The following are ideas to make the flying of Powered Paragliders easier, safer, and more fun:
Fly within two hours of sunrise and sunset sunset.
Fly with good quality equipment that has been regularly inspected.
Use two foot ball fields in size, as a basis to pick your take off site and avoid all take off sites that require you to climb above objects to reach safety (trees, buildings etc.).
Do not fly after drinking alcohol.
Do not fly when angry off at your wife or girl friend.
Use hearing, eye and good feet/angle protection.
Fly only with certified (DHV, AFNOR, DHVL) tested gliders that are in your proper body weight including the paramotor, your body weight and the maximum gas weight you will be caring.
When unsure of whether it is a good idea to fly, try ground handling the paraglider without a harness. This way you do not risk being dragged if a gust comes in hard you can just release the glider for your safety. If you are unable to control the glider without a harness you may want to reconsider flying at that time.
Never get near your glider with the paramotor running, as the propeller can suck the glider in and do a lot of damage fast. Remember spinning propellers are vacuums along with air pushers.
Never allow your glider to slam down on the cells (leading edge) as this can do internal unseen damage to the cell walls.
Do not fly when storms are approaching and wait until 12 hours after they pass before flying.
Regularly check the weather at 1-800-wxbrief or on numerous internet sites.
No wind or light and variable wind forward launches are the most difficult. Even the slightest breeze can aid a launch if you take off directly into it.
A handful of grass thrown into the air works great to tell wind direction.
It is a good idea to practice alternate methods of killing your engine on the ground or in a simulator. If you have a foam air filter on your carburetor you could reach back and crush the filter down on top of the carb. If you can find the fuel line you could pinch and hold it cutting off the fuel flow to the engine, or if your have a primer bulb a good squeeze will flood the engine and kill it. You may be able to pull the spark plug. Always be extra careful not to get you hand in the spinning prop. These are only a few of several possible solutions. You must find the one that will work with your motor configuration.
Keep your gear clean. It is much easier to spot problems on clean gear.
Preflight your gear each and every flight.
Inspect your glider prior to each flight with both your eyes and running the lines thru your fingers to feel for breaks or faults in the outer casings or the lines themselves.
The carabiners we use on our paramotors are very safe and strong, but it is a good idea to inspect them before each outing and replace them if you suspect any damage.
When priming the paramotor lean the carb towards the ground so any excess gas flows away from the engine as opposed to towards it and flooding the motor.
If things have changed at your local take off site from normal, such as a different wind direction, think twice about flying that day.
If you fly from a grassy area in the early morning the ground may be wet with dew. Use the warm up time on your motor to blow dry the area where you will lay out your wing. While this will not actually dry the area it will break the water drops loose and allow faster drying to occur.
Just Before Launch
Triple check that all items on your person are tied up and put away before each flight.
Keep take off wind speeds to a maximum of 10 mph inland and 12 mph at the beach.
Wind speed changes of 5 mph within 5 seconds indicates very turbulent skies.
If flying alone, tell someone when and where you’re going to fly, which direction you intend to fly and what time you will call them by after landing. This ensures someone can send help in the right direction if you do not call when agreed upon.
Fly with a cell phone.
Empty your pockets prior to flying and tie away anything that may come loose like a cell phone, radios, and cameras. When you fly out in the open like we do, anything you loose will generally go into your prop.
When getting ready to start your paramotor use extreme caution in securing the paramotor on your back, on a trike or in more then one place, such as with your hands and with your knees placed firmly in the harness against the frame (never hold a cage part).
Yell out clear prop and check your surroundings for people, animals etc. before starting the paramotor.
Fly with a landing area picked out and within reach of your glide ratio. Always be prepared to land unexpectedly!
Fly high above all water, so that you can reach land at all times with your glide ratio alone (assume the motor can quit at any time).
Keep a small amount of brake pressure on at all times to keep the glider fully pressurized.
Make smooth, slow hand movements, so as not to stall and spin the glider.
Never fly slow close to the ground, unless directly into the wind and low enough to flare and land if necessary.
Avoid clouds at all costs, as they can be turbulent, wet, disorientating, and cause uncontrolled lift.
Never fly near the ocean when the wind is off shore (wind is leaving land).
Never touch your glider to anything once in flight, such as tree, pole, another glider etc.
Give yourself a minimum of two full wings spans between two gliders in flight.
When flying without a wind sock or flag in view you can use many items to indicate wind direction from the sky:
Birds- generally take off and land into the wind.
Smoke- travels down wind and gives you a good idea of wind strengths.
Trees- look for russelling leaves and leaning branches.
Water- ripples in the water show down wind direction.
Drifting- find a spot, fence or line on the ground and ease your throttle down to an idle, watch your drift in relationship this spot as you drift towards it. Turning one direction or the other may help to estimate the drift and calculate the wind.
If your kill switch malfunctions in flight, sometimes it is best to simply land with the engine running and deal with shutting the engine off on the ground.
Look at the other pilots legs prior to turning and indicate your turns prior to turning with your legs. Turn only when both pilots are aware of the next move.
If you think you can make it over an object, do not try to cross over it, as you MUST know you can make it.
Avoid flying over churches, schools, groups of people, as not to bother them with the paramotor noise. Also it's illegal.
Never fly low around canyons, mountains, buildings or any obstacles when there is wind. The stronger the wind, expect more turbulence in these places.
When flying in close proximity to other pilots it is a good idea to use hand signals to alert the other pilots when you are about to turn. Just stick your arm out in the direction you are going to turn. You do not even need to let go of your steering toggle. Another way is for all pilots to use the weight shift leg indicator, in which a turning pilot indicates his turn by placing one leg over another and turn his head towards the other pilot and waiting for that pilot to do the same prior to turning.
If in the event you launch and have found a problem with your brake toggles (twisted or locked up), just reach up and take the rear risers (make sure they are the rear risers closest to the trailing edge) at the links and use this as your method to turn and to flare.
When flying for any significant time period most pilots will get thirsty from the constant wind in their faces. A easy solution is to put on a portable water carrier with a hose and a mouthpiece. This give you access to an in flight drink without loosing your brakes and acts as an additional cushion for the harness.
If you find you are flying backwards in relationship to the ground, reduce power and lower your altitude. Release some brake tension to speed up the glider and look to see that your intended landing area is clear of obstacles. If you continue to fly backwards close to the ground, be sure you are not adding any brake input and release the trimmers on your risers (both at the same time) to add extra speed. Maintain enough throttle to give you forward motion but not lift upwards.
Allow the glider to speed up (keep your hands high) and come in fast prior to flaring and landing.
Start your flare close to the ground and do it slowly (usually in a full two seconds).
Always come in straight and level into the wind. Make minor corrects as needed to keep you into the wind.
In a high wind landing, grab your B, C, or D risers to collapse the glider when touching down, as this is more positive than the brakes in high winds.
Post Flight & Maintenance
Don't like rolling or folding your wing at the end of the day? Consider stuffing the glider in a stuff sack. This is a round flat sack with a cinch string. Put your glider in the middle and pull up the string for a fast clean packing of your glider.
Apply a coating of bees wax (not candle wax) on your steering line where it passes through the pulley. The wax will seal the line's sheath and act a lubricant reducing wear. This works well on the starter pulls cords as well, but apply a smaller amount so as not to gum up the cord receiver.
If you are getting a layer of slime on your prop from the exhaust, use a little baby oil on a rag, as this will clean the slime right off quickly.
An unbalanced prop will not only make your flying experience less enjoyable, but it will also cause many items on your engine to start prematurely wearing and breaking, especially your exhaust. An inexpensive lawn mower blade balancer, found a most hardware stores, makes a great prop balancer. Use small amounts of cyanoacrilate (Crazy Glue) and baking soda, nail polish, epoxy glue, clear spray finish, and/or sand paper to balance the prop.
When transporting a clutch based paramotor behind a truck, make sure you tie the prop to keep it from free spinning. It may look cool going down the road, but this spinning action puts unusual play in the bearings that support your propeller.
Use a cooler to carry your gas and funnels in if transporting the paramotor within your car, as this will seal the fumes inside the container.
If you are transporting your motor unit in a nice vehicle, find an old, thick blanket to place it on. The blanket will catch fuel spills, oil drips, and grim that comes off your engine.
A platform can be added to the back of cars to carry a paramotor with very little hassle. They just slide into your trailer hitch coupler ready to use.
Put a bottle of clear nail polish in your field repair box. The polish is great for temporary repairs to nicked props. The nail polish dries quickly, is very hard and holds well. Plus you can put in on in layers to build up a deep nick. Lastly it sands out very easily when you are ready to make a permeate repair.
Tuning your paramotor can be dangerous. Strapping the paramotor to a tree or deck to ensure the unit can not move, can increase the safety during the tuning process. Make sure all items are clear of the moving prop, as it is easy to lose a prop or cause serious bodily injury due to a harness strap/rock being sucked into the prop.