Powered paragliding (PPG) equipment – typical setup

Southwest Airsports sells everything a pilot needs to fly a paramotor. Investing in the best equipment is wise not just because it works better and lasts longer but because it increases our margin of safety. We are dealers for Ozone powered paragliders and Miniplane paramotors and their extensive line of engines including the Moster 185, Top 80, Simonini, Minari, and Polini Thor. Our primary distributor, Miniplane USA, lists current prices for all of the basic equipment needed for paragliding.

The powered paraglider and paramotor setup costs $9,500-$15,000 for quality equipment. It varies so much due to paramotor type and size, foot-launched or trike/quad, and how many accessories are desired. Typically, a good PPG setup that is foot-launched will cost the minimum.

The wing

Gliders are rated for their ability to recover from collapses while flying. Gliders that have an EN “A” rating generally have a greater ability to recover spontaneously. Gliders with higher EN letter ratings require more pilot input in less time in order to recover. PPG pilots who never expect to fly without a paramotor can enjoy the increased passive safety and high performance of a reflex glider. Depending on the size, type, and passive safety, a typical PPG glider will cost $3,400 or more.

Why buy an Ozone? They are one of the few premier manufacturers of paragliders in the world who also happen to make reflex gliders and gliders with trimmers for the PPG market. The typical manufacturer of PPG paragliders often does not have the experience and resources to make a top quality and safe paraglider for PPG, despite marketing hype. How do we know this? We constantly fly and also observe the gliders from other manufacturers. While they may be fast and perform well, they may not have the passive safety of the Ozone.

paragliding Miniplane paramotor and paraglider

No matter how good your equipment is, proper training is still the most critical factor for all pilots, especially having the skills to “read” flying conditions. Repeat this phrase often: “I don’t know what I don’t know.” This applies especially to intermediate pilots who continue to push their limits and, too often, pay the price.

The paramotor

Miniplane has the greatest selection of engines and harnesses, the most options, and a known track record for safety, longevity, and quality. Suffice it to say, all PPG equipment manufacturers have demons and our experience has been that Miniplane has fewer than the others. E.g., for a while the Moster 185 had serious problems with the exhaust system, a major part of all paramotors. They finally fixed it but it took a year or more. Polini had even worse problems but the Thor line is, at this time, greatly improved. Why trade the demons we know for the ones we don’t? Think about it.

Bigger pilots can purchase the Miniplane Moster 185, Polini, or Minari. Pilots who weigh less than 170 lbs. might prefer the Top 80 which is lighter and quieter than its bigger counterparts. The Polini Thor 130 is the quietest motor made, has the least vibration, but weighs a little more than a comparable paramotor. Why do I recommend the Miniplane? If you go “bonk” – and every pilot, including yours truly, has – what is the cost of the repairs? If this is important, the Miniplane is, by far, the least expensive to repair. For example, if I go “bonk” with a Fresh Breeze, the bill could easily exceed $800 to replace (2) side cages and the netting. Miniplane, same accident, would be maybe $150 (a couple of rods and the netting).

What should a pilot be thinking when he about to purchase a paramotor? The most power? A comfortable harness? The quietest engine? The best fuel economy? What can be sacrificed? Weight? Reliability? Noise? Where and what type of flying is the most appealing? These are the things we help students decide. In general, stay away from any paramotor manufacturer that has not been in the business for at least (5) years. Remember the scantily clad babe with the rotary engine paramotor on her back? I worked on those engines and they were a expensive disaster for all pilot that got snookered in by brilliant advertising.

Trike/quad paramotor

Pilots who would rather not do foot-launched PPG can enjoy a trike/quad paramotor. Below is a typical trike with the Fresh Breeze Simonini 122 paramotor called the TrikeBuggy. Trikes/quads are comfortable to fly, easy to launch, and very easy to land. The PPG setup below has a reserve parachute mounted which is not typical of most setups for wheeled paragliding. The trike is more stable at high speeds (+25 mph) when on the ground. The trike frame is also very tough compared to quads – a heavy pilot can land hard and not damage it. The tougher the frame, the less chance of injury. On the other hand, the quad is more stable at low speeds than the trike. However, this advantage becomes much less important as the pilot becomes more experienced.

TrikeBuggy ultralight

The helmet

PPG helmets need to not only protect the pilot’s head but also from a high noise environment. The helmet below (an ICARO Solar-X) costs around $305 as of 2021. Communications can be added, as needed.

ICARO Solar X PPG helmet

The radio

The radio is more than a convenience when flying. It is your connection with other pilots, weather information, pilots in distress, and other emergencies. It must be reliable and easy to operate. 2 meter FM handheld radios meet these requirements, especially ones like the YAESU FT-60R which is, hands down, the best there is (it tells you the battery voltage whenever you turn it on, an important benefit). Pilots, however, must have an Amateur Radio License from the FCC to legally use them on the amateur bands. For this reason, I recommend that all pilots get an amateur radio license. It’s easier than ever. However, many pilots have the radios modified to work on the business bands which requires a different license. As of 2022, the FCC still winks at this technically illegal use of these radios. That is, they functionally ignore the issue by allowing radios to be modified or imported that work on the business bands. It also helps that the PPG pilots are so few and the radios are low power. Most bigger cities have radio clubs and the people who can quickly train you and administer the test. USHPA has a permit to use 2 meter FM radios on the business bands. Most quality radios must be modified for use on these frequencies. We sell the modified radio.

However, if you use only the USHPA radio frequencies, you do not need a license because the station license is held by USHPA. For the details of these frequencies go to our radio setup page, 2nd paragraph down.

All radios must be used with a helmet designed for high noise environments. It is impossible to hear the radio without ear protection and a special noise canceling microphone. The Sena setup used by motorcycle enthusiasts is easy to use.

The popular Baofeng radio is a fraction of the cost of the YAESU but it has some severe limitations. In particular, it does not have anywhere close the selectivity and sensitivity of the YAESU. Within a few hundred yards of others and away from cities, they work OK. We use them for ground traffic but not in the air. One of our students opted for the Baofeng and, once high in the air near our city, all he could hear was the paging frequency of a local car dealer.

The GPS

These are often combined with a variometer (a vertical speed measuring device) such as the Ascent H2 or the Flymaster. How fast am I moving over the ground? What is the wind direction on the ground? How high am I? Where did I go today? What does my track look like on Google Earth? All of these questions can be answered easily with a GPS. While it is optional for PPG, we highly recommend its use. With a GPS we can tell whether we are starting to slow down and in what direction we are going. If we ever get in trouble with the Authorities per “you were flying over X” but you were not, the GPS log can prove your innocence. The most common, rugged, and easy to use GPS is the Garmin 64st series (photo below). Older models in this series are also excellent and can be had for a good price on the used market. The recent introduction of the Garmin InReach is not only a GPS but a 2-way satellite communicator. It is similar to the SPOT but does much more, especially sending short text messages. Cost: $150 – $800.

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Garmin 60CSX GPS

Footwear

The most common injury in paragliding is to the ankles. If you have ankles made of steel, you can opt for lightweight running shoes. If not, continue.

It is important to protect them which is why high top boots are recommended. Boots should not have lacing clips attached as they can snag the lines in and around the harness. You will probably never have a problem if you fly with boots that have open lacing clips. But why complicate a series of cascading events with lines snagged to your boots? A student who knew better got his feet tangled together while trying to land – he was fortunate he didn’t get hurt.

The boots pictured below are made by CRISPI – among the finest on the market. Yours truly has owned a pair for 15 years and have proven extremely durable, even when used to hike. They are the most comfortable boots I have ever owned. They have sturdy vertical inserts which help prevent ankle injuries and are light and comfortable. The boots also do not have any exposed metal parts that might snag a glider line. Ordering the CRISPI boots can be challenging in the U.S.

There are other boots similar to the CRISPI’s on the world-wide market, such as the German HanWag.

Unfortunately, American tort law has made many ultralight products, including wings, engines, and boots too risky to sell in sue-happy America. Southwest Airsports can supply the HanWag or Crispi boots using office in the EU. Ordinary hiking boots will also do but if you have weak ankles or want maximum protection for your feet, these types of boots are worth the investment. They are also good for cold weather. Crispi or HanWag: about $330 + shipping. Go to our shop site to order them.

Crispi paragliding boots

Other equipment

Things like a flight suit, gloves, catheters, or a hook knife can be useful, depending on conditions and where/when you are flying. Most PPG pilots do not carry a reserve. For more information on this go to the paragliding setup site. Carrying the paramotor from place to place is much easier if you have a rack like this one that is sold by Harbor Freight.

Gear size and weight

Some foot-launched PPG equipment can fit in two suitcases. Many wheeled PPG setups can easily fit in a pickup truck bed or in the trunk of a small car. A Top 80 foot-launched paramotor weighs under 50 lb with fuel. Trikes and quads can weight 125 lb. or more.

Statistically, How Safe Is Powered Paragliding?

Is paramotoring safe? How does it compare to other types of flying? Driving? Motorcycle riding? Skydiving?

Numerical Analysis is tough but I suspect that we can get within an order of magnitude. Yes, yes, it’s as safe as you make it but lets take an objective look. If you fly a powered paraglider, what are the chances you’ll die doing it? I don’t address the much greater risk of injury because data is even sketchier. Of course you can improve your chances—dramatically it turns out—but I’ll approximate the overall odds.

Lets start with the year 2007 estimate of about 3000 active pilots (those who fly 5+ times per year—see sidebar) in the U.S. We’re averaging 1 fatality every 8 months. So we can say there are about 1.5 fatalities per 3000 participants per year which is 0.5 per 1000 participants. I use the per participant numbers because flight hour numbers are even harder to estimate. The comparisons below assume that average participants engage in the respective activity about the same amount per year.

  • Compared to motorcycle riding. In 2003 the National Center for Statistics and Analysis reported about 0.7 fatalities per 1000 registered motorcycles. I’m assuming that anyone bothering to register their bike is probably active. Some bikers ride all the time and others just keep them registered with very occasional use. Same with PPGers although the avid riders take their bikes to work every day—PPGers can’t do that. So, although it appears that PPG is about 30% safer than motorcycle riding, the number may easily be skewed more than others. Here’s a 10 year reference report that shows more on motorcycle fatality rates per 10,000 registered vehicles. Graph at left is from the listed report.
  • Compared to paragliding. The U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA) has about 10,000 members of which approximately 4500 are paraglider pilots. To be conservative, I’m assuming all are active (at least 5 flights per year). Over the past 5 years they have experienced about 3 fatalities per year. That’s about 0.7 fatalities per 1000 participants—almost identical to motorcycle riders which means that paragliding is about 30% more dangerous than powered paragliding. Given that its entirely possible that paraglider pilots have even fewer yearly flights (they are more weather dependant) than paramotor pilots, paragliding could easily be far more dangerous than this suggests.
  • Compared to driving. Unfortunately, driving to the field is much safer than paramotoring. The NTHSA report used above (to compare motorcycle riding) finds that driving is 16 times safer than motorcycle riding so we can infer that paramotoring, which is 30% safer than motorcycle riding, is about 12 times more dangerous than driving.
  • Compared to flying light airplanes. According to Flying Magazine, a light airplane pilot has 10 times more likelihood of dying on a personal flight than on a drive—about the same risk as paramotoring.
  • Compared to flying light helicopters. Yes, this is a ridiculous comparison but, since I fly a helicopter, wanted to quell the common accusation that they are highly risky. Helicopters can land safely after an engine failure and, in fact, have a nearly identical risk of fatality, per hour, as light airplanes. That means helicopter flying is about as risky as flying paramotors.
  • Compared to Sky Diving. Not surprisingly, sky diving is incredibly dangerous! It’s a skydiver myth that flying up in the airplane is more dangerous than the jump out. According to the U.S. Parachute association (USPA), a sky diver is 4 times more likely to die on the jump out than the flight up. That means that sky diving is about 4 times more dangerous than powered paragliding. 4 paramotor flights is the same death risk as one skydive. That is, in fact, how I decided to go skydiving—I decided the fun factor would equate to 4 paramotor flights. Risk and reward.

But I Don’t Do Risky Things, Am I Safe?

Once you’ve been trained and have achieved approximately PPG2 skills, the risk drops dramatically. Then, if you start exploring steeper maneuvers, flying low or accepting stronger weather conditions and tighter sites, the risk goes back up just as dramatically. Avoiding those things keeps your risk low.

This isn’t a preachy “don’t do such-and-such” but rather a point-out to where risk lies. Hey, we accept x amount of risk just by strapping these things on, but lets know when we’re hanging it way out there.

The motorcycle rider can do only so much because he’s dependent on others. Multi-vehicle crashes produce nearly half of all the motorcycle deaths. But if we die, it’s probably our own doing.

Wanting to fly again is enough reason to be careful but, for many pilots, there are even more compelling reasons.

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Most FATAL PPG accidents have been related to:

  • Training. Sorry to say but this is a dangerous phase. Make sure your instructor goes through the USPPA syllabus methodically, using a simulator and having you rehearse reaction to his instructions. THIS IS CRITICAL! If you have not flown, then your reactions must be made automatic. Just being told won’t cut it.
    You must rehearse! The more realistic the rehearsal, the more it benefits.
    Get a tandem or do hill flying before going aloft alone. Your life depends on it. A flight can go from fun to fatal in a matter of seconds with inappropriate control inputs. Towing is another way to get a flight before soloing with the motor but that has it’s own risk. One student has died during a towing accident—treat it with great respect.
  • Water. Never, ever accept any situation where you could end up in water over 12″ deep if the engine quit. By avoiding the possibility of water immersion you improve your odds of surviving the sport by at least 25%.
  • Steep maneuvering. Spirals are the worst because they can quickly cause pilot blackout which will almost certainly be fatal since steep spirals do not recover on their own. Wingovers are the next worst because they involve so much vertical and can easily result in wing collapses.
  • Low flying. Wires pop up everywhere and, if you fly low enough, long enough, eventually you’ll run into one. When you do, there’s roughly a one-in-30 chance it will be fatal. Other risks of low flying involve being confused by the “downwind demon” illusion and whacking into something from inappropriate reaction. That illusion only causes problems when flying low.
  • Weather. Fly within the first 3 and last 3 hours of daylight on days with benign conditions and no major changes forecast. If it’s windy aloft, it will soon be gusty and turbulent at the surface. Strong conditions have been a likely factor in three fatalities that I know about and overlap a couple others. Training in strong conditions, for example, is a particularly bad idea.
    Some pilots seek out thermals to stay aloft. I have, too. This trades some safety for the fun of soaring and a reserve parachute is essential. It’s not uncommon for paragliding competitions to see several “saves” after pilots take large collapses in strong thermal conditions. A reserve is no panacea, though, top pilots have still died at the hands of strong conditions even though they carried reserves.
  • Midair. If you fly with others you are at risk. If you hit someone there is about a 1 in 10 chance it will be fatal. “look, shallow, up/down, turn” means look in the turn direction, start a shallow bank while looking up and down in the turn direction and finally do your turn. It doesn’t take many pilots in the air, either. The one fatality I’m aware of happened with 4 pilots aloft and neither was in a landing pattern.
  • Equipment. Using someone else’s equipment adds risk. A 2007 fatality happened to a pilot who took off in borrowed gear and got a brake wrapped in the prop. This is more likely in low hook-in machines but there likely other risks that apply to all machines.
    If you have a low hook-in machine, make sure the cage has sufficient protection above and on top (covering the prop, preferably) to prevent a brake toggle from going in. It depends on the wing, too, since they have different brake pulley positions and some pilots have modified their brakes to hang below the pulley. Otherwise it will be up to you to insure it doesn’t happen. I’ve seen or heard of brakes going into the prop about 12 times and this is the second fatality resulting from it.
  • Sites. Flying from tight or unknown sites has proven risky. Scope them out, walk them off, if necessary and don’t accept places where you don’t know how much wind may be present if rotor could be a factor.
  • Landable areas. Landing in or colliding with a tree gives about a 1 in 50 chance of being fatal. Always have a safe landing option. This is painlessly easy to heed for most of us. In fact, if you land into the wind, out of any significant rotor and on dry surface, the chances of dying are very, very small (I don’t know of any). But don’t land in trees or water!

Injury

As to the risk of serious injury that’s a different story. Of course the fatal causes listed above can certainly also leave serious injury but there is one category that beats them all for non-lethal but debilitating injury: body contact with spinning prop. It’s dramatic, too. Even experienced pilots have been severely injured by getting body parts, usually an arm or hand but sometimes a leg or shoulder, into the prop. And it usually happens during engine start, especially if the engine is being difficult to start.

What’s remarkable about this category is that it’s so preventable. The Safety ring or SafeStart would likely dramatically make machines safer but these technologies have not been adopted by the manufacturing community. Check out articles under Prop Safety.

How Many Paramotor Pilots?

My observation is that there are about 80 active pilots in the Chicago Metropolitan area with a population of about 10,000,000. That’s means that 0.0004% of the population flies PPG. That would be about 2800 pilots but there is a higher concentration in warmer states so I’m assuming there are about 3000 pilots in the U.S.

There are probably 10,000 paramotor units out there although many pilots have more than one and many units are languishing in storage. The sport is replete with those who have big intentions but falter when they discover it’s not so easy, especially without good instruction.

Thanks to John Will & Mike Nowland for input and correction on the fatality rate computation and units.

How fast is it? How we test paraglider speeds

Measuring the performance characteristics of a paraglider, including paraglider speed, has always been notoriously difficult. But new tools are allowing pilots and manufacturers to do just that. Cross Country’s Hugh Miller reports on speed tests he’s been carrying out for the last year

Flymaster’s new True Air Speed (TAS) probe

Flymaster’s True AirSpeed (TAS) probe

When Flymaster’s new True Air Speed (TAS) probe was released a couple of years ago we started to measure the trim and top speeds of the paragliders we review. However, we’ve been very surprised by the results. In short, paragliders really aren’t as fast as most pilots – and manufacturers – believe they are.

First, a bit of science. It’s obviously important for powered aircraft pilots to know their exact speed. However, despite any effects of wind, planes go faster at altitude than at sea level due to the lower air pressure – that’s why passenger jets cruise at such high altitudes.

Their instruments rely on pitot tubes to measure what’s known as their ‘Indicated Air Speed’ – which gives the same speed reading regardless of whether the plane is flying at sea level or 30,000ft. When a pitot tube freezes up, it can have disastrous consequences, as the pilots lose any indication of their stall speed. This is what is thought to have contributed to the Rio-to-Paris Air France flight 447 crash in 2012.

Explaining the instrument
In paragliding and hang gliding, we’ve long relied on propeller-based air speed indicators and GPS figures, to give us our speeds. But neither of these are accurate. In fact, the effects of altitude alone will mean that in still air, a paraglider flying at a top speed of 51km/h at just above sea level would be flying at 58km/h at 3,000m. You just go that much faster in thinner air and propeller-based air speed indicators don’t compensate for this.

Obviously you don’t want to be re-working out the stall speed of your Boeing 747 at different altitudes, hence the importance of indicated air speed, measured by pitot tubes. A GPS speed figure doesn’t make this compensation for differences in temperature, density and pressure – and of course doesn’t factor in wind speed and direction, either. GPS is great for accurate ground speed, but useless for air speed.

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The boffin test . Our speed probe in Oxford University

The boffin test … Our speed probe in Oxford University’s wind tunnel

Anyhow, we were so surprised by the low readings our Flymaster TAS probe gave us that we sent it to Oxford University to be checked against their calibrated hot-wire anemometer. Hot-wire anemometers have been used for many years in the study of fluid dynamics. They are extremely sensitive and are almost universally employed for the detailed study of turbulent flows.

Adrian Thomas, a former British Paragliding Champion and regular contributor to Cross Country, ran the tests in Oxford University’s wind tunnel – where normally he tests the aerodynamics of small insects.

“A pitot tube like Flymaster’s gives you a reading that reflects the forces acting on the pitot tube, and those vary in exactly the same way as the forces acting on the wing”, Adrian explained.

“The Flymaster TAS probe gives a nicely linear result”, he told us. “It slightly over reads – the real air speeds are consistently a fraction lower than the given figures across the 20-60 km/h range.”

“All pitot tubes need regular calibration, and it’s something sailplane pilots put a lot of effort into. NASA have also developed a calibration system between GPS figures and pitot tube figures, and it would be easy technology for instrument manufacturers to bring into paragliding”, he explained. Current methods used for aircraft pitot tube calibration include trailing cones, tower fly-bys, and pacer aeroplanes, which are all obviously time and cost intensive. The NASA method could actually be incorporated into paragliding instruments in the future.

airspeed-definitions

Following the wind tunnel tests Adrian gave us a recalibration formula to calculate precise indicated air speeds which match GPS speeds at sea level. Going forwards, we will be using these results to inform our glider reviews, recalibrating our Flymaster TAS probes at six-monthly intervals.

To be absolutely sure that we can have faith in what our calibrated TAS probe tells us, I spent a day cycling up and down the seafront with the TAS probe and three GPSs. The TAS was wobbling a little on the shorter string dangling from my handlebar, but its reading was steadily consistent with the GPS ground speed.

It is worth noting that most manufacturers obviously don’t go through this whole rigmarole – they just compare their new prototype paragliders against their previous models, and measure what’s known as the ‘delta’ – the difference between trim speed and top speed. For CCC class, they report the speed system travel associated with that delta. So, for example, the Boomerang 10 has 15cm speed system travel, and a delta of 18km/h.

Does it matter?
Does top speed really matter? In competition, of course it does. Some test pilots claim the latest CCC wings are capable of 67km/h. In our view, this is an impossible Indicated Air Speed figure. We’ve tested the Ozone R11, widely regarded as the fastest paraglider ever made, and recorded a maximum of 65km/h. The R11 we tested featured standard risers, not extended risers which allow even further travel. CCC wings don’t feature trimmers like the R11 and have necessarily been restricted.

Airspeed of CCC paragliders

“I hardly ever see ground speeds consistently in the 60s, and I use full bar a lot”, said Adrian, who flies a Boomerang 10 and is also involved with glider development at GIN.

“On the other hand, I go as fast as anyone else so what does it matter?” he asks. “There is a little maturity appearing in the comp scene. Pilots have realised that trimming their wings fast means they lose out on climb and particularly on the gains you get going straight in lifty air at trim. At the most recent Superfinal, the wings that were checked were all within millimetres of manufacturers’ defined trim settings.”

Glider examples
We measured the top speed of some of the hottest three-liners: the UP Trango XC3, Ozone’s M6 and the GIN GTO2. Using the Flymaster TAS probe, we measured a top speed of 50-51km/h for all three wings, flown at 3kg below the top of the weight range. The new 777 King is a little quicker. This is indicated air speed, and should be the same at sea level as at cloudbase.

Airspeed of EN D paragliders

Try telling an EN-D pilot that though, and they’ll likely be a little shocked. They may also say they have recorded a GPS speed of 55-56 km/h when flying in the still evening air in the Alps. Both of us, however, are telling the same story.

Problems with measuring speed
However, obtaining accurate results using a TAS probe still isn’t easy. Thermik magazine editor Norbert Aprissnig told us: “We too have looked at providing accurate speed figures for our reviews but it has been a learning exercise in just how difficult it is to get accurate figures.”

He added: “Although modern TAS probes allow for automatic compensation for temperature and altitude, we still have to make sure the wings are in stable flight before taking measurements. Air movements cause fluctuations and we as test pilots end up filtering the data as best we can.”

How to test airspeed on a paraglider

Also worth noting is the instrument’s wind-speed indication. Most instrument systems, including XCSoar and the Oudie, provide information on wind direction and strength, but as you’ll know if you’ve ever used them much, the figures fluctuate enormously. You have to be flying consistent circles for the instrument to generate an approximate calculation. However, a pitot tube system like the Flymaster TAS is the only way to obtain accurate wind information as it will run a precise comparison between your aircraft speed with your GPS speed.

Finally, just to confuse things a little, Flymaster’s TAS probe stands for ‘True Air Speed’. From an aviation perspective, this is misleading, as ‘true air speed’ is different from the ‘indicated air speed’ that we’re interested in – the bald, pressure-based truth of an aircraft’s speed irrelevant of altitude.

What does it all mean?
Perhaps unsurprisingly the figures reveal that as a sport we have regularly over-estimated the speed of our wings. Just as one example, some pilots claim their paragliders have a trim speed of 40km/h. Meanwhile, Moyes states a trim speed of 35-37km/h for their Litespeed RX competition hang glider. Spot the difference.

Airspeed of an EN B or EN C paraglider

Let’s face it, pilots are loathe to be told their ‘60km/h’ wing only really hits 51km/h, and manufacturers understandably don’t want to publicise potentially slower figures. No one wants to be slower than the next pilot, or their manufacturing rival. But our testing has shown that most ‘mid-B’s can get to around 44-45km/h accelerated, while ‘hot’ EN-B wings and many C class wings have a top speed of 46-48km/h. Only EN-Ds and a handful of the very fastest C’s make it beyond 50km/h.

Of course, top speed in still air means nothing if the leading edge is too fragile for the speed to be usable in real life conditions. So let’s not get into a bidding war for the fastest wings on the block. In our reviews we will continue to focus on a wing’s usable speed range, accelerating through turbulent air to test its rigidity and cohesion, as this will always be a better indicator of a good, fast wing than any number.

This article was first published in Cross Country 172 (August 2016). Hugh Miller is a review pilot for Cross Country Magazine and UK XC League Champion 2016. If you enjoyed this sample article, perhaps you’d consider subscribing and supporting the world’s only international free flying magazine?

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Source https://www.southwestairsports.com/faqs-tips/ppgsetup/ppgsetup.htm

Source https://www.footflyer.com/statistically-how-safe-is-powered-paragliding-ppg-in-the-u-s/

Source https://xcmag.com/magazine-articles/how-fast-does-it-go-testing-paraglider-speeds/

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