Educational


Here are all the chapter articles sorted by recency. Click the gray banner to see all the Sections and Chapters on one page, or click on the relevant categories.
This is supplemental material to The Powered Paragliding Bible with extras. We embrace reliable knowledge–here’s more on knowledge and how we can estimate reliability.


PPG Flying In Wilderness Areas

Is It Legal to fly in Charted Wilderness Areas? Related: Who Owns the Air? | Criminal Violation Flying Over Park I was working on the airspace video section that deals with wilderness areas — those lines with blue dots as shown at right — and thought it...

Spot Landing Risks

What a useful skill it is to be able to land where you want without power. Pilots of all craft recognize the importance being able to put it down after thrust stops thrusting. We PPGers are lucky in just how small of a place we can alight, even landing on tiny targets...

Stretching Glide: A Story

Click here for Stretching Glide to Shore, Road or Point While planning the Panama Canal flight an interesting subject came up regarding selection of altitude. We all know that the higher you go, the farther you can glide. This flight had one portion that followed a...

Choosing the Right School

Anyone can declare themselves an instructor so make sure they are at least certified by the USPPA or USHPA. Even better is that they come recommended by a responsible, trusted pilot. There are a few great instructors that aren’t yet certified but it is up to you...

Water: A Fatal Attraction

“I’ve been in the water several times, it’s not so bad” is like saying “I played Russian Roulette several times, it wasn’t that bad.” The reality is that going into the water, even shallow water, without automatic flotation...

Safer Starting Stand for Paramotor

Passive starting safety for paramotor pilots, thanks to Randy Bridge It’s inspiring to see pilots making this sport safer while realizing that choices will be made. Such was the case of Randy Bridge who implemented an idea that will work with essentially any...

Prop Stopper and Prop Protector

Pap has a cool idea for their clutched machines. It was probably made to prevent the prop from free spinning during transport, but it can also provide some protection during start. Just like the “Rope Trick,” leave the prop cover on while starting. If the...

Rope Trick I: Paramotor Prop Stopper

For clutch equipped machines | Rope Trick II another version As we’ve covered, props eat body parts on a regular basis. Clutched machines are no better since, although the prop may not spin at idle, it sure spins up fast at throttle-up. Further, the fact that a...

Mid-Day Mishap

Thermally conditions dump experienced PPG pilot A mid-day sojourn in moderate winds went sour for one high-time paramotorist resulting in a nearly disastrous impact. Surprisingly, the pilot walked (probably limped) away. At 20 feet or so while landing, a quick...

Paramotor Fatality from Spiral

On Friday evening, several hours after I had left, tragedy struck when Richard Biggerstaff (right) was, according to two witnesses, doing a spiral from which he hit the ground. There was a small post-impact fire that was extinguished almost right away. Another pilot...

Experienced Vs. Safety

How Safety relates to Experience Experience gives you the potential for greater safety. You can either spend that margin on flying more often, or in a wider variety of conditions, or spend it on safety—flying in the same conditions but with wider margins. It’s...

Helicopter Rescue Gone Horribly Wrong

The lessons in this captivating and sad story could save my life, maybe yours, too. A hiker got lost in the woods and faced a cold night in deteriorating weather. This is the story of a helicopter rescue gone horribly wrong. It is a powerful reminder of forces that...

Understanding Paramotor Torque & Twist

This is one of the most confusing aspects of paramotor dynamics. Here are the basics: Various torque effects conspire to twist your body left (belt drive), redirecting thrust that now pushes your body left, which causes the wing to bank right like in the illustration...

Do This if you feel Torque Twisting

One of the more common paramotor crashes happens because of torque twist. At least one has been fatal. So what to do? First and foremost practice what to do if it starts: Reduce power, reduce brakes. It’s better to land straight ahead or with minor turns than it...

Paramotor Torque Twist and Crash

One of the sport’s more common control-related accident types See also Understanding Paramotor Torque, Fixing Torque By Hand At this point he has twisted 90 degrees to the wing, looking towards his right hand, and still under power. This is the natural torque...

Paramotor Caught in a Thunderstorm

Rapid wind change ensnares PPG Pilot. Thanks to the submitter for his willingness to share. The evening started with little wind and clear skies. A friend and I launched at 7:20pm from our favorite flying field just east of Colorado Springs. The first half hour of...

Shutting down: Motor Won’t Stop

The motor continues to run even after activating the kill switch | Emergency Kill All gas paramotors that I’m aware of shut down the engine by preventing a spark. The preferred method is by shorting out the coil with a switch on the throttle stem. Anything that...

Safety: Prop Injuries to Legs and Starting

You wouldn’t think this could happen. During launch the pilot somehow got his calf muscle into the prop while making large strides. As of Sept, 2007, I know of two similar incidents. The only solution to this is make sure your machine doesn’t allow it. Is...

Paramotor Crash: Distractions and Hangar Thwack

by Phil Hyland, submitted by Jerry Starbuck. Thanks to USUA Club#1 It’s insidious. You look down for just a moment to take care of some problem and lose focus on your primary task: aviating. Jets crash due to it, too. Plus, focusing on distractions frequently...

Weather: Rotor

Invisible eddy that eats us for lunch Rotor and mechanical turbulence are close cousins. Rotor is the rotational swirl that forms downwind of certain shapes, usually a persistent, strong rotational flow. Mechanical turbulence is a more random stirring of the air...

Paramotor Paraglider Certification using DMSV

See also: Paraglider Certification This may help understand what led up to creation of the short-lived DMSV. In 2008 Paramania wanted to get their gliders certified for sale in Germany. The main certification body said they must be certified as regular paragliders...

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 sometimes get this question about paramotor ratings and thought it would be good to answer it here. Voluntary efforts at recognizing accomplishments have been around for many, many years, the best example being Red Cross’s, and other certification programs for...

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

Visual Graphic to Understand Class E Surface Area 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 boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace...

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...