Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a Powered Paraglider (PPG)?
A: PPG is an amazing form of powered flight, open to the air in all directions, no fuselage, no windows, just you flying! It is freedom in its most pure form, it can be launched from a small field, is simple to fly and to transport, requires no licensing or medical. Unlike a traditional aircraft, a paramotor is inherently stable while offering an an even greater degree of precision and control.
Q: Is it safe?
A: Participation in aviation generally carries a higher degree of risk than sitting in front of television, however powered paragliding is aviation in one of it’s safest forms! By having proper training, risks are significantly reduced, employing good decision making skills, and being aware of your surroundings and conditions. The vast majority of paramotor pilots grow old into the sport without injury.
Q. How fast do they fly?
A. Generally, a beginner glider flies at a constant 25-30 mph, but takeoffs and landings are at a much slower speed and easily done on foot. Expert rated gliders can fly significantly faster, even over 50 mph. Larger motors do not mean speed, larger motors mean more power for a faster climb rate.
Q. How high do they fly?
A. In the U.S., airspace regulations limit our flights to below 18,000 ft. Your motor and wing combination also determines your rate of climb, and how high you can fly. Generally, paramotor pilots prefer to fly between 300-500 ft where the amazing sense of freedom and exploration can be fully absorbed. Altitude records have been set in the 30,000’ range!
Q. What are the fitness and age requirements?
A. The paramotor does most of the work. If you plan to foot launch, you will need to be able to walk and run with the weight of the motor on your back before launching (45-65 lbs depending on motor selection). In flight, you are seated & relaxed with the glider carrying all the weight.
Q. What weather can I fly in?
A. Generally we fly within 2 hours of sunrise and 2 hours before sunset for the best conditions. As you get more experienced you can take courses which will teach you how to fly safely during the day.
Q. Do I need a license to fly a paramotor?
A. Paramotoring in the U.S. is classified under the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) Part 103, just a few pages long. No license, medical certificate or registration is required. U.S. regulations require you fly only during daylight hours, stay away from congested areas, and prohibit you from carrying passengers without a waiver. Training is a vital element to flying safely, and your syllabus will include an in depth class on general regulations and airspace rules.
Q. Can I carry passengers?
A. In the U.S., passengers are prohibited from being carried on ultralight vehicles. However, U.S. Powered Paragliding Association tandem qualified instructors have an exemption to carry a single passenger for training purposes.
Q. What if I have a fear of heights?
A. Most pilots actually DO have a fear of heights, such as climbing ladders or standing near the edge of a building. However, this typically does not translate into paramotoring where you have total control.
Q. What if the motor quits?
A. You are underneath a very efficient glider (typically 9 to 1 glide ratio, meaning nearly a mile of glide for each 500 ft of altitude), and all of your landings during training have been conducted with the motor shut-off from several hundred feet high.
Q. How do I choose a school?
A. This is a personal choice, but can make an enormous difference in your overall experience, safety, and aptitude upon completion of training. Remember, there is no license requirement, and that goes for instructors as well, meaning anyone can legally open a PPG School. Luckily, at One Up Adventures, we are both USPPA certified instructors, as well as ASC tandem pilots.
Q. How do I choose a motor and wing?
A. Almost all experts advise you first choose the instructor team you want to learn from, instead of being concerned with investing in equipment in which you may not know yet what you don’t know, especially when gear is a much larger investment than training fees.
Q. How much does gear cost?
A. For a new high quality motor and paraglider the entry level cost is around $9500. The training fee is a small fraction of the gear investment, so we encourage anyone thinking about the sport but hesitating due to the cost of gear to at least come out and get training, an awesome experience in itself. Financing options are also available.
Q. What are the recurrent operating costs?
A. Operating cost is the combination of fuel/oil burn and general maintenance. We burn less than 1 gallon per hour, so we like to average our costs at about $5 an hour with oil. General maintenance costs include new belts, rebuilding carbs, new spark-plugs, and 100 hour services. Which will be a class taught at a reputable school.
Q. How do I get in the air safely when my first flight is a solo event?
A. Before your first flight, you will do many hours of launch practice, glider kiting practice, ground school, simulator practice, videos demonstrations, instructor demonstrations, motor on taxiing, etc. You will not get into the air until our instructional staff all agrees that you demonstrate the skill and confidence to succeed. You will be guided through your first flights until you are able to start navigating the skies on your own. We will also be providing a tandem for each student with one of us before you go solo! This was you are able to get the feeling of flight
Q. What else will I need to start training?
A. Generally, light clothing, a pair of sunglasses, a hat, and high-top shoes that provide a some ankle support and of course a great attitude. Training can be challenging at times, but the end result is so rewarding, and we will always cater to your individual needs including necessary breaks. We will also provide all your flying and safety gear.
Q. Who can I fly with?
A. The paramotor community consists of a diverse group of men and women who share a passion for flying. Getting involved in the sport presents an opportunity to meet an amazing bunch of people, build new friendships, and be part of a growing community!