Reviews

An effort to offer perspectives on gear and other aspects of powered paragliding with minimal bias. Everybody has bias but it can be reduced.

Go here for more on the reviews and how reviews are done.

Paragliders | Paramotors | ePPG | Other | Safety Gear | Carts

Whenever possible, gear is reviewed while the manufacturer or dealer is present so they can make adjustments or explanations to help ensure a fair trial. I want to know for my own benefit. Gear can be uncomfortable, or even dangerous if these adjustments aren’t made properly.

We don’t sell gear, and don’t accepted advertisements, so bias is reduced. We only accept gear without precondition and there’s no guarantee of a particular result.

Sellers obviously emphasize the good features and characteristics of what they offer. That doesn’t make it wrong, but it will certainly be more biased.

The Powered Paragliding Bible has a thorough section on the various aspects of equipment—what really matters and how you will use it. It also includes pictures to clarify what is being described.

Powered Paragliding equipment provides probably the cheapest way into the air—fortunately it just happens to be one of the most invigorating.

Some pilots load up with gadgets and gauges while others don’t even carry a watch. To each his own. Trade offs abound—engine monitoring can alert a pilot to impending problems but you have to be watching the thing enough to know what the normal indication are to know what’s abnormal. GPS is great for cross country flying to know your ground speed, for example, in addition to easily returning home.

What Gets Reviewed

For the most part, I’m interested in trying stuff I’d like to fly myself. But “like” is a personal thing. So I do my best to put aside preferences, rather just calling the observed trait instead of whether that’s good or bad. A “solid” beginner wing, for example, means that it has rather heavy brake pressures, isn’t too responsive, doesn’t stall easy or have any untoward characteristics. All of these traits would doom a competition wing.

A full review takes a long time and so not many get done which is why there are a fair number of abbreviated reviews—where do few, if any, measurements but just give an impression. I’m not consumer reports since I can’t go out anonymously buying everything that I test, but try my hardest to be fair.

If you have something you’d like reviewed, the best bet is to get it to me in Chicago or while I’m out on a road trip. Unfortunately, I don’t do cold so, in winter time, it would be best trying to hook up with me at while in a warm climate. I’ve also found it difficult to do full reviews at fly-ins—there’s just too much going on although I can frequently get an impression of something and love trying new stuff.

It’s great that people in our sport are working on new stuff. Gear is evolving and I look forward to seeing what the fittest eventually look like.


2012 Bailey V5 4-Stroke Paramotor

Bailey Aviation has been tweaking their 4-stroke paramotor for at least 5 years and has made some noticeable improvements. Addressing some shortcomings that arose on their previous engine, this one has a number of innovations that affect thrust but, even more, reduce...

Trike / Cart / Quad Choices

Wheel Options for powered paragliders: walk and roll! Adding wheels to a paramotor can make it a whole different craft and there are many flavors. My experience suggests that transitioning to wheels is easy provided the pilot heeds some simple advice as covered in the...

Review: Paramotor Wing Tips DVD

All about the care and feeding of your lift-giving wing. Longtime paramotor instructor Michelle Daniele retired from teaching in 2007. She now devotes time to do paraglider inspections and simple repairs. Both during teaching and now doing glider inspections, she has...

Review: Flying Circus 2008 DVD

Be forewarned, there is carnage. No blood, but some props do go back to the dust from whence they came. Phoenix pilot Adam Bell does an admirable job capturing the highlights and a few lowlights during this 40 minute DVD. Unfortunately, this is no longer available....

Review: 2009 Lord of the Winds

Lord of the Winds puts you in the heart of a paramotor adventure across incredible New Zealand. Eight powered paraglider pilot start for one very ambitious journey. Unfortunately, they don’t all finish. This is their story. The pacing, music and narration are...

2007 Cors-Air Black Devil 172

In 2008 this was one of the most popular powerplants in the 25 hp class. It has earned a reputation for reliability, plentiful thrust and good support. It can be be a bit challenging to start without doing things just right. Fortunately there is enormous expertise...

2007 Compact Radial Engines MZ 100

This motor was based on the RDM 100 and so shares most of the same characteristics. My experience is that it has slightly less thrust although that was from some time ago (2003) and the motor has enjoyed numerous improvements over time. Specs: by Compact Radial...

2005 Cisco Motors Snap 100

This elegant clutched motor has only slightly more thrust than the Top 80 but is easier to work on in most regards. The tradeoff is that it’s heavier, by maybe 3 pounds. Instructors seem to have slightly better results with maintenance issues. It behaves much...

2007 Top 80

This tiny, lightweight motor first became popular in Europe, especially with competition pilots. It’s light weight and low fuel burn for the power produced made it perfect for competition pilots and everyone else. It can get over 100 lbs of thrust with a...

Para2000.org is Dead: Go Here

It was a sad day when this easy database of paragliders, Para2000.org, went dark. I don’t know the story but the owner just let it die.  At this point the best we have is an archived version of it as it was in September, 2018 which, for now at least, is...

Paramotor Cart (Trikes & Quad) Reviews

Walk and roll! Adding wheels to a paramotor can make it a whole different craft and there are many flavors. My experience suggests that transitioning to wheels is easy provided the pilot heeds some simple advice as covered in the Powered Paragliding Bible and your...

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....

Review: Plans-built Skybolt Paramotor v1

This is the plans-built machine featured in the Powered Paragliding Bible. It is one of 3 viable paramotor kits that I’ve seen for someone wanting to start from scratch. It comes with excellent support and there are numerous machines flying out in the field....

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...

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...

Rescue Products Reviews

Rescue systems are now available from both the air and the water. Auto Inflation Auto-Inflation Device: About Agama | Resetting the Agama I put the Agama system to a realistic test (see the results here) and it passed with floating colors. Don’t bet your life on...

Reviews

Whenever possible, gear is reviewed while the manufacturer or dealer is present so they can make adjustments or explanations to help ensure a fair trial. I want to know for my own benefit. Gear can be uncomfortable, or even dangerous if these adjustments aren’t...

2018 ABM Miniplane Original

Miniplane has been building PPG engines (Top 80) and frames since maybe 1996. They make Owner Diego Cecchetto made his niche in the lightweight arena, an increasingly crowded field. It is heavily engineered to be lightweight and quiet. ABM is their weightshift version...

2016 Paramania GTS 19 Review

Paramania came out with the GTS in 2015 and I test flew it at Beach Blast. But the tips fluttered during certain phases of flight, namely power off, so I didn’t review it. A fix was devised and has been applied, at least to the models imported to the U.S. and...

2016 Gin Falcon 24

Reviewed 2016-03-19, Written 2016-04-24 Gin is one of the more mature paraglider makers with much experience in reflex gliders since they used to make wings for Paramania. I’m 147 pounds and flew a 24 during mellow conditions on an overcast FL morning with a...

2016 Ozone Viper4 18

Flown 2016-03-18, reviewed 2016-04-19 I had owned and competed with an Ozone Viper 1 for at least 4 years before doing this review. I bought the Viper 1 even though a later model was out because Mathieu Rouanet had been competing on it successfully, without...

2016 AirDesign UFO 16

Air Design is a long time maker of paragliders, mostly for free flying (like most). The UFO is their first foray into hike-and-fly single surface gliders and they have done a nice job but I got to try it out on a motor thanks to Marco Bowles. It’s a well-behaved...

2016 Sun Gliders Razor 2 18

Sun Gliders is a South Korean wing maker that has been imported in the US for the past several years by David Batton of Florida. This is a competition type reflex wing that carries all the caveats that entails. It provides very good performance for less money. I flew...

2016 MacFly Paramotor, Pollini 200

MacFly ariose when World champ Alex Mateos helped design a paramotor. It’s what he would want to fly so it reflects his values: good thrust, smoothly tapped, with reliable launching and presumably able to handle high G’s. It’s not the lightest...

2016 Air Conception Nitro 200

French Paramotor maker Air Conception specializes in making lightweight paramotors of which the Nitro, at 200 cc’s, is their biggest as of 2016 The machine I flew was Eric Dufour’s trainer at Valkaria Airport in light turbulence on a 24 meter Axis. I was...

2016 AirDesign RAMA Flex 20

This is an updated design on a wing that that’s been around for many years. I flew this on a mellow morning in FL, about 80 degrees, on a Miniplane Top 80 for a clip in weight of about 205. This is about the right size for me and my flying style although I...

2016 Sun Gliders Razor 2 18m

Sun Gliders is a South Korean wing maker that has been imported in the US for the past several years by David Batton of Florida. This is a competition type reflex wing that carries all the caveats that entails. It provides very good performance for less money. I flew...

2015 Doberman 19 (XC Magazine)

From the July 2015 issue of Cross Country Magazine, updated May 2019 Efficiency is what sets this wing apart. For any pilot, whether competing or cruising, that’s like getting free horsepower. Spend it how you like—on distance, speed, climb rate, or maybe...

2014 Air Conception Race 130

Air Conception has been focusing on lightweight powerhouses but this is a new high, or low, depending on your perspective. As best I can tell, this is the highest power-to-weight machine available. The example I flew was Eric Dufour’s demonstrator at Wings Over...

2014 Nirvana Instinct 230

Nirvana strives for refined, good looking performers in the premium price arena. I’ve flown this machine before (at the Endless Footdrag) but didn’t do a write-up. It’s time. This flight, in November, 2014 at Wings Over Winter near Orlando, was on...

2014 PAP 1250 with Moster 185

PAP has been a stalwart of paramotor manufacturers, building machines popular in Europe for many years. They strive to, among other things, make the experience more like free flight with lower hook-in points that more closely resemble free flight harnesses. I flew...

2013 Dudek Snake 16

Dudek has been producing top competition wings for a number of years. The Snake is aimed squarely at the Slalom set which may seem like a tiny group, but the performance will appeal to skilled pilots of many stripes. I’m interested in this class of wings for...

2013 Parajet Zenith Top 80

Flown May 2013, Reviewed from notes Parajet is a well established innovator that continues to refine its line with the Zenith series. It’s made for travel with possibly the best breakdown and shipping capability I’ve yet seen. The smallest piece is a back...

2013 Scout 185

Here is video 1 about the Scout mostly. Here is video 2, a romp in FL that’s just plain fun. It’s mostly showing the scout but that’s not the mission. Scout is a new entrant on the paramotor market but with great innovation on several fronts. It is...

Hardline Paramotor Tachometer

Since our props are fixed pitch the tachometer is a direct measurement of power. Of course you don’t know the absolute hp (have to know torque) but if you’re putting out a higher RPM, you’re pushing harder. So if you’re gonna have only one...

2013 Minari 180 On Skybolt

Ray McMahon is known mostly for importing Dudek wings but he also imports the Minari 180 F1-AE engine and offers it on his own Skybolt-based paramotor frame. The Skybolt is a plans-built paramotor that he has modified slightly. The frame buys buildability with a extra...

2013 AirDesign Rama Flex 24

AirDesign is a somewhat new company owned by Stephan Stieglair, a former world champion and former designer for Pro Design, UP and Airwave. The Rama Flex is their first entry into paramotoring. I’m told that it has been certified by DHV to the EN 926 standard...

Fly Henry PPG Meter

2013-Mar-05 This is a multi-purpose device that, besides offering the usual RPM/CHT/EGT/Time, it most uniquely, adds a fuel level indicator system. The fuel tank pickup gives fine level measurements using an ingenious tube-in-tube sensor that goes in through the top...

Vitorazzi Moster 185

This motor’s claim to fame is lightweight power. It is of average loudness and vibration but is remarkably lightweight. Early on it was tainted by its connection to Dell Schanze but it is now also available from Rick Hunts and a wide variety other machines. In...

2013 Axis Stardust 24

I don’t normally review school wings but I’m making an exception. More on why below. There are, no doubt, a number of good choices out there in this category but this is the one I tested. Also, I have to point out one to avoid: the “Power...

Tiggy Paramotor Fuel Flow Monitor & Guage

A cool new way to see your actual fuel flow has been on the market now for at least a year and I got to try it out a few months ago. Here are my observations. The Tiggy Fuel Monitor gives the pilot a direct read of the fuel actually flowing to his motor. It is, to my...

2012 Gin Vantage 24

Gin has been a long time respected maker of wings and has even made models for other companies. The Vantage is a beginner/intermediate paramotor wing with modern features to improve inflation and efficiency. I flew it in August, 2012 at about 10:30 am. They call it...

2012 Paramania GTR 18

Video with Eric Dufour flying the 18. He was about 30 pounds heavier than I 2012 Sept 09 During Indy Air Hogs’ fly-in I got to try out the GTR 18 again with the intent to sample a different brake configuration and, more importantly see what the speed range is...

2012 Renegade Plastic Paramotor

Rick Hunts, creator of the Renegade, is better known for creating (and still manufactures) Flowbee hair cutters. But after becoming a paramotor pilot he applied his intimate knowledge of plastics and production to create an inexpensive, yet quality paramotor. I was a...

2012 Fresh Breeze Sportix 100 Paramotor

Fresh Breeze continues to innovation, in this case through updates to their Sportix line. This model has the Pollini Thor 100 engine with an integrated clutch and gearbox. This unit has been reviewed before but they have tweaked the design. My flight was at Beach...

2012 Ozone Speedster 19

Stalwart Paraglider Maker Ozone has added another glider to its quiver of competitors. The Speedster is a “semi-reflex” model that I flew at Glamis, CA and the Salton Sea. Thanks to Mathieu Roaunet for letting me give it a try. My flying was all within 300...

2011 Ozone Viper 1 – 18

Ozone is a long-time paraglider maker that is pressing harder into paramotoring with several models targeted at powered flight. The Viper 1 – 18m is a special wing made for their sponsored pilots to compete with and I was lucky enough to get my hands on Emilia...

2012 Velocity Recon 20

Paratoys has been selling paragliders for probably 10 years,  starting with the eponymous Paratoys wing, a beginner model based on the MacPara Muse. Their latest offering, under the brand name Velocity, is the Recon–a reflex model intended for experienced pilots...

2011 MacPara Chronos 19

MacPara has a solid reputation for building easy inflating wings with good handling and the tradition continues. Like many manufacturers they haven’t made really small sizes for general sales but the Chronos changes that. An number of pilots like to fly more...

2011 Dudek Hadron 20

Dudek has come up with another innovative Reflex wing, the Hadron, to entice competition pilots and anyone wanting speed with good handling. I’ve heard several pilots say it wasn’t intended to be fast but, as you’ll see from the results, it’s...

2011 Paramania GTR 20

Paramania has tweaked its popular Action series to come up with the Action GTR, a speedy reflex wing optimized for competition. It has some really cool innovations in the riser system that will appeal to competition pilots and others that will be appreciated by...

Paramotor Thrust Tests: 2011

Courtesy www.Paratoys.com & SkyBiker Aviation Thrust tests are one data point for comparing the thrust of motors. On two different days you’ll get different results, probably up to 10%. Plus, some manufacturers may use different props than the machines are...

2011 Dudek Hadron 20

Dudek has come up with another innovative Reflex wing, the Hadron, to entice competition pilots and anyone wanting speed with good handling. I’ve heard several pilots say it wasn’t intended to be fast but, as you’ll see from the results, it’s...

2011 Kangook Polini Review

Canadian based RSUltra makes Kangook paramotors among other things. They’ve been building paramotors out of Canada for at least 4 years that I’m aware of and may be longer. I’ll leave you to check out the specifics and will give a cursery review of...

2010 Pegas Power X 20

The Power X is Pegas’ targeted entry into motoring wings, specifically the realm of small, fun wings. Like many in this class, they’re intended for experienced pilots. At 19.5 m² flat (16.9 m² projected) it’s a hotrod even for my 150 pounds. I flew...

2010 MacPara Velvet 23

I’ve flown the Velvet before but never this size and boy what a difference size makes. in this case, great things come in small packages, I loved the handling. For anyone that likes carving about in 3-D, the Velvet is a good choice. Conditions were: Miniplane...

2010 Gin Airflex 27

The Gin Airflex is Gin’s entry into the Reflex realm, with full trimmers and an effective speed system. I’ve flown the wing twice, once at Glamis Dunes and again at Beach Blast but only one time with a Speedbar and I didn’t get to make GPS speed...

2010 Apco Force Small (25.5 Flat)

The Force is Apco’s entry into the high-end Reflex category and they’ve done a good job. I’ll admit to having found previous Apco wings a bit more difficult to inflate and not terribly sporty handling, so I didn’t have high expectations. The...

2010 FlyOhio Free Spirit Black Devil

Bruce Brown of FlyOhio.com has updated his Free Spirit and I got to fly it at Beach Blast 2010. This review comes from notes recorded after the flight. I made very few notes, probably because it flew and ground handled much like the 2007 model I reviewed in 2009. The...

2010 MacPara Mac Jet 26

MacPara has a reputation for making gliders for motoring so it’s fitting that jumped into a more standard Reflex model with the MacJet. Unfortunately I didn’t have a GPS so I couldn’t do speed tests. I’ve ordered a Garmin Foretrex 401 that...

2010 Nirvana Katana 16

At the time I flew this wing, first in Feb of this year then again in May at Beach Blast, I said it would be my next purchase if I bought another wing on those days. My only trepidation was how easily I could get myself in trouble with it, given the incredibly dynamic...

2010 Power Pluto II 18

I tried this glider in Florida and loved it. I liked it as much as the Katana but have a lot of experience on small Pluto’s larger sibling, the Pluto XS (20 m flat, 16.8 m projected), which is what I competed with at the 2009 World Air Games. It treated me...

Reviewing Procedures

These are reviews from a pilot’s perspective. They are not certification tests since I don’t do any significant SIV-type maneuvers with them. I try hard to be unbiased and do NOT accept sponsorships or other remuneration for reviews or put advertisements...

2010 FlyTec E-Drive

2019 Note: This unit is no longer under development at least by this name. They’re not allowed to fly paramotors in Switzerland. And now that I’ve been there, it’s almost (not quite, but almost) understandable. A noisy motor would reverberate through...

2009 Pegas Aile 24

Just a quick note about a solid Beginner wing that I tried last  month. Jaro Krupa brought a Pegas Aile 24 for demo at our local haunt and I took it up for a few flights. There are sooo many choices of good wings now that it’s frequently hard to differentiate...

2009 Dudek Nucleon 27

The Nucleon 27 (flat size) is an intermediate level reflex glider that is good for tooling around and maneuvering. It’s certainly less perky in handling than the smaller racing wings (plasma, viper or fusion) but will have better endurance owing to the larger...

2009 Ozone Viper Custom 20

See the newer Viper 2 Review The Ozone Viper is among a new breed in high performance reflex technology. Like the Dudek Plasma and Paramania Fusion, it mates an efficient, high aspect ratio wing with a reflexed profile for speed. The Viper is not quite as reflexed as...

2009 Ozone Viper 2

See the earlier Viper Custom review. 2002-Dec-2 Added Performance & Speed Numbers The Ozone Viper 2 is an update of their original Viper 1. My original plan was to simply update the review but, when I got the Viper 2, I realized that several significant changes...

2009 Dudek Plasma 22

The Plasma 22 (flat size) is among a new breed in high performance reflex technology. It mates an efficient, high aspect ratio wing with a full reflex profile. Similar wings in this class are the Paramania Fusion and Ozone Viper  although the Viper has less reflex but...

2009 Axis Venus 23

The Axis Venus is a high performance glider intended for those wanting maximum efficiency. It delivered nicely in that category. My time with this glider was only one day, with only had a few flights in November, 2009. It was the small size, 23 sq meters and I flew it...

Paramotor Thrust Tests: 2008

The real measure of paramotor power: how hard does it push. Understanding Paramotor Suspension (Harness) Systems Thrust testing numbers are always relative and should only be compared when the testing was done at the same time on the same tester. Those are the only...

ICOM IC-A6 Aviation Handheld Transceiver

Robin Rumbolt is an electronics engineer and paramotor pilot. He offers this information up to a sport that struggles to communicate effectively while airborne. First of all, I have to admit to you that I am an ICOM junkie. I own six of their radios, five handheld�s...

Paramotor Helmets Reviewed

Helmets protect both brains and ears. They should be comfortable and provide good sound attenuation while allowing radio communications. The latter grieves the designers more than anything, it seems, since there are so many radios with equally varied connectors....

2007 American PPG Trike Buggy

The American Built Trike Buggy is being built by American Paragliding. It is based on the Flexifoil frame which gives it great strength and a very low center of gravity (CG). That adds stability. The unit tested had a Fresh Breeze Simonini but it also mounts a...

Review: Agama Water Rescue System

Don’t be fooled—ditching with a paramotor can be fatal. Success stories may lead some to think it’s trivial but it’s not—about 1 in 30 pilot’s have died after going in, including one who made it out his paramotor only to die while swimming to...

2006 MacPara Muse 28

The Muse is a very popular beginner wing for good reason. It is easy to inflate and has very good handling, a marked improvement over earlier beginner wings that students quickly tired of. The model I flew was probably an original Muse and they’ve come out with...

2006 MacPara Eden III 28

The Eden is a beginner/intermediate glider that I consider appropriate for a raw beginner wing. Plus, great handling and high efficiency make it one that a pilot can fly until it wears out. I’ve flown this wing using a number of machines but this test was on...

2006 MacPara Eden III 28

The Eden is a beginner/intermediate glider that I consider appropriate for a raw beginner wing. Plus, great handling and high efficiency make it one that a pilot can fly until it wears out. I’ve flown this wing using a number of machines but this test was on...

2005 Solo 210

Even when this review was done the Solo was a dated powerplant. It started life as an agricultural pump engine and by 2005 was used on more paramotors than any other. It’s older technology does not give huge thrust but it was enough for our application and...

2005 MacPara Spice 22

Click here to see the Spice 22 go through a maneuvers clinic. This is the most fun glider I’ve ever flown. The reason is a combination of super nice handling and high efficiency. After playing with Alex Varv’s loaner in 2004, I was hooked and, in spite of...

2003 Fresh Breeze Silex 25

2003 Fresh Breeze Silex 25 This is a great overall wing for intermediate pilots. It was my favorite for several years, a wonderful compromise of safety and great handling. I bought this wing in about 2002 after a test flight when I fell in love with its handling. I...

1999 Swing Arcus Medium 29

A medium (29.5 sq m flat, 85-105 kg) Swing Arcus was my second wing, purchased for soaring and . Handling was better than the Santana as was the glide. It was slower than the Santana and noticeably easier to launch. I put about 50 hours on this wing, about 30 of which...

1997 Apco Santana 28

This was my first wing. It was intended for soaring and, as such, served yeoman duty. The fact that it was difficult to inflate in no wind only meant something when I had to demonstrate forward launches for my USHPA P2 rating and then when I added a motor. I had an...

1997 DK/Hathor Symphony

The symphony was a common beginner wing that was sold with the early DK motors. I only flew it about 10 times and don’t remember the sizes.  Handling (2): This is a beginner wing in handling and, as such, is very forgiving. It takes a lot of brake pull to turn....