Powered Paragliding Truth
Respected Sources Separate Fact from Fiction for Paramotor Pilots
Get thorough instruction. There is no better way to reduce your odds of injury than to seek out sound, certified training.
Be careful about towing. Make sure to watch Risk & Reward and read the Powered Paragliding Bible, especially Chapter 19 on Risk Management. Proper education is your best defense against injury and broken equipment.
Check out www.FootFlyer.com for the full information. The Powered Paragliding Bible has become the widest used source of information for paramotor pilots. It is a compendium of information gathered from our sport's most experienced paramotor pilots combined with legal, airspace, aerodynamic knowledge and much more.
Do I Need to Learn Paragliding First?
No, it's not necessary. There is nothing wrong with doing so, of course, that's how I learned—but it's not "better." I learned paragliding first because I wanted some form of recognized training, and USHGA (now USHPA) was the only game in town. Now there's USPPA with a great syllabus that covers what's important for paramotor pilots.
The USPPA program was based on USHGA's but incorporated what turned out to be significant differences in how pilots were learning and how they were getting hurt.
After being involved in both paragliding and powered paragliding for 9 years, I've observed no difference in accident rates by pilots based on learning backgrounds. Talented pilots will excel regardless of their beginnings.
My flying background began with sailplanes before powered aircraft. I loved soaring, and gathered 300+ hours while also pursuing my airline career. But airplane pilots don't learn soaring first. Not that it's bad, it's just not necessary. Nor is it usually practical.
Beware the Arrogant Shouters
If you've encountered advice from a self-proclaimed, self aggrandizing expert, be careful. In all likelihood it contains many factual errors and will almost certainly be one sided towards a particular brand. Be especially leery if advice is offered as unbiased when, in fact, the giver has some financial stake in the product. Some of this advice is downright dangerous, especially when it steers you away from thorough, USPPA certified instruction. Here is more.
Do I Need To Carry A Reserve?
I love this one, prepare for emotional diatribes when broaching the reserve question.
A reserve is a safety device like many others. It's reduces risk in certain situations and slightly increases the risk in others (accidental deployment). It's a personal choice just like wearing a helmet (another emotional issue).
Helmets are another safety device that, in the PPG accidents I've seen in person, watched on video or read about, provides more life-saving protection than a reserve. But it depends on where and how you fly. Free flying is different and reserves are more important. Footflyer.com has a great treatise on the risks and benefits of wearing a reserve.
It's amusing when I listen to someone pound on the virtues of a reserve but he doesn't wear a helmet. That should give you reason to question the source. Don't expect much balanced information from such an individual.
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