Competition and Records in the US | Setting PPG Records |

Screenshot from 2009 world air games in Turin Italy

World Air Games 2015


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 mostly pylon racing but with the course over water. Several pilots went in the water during races but weren’t hurt. Clearly this is the best way to do pylon races if pilot safety is a priority.

2012 Competitions

After flying and filming Eric Dufour on pylon-based cloverleafs, I’m even more stoked about competing with them. It’s just a cool visual that makes the flying more about flying and less about finding sticks. You still have find the center but that’s pretty easy given that it’s in the middle. One fact has become clear is that the only way to be truly competitive in these competitions is to have a reflex wing. Preferably in a fairly small size for your weight.

Cloverleaf from the PPG Bible Chapter 20. Darker red means more power is required.

April 19: Paratoys may be having a competition in Northern, CA that counts towards USPPA national standings in April. They’re working out the details to see if that’s gonna happen. Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it. Here are the details.

May 07: John Black is having a pylon race at Beach Blast 2012 and I’ll be competing, hopefully flying an 18 meter reflex wing. Ryan Shaw will be the guy to beat after seeing how well he did at Paratoys. This event, being on the beach, will likely have more spectators than anything we’ve had to date so it’s a great opportunity to showcase our sport.

Course layout will likely change as they work out logistics so don’t practice any specific layout, rather work on technique. Practice getting into out of turns accurately. To be competitive, you’ll need to use speedbar but don’t go past your ability. Crashing is worth zero points. Better to complete the course withOUT speedbar than to crash because you used it improperly. For example, applying speedbar after the wing has come forward and unloads, increases the chances of a collapse. Rather apply it as you start to climb when coming out of the bank.

May 25: Endless Footdrag and Competition. This is a great opportunity to earn USPPA ratings, learn about competition, and put your skills to work. Ryan Shaw, the currently #1 ranked US pilot will be there and I will also be competing. Dave Fore is running this one. They’re planning either a Cloverleaf or Japanese Slalom as the main event. This is a USPPA event that counts towards your national standing.

June 14: Quincy Clinic & Competition. Jeff Steinkamp and Michael Mixer are putting this one with blessings from the City. We’ll have pylons set up for the Cloverleaf and I will be offering a clinic that covers advanced flying topics and competition techniques. It will only be run if there is a minimum number of pilots and refunds will be given if it is not run due to insufficient registrations. I will also be competing in this event that counts towards your national standing.

Becoming an FAI / NAA Observer

Thanks to those who have signed up but we need more! Can you help?

We’re further streamlining the process so that it takes even less time to accomplish. One note: for all the documents that apply to Microlights (which includes paramotors), click on “Sporting Code Section 10: Microlights” then select the desired document. This is the best place to look because it is the official source (FAI) and it has all the rules annexes (like Annex 6 on GPS’s).

The knowledge, along with a test, has been summarized in this document from United States Ultralight Association (USUA). Once you get your observer rating, it’s good for life although you must review the current rules before actually acting as an observer for a record attempt.

Here is the process for becoming an observer:

  1. Join the USUA (about $30/yr). Note that you can do this on the Observer Application from The USUA operates under authority of the National Aeronautic Association.
  2. Read the Observer information summary from and take the test.  If you’ve got questions, email me. There’s a one-time fee of $15 paid to USUA.
  3. Send in or fax the Observer Application and completed test to the address listed on the form. USUA issues the rating card.

David Rogers is another great resource for those who want to either an become observer or try for a world record.

2012 Paratoys Competition

2011 Dec 24

The next competition is at Paratoys, Feb10 & 11, 2012 (Friday and Saturday AM). It will be a 1/4 mile south of the normal launch field so that fly-in operations can continue with pilots staying away from the competition area. That was Mike Robinson’s solution to avoid closing the field. We appreciate his willingness to clear another area.

We’re going to run it in the new style that is more fun for pilots, news media, and spectators. Each task will involve a scored launch, precision task, and spot landing. The pilot immediately walks over to the launch deck and prepares to launch for the next task. So there are lots more launches and landings. It’s more fun to watch, requires fewer judges, is more discriminating because there are more tasks (each time a pilot flies he does two or three scored tasks), and requires MUCH less land area.

We’ll hopefully be doing the new Japanese Slalom which should keep the action closer to the spectators while reducing risk. Go here to see the change — we’re calling it the American Slalom.

Here is a video of the standard Japanese Slalom. The primary difference is that, instead of turning AWAY from stick 4, you turn towards it.

Sign up at soon!

2011 Beach Blast Competition

2011 Apr 17

Sign up now for the Beach Blast comp, there’s under two weeks. The registration is up at and, as of this writing, there’s under two weeks. The competition is going to be held at a nice sized park near the main beach flying site but competitors will have this field completely to themselves.

Record Setting

2011 Apr 12

Right now, nearly anyone who can launch a paramotor could set a U.S. record that is recognized nationally by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) which is the U.S. body for handling such things. A higher level pilot could easily set an international record as recognized by the FAI (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale). First, though, we need to get observers. See Setting PPG Records.

FAI oversees NAA which oversees USUA for the purpose of records.

Competition in the U.S.

Competition hasn’t taken off in the U.S. like it has elsewhere, probably due to population density and the shear lack of numbers. England, for example, which has a thriving comp circuit, packs 60 million folks into a space smaller than Texas. Their 1000 or so pilots can all DRIVE to competitions. That’s a big deal. In our country we have to go through the MUCH larger hassle of shipping and flying to reach a competition.

And when we do field a competition it doesn’t include the cross country tasks that make up 30% of FAI events. Mostly that’s because our latest competitions have been very brief and in conjunction with large fly-ins. Up until 2011, our largest participation was 15 pilots the 2003 Parastars. Then in 2011 we had a surge of interest with 24 pilots participating in the Feb Salton Sea Paratoys competition. That was fun!

Fédération Aéronautique Internationale is the international org that oversees records and competitions.