Palm Bay Police Chief Mark Renkins launching his paramotor for patrol purposes. Courtesy ABC News

Can law enforcement use a paramotor in spite of FAR 103’s limitation to sport or recreational use? There is a blanket exemption that makes this legal under certain conditions. Mark Renkens of the Palm Bay Police department has experience with it and these are some observations.

Paramotor has very limited use and requires sufficient skill as to make it difficult to staff a reliable presence. Wheels help but it still requires participants to become good enough so that they can reliable launch in a variety of conditions. Reliability and limited weather capability made it impractical for their department to continue the program in spite of having gear provided at very low cost.

As to legality, the FAA has an Advisory Circular to explain “Public Use”. It’s a PDF that gets updated periodically and renumbered, so search for “Public Aircraft Operations—Manned and Unmanned”.