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 Bobby Benn’s Moster powered 1250, a new offering for 2014 featuring a belt-drive clutch and flash starter. In May this year I flew Matt Minyard’s larger version and figured it would be fun to try the smaller prop version.

Weight: It was probably around 70 pounds the way I flew it with no reserve and half fuel.

Harness & Suspension: It’s one of the original low hook-in systems with pivoting bars but it’s significantly improved in that there is a solid vertical piece coming up from the swing arm — more on that later. I wish I had a picture.

It was very comfortable both on the ground and in flight. There was no antitorque strap because it would defeat the weight shift. Their actual effect is small anyway.

Starting: The flash starter handle is on the seated pilot’s left just below elbow height. It should be pretty accessible in flight and, with the flash starter using proper technique, should be startable in flight.

It took me a few tries to get the right knack, an experience I’ve had on other flash starters. Either my scrawny pull needs to be quicker or the motor was being finicky. I’m going with finicky because I saw another pilot have the same issue but, once you have the technique, it’s really sweet. It may not have been completely dialed in because I had to hold a little bit of power lest it die off from a low idle. This is usually an easy thing to fix with a few minutes of tweaking.

A nice thing about the flash starter is that you’re not yanking it against compression. After reaching a certain length the spring lets loose and cranks the motor. It was well positioned and the cord was plenty long.

Ground Handling & Kiting: The wind had died down so I didn’t get to do any kiting with the motor on my back but it was comfortable while walking around. I hiked it up pretty high on my shoulders which always helps. Sometimes you may have to then loosen the straps in flight but I didn’t need to.

They’ve improved comfort or this was the right size for me because I found it easy to walk around with — not feeling like it was pulling me back at all. Being lighter weight probably helps but they’ve also probably moved the engine forward which makes it feel so much better.

Launch, Climbout & Torque: The cage is smooth so a forward was easy. Low hookin makes this slightly more important because lines have a bit more cage to slide up. The cage seems like it would handle a power forward with even a largish wing. Torque was average — I only used about half power as a precaution but, when I did throttle up, it probably only twisted me 20-30 degrees. Getting into the seat was easy but I can’t remember if I used one hand or not.

Climb at full power was good considering that this was a smaller prop. The Moster is a powerhouse for it’s paltry pounds.

Less Fore-Aft Tilt

One thing I was pleasantly surprised about was the lack of fore-aft tilt during power changes. After landing I looked the machine over more closely to figure out why. They have added a rigid piece that raises the carabiner pivot point by a couple inches. The arms still pivot pretty low but the changed carabiner point really helps. It makes the geometry more similar to the S-arm machines.

All that fore-aft tilt was, in the past, this machine’s Achilles heel to me. Of course pilots got used to it but I didn’t like all that fore aft tilt. Now it’s not a problem. There is still some fore-aft tilt but not much more than the Miniplane. A direct comparison would be interesting, where we have a tripod mounted camera, and do some full power tests in a simulator. Another time.

But with this change it is much better.

Flight & Weight Shift: What a nice flying ride. It has good weight shift, probably 6 to 8 inches and comes into it naturally. There is no anti-torque strap to undo.

This motor was absolutely dialed in with a smooth power from idle to max blast and  the machine was comfy, especially since it was a bit too leaned back.

Torque: Normal for the thrust. I probably got a fairly typical 20-30 degrees of heading difference from the wing at full power. A lot of that might be a lightweight pilot’s affect on torque.

Thrust: I’d guess around 140 pounds which is great considering it had the smaller prop.

Endurance: I didn’t get to test this in any useful way.

Vibration (-): Vibration is slightly higher than average but not much and not enough to blur my vision.

Sound: Slightly louder than average at the highest power settings. 

Safety: The cage would not likely protect a stray hand if it surprised a pilot during start by going to high power. I didn’t notice the gas tank’s prop clearance.

Construction & Reparability: Seems quite well made using steel so that welding should be pretty easy by just about any shop if repairs are needed. Access is completely open.

Transport: It has one of the easiest system to snap apart cage pieces I’ve seen. Very little velcro rather it has plastic holders that swing into place at strategic points. They seem stout enough to not be a problem. I didn’t see it disassembled but suspect that it will break down faster than netting type cages (like the Miniplane).

Overall & More Info: Very nice ride for anyone wanting low hookins and decent power. Thrust is surprisingly good, in fact, even with the smaller prop size. It should work for pilots up to probably 230 pounds or so but obviously go with the manufacturer’s, and a competent instructor’s recommendations.