There is no paramotor certification. That’s too bad because there is a lot of room for improvement, especially regarding prop-strike protection and torque mitigation. I can imagine a fairly simple set of tests that result in a safety rating, much like for cars–objective measures based on criteria in “A Better Paramotor.”
Proposed Certification Tests
If there ever is a certification for paramotors here are some of the tests I would love to see. There may be other criteria but we should be able to perform a non-destructive, objective test in order to include them.
- How close does the prop tip get to the fuel tank or batteries with 20% of rated full thrust applied to the tip?
- How close does one hand get to the prop when squeezed against the most vulnerable part of the cage?
- Can the throttle get into the prop during normal arm motion, including during a fall?
- Can a foot be made to get to the prop?
- What percentage of the outer cage is protected? Outer cage is the part that goes from 30% of the prop radius outward.
- Are cage-protection system (netting on most machines) openings less than 2 x 2″? Big opening could allow hands to through. This test could be done using a cone shaped object and reduced to asking how many pounds of pressure it takes to get it to touch the prop at the most vulnerable point.
- Is the kill switch readily available with a simple press of button on the same hand holding the throttle?
- Is there an alternative motor-kill method reachable easily from by the pilot in flight or after a fall. This could be a choke, spark-plug puller, alternative switch, or other means. The motor must shut off within 3 seconds.
- Hanging from two 5 foot ropes, attached 4 feet apart, with a 200 pound pilot, how much twisting occurs at 100 pounds of thrust (or max rated if less than that)?
- How quickly can an average pilot be expected to get out of the harness if he only has one hand free?
- How much pressure does it take to tip over the cage forward from the top of the netting. This number may be in the ounces for some machines.