Jump to content

Tip's from Paramotor Student Pilots.


Recommended Posts

It was the 'how good do I need to be at ground handling' thread that gave me this idea. :-) 

Reading the replies from people giving advice based on recent experiences is great. It's useful to both, people interested in learning to fly a Paramotor and the instructors. 

If you are currently learning to fly or have done so in the last 12 months or so, Please give your 'hints, tips, and 'click moments' you had while learning below. :-) 

SW :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A click moment for me was when I kept pulling my wing up on forward launches . Knackering my self out , little col

a insructor at membury said use the motor to do the work ' like you would if you were sitting in a buggy or trike because 

you wouldn't be on your legs ......... Click 

cas.

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I've passed my paramotor exam 6 weeks ago, but I'm still a novice improving my skills day by day.

So, as a "flying novice" I can give some advices to other novices :

1) pre-flight : don't hurry. I repeat, DON'T HURRY. Take ALL the time you need to check your hardware and the environment. DON'T go to fly if you are in a hurry. DON'T fly if the weather or your phisical condition is less than optimal. Prepare your check-list and ALWAYS do all the checks

2) take off : don't hesitate. This is a crucial thing. When you start inflating the wing the correct mind status is "NOW I WILL TAKE OFF" , and not "now I'll try to take off". Don't know how to explain it, but seems that the wing reads your mind.... if the wings understands that you are not sure you want to take off, it will not rise correctly.... :-)  Don't look at the wing, this will distract you. Look in front of you and learn to "feel" the wing status through the risers. Don't leave the risers too soon. Better to keep them a little bit more than leaving them too soon. The throttle is your best friend during the take off.... assuming that your engine is not too powerful for a beginner, as soon as the wing is vertical over you and you've left the risers controlling the wing with the brakes, squeeze that damn throttle with no scare. DON'T rise your legs to take off. The wing shall lift you when you're still running. My instructor was very firm on this point. He pretended to see all us learners go on running like dumbs in the air for some seconds still after the take off.

3) flight : as soon as your soles detach from the ground, you're officially flying. The first thought shall NOT be to sit down confortably in the harness, but to have the full control of the wing direction. You can sit down later, when you've reached a safe height. I know by experience that it is almost impossible not to be nervous while in flight as a novice. This is not too bad, since it helps to keep the attention level always high. With the time you will learn to turn the nervousism into relaxed attention. Remember to always turn your head in the steering direction before to start the steering, in order to check if the area is clear from other flying objects. Non only when you fly in groups, but always. When you fly over towns, woods or industrial areas the "safety cone" is crucial. Your only thought shall be "what shall I do if the engine fails?" Keep the maximum possible height and keep an eye on every spot where shall be possible to land. Remember that if your hardware is in perfect conditions, the checklist is ok, the weather conditions are ideal (a must when flying as a novice) and you're flying early in the morning or late in the afternoon (with minimum thermal activity) nothing shall go wrong, except for an engine failure, that is always possible. But will have no consequences if your safety cone includes a landing spot. If an engine failure occurs, don't panic. Check for a landing spot, try to understand the ground wind direction (flags, smoke spotted on the ground... if not possible presume the same wind direction of the takeoff), best glide speed (fully close the trims if you have released them) and simply go to land in that spot. If you stay calm, everything will be fine. Remember that an engine cannot fly without a wing, but a wing can fly without an engine, and be optimist. For the same reason as a novice you shall always fly in the open country, where's full of possible emergency landing spots, even if it shall mean to run several km. by car for to reach the flight location. Your flight will certainly be much more relaxed....believe me. I've tried to fly close to where I live, wich is a higly populated area, And I've been nervous as hell during the entire flight.

4) landing : as a novice I well know that usually the landing is the scariest part of the flight. It shouldn't, and you will learn it with some experience. At the beginning, in the final of the landing , the ground seems to be approaching fast, very fast, too fast.... and this is the reason of the most common mistake, i.e. to brake too soon and/or too much. Go to the first floor of a building, open the window and look to the ground. This is the correct height where you have to start to SLIGHTLY brake. And remember that the stronger the wind is, the higher effect the brakes will have. It once happened that during a landing with what i call a strong wind (12-15 km./h as a novice... :-) ) I was at abt. half a meter from the ground, I applied full brake to stall and the wind rised me up again in the air. Apart from this, only training and experience will teach you how to correctly land in every condition.... and no shame in putting in count some ass or knee landings... :-) 

The worst enemy for the beginner is the scare, like the worst enemy for the expert is the excess of confidence. The scare makes you hesitate, and hesitation is no good. Think that YOU CAN DO IT, since if you do it like it has been taught to you, everything will be fine.

This all I can say as a novice...... no problem at all if some experienced PPG pilot will correct some of the points.

And plese forgive my grammar, since I'm Italian...

Edited by calcifer
grammar error
  • Thanks 1
  • Upvote 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brilliant - excellent post. I now have 250 hours but can still equate to your newbie advice.

4 hours ago, calcifer said:

the correct mind status is "NOW I WILL TAKE OFF"

This might sound strange but is crucial, and very effective in the early takeoff experiences.

 

4 hours ago, calcifer said:

DON'T rise your legs to take off. The wing shall lift you when you're still running.

Been nearly caught with this fairly recently. Always run into the air, not slide into the ground.

 

4 hours ago, calcifer said:

since if you do it like it has been tought to you, everyting will be fine.

Very true :)

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, calcifer said:

1) pre-flight : don't hurry. I repeat, DON'T HURRY. Take ALL the time you need to check your hardware and the environment. DON'T go to fly if you are in a hurry. DON'T fly if the weather or your phisical condition is less than optimal.

 

 

For someone who has only been flying 6 weeks those are sage words indeed, especially the bit about not flying if the weather or your physical condition (mental attitude included) is not optimal.

Took me a lot longer than 6 weeks to finally realise that..

It`s when you`re not fully `into it` that it can easily turn into `one of those days`...

 

I`d like to add: don`t fly just because you feel you ought to - such as another flyable day soon after you`re last flight - if you`re not 100% comitted.

There`ll always be a chance to fly another day........

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Still *very* much a novice with only 6 flights and <2hrs airtime.

1) I like the idea of my take offs being decided by me. Get the ground speed, really feel the lift and then choose to take off by using a touch of brake. KEEP running, there is no rush to get into the seat.
2) Ask questions about everything. Why is the wind doing what it is? What should I do if... ? Etc.
3) Watch other people and refer to point 2. By realising what went well and what could have been done better for others, you can learn a lot yourself.
4) If anything, anything at all doesn't feel right or look right, STOP.
5) Checks - if it's on a pre-flight list it means it has happened.
6) Don't rush - I had a flight today, my first take off, the engine stopped as it was idling just after I had brought the wing up. I put the wing back on the ground and it was ready to go again. My decision to put the brakes back on the risers. Meant I could go through my routine of brakes, reach round the risers, take the As from the start. I then knew all the bits I was holding onto were properly arranged meant my next take off run was bang on.

Comments on any of the above gratefully received !
 

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Just come back to add a very, very important advice for newbies.

As previously written, I'm a novice with only few hours of solo flight, but in such a small amount of time I've already witnessed 2 bad accidents.

Both on the ground, caused by the propeller, both by the wrong way of turning on the engine.

In the first case the damage has been "limited" to the loss of a finger. In the second case a novice of my same course has almost lost the whole arm, being hit by the propeller right on the shoulder.

I don't want to scare the other newbies, but according to my experience, a PPG can be much more dangerous on the ground than in the air.

DON'T start the engine with the frame on the ground if you're not forced to do that. ALWAYS turn the engine on with the frame on your back, if it is possible, even if it is a little bit harder.

If you're obliged to start the engine on the ground, ALWAYS visually check the returning back of the "gate" on the carburetor, and DON'T keep the throttle in your hand, but stick it on the cage's net.

In the first case the accident has been caused by the throttle wire stuck by a loop in the wiring. The engine started at full throttle.

In the second case the engine experienced carburetion problems during the flight. The pilot landed to check the problem. The engine had difficulties in starting again , so he tried to turn it on with some throttle, holding the throttle in the same hand used to keep the frame. When the engine started slightly accelerated, the propeller pushed the frame thoward the pilot who tried to keep the frame pushing much more the throttle.

Since this second accident, who involved a friend of mine (I've personally witnessed the damages a propeller can cause to a human body) there's no way for me to start again my PPG if it is not on my back.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That really illustrates how important starting the motor on your back is. It might mean adapting but, as you say, running the machine on the ground is the most dangerous part of paramotoring.

One thing, you mention starting without the throttle in your hand, that is not good practice (that's where the kill switch is!) - not that that is ever an issue when you start it on your back ;-).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

you're right.... in fact we've been tought to start the engine with the throttle in the hand , ready to kill switch the engine.

Well, both of the mates who experienced the above accidents are ready to swear that there was absolutely no time even to think to push the kill switch.

 

So, at least in the second case, the accident could have been avoid if the throttle would not have been kept in the hand. If the engine does not start at the third or fourth attempt, there's a problem. Better to check the carburetion, the fuel line or to ask the support of a friend that keeps the throttle with just a slight of gas while you pull the cord.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a small observation from a low (30 hrs) airtime bloke who qualified to Pilot rating recently.  

We probably spend a lot of time concentrating on the fuel and exhaust of our mechanical motor but run the risk of neglecting our own 'physical' motor.  When I have done all my rigging and daily inspection checks but before I strap in and prepare to fly, I take a moment to refuel myself (triggered by the general aviation I,M SAFE mnemonic).  I always have a small drink of tea or squash, a biscuit or a piece of fruit and see if I can manage a sneaky pee.  I then know that I will be comfortable and alert for my whole flight, not just concentrating on getting ready for the take off - there is a big difference.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I JUST got my PPG license! The New Zealand requirements are 25 flights, one cross-country flight of at least 30km, simulate an engine-out, and restart an engine mid-flight.

Here are my thoughts, many of which never, ever occurred to me before taking this course.

- Before getting into PPG, I vastly underestimated the room required for a safe launch and landing. We found a sports field that measures 1000 ft x 500 ft ( ~333m x 166m ) with ample farmland on two ends of the field, and at this point this is a comfortable size for me to launch from. The reason for such a large size is due to safety in case there is an engine-out at the beginning of flight, when your feet have left the ground and you're trying to climb and gain height. I've had 3 engine-outs already on two different machines in just 25 flights. On all three I was thankful to have that extra length of field to continue to just fly straight-ish and do a good landing. On ALL three engine-outs, I had NOT gained enough height to do a 360 and land back into the wind. If I didn't have that extra runway, at most I could have done a 90 degree turn and landed crosswind, or done a 180 degree turn and smacked downwind, or done a 180 degree turn and smacked sideways as I try to finish my 360. TIP: find a massive field to launch from, and just as important, make sure that there are safe bail-out spots immediately beyond the field. A field wrapped on two sides by power lines and trees on the other two sides isn't a good option. 

- A large field also gives you different options for landing and launching should the wind change from under you. The wind might be coming from the north on launch, but it may have changed to west when you want to land. Is your field fat enough and free of obstructions to allow for this change? If your field is narrow with power lines on the east and west you're going to have a plan B. 

- As above, if you're launching and landing from the same place, remember that conditions can change during your flight. A break in fog doesn't necessarily mean you can launch because the fog could roll in during your flight and you'll just come back to a landing site with zero visibility. 

- Before launching, have a plan for *exactly* what you will do and where you will fly to should your engine go out during your climbing phase. As in, before launch, stop everything - just stop - stand there, look around, and devote a good amount of time to rehearse in your head where you will immediately turn to and land if your engine quits. On one of my engine-outs I got caught off-guard (because I didn't have a plan and was so focused on launching) and got target-fixated on the power lines in front of me as I continued to fly straight but down. My instructor snapped me out of it by telling me which direction to turn to land in a safe spot. 

- Get everything on your person sorted before going off for a flight, because it's very hard to rummage around for stuff and adjust things when you're already in flight. The harness makes reaching some things difficult or impossible, and grabbing around for stuff increases the risk of that thing being accidentally dropped and sent right into the prop, destroying it and resulting in a forced landing somewhere. I was burning up on the ground, so I opened my jacket's pit zips. During my 40km flight I could no longer zip up my pit zips so I froze and shivered madly for half the flight. 

- Anything that you have should have a rope or string tethering it to yourself, but the tether should not be long enough that the object can reach the prop should it drop.

- Carefully consider if any jacket hoods could blow back into the prop.

- Give the motor a good warm-up on your back right before launch. Like 10 seconds of full throttle. On my first ever unsupervised launch I was warming up on the ground and the motor went out after 8 seconds of full throttle. I feel like it would have *absolutely* been an engine-out during climb otherwise.

- During flight always be reading the wind and looking for places to land and directions of approach should your engine quit. Have a mental buffer of landing spots you've flown past so if you're flying against the wind you can do a 180 and quickly reach the landing spot downwind that you had previously passed.

- Practice grabbing around for stuff on the ground and in the air. By stuff I mean the compression release and pull starter (for restarting the engine in midair), the fuel line and primer bulb (for killing the engine should the kill switch not work or the throttle gets stuck), and your straps (in case of water landing - I've got at least SIX straps to unbuckle and right before a water landing is not the time to hope you've unbuckled all of them).

- Practice looking for power lines and poles. Just stay away from poles. My instructor had a guy who landed in a line because he looked at a pole and couldn't see the line... until he came down for a landing and *then* saw it. Poles - even if they look like there's no wire, just stay away.

- Wear gloves with wind protection. I got cheap hardware store gloves with leather underside but mesh everywhere else and it gets cold. Really cold.

- I wore normal tennis shoes. Well, the field I was in was slightly wet and soaked my shoes. My feet then froze in midair. My instructor had warm waterproof boots. 

- Because we're often launching and landing in nil / light wind, having a good wing that inflates easily is really, really, really important. My instructor was flying an old wing (three years old) that works totally fine for coastal soaring, but is a total pain to launch in light winds. During our cross country flight he decided to land in a sports field with the intention of having me do another launch, but he landed, realized there was no wind, and I taxied in the air for the next 20 minutes (freezing in my wet shoes, mesh gloves, and opened pit zips) as I watched him struggle over and over to get back up in nil wind with his old wing and with the help of two children nearby. After I blended my lines and destroyed my prop on a previous day, I used his setup and could tell the night and day difference between his old wing and my newish wing. 

Edited by fuzzybabybunny
  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/29/2016 at 3:45 AM, Steve said:

That really illustrates how important starting the motor on your back is. It might mean adapting but, as you say, running the machine on the ground is the most dangerous part of paramotoring.

One thing, you mention starting without the throttle in your hand, that is not good practice (that's where the kill switch is!) - not that that is ever an issue when you start it on your back ;-).

So this occurred to me - wouldn't it be safer and just as effective to just start the motor on the ground *without* the prop installed? When I take out my kit I have to put the prop on anyway. Seems to me that if the aim is simply to get the engine primed and started for a small warmup and to clear fuel line bubbles, starting the engine on the ground with the prop not installed would solve a lot of problems.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@ fuzzybabybunny : very helpful, thanks for sharing. I particularly agree about the widest space possible during takeoff.

by the other side, I don't agree about the turning on of the engine with the prop uninstalled. Every time that I re-install the propeller I have the abitude to put a drop of threadlocker on the screws, as advised from the manufacturer. It would be complicate to do that every time I go to fly. Simply heat the engine with the frame on your back. If your engine is correctly tuned, it will start at the first or second pull of the starting cord.

Edited by calcifer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, Steve said:

Not a good idea to run your engine without the prop, you risk over-revving.

I agree, if the throttle is squeezed without care. No problem if care is applied, and an eye is on the RPM display. I use to run the engine with no propeller when "gross" tuning the carburetion of the engine. I then install the propeller for fine tuning (engine on the back).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, calcifer said:

I agree, if the throttle is squeezed without care. No problem if care is applied, and an eye is on the RPM display. I use to run the engine with no propeller when "gross" tuning the carburetion of the engine. I then install the propeller for fine tuning (engine on the back).

I was thinking about turning on the engine without the prop just to get the engine to turn on. I'm still getting the hang of properly priming the motor - it's usually not primed enough or primed too much and I have to tip the machine over so the excess fuel dumps into the air filter box. I also have to press on my membrane carb to get rid of air bubbles? All of this would be difficult while it's on my back.

So I figured I could just get it primed and turned on (without even pressing on the throttle), and then shut it off immediately. Then, while on my back, I can do the normal warm up routine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quote

So I figured I could just get it primed and turned on (without even pressing on the throttle), and then shut it off immediately. Then, while on my back, I can do the normal warm up routine.

NO, NO, NO.

Always start the motor on your back.  If you question it, take a look at the prop strike posts in 'Safety'.  These accidents happen to experienced pilots as well as beginners.

Fly safe,

Christian

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/8/2016 at 7:14 PM, christian said:

NO, NO, NO.

Always start the motor on your back.  If you question it, take a look at the prop strike posts in 'Safety'.  These accidents happen to experienced pilots as well as beginners.

Fly safe,

Christian

 

 

I'm talking about doing this with the prop NOT installed.

There's zero chance of prop strike because the prop is still sitting in the boot of my car.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

The prop imparts a necessary load to the engine in combination with the flywheel and reduction mechanism. Getting too far away from spec is asking for trouble. Please check with the manufacturer of your engine. I'm pretty sure on my vitorazzi that it is not reccomended

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, Player1 said:

The prop imparts a necessary load to the engine in combination with the flywheel and reduction mechanism. Getting too far away from spec is asking for trouble. Please check with the manufacturer of your engine. I'm pretty sure on my vitorazzi that it is not reccomended

I do own a vittorazi too, and I agree.

It happened once that I had to uninstall the propeller on the fly ground, after over-priming the engine and there was no way to run it on on my back. So I had to repeatedly take away the spark plug , clean the excess of fuel an try to turn the engine on. When it finally started I re-installed the propeller before to warm up the engine. As I already wrote, running the engine without propeller can be done only when trying to solve problems like this. All the other carburetion tunes and warming up have to be done with the propeller installed, since the propeller resistance is part of the fly condition.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I'm trying to understand is the mechanism of failure here.

If I start the motor with no throttle and no prop...

How does idling the engine with no prop hurt it, especially an engine with a clutch since the clutch is freewheeling the drive shaft anyway with or without the prop installed.

Heck, how does running the engine at even 4000 rpm with no load hurt the engine?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share



×
×
  • Create New...