See also Paraglider Certification | Why for Paramotoring? | Paramotor Certification

DGAC (Direction Generale de l’Aviation Civile) is the French FAA. They don’t actually certify ultralights, but rather require manufacturers attest that their wing behaves as described in its user manual. There is no testing for non-normal flight regimes like collapse, stall recovery, spiral behavior and so on. Like non-certified wings, you will be a test pilot in some conditions.

The glider may be fine, of course, but it’s more up to you to find out, especially before exploring steeper, slower, more aggressive, or faster regimes. Lean on experienced pilots who have survived that process already, or take it to an over-water maneuvers clinic.

The label below (top part of form, anyway) is found on DGAC “certified” gliders as of 2020. This example is courtesy MaxPara who is good enough to show all their glider certification tests online.

Jérôme Ardouin provided a translation of the DGAC label. In France, where this is used, PPGs are considered “ultra light motorized gliders.”

  • a) Mass produced is B, prototype is A
  • b) Single seat = 1, two seat = 2
  • c) Class of the aircraft: Paramotor = 1, Weight shift trike = 2, three-axis control (like airplane) = 3, Gyrocopter  = 4, Hot Air Balloon = 5, Ultralight gliders with auxiliary power = 1a – 2a – 3a, Helicopter = 6. So 1a is a paraglider with a motor, 2a is a weight shift glider (hang glider) with a motor, and 3a is a 3-axis with a motor.
  • e) order number (to identify the request number).
  • f) Targeted usage: leisure = L, special activity (including business usage) = T and E

This information comes from Dudek who explains that DGAC certificate is based on flight test using a paramotor at maximum allowable all-up weight (pilot, motor, fuel, wing). They test the following areas:

  • Inflating the canopy
  • launch characteristics
  • speed parameters in level flight
  • canopy behavior while entering hard (dynamic) turn
  • longitudinal stability while steering in accelerated flight
  • longitudinal stability while exiting accelerated flight
  • landing characteristics

One concern is that if it is only tested at the heaviest weight, there is no testing of parachutal stall behavior. So at the slowest trim settings and lightest weights, be careful:  that’s where parachutal stall is most likely, especially as a glider ages. More heavily loaded A lines stretch and the less-loaded rear lines shrink, causing old wings to be more susceptible to parachutal stall. While this has become less and of a concern due to glider design and higher wing loadings, a glider that is flying closer to stall is also more likely to spin. Stall/spin accidents are common causes of crash, usually from consciously or unconsciously pulling too much brake.

originally published Nov 23, 2019