Q. Do I need training?
A. Paramotors are regulated under FAR 103 which means no license, medical certificate, training, or registration is required. It is widely accepted, however, that proper training is crucial to successfully and safely enjoy this sport. Along with learning the physical skills required to fly a paramotor, your training course should set the foundation for understanding weather, regulations, airspace, gear knowledge, etc.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. If you are buying new gear, you can expect to spend $8,000-12,000 for your paramotor and wing. Used gear can be found cheaper, but requires careful shopping to ensure it is reliable and safe. Training ranges from $1,500-3,500 depending on the quality of instruction and is a worthwhile investment.
Q. What gear would you recommend for me?
A. In my opinion, there is no 'best paramotor' or 'best wing.' Each piece of gear generally excels in one category, for example, lightest weight, most power, best handling. As a beginner, I would highly recommend getting training before buying gear. After your first flights, you will have a better idea of what characteristics you value and your instructor should be able to offer you unbiased advice on what gear meets your needs.
Q. How fast do they fly?
A. Most of our flying is done between 25 and 30 mph. More advanced gliders can reach up to 50 mph by engaging the trim and speed bar system. Speed is entirely dependent on the glider, more power just allows you to climb faster.
Q. How high do they fly?
A. In the US, regulations limit our maximum altitude to below 18,000 ft. I have personally reached 15,000 ft and the world altitude record is around 25,000 ft. Most of our flying is done below 1,000 ft, however.
Q. Can I commute to work in a paramotor?
A. Technically, yes. As long as the route you take is not over populated areas and you have enough space to launch and land. It is, however, extremely impractical. Paramotors are easily influenced by the weather so it is not a reliable method of transportation. You may be able to avoid traffic, but a 15 mph headwind is just as frustrating.
Q. What weather can a paramotor fly in?
A. Paramotors generally require pretty nice weather to have an enjoyable and safe flight. Most pilots stick to sunrise and sunset to avoid the mid-day bumpy air and in wind speeds less than 10 mph. With more experience, you are able to push these boundaries safely, but those glassy smooth sunrise and sunset flights are still the best.
Q. What if the motor dies?
A. Nothing too exciting. Your wing is very efficient and will glide even better than a normal parachute. As long as you are flying with a potential landing site within reach (as you always should), you just land there. On most flights, I climb up high, kill the engine, and practice a spot landing.