Tandem Paragliding FAQ’s

Have you always been a bit curious about paragliding? Or are you keen to try something new and exciting while on holiday? Tandem paragliding is a great way to get a taste of paragliding, have some fun, without undertaking extensive training or spending lots of money of gear.

Here are some answers to the most common questions we are asked about tandem paragliding. Enjoy!

What is Tandem Paragliding?

Tandem paragliding involves two people, usually a novice and an instructor, flying in the air with a parachute-like wing. The paraglider is similar to a regular paraglider however the harness is designed for two people, with the passenger positioned at the front. The instructor sits at the rear and navigates the paraglider. The passenger is only required to aid in the launch by running in unison with the pilot.

As no licence or prior training is required, tandem paragliding is a great way for the average person to try paragliding. You’ll often see paragliding offered at mountain or beachside holiday destinations where people are looking to try something new and exciting.

Is Tandem Paragliding Scary?

tandem paragliding in alps

Tandem paragliding has an average cost of $200 USD, depending on the country. This cost helps the operators to purchase and maintain paragliding and safety equipment, pay insurance and staff, manage marketing of their business. Some operators will include pickup and dropoff from your hotel to the launch and landing zones.

Is Tandem Paragliding Safe?

Yes tandem paragliding is very safe. It’s not much more dangerous than crossing the road! Instructors must have a significant level of experience across various meteorological conditions. Many tandem pilots gain their qualifications from the Association of Paragliding Pilots and Instructors (APPI).

To achieve the Pro Tandem Qualification, pilots must possess:

  • APPI 5 Advanced Pilots Qualification (or proof of similar skills such as 200 flights across different sites and conditions)
  • Qualification as an APPI non-commercial tandem pilot for at least one year
  • First aid training

The Pro Tandem qualification involves rigorous theory, practical and inflight testing, to ensure the highest standard of tandem paragliding pilot emerges.

What is the Weight Limit for Tandem Paragliding?

The maximum weight for most tandem paragliders is about 220-240 kilograms (485 – 529 pounds). This takes into consideration the weight of both the pilot and passenger. For simplicity, most paragliding providers set a maximum passenger weight of about 110-120 kilograms (242 – 264 kilograms), however if the pilot is very light they may be able to accommodate someone in a slightly higher weight range.

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One variable which can affect the tandem paragliding weight limit is wind. If there is little wind, a pilot may not feel comfortable flying close to the weight limit, particularly during launch. On days with higher winds and stronger thermals they are likely to be more comfortable about flying close to the weight limit.

What’s the Minimum Age for Tandem Paragliding?

The minimum age for tandem paragliding differs greatly between country and the operator. The youngest we’ve seen is four years old, however some have a minimum age of 14. One commonality is that the child has their parents written permission.

Some operators set a minimum weight instead of age. This is usually around the 35 – 40 kilograms (77 – 88 pounds).

What is the Paragliding Weight Limit?

Weight limits exist for many forms of transport, however when it comes to flight such as paragliding, weight limits are even more critical. This can have a severe effect on your level of control, safety and enjoyment of paragliding.

If you’re a passenger, the tandem paragliding weight limit usually ranges between 242 – 264 pounds (110-120 kilograms). This allows for a maximum limit of 485 – 529 pounds (220-240 kilograms) for the pilot, passenger and any equipment being carried.

The ideal weight limit for paragliding can vary for a number of reasons, and tandem operators will usually be cautious to protect their own liability. The pilot wants to show you the enjoyment of paragliding and not be worried if the flight is going to be safe.

paragliding weight limit affected by wind

One variable which can affect the paragliding weight limit is wind. If there is little wind, a pilot may not feel comfortable flying close to the weight limit, particularly during launch. On days with higher winds and stronger thermals they are likely to be more comfortable about flying close to the weight limit.

Launching an overloaded paraglider requires greater wind force to gain lift. The pilot (or in tandem flights, the pilot and passenger) are likely to require greater running to achieve lift, and would likely start bunny-hopping off and back on to the ground.

Consistency in wind is also important. Inconsistent wind conditions could cause you to leave the ground and commence what feels like a safe launch. However an overloaded paraglider could come crashing back down to the ground seconds later if wind conditions are not consistent.

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Emergency Situations

Inconsistencies in wind at higher altitudes can cause an overloaded paraglider to be unsaveable. A paraglider which is under a safe weight limit can often be saved when control is lost. This is often conducted by quickly stalling the paraglider and reinflating the wing full of air. A paraglider above a safe maximum weight limit is more difficult to quickly manoeuvre and when it starts to drop, the weight causes it to fall faster.

Landing

paragliding weight limit affecting a safe landing

Landing is also a high-risk proposition with an overloaded paraglider; you’ll be far more likely to crash land. While pilots do like to come into landing with a bit of speed, in this situation it’s not likely to end well. You could have too much speed and have difficulty flaring out at the end. Instead of approaching the ground in an almost parallel position, sitting almost upright and protecting your ankles, you’ll be in a much more perpendicular position and more likely to land in a rough way, or even crash and cause injury.

Don’t Exceed, But Don’t Be Too Far Under the Weight Limit!

In saying this, it’s also worth knowing that a paraglider which is too light can also be dangerous. Under-weighted paragliders can become more prone to wing collapses. Having a moderate level of weight that’s not pushing the weight limit for paragliding and is distributed correctly, produces greater stability.

Being too light can also make your paraglider difficult to steer and control. Steering is partially done through shifting your body weight, without this weight it can be difficult. You’ll also gather less speed, which can affect your steering, landing and general enjoyment.

Conclusion

This isn’t like throwing too many suitcases in the back of your car! Paragliding weight limits are to be taken seriously and you can risk your life if these are exceeded or if you fly seriously underweight.

If you’re considering trying tandem paragliding on your holiday or for a special occasion, your pilot should take your weight into consideration and will ensure that the paragliding setup, along with your’s and the pilot’s weight are below limit. Just to be safe, it’s always a good idea to research the operator before booking and check their reviews.

If you’re paragliding solo, it’s important to use a paragliding harness and wing that’s appropriate for your weight. It’s a common mistake for beginners or those making their first upgrade to purchase a second hand paraglider because it was a cheap deal that was “too good to say no to”. Start off with a setup that’s suitable for your weight and ability – this way you’ll be safer, have greater control and will gain greater enjoyment from your paragliding.

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Average Paramotor Weight (With 5 Examples)

Average Paramotor Weight (With 5 Examples)

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You can expect an average paramotor weight to be about 50 pounds (23 kg). However, some ultra-lightweight models can weigh as low as 40 lbs (18 kg).

The total weight will also vary depending on how much fuel is in the tank. Fuel weighs about 6.3 pounds (2.9 kg) per gallon of gas. When transporting a paramotor, it’s advised to add the total wet weight with a full tank of fuel. Most paramotors feature a 3.2-gallon gas tank, which adds up to 20 pounds (9 kg).

5 Example Paramotor Weights

The following chart features example paramotor weights of specific models ranging from light to heavy. Additional details can be found on the manufacturer’s websites. Here’s the paramotor weight chart:

Paramotor ModelAverage Dry Weight
Adventure Pluma Atom 8039.5 lbs (17.95 kg)
ProPulse Titan 8043 lbs (19.5 kg)
Nitro 200 Delta XL47.4 lbs (21.5 kg)
Tornado 280 Delta XL49.8 lbs (22.6 kg)
BlackHawk AirMax 22055 lbs (25 kg)

Dry Weight vs. Wet Weight

When looking at the specs for different paramotors, the weight will also be listed as dry or wet weight. Dry weight refers to only the frame of the vehicle without fuel. When the gas tank is full, that is known as wet weight.

What Types of Materials Are Used For Paramotors?

Across the various options available, each paramotor is built from different materials on the frame that affects their overall weight. Here are the most common types of construction used to make a paramotor:

  • Carbon Fiber
  • Titanium
  • Aluminum

To Conclude

Paramotors offer a unique experience to capture views in the outdoors. Powered paragliders contain a frame, harness, fuel tank, engine, and propeller that all contribute to its weight.

The lighter the materials used in the frame production, and the weaker the engine, generally the less your paramotor will weigh. Look for a carbon fiber frame if you want an ultra-light paramotor.

If you’re unsure about specific weights, you can check the manufacturer’s website or call them to get an exact number.

Source https://globalparagliding.com/tandem-paragliding-faq/

Source https://globalparagliding.com/paragliding-weight-limit/

Source https://www.survivaltechshop.com/paramotor-weight/

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