our sweetly simple FAR 103 grants enormous flexibility. It gives equally ambiguous restrictions—leaving a lot up to us. The sharp edge of this freedom is how easy we can cause problems or get “violated” by the Federal...

Airspace & Charts Overview for Ultralights

Exploring new areas by PPG is an experience in freedom seldom even imagined just a few short years ago. As with most freedoms it carries responsibility…which includes making sure you’re in allowable airspace. See also: Finding Legal Sites With Google The PPG Bible has...

Flying Backwards in a Paraglider

Chapter 15, Advanced Ground Handling, covers The Alan Method of reverse kiting. This method can also allow you to fly backwards. Recently, we set out to get pictures of this technique and others from one of our motor haunts near Chicago. The chosen hill, a dirt pile,...

Harness Myths

I hear the darndest things sometimes. One frequent misconception regards paramotor harnesses. Over zealous sellers try to sucker people in to their gear using misinformation that requires a lack of understanding. If you ever “this is the only _____, and...

More Bang For Your Fueling Buck

Getting the most from gas station pumps With fuel prices high, Shane Banquer, a helicopter pilot who has been in the petroleum industry for 31 years, offered some tricks on how to get more of your money’s worth for every gallon. Thanks to Eric Dufour for sharing...

About Powered Paragliding (PPG FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions about paramotor flying Click here on Educational for much more Ten minutes after putting your car in park, everything is ready. It’s just you perfect air, at the perfect place, ready to fly. Lay it out, ready yourself, throttle up, and...

Wing Loading

Wing Loading See also Choosing a wing. Weight & Speed One important area of understanding is wing loading. How much weight is carried per square meter of wing. It is the all-up flying weight (pilot, motor, fuel, wing) divided by the wing’s projected area....

Comparing Ultralights

So many choices! Do I want convenience? Do I want to go places? How much will it cost? How hard is it to fly? These and many other questions usually come to those choosing an ultralight. It’s not easy and the sales people for each one knows, for a fact, that...

A Better Paramotor Harness

See also A Better Paramotor | A Better Cart | A Better Throttle There have been at least three accidents resulting in pilot paralysis. In one, a reserve parachute may have saved the day but in the other two it would not have since they were doing low level...

Agama Water System Reset

After manual or automatic activation you must replace 3 parts, the bobbin, indicator tab and CO2 cartridge. The bobbin, which contains some type of paper, has a 3 year shelf life. You’re not allowed to carry CO2 cartridges on airliners so, if you travel, the...