How to Land a Paraglider

Sure you’ve probably covered how to land a paraglider in your initial training, but it doesn’t hurt to rethink and critic your landing techniques in your first couple of years of paragliding. Once you start paragliding on your own, this is where some bad habits or bending the rules can occur. Self awareness is key to becoming great at paragliding (along with many other things). And let’s face it, if you don’t get good at landing a paraglider, you might not get to fly again!

There are many factors which influence your landing such as thermal activity, wind, your wing and paraglider setup, the speed and angle you’re approaching at, and the surface you wish to land on, just to name a few. No two landings are the same, but obeying the right principles will put you in a better position to successfully land.

Plan Your Landing – Avoid Spontaneous Landings Where Possible

Mistakes are often made when pilots want to land suddenly. This usually results in overuse of braking, losing too much speed and stalling, or not properly scoping out the landing zone for hazards. The best landings are well thought out and factor in the possibility of sudden wind change, as well as hazards such as trees, powerlines or jagged rocks which could damage your wing.

The first step is to determine if there’s any wind drift, and if so, what direction it’s going in. This can be checked by visual markers at ground level such as tree blowing, wave ripples etc. Your GPS (all pilots should carry one of these) can also be used.

A common mistake is to focus mostly on the launch area and not plan the suitability and weather conditions of your landing zone. In many cases it’s safer to land on green fields, rather than near the water as the thermal conditions here may make landing a less stable experience. The weather conditions should also be considered for the time you wish to land. You may find that some areas have higher thermal activities in the afternoon and that it’s best to get your flight in earlier in the day so you can enjoy a smoother paragliding landing.

It’s important to consider the slope of the landing zone in your landing strategy. If there is a slope, combined with a tailwind or some thermal lift, you’ll need a longer final glide. If you’re planning your landing from a high altitude, you may want to do two-stages of planning, firstly by performing some figure of eights to work off the altitude and then lining yourself up and planning the second stage of landing from a lower altitude.

man landing a paraglider next to a lake

Keep Your Eye on the Landing Zone

Keep your eyes on the spot you wish to land on and use your knees as a sight. This helps you to concentrate and focus. If the landing zone rises up, this means you’ll land short of your target. If the landing zone drops below, you’re going to fly over and past it. Line up the landing zone early so you can avoid turning later in the landing.

Legs Down!

Getting your legs into position can seem like a pretty small and insignificant part of landing a paraglider. But it’s one of the most common landing injuries, so it’s worth getting into the habit of always getting your legs down early.

If you stay in a reclined position until you’re ready to land, your feet will be in front of you and won’t be ready to take the full weight plus inertia. This can cause considerable force on your ankle which can easily be injured from this pressure.

Make this something you tick off your mental checklist early. Get your legs down when your about 50 feet in the air. By getting your legs underneath you, your entire feet and legs can absorb the force instead of just dumping it on your ankle.

What is Paramotor? Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Paramotoring

Paramotor flying above trees with blue sky

For many people, the thought of soaring through the sky is nothing short of thrilling. Sure, you can learn to fly a plane, but it doesn’t offer the same sense of adventure as being in the sky without the aid of an aircraft. Skydiving, hang gliding, and paragliding are popular activities that will get you in the sky, but none of them offer the same freedom as paramotoring.

What is paramotoring, you ask? Paramotoring or powered paragliding (PPG) is a type of recreational aviation sport that allows a single person to take flight from the ground. If you’re looking to experience the adventure of a lifetime, read below to learn more about paramotoring and how you can participate in the fun.

What Is a Paramotor?

A paramotor is about the size of a backpack and attaches to paraglider wings. The equipment consists of a lightweight aircraft engine and propeller.

Paramotoring is one of the easiest ways to take flight. The entire setup can be small enough to fit inside the trunk of a small car, and it takes minutes to prepare it for flight. The machine is also safe to operate, and it typically takes less than a week to learn the basic controls.

Once you’re in the air, you will have directional control and can fly at your leisure. If the engine stops, you can use the wings to glide to the nearest landing point safely.

Paramotoring vs. Paragliding

Two of the most common questions about this form of aviation are “what is paramotoring?” and “how is it different from paragliding?”

The two sports appear to be similar – if not the same – to unfamiliar beginners because they use the same style of wings that look like a parachute. The harness and takeoff methods are also similar, but that is where the similarities stop.

Power is what separates paramotoring from paragliding. Paramotor pilots attach their harnesses to metal frames with two powerful stroke engines and an aircraft propeller. The engines and propellors will keep them in the air for as long as they have enough fuel.

When paragliding, the operator will attach his harness to the wing with carabiners and launch themselves off a hill to catch the air. The pilot spreads the wing like a kite after getting a running start, and they will effortlessly lift into the air. Nothing separates the pilot from the ground; he will hang freely.

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Paragliders need wind to take flight and gain altitude, and paramotorists only need their engines.

How Dangerous Is Paramotoring?

No sport is without risk, but paramotoring is relatively safe. Accidents sometimes occur, but statistically speaking, you are more likely to encounter a devastating incident in your vehicle on the way to the airfield than you are while operating a paramotor.

When you look at the equipment, you might wonder, “Are paramotors safe?” Actually, the leading cause of accidents is not the equipment; it is pilot error.

The more time you spend doing paramotor training, the less likely you are to have an accident. When you understand the ideal flight conditions and your equipment’s limitations, the safer you’ll be.

How High Can You Go?

You can fly relatively high with a paraglider, although many pilots will stay below 10,000 feet. The documented world record altitude is 25,590 feet by pilot Ramon Morillas Salmeron in 2009.

How Fast Does It Fly?

Flying with a paramotor allows you to reach about 18 to 25 MPH on average. That said, it is possible for an advanced pilot who knows how to fly with the wind to gain more speed when they combine a speed-bar system and a small paramotor.

You don’t have to go fast to have fun. Paramotoring is an excellent way to fly low and slow so that you can take in the scenery and admire the world from up above.

How Long Does it Last in the Air?

Flying time depends on a few conditions, but you will have an average of 45 to 60 minutes of flight time per gallon of gas, which translates to about 2 to 4 hours with a standard 3.5-gallon tank. You can turn off the engine and use the wings to glide at your current altitude to conserve gas and stay airborne longer. When you’re ready to switch things up, just re-start the motor.

How Scary Is it to Pilot a Paramotor (TBH)?

Paramotoring can be a scary experience for new flyers, and that’s perfectly okay! Fear and apprehension are normal emotions for beginners, and nerves can hit you whether you’re on the ground, preparing to launch, or high in the sky.

Everyone gets scared at some point, but you can overcome these fears, especially after getting used to taking flight.

Why You Should Definitely Go for It

There isn’t a more incredible feeling than soaring above the Earth and taking in the world’s splendor from a bird’s eye view. Even if you don’t intend to participate in the sport regularly, it is an experience everyone should try at least once. You’ll undoubtedly be nervous before you take off, but your initial fears will give way to exhilaration.

Anyone can participate in this sport. Paramotoring has no age caps, and people of various weight and disabilities can enjoy this activity with some modifications to the machine.

By learning how to operate a paramotor, you will be part of a distinctive sport that comes with excitements:

  • An Appreciation of Aviation: What is paramotoring best known for? The freedom, of course! The ability to fly has always been one of humanity’s top aspirations, and paramotoring is an easy way to launch yourself into the sky like a bird. Once you’re in the air, you will have little to no resistance, and you’ll get to experience weightlessness as you hang freely from the metal frame and harness. You can’t find this freedom in many other sports!
  • Get a Glimpse of the World from a New Perspective: You can’t ignore nature’s beauty, which will surround you while you’re soaring through the sky. You will see the natural environment from a different view, one you could never personally see from the ground. Since the paramotor allows for hours of soaring and gliding with a full fuel tank, you take as long as you want to soak up the fantastic scenic views.
  • Easy Storage: If you wanted to experience flight the traditional way, you might consider learning how to pilot a small aircraft, but you’ll need a hangar to store it. With a paramotor, you can spend a few hours a day flying, easily break down its components, and carry the equipment to your house, garage, or shed. The total weight for most paramotors is somewhere between 45 to 75 pounds, so you might even find one small enough to keep inside your car trunk.

Where Can You Fly a Paramotor?

In the U.S., operators can legally fly in most areas with a paramotor, which is why this sport boosts almost complete freedom. The rules for this form of aviation are relatively lax, and for most situations, you won’t need air traffic control (ATC) clearance.

According to the Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR), paramotors fall under the same jurisdiction as ultralights, another form of recreation aviation consisting of a single or two-seat plane. In addition to paramotors, the class includes paragliders, sailplanes, hang gliders, and balloons.

The FAR states that paramotors can fly between sunrise and sunset over most areas excluding restricted airspace and areas around Class A, Class B, Class C, and Class D level airspace without express permission from the ATC. For safety reasons, you cannot fly over a city, town, or any gathering of people.

Once you become familiar with current FAR requirements, you won’t need much space to take off or land since hills aren’t necessary. Some pilots are skilled enough to launch from their yards, but we suggest starting in an open field. You can become airborne with a foot launch by running 10 to 15 feet under the right wind conditions.

Do you need a license to fly a paramotor?

Paramotoring is a self-regulating sport. There are no specific legal requirements to become a certified pilot for paramotors, including the wheeled varieties like single seat trikes and quads. However, that does not mean you are free to do what you want.

Before you can fly, you need to confirm that your machine qualifies as an ultralight, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, before taking your first solo flight.

Your paramotor must:

  • Be for recreational or sports use only
  • Be manned by a single pilot
  • Weigh less than 155 pounds without power or less than 254 pounds with power
  • Not exceed speeds of 55 knots with power

Breaking any of the few paramotoring laws can land you in serious trouble. If someone reports you to the FAA, you could face severe consequences, including prison time. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the FAA’s regulations and adhere to all guidelines.

How Expensive Is it to Fly a Paramotor?

Paramotoring is an exciting sport, but it does come with expenses, including equipment, fuel, and training.

Training is the first service you must purchase before you can expect to take flight. There is no specific price range for flying lessons—course pricing will vary by school and instructor. To give a ballpark figure, though, I’d say the average is around $1,000 to $4,000.

Remember: This sport doesn’t require any licensing or certifications to fly or teach, so you must research prospective trainers thoroughly before committing to lessons.

Once you’ve had a few days of training, you will need to purchase a paramotor. Most of your paramotoring expenses will go to the paramotor itself. A new good paramotor will run you around $6,000 to $10,000.

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It is possible to get your hands on a secondhand paramotor to save on costs, but this can be dangerous, and the savings aren’t worth the risk (expect to pay roughly 30% less). You wouldn’t want to invest in equipment that you can’t use safely. Stick to well-known brands.

The paramotor wing is your next big purchase. Because wings only have a lifespan of about 400 hours of flight time, you’ll want to invest in a new one, not one that is secondhand. On average, a good paramotor wing costs between $2,000 to $4,000.

You’ll also need a helmet, flight suit, altimeter, gas, and other miscellaneous goodies, like a radio or chase cam. Altogether, these bits and pieces will likely set you back around $1,000.

By the time you finish training and buying all the necessities, you’ll probably have invested somewhere between $11,000 and $19,000. Your price tag may be more or less depending on the training, motor, wing, and accessories you opt to purchase.

Here’s How to Get Started

Once you learn about the pleasures of paramotoring, you’ll probably want to rush out and buy a paramotor and wings so that you can experience the sport for yourself. While this feeling is understandable, it is also reckless. If you’re serious about this sport, here is a guide to help you get started.

Training Is a Must-Have

Whenever you’re learning a new sport or activity, you should seek training from someone with ample experience and knowledge. Self-training is a possibility with almost anything, but if you want to stay safe before, during, and after your flight, you must have professional training. Having prior experience as a pilot or a skydiver is helpful, but it won’t offer much for a specialized sport like paramotoring.

Sometimes the cost of hiring a personal paramotoring instructor or attending lessons with a group can be intimidating, but it’s worth the price. If you decide to teach yourself, you could inadvertently overestimate your abilities and limit your understanding of the sport, the equipment, and the regulations surrounding the activity.

Instead of relying on your own knowledge, seek top-quality instruction from a skilled trainer or institution to show you the ropes while having some of the best fun of your life.

It will take a few days up to a week to acquire enough training to go on a solo trip. Training takes place primarily on the ground, where the instructor will thoroughly explain how to control the wing. Once you know how the controls work, taking a flight is a simple, straightforward task.

Schedule a Tandem Flight

Still unsure if paramotoring is the right activity for you? Alleviate your fears or concerns by scheduling a tandem flight during training. This step is the best way to understand what you can expect during your first solo flight.

During a tandem flight, you will partner with your trainer and fly one paramotor together. Although paramotors are for a single person to use, instructors can make exceptions for training purposes. The experienced pilot will be in complete control, and they are responsible for your well-being.

Flying tandem will give you first-hand knowledge of whether you can handle different aspects of the flight, such as getting used to the height, operating the controls, and knowing what to do if the engine stops. If you struggle during the practice flight, you may need more time and instruction before taking off by yourself.

Buy Your First Paramotor and Wing

Once you complete training, it’s time to buy all the equipment you’ll need to take flight, including a paramotor and wing. Your trainer has a wealth of information, so if you’re unsure which brand or style to purchase, they can lead you in the right direction.

Your beginner wing should inflate quickly and resist enough turbulence to keep you stable while in the air. You will need to fall within the weight requirements for the wing, which includes your weight, the paramotor weight, and additional equipment. Add these up before you commit to a purchase.

Your paramotor should be new and include the latest technology, a durable frame that doesn’t bend out of shape easily, and a strong enough engine to lift your weight.

Older paramotors may have problems that make the flight uncomfortable and difficult to manage. For instance, old equipment may cause the paramotor to pitch forward when powered, reducing thrust efficiency.

Other equipment you may need include:

  • Digital compass and altimeters for navigation
  • Kiting harness to learn how to control the wing while on the ground
  • Helmet with a built-in headset for communication
  • Anti-collision light for visibility
  • Reserve parachute for emergencies

Not all equipment is necessary for paramotoring, but these add-ons can enhance the experience and maximize safety. Aviation logbooks record essential flight information, such as how many hours you spend using your equipment, flight duration, and important notes about each flight, such as hazards you encountered or actions you executed correctly.

Phone apps are also beneficial, especially those designed specifically for paragliding and paramotoring.

In Conclusion

When it comes to reaching new heights, nothing compares to paramotoring. This recreational sport allows you to launch into the air and soar the sky for hours. It’s an exhilarating experience that will enable you to witness the Earth’s beauty from a view you can’t get from the ground.

Anyone can learn to operate a paramotor. It’s the easiest way to fly, and there are no licensing requirements to train or take flight. With a trainer and an understanding of the FAA regulations, you can learn how to fly without ever stepping foot on a plane.

Just be sure to invest in top-notch training and high-quality equipment. Paramotoring doesn’t come cheap, but the memories you make will be priceless.

Is Paragliding hard to learn? – 3 Interesting tips to start learning paragliding for beginners

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Is Paragliding hard to Learn?

It doesn’t matter what you want to fly; flight training is exciting, physically demanding, and mentally taxing. Flying can be challenging because it requires learning a new skill set, vocabulary, and muscle memory—but the reward is well worth the effort! Enjoying yourself while learning is the most important aspect of beginning any learning endeavour.

Having said that, flying can be a simple and relatively simple process.

Ground handling, on the other hand, is something that takes up a significant amount of time.

The next thing you should concentrate on is making good landing approaches and learning how to flare for the current weather. Today’s paragliding equipment is extremely durable, and the vast majority of those who are injured do so as a result of their own negligence.

The sport of paragliding is easier to learn if you are flying in light winds and smooth conditions. Hang gliders are orders of magnitude safer than parachutes if you want to fly in winds greater than 10mph and midday thermal conditions. However, they are more difficult to launch and land in light winds.

Is it dangerous to learn paragliding -Statistically

From a statistical standpoint, it is not dangerous at any time. Even with that being said, do you believe that every accident is entered into a global database?

In the United States, the USPHA, the national organisation that issues paragliding licences, is in charge of keeping track of accidents.

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According to statistics, riding a motorcycle or skiing is more dangerous than driving a car. However, I should point out that almost every pilot I’ve known over the years has been involved in some sort of accident.

Some of them occur for the most insignificant and stupid of reasons.

The question arises as to how you can make flying a safe experience for yourself. As you learn to fly, you must first learn the rules of the game. If you follow those rules, you can be assured that things will become safer. I have some additional guidelines.

  1. Don’t fly alone, especially at a new site.
  2. If feel off that day (tired, dehydrated or hungover) don’t fly.
  3. Check the weather, Check the weather.
  4. Read books, watch videos and take additional training. A SIV course in addition to a your national licensing.

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The Main Dangers of Paragliding:

Most of Paraglide accidents are mainly due to Pilot error

Yes, there are things like freak accidents in anything we do, but 99% of paragliding accidents are because of pilot error. Errors like:

  • Not checking your equipment
  • Not minding the weather conditions
  • Not following the rules
  • Not doing what you’ve been taught
  • Not listening to your instructor
  • Not listening to more experienced pilots
  • Not listening to yourself
  • Not using common sense
  • Not minding your environment
  • Being over-confident
  • Becoming impatient

All the pilots I knew personally who died in Paragliding accidents Most of them died because they were flying in weather conditions they were not supposed to fly in.

Some pilots I knew who got injured during Paragliding accidents, got injured because they didn’t listen to their instructors.

Is paragliding safe to learn ?

Statistically, about 1 in 1,000 registered paraglider pilots die while paragliding each year ( source ).

However, many accidents are not reported, so the danger may be greater.

The big question I ask myself is whether the deaths are random, or whether I can be above average.

    1. Poor judgment about weather – strong wind, unstable air such as thermals or rotor
    2. Poor judgment about your abilities – flying when tired, flying very “active” air or an advanced wing without the skills to reinflate the glider if it collapses, not being able to land in small landing zones or to kite well on windy launches
    3. Errors while launching – not preventing collapses, not noticing knots in the lines (kravats)
    4. Errors while flying – turning into a ridge, miscalculating altitude, miscalculating horizontal wind, pulling the wrong lines, braking too much and stalling the glider, not checking the glider when it surges forwards, using speed bar in turbulent air
    5. Not taking care of gear – broken lines, holes in glider, old reserve parachute that doesn’t open
    6. Other pilots’ errors – a person flies into you or pushes you into a ridge
    7. Health incident while flying, such as a heart attack or blacking out

This all probably sounds pretty scary, but you’ll notice that the people who wrote answers to your question are all pilots…So why do we do it?

Because for us, the rewards outweigh the risks.

Flying is the most freeing experience I’ve ever had, challenges me to be a stronger person each day, comes with an amazing community, and can be breathtakingly beautiful.

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Every action we take carries some risk, and we take precautions to reduce those risks as much as is reasonably possible.

Make sure you have good equipment and that you take good care of it.

Get your training from a reputable instructor, and take advantage of the opportunities to learn from those around you.

Some people demonstrate what not to do, and we can learn from their mistakes as well.

Practice. A good understanding of ground handling is essential. It is critical to get outside on a regular basis. SIV courses are extremely beneficial.

Learn about the weather and the physics of flight in this lesson plan. It is critical for our safety that we understand the how and why of what we do, as well as what to expect when we are in the air. If there is something you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Recognize your own limitations and follow your instincts. It is acceptable to choose not to fly for any reason or for no reason at all.

Top tips to help you get into the world of paragliding

Buy the Right Equipment

The wrong equipment can put people off the sport very quickly. Drill your instructors for advice and listen to it – they’ll be able to steer you towards the right kit for you.

As a minimum, you will need a paraglider, harness, a reserve and a helmet that meets the EN966 standard. A complete kit can cost around $3,000 new, or less than $1,500 second hand.

If you’re buying second hand, make sure to ask if the kit has a recent service record, which indicates airworthiness. The right kit can be the difference between a long flying career or never wanting to get the paraglider out of the bag again.

Join the local Flying club

You’ll be able to safely fly within a club environment once you’ve qualified through a local school’s Club Pilot course. Of course, this implies that you’ll need to join a club.

This is most likely the one closest to your home or the club in which your paragliding school is involved. Joining a club will allow you to interact with and learn from other pilots.

I joined the Pennine Soaring Club in 2014, and it’s been a fantastic source of information that has greatly aided my development.

Make Like Minded Friends and Fly with them

When you’re fresh out of flight school, it can be very intimidating, so it’s critical that you make friends, whose (hopefully many) years of experience you can absorb to help you progress.

When you first start out, it can be difficult to decide which paragliding site to fly at and on which day. Your friends will be able to get you to the correct location at the correct time.

Attending club nights will put you in touch with local pilots and club coaches who are there to help low-airtime pilots advance.

Final Remarks

Paragliding has evolved as a sport over the course of time. The equipment and training methodology have improved the overall safety of the sport;

I would say that it is no longer considered an extreme adventure sport unless you specifically want it to be.

Flight training can be the most forgiving sport if you are cautious and avoid flying in challenging environments and weather conditions.

The dangers of paragliding can be directly associated with pilot error – this can be either of the many factors such as not getting trained properly, not understanding the limitations of wind and weather conditions, not understanding the limitation of equipment or skill level.

Choosing the incorrect equipment, being overconfident, and so on.

I suppose there are inherent dangers when participating in any activity, including paragliding.

Knowledge and skill can help to reduce the dangers, but they cannot completely eliminate them.




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