What Class Air Space Can Paramotors Fly In?

Paramotors are just about the coolest flying thing to be invented since airplanes in 1903. Back then, there was no such thing as airspace, runways, or Air Traffic Control. Today, people love flying paramotors because of that same freedom that comes with it.

You may have seen those videos on YouTube of people flying on their paramotors and wondered, “Is that legal?”

So, what class air space can paramotors fly in? Paramotors can fly in US Class G and Class E Airspace. Class G Airspace is what is referred to as “completely uncontrolled” airspace. It is the airspace that ranges from ground level to 1,200 feet up. Class E is the layer of airspace above Class G and covers from 1,200 feet above the ground up to 18,000 feet above sea level.

When you launch from the ground, you are launching into Class G airspace. If you want to go higher than 1,200 feet, then you would be entering Class E, which has a few different rules.

Let’s take a closer look at what exactly the different classes entail.

What Are Classes G and E?

Let me give you a quick rundown of what US airspace looks like. We won’t worry about understanding all of the little details, which you should do if you will ever be flying a paramotor, but this will be just a quick overview.

Imagine you have a 3 layer cake. The bottom layer represents Class G (close to the ground), the middle layer represents class E (the United States has no Class F airspace), and the top layer represents Class A.

Class A airspace is everything from 18,000 feet to 60,000 feet above sea level. It has no speed limits. As you can imagine, this area is for big and complicated planes, and pretty much only ever has commercial and military flights and the like.

It is the most controlled. There are licenses and instruments that you need and procedures that you must follow, and paramotors are obviously never ever allowed to fly here.

What Are The Rules In Class G and E?

AirspaceVisibility RequirementDistance From Clouds
Class G (Less than 1,200 feet above the ground, no matter the altitude)1 MileClear of clouds
Class G (More than 1,200 feet above the ground but less than 10,000 feet MSL)1 Mile500 feet below, 1000 feet above, 200 feet horizontal.
Class G (More than 1,200 feet above the ground and at or above 10,000 feet MSL)5 Miles1000 feet below, 1000 feet above, 1 mile horizontal.
Class E (Below 10,000 feet MSL)3 Miles500 feet below, 1000 feet above, 200 feet horizontal.
Class E (Above 10,000 feet MSL)5 Miles1000 feet below, 1000 feet above, 1 mile horizontal.

*Data is from the FAA and provided by usppa.org

Class G Rules

Just because Class G Airspace is “Uncontrolled” airspace, that doesn’t mean that it is a “no rules” airspace. You are still required to follow the FAA Rules for Class G Airspace, and also all of the special rules that have been established for the operation of paramotors.

The rules in Class G airspace are the most simple: You must have at least one mile of visibility and stay clear of clouds.

The reason we must stay clear of clouds is for the safety of everyone. Clouds must always be avoided by pilots. The only time you are legally allowed to fly through clouds is if you are flying on Instrument Flight Rules, or IFR. This means that you are using only instruments to guide your path.

This is because airplanes flying through clouds obviously present a risk of a mid air collision, and without instruments, there is no way to safely fly through them.

So as an example, if you want to take off from a certain field, first you would need to do a mental check to make sure all of these requirements are met. Are you sure you are in Class G airspace?

If there is no airport nearby, then the answer to this question is probably yes. Do you have a mile of visibility? Is your takeoff path clear of clouds? If you answer yes to all of these questions, then you are good to go.

Class E Rules

Class E is a little more complicated. In Class E airspace there is a lot more action. There are bigger planes and they are going a lot faster. Under 3,000 feet above the ground, planes have a speed limit of 200 knots, or about 230 miles per hour.

Between 3,000 feet above the ground and 10,000 feet, the speed is limited to 250 knots, or about 288 miles per hour. Above 10,000 feet, they are no longer speed limited.

Since our little paramotors don’t usually ever get going above 50 mph, you can imagine the danger here. A plane moving a lot faster than you could overtake you and not even notice if people aren’t being careful. A collision like this would probably bring down both of you! This is why there are more rules in Class E airspaces than in Class G.

Once you enter Class E airspace (which as a reminder usually begins 1,200 feet above the ground), your visibility requirements are higher. Below 10,000 feet MSL (where you’ll remember that airplanes have a speed limit of 250 knots) you need to have a visibility of at least three miles.

Other Restrictions

We love not being as heavily regulated as the other types of aviation that are out there. This freedom, however, brings a huge responsibility. The responsibility is on your shoulders to keep the skies safe and paramotors unregulated. To do that, there are some important things you need to learn before flying.

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The FAA has left the paramotor industry to be mostly self-regulated. This means that if you follow the rules they have set, then you are not very likely to cause harm to other planes or people on the ground.

These rules include some restrictions on how and when you can fly. For obvious reasons, you cannot fly a paramotor at night. Everything we have said so far does not apply to nighttime flying.

Paramotors are not allowed in any airspace after the end of civil twilight. This means that paramotors can only be flown from 30 minutes before the legal sunrise until 30 minutes after the legal sunset.

Another rule is that while flying a paramotor, you must maintain visual contact with the ground. Even if you have a lot more airspace before you run out of class E, you aren’t allowed to let a cloud get between you and the ground.

If you ever had to drop down in an emergency, it would require you to drop through a layer of clouds, which is dangerous for a paramotor’s momentum and dangerous for its possibility of creating mid air collisions.

Also, there are what are called aircraft right-of-way laws. These are like right of way laws in traffic, and they spell out which types of aircraft need to yield to other aircraft. You should know that as paramotorists , we are at the very bottom of precedence.

This means that we will always yield to every single other aircraft in the sky and that no one will yield to us. This also means that if there is ever a collision, it will pretty much be considered the paramotor’s fault.

This would be tragic enough, but could also bring the public’s wrath upon the paramotor community and upset the delicate balance of freedom we have to fly unregulated.

Paramotors are also prohibited from flying over a congested area. This is a gray area and can be interpreted in different ways. What does “congested” really mean? As with so many other aspects of flying a paramotor, you’ll need to make a judgment call.

Paragliding rules and regulation for safety

Understand rules and regulations in paragliding

Learning the rules and regulations is an important part of your training. Thoroughly understanding them will make the activity safer, allow you to anticipate and avoid potential hazards and gain precious time in case you have to make a quick decision.

They’ll determine your course of action depending on the location of your flight, the presence of other aircraft in the same airspace or weather conditions and other criteria that we’re going to look at.

The rules we’ll cover in this chapter are internationally accepted and enforced in most countries. We’ve done our best to point out exemptions as wrong. However, you should always keep in mind that rules may differ from one country to another. Before leaving to fly abroad, find out about the regulations of the country you’re visiting and remember
to respect local laws. You’ll usually find them on the website of the National Federation.

Right of way and priority in flight for paragliders

The increase in air traffic over the years has led civil aviation authorities to create aircraft categories and rules to establish priority among them: hot air balloons have priority over all others, they move slowly and have a lot of inertia. All other aircraft must yield the right-of-way to them. Then comes to sailplanes, paragliders and hand gliders. They all belong to the same category. Motorized aircraft such as helicopters, or airplanes have the least priority in terms of right-of-way.

As we’ve just seen, each category of aircraft has a different degree of priority. Sailplanes,
hang gliders and paragliders all belong to the same category. In reality, questions of right-of-way will mostly arise with other paragliders or with hang gliders flying in the same airspace, as sailplanes or private airplanes is rare.

Anti-collision rules in flight for paragliders

Let’s go over the rules of priority. That prevent paragliders from colliding.
The prime rule is the following: it’s the pilot’s responsibility to take all possible measures to avoid a collision with any other aircraft. Try to maintain a safe distance from the other aircraft.

Two paragliders are approaching head-on

First situation: two paragliders are approaching head-on with a risk of collision. In this case both aircraft shall alter course to the right.

In case of hill or Ridge soaring this rule is modified: two paragliders are approaching head-on when rich soaring. The pilot with the ridge on the Left should move out so that the other can maintain course without having to turn into or over the ridge.

Two paragliders have converging courses

When two aircraft of the same classification converge at approximately the same altitude, the one with the other on its right shall give way; on the right is in the right.

In flight, if you come across the situation like this acts as quickly as possible. It’s pointless to wait till the last minute before reacting moving out of the way and scaring both yourself
and the pilot.

Overtaking another paraglider

Because each wing has its own technical specifications, your paraglider may fly faster than others. Passing someone is permitted. Internationally, passing is typically done on the right. The aircraft being passed has the right of way, except in Italy where the glider
overtaking has priority but must allow enough safety clearance. The glider being overtaken gives way avoiding any change in direction. That might interfere with the overtaking paragliders passed.

Also in England and in Italy in free space away from a hill paragliders can pass on the left as well as the right.

When ridge-soaring, a paraglider overtaking another glider that is flying in the same direction should pass between the ridge and the glider being overtaken. If you’re overtaking the pilot and there is no room to pass, just turn back.

Turn direction in a thermal with another paraglider in

When thermalling, the first pilot to enter a thermal establishes the required turning direction in that thermal; all paragliders joining shall circle in the same direction as any other gliders already established in the lift.

Read Post  Simple Rc Glider From Readily Available Materials

Know the flight rules for safety

In order to keep the sky safe and accident-free you must know these rules. Nevertheless, be flexible when flying, don’t rely on others to always respect your right of way faced
with a disrespectful or inattentive pilot, you’re better off abandoning your priority and changing your heading.

Anticipate these situations early and react decisively so that other pilots flying around you know what your intentions are.

This post is a transcription of the video “Learn to Fly” (Kitchen Productions)

Written by j Perez

View all posts by: j Perez

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WHAT PEOPLE SAY

I had a brilliant time flying with Ivan. It was my first time paragliding but it most definitely will not be my last. Completely proffessional outfit. Would recommend them to anyone. I even got to fly with an Eagle.

Just finished a week long course with Jose and the team at Zero Gravity. Extremely pleased. Very professional, friendly outfit who made us beginners feel very welcome. Achieved 9 flights in a week, including 4 solo’s – plus all the classroom time and ground handling…More

Absolutely outstanding! My second visit from the U.S. to fly with the great instructors from Zero Gravity. Once again, Pablo, Luisma and Jose were very attentive in teaching and guiding me through my week of flying. Their equipment is brand new, their instruction is tailored…More

Awesome school to learn to fly with. Every effort is made to get you flying. By the end of our EP course we had done several tandem flights and 4 proper15/20min flights from the summit of Algodonalez and ridge soaring. The other school the students…More

.. not only was this my destination, its where the guys at Zero Gravity go for their students and customers every day. A safe, fun, friendly team who genuinely care about your safety and guide you along a learning trajectory that is right for your…More

review rating 5

Second time with Zero Gravity (Paragliding Spain) Perfect service with lots of patience and help

Ben McIntyre

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Just completed Appi1&2(EP). Excellent teamwork(josé pablo luisma javi) with safe instruction. They were constantly aware of changing conditions and moved locations to ensure best training flights.Highly recommended. Booked for Appi3 pilot (CP) in June. Thanks guys, see you soon. MikeC

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A Google User

review rating 5

My husband and I have just spent a brilliant two weeks with the fantastic Zero Gravity team doing our EP and CP qualifications, back to back. We could not recommend them highly enough, they have been absolutely amazing. All the team are extremely knowledgeable with many, many years experience of paragliding each, but they are also excellent teachers and make the complicated concepts of flight and meteorology accessible at an entry level; a combination of skills which is rare. The courses are a mixture of theory and practical sessions with tandem flights used in the early sessions which really builds confidence when you then take to the sky solo. Safety is given top priority with multiple kit and radio checks and the guys go the extra mile to find the best conditions for your level. We flew from five different sites during our two week stay, completing 14 solo flights each. Be prepared for long days (often starting at 8-9am, with a couple of hours for lunch, and finishing at 8-9pm if the conditions are right) – the focus is always on getting you in the air, safely. Our top tips for beginners would be to bring gloves, a wind proof and long trousers / long sleeved tops as you will get some scrapes and bruises and it can be chilly at the top of the mountains. Above all though, you will have a lot of fun and we both want to say a big THANK YOU to José, Pablo, Luisma, Javi & Ivan for a fantastic two weeks!

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A Google User

review rating 5

Una experiencia para repetir! Monitores muy profesionales y un trato genial. El vuelo se hace muy ameno y seguro. Recomendadísimo!

Laura Pérez

review rating 5

Absolutely best paragliding school, that anyone could wish for! (by all means)

Paragliding rules and regulation for safety

Understand rules and regulations in paragliding

Learning the rules and regulations is an important part of your training. Thoroughly understanding them will make the activity safer, allow you to anticipate and avoid potential hazards and gain precious time in case you have to make a quick decision.

They’ll determine your course of action depending on the location of your flight, the presence of other aircraft in the same airspace or weather conditions and other criteria that we’re going to look at.

The rules we’ll cover in this chapter are internationally accepted and enforced in most countries. We’ve done our best to point out exemptions as wrong. However, you should always keep in mind that rules may differ from one country to another. Before leaving to fly abroad, find out about the regulations of the country you’re visiting and remember
to respect local laws. You’ll usually find them on the website of the National Federation.

Right of way and priority in flight for paragliders

The increase in air traffic over the years has led civil aviation authorities to create aircraft categories and rules to establish priority among them: hot air balloons have priority over all others, they move slowly and have a lot of inertia. All other aircraft must yield the right-of-way to them. Then comes to sailplanes, paragliders and hand gliders. They all belong to the same category. Motorized aircraft such as helicopters, or airplanes have the least priority in terms of right-of-way.

As we’ve just seen, each category of aircraft has a different degree of priority. Sailplanes,
hang gliders and paragliders all belong to the same category. In reality, questions of right-of-way will mostly arise with other paragliders or with hang gliders flying in the same airspace, as sailplanes or private airplanes is rare.

Anti-collision rules in flight for paragliders

Let’s go over the rules of priority. That prevent paragliders from colliding.
The prime rule is the following: it’s the pilot’s responsibility to take all possible measures to avoid a collision with any other aircraft. Try to maintain a safe distance from the other aircraft.

Read Post  Can you make a living from paragliding?

Two paragliders are approaching head-on

First situation: two paragliders are approaching head-on with a risk of collision. In this case both aircraft shall alter course to the right.

In case of hill or Ridge soaring this rule is modified: two paragliders are approaching head-on when rich soaring. The pilot with the ridge on the Left should move out so that the other can maintain course without having to turn into or over the ridge.

Two paragliders have converging courses

When two aircraft of the same classification converge at approximately the same altitude, the one with the other on its right shall give way; on the right is in the right.

In flight, if you come across the situation like this acts as quickly as possible. It’s pointless to wait till the last minute before reacting moving out of the way and scaring both yourself
and the pilot.

Overtaking another paraglider

Because each wing has its own technical specifications, your paraglider may fly faster than others. Passing someone is permitted. Internationally, passing is typically done on the right. The aircraft being passed has the right of way, except in Italy where the glider
overtaking has priority but must allow enough safety clearance. The glider being overtaken gives way avoiding any change in direction. That might interfere with the overtaking paragliders passed.

Also in England and in Italy in free space away from a hill paragliders can pass on the left as well as the right.

When ridge-soaring, a paraglider overtaking another glider that is flying in the same direction should pass between the ridge and the glider being overtaken. If you’re overtaking the pilot and there is no room to pass, just turn back.

Turn direction in a thermal with another paraglider in

When thermalling, the first pilot to enter a thermal establishes the required turning direction in that thermal; all paragliders joining shall circle in the same direction as any other gliders already established in the lift.

Know the flight rules for safety

In order to keep the sky safe and accident-free you must know these rules. Nevertheless, be flexible when flying, don’t rely on others to always respect your right of way faced
with a disrespectful or inattentive pilot, you’re better off abandoning your priority and changing your heading.

Anticipate these situations early and react decisively so that other pilots flying around you know what your intentions are.

This post is a transcription of the video “Learn to Fly” (Kitchen Productions)

Written by j Perez

View all posts by: j Perez

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment

You must be Logged in to post a comment.

WHAT PEOPLE SAY

I had a brilliant time flying with Ivan. It was my first time paragliding but it most definitely will not be my last. Completely proffessional outfit. Would recommend them to anyone. I even got to fly with an Eagle.

Just finished a week long course with Jose and the team at Zero Gravity. Extremely pleased. Very professional, friendly outfit who made us beginners feel very welcome. Achieved 9 flights in a week, including 4 solo’s – plus all the classroom time and ground handling…More

Absolutely outstanding! My second visit from the U.S. to fly with the great instructors from Zero Gravity. Once again, Pablo, Luisma and Jose were very attentive in teaching and guiding me through my week of flying. Their equipment is brand new, their instruction is tailored…More

Awesome school to learn to fly with. Every effort is made to get you flying. By the end of our EP course we had done several tandem flights and 4 proper15/20min flights from the summit of Algodonalez and ridge soaring. The other school the students…More

.. not only was this my destination, its where the guys at Zero Gravity go for their students and customers every day. A safe, fun, friendly team who genuinely care about your safety and guide you along a learning trajectory that is right for your…More

review rating 5

Excelente grupo. Muy buenos lugares para volar. Recomendado.

Francisco Pardo

review rating 5

My husband and I have just spent a brilliant two weeks with the fantastic Zero Gravity team doing our EP and CP qualifications, back to back. We could not recommend them highly enough, they have been absolutely amazing. All the team are extremely knowledgeable with many, many years experience of paragliding each, but they are also excellent teachers and make the complicated concepts of flight and meteorology accessible at an entry level; a combination of skills which is rare. The courses are a mixture of theory and practical sessions with tandem flights used in the early sessions which really builds confidence when you then take to the sky solo. Safety is given top priority with multiple kit and radio checks and the guys go the extra mile to find the best conditions for your level. We flew from five different sites during our two week stay, completing 14 solo flights each. Be prepared for long days (often starting at 8-9am, with a couple of hours for lunch, and finishing at 8-9pm if the conditions are right) – the focus is always on getting you in the air, safely. Our top tips for beginners would be to bring gloves, a wind proof and long trousers / long sleeved tops as you will get some scrapes and bruises and it can be chilly at the top of the mountains. Above all though, you will have a lot of fun and we both want to say a big THANK YOU to José, Pablo, Luisma, Javi & Ivan for a fantastic two weeks!

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A Google User

review rating 5

Un día genial. Fui con mi hijo de 17 años y quedamos enganchados. Los monitores controlan y saben lo que hacen. Un abrazo a todos y creo que haremos el curso intermedio.

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A Google User

review rating 5

Thank you Pablo, Luisma, and Ivan for such a wonderful experience! Can’t wait to fly again

Shannon Forsythe

review rating 5

An absolutely fantastic group of men who did so much over and above what was expected to ensure our stay was so very rewarding and entertaining! I can’t wait to visit again

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A Google User

Source https://outdoortroop.com/what-class-air-space-can-paramotors-fly-in/

Source https://www.paraglidingspain.eu/advanced-paragliding-courses/understand-rules-and-regulations-in-paragliding/

Source https://www.paraglidingspain.eu/advanced-paragliding-courses/understand-rules-and-regulations-in-paragliding/

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