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Hello all.

Here is what I consider to be an important note on wing selection for Paramotors. 

When I started flying 'paragliders' the wing options were simple. 

New pilots:  super safe, super fun, stress free wing. (no one would have sold you anything other) without proof of skill level. 

Intermediate pilots: (maybe getting into XC comps) would start to look at a wing which required more 'pilot input for recovery' but only after testing one under the eye of the instructor. 

Advanced pilots: Basically you could not buy an advanced wing or an uncertified one. Some actual 'sky gods' were invited by manufacturers to use there uncertified wings and high end DHV 3 wings. This represented (at a guess) about half of one percent of the flying population at the time. As a result non of the dealers stocked or supplied such wings. It was left to the genuine hardcore few who had many many hours (better measured in months) of flying under there belts. 

It's hard to imagine I know but this was around 13 years ago when facebook, online shopping, and forums were not to be seen. ( As an aside, when I left the ARMY I was employed by a company called 'Smartgroups' which was set up by a Paragliding pilot as a way for pilots to connect, That company sold to Freeserve for £60 million later down the line because it was the very first of it's kind.... ) anyway...

My point with that.. Online shopping was a new thing and people were scared of it. 

So what's changed?  

It's painful to say but the first thing I notice is that more people are getting hurt and dying in the last few years than in the last 13 at a scary rate. I don't think that this is just a 'numbers' thing like more people flying more people dying!! thats a BS thought process proven wrong by history. I think its an overall 'attitude' issue combined with the ability to go to an online shop, be sent an aircraft in the post with no hand over and no safety information after having never been asked "are you experienced enough for this wing?" is the problem here. 

People are thinking of wings like a pair of NIKE trainers... A new one comes out with a snazzy video and forget the target market (acro, slalom and so on that half a percent I mentioned ) but many of the current generation of paramotor pilots seems to be swaying towards owning the latest new hot pair of trainers even if there are pins in the sole. 

Online shops are going to literally 'kill' this sport in my opinion. I have worked in the industry for enough time to be able to have watched it happening. The scary thing is, it's happening more and more every single year. 

I guess my message is this.. 

NEW pilots: Stop buying online without advice from someone other than the seller. Best option, an instructor! 

Pilots: think before you opt for a sporty wing just to be 'in with the kids' and get a proper handover explanation from a real instructor not a web master. Ask yourself why you want it? Ask your wife, girlfriend, children, if they think it's wise.  And know the added risk of owning it. (actually read up) 

Dealers: ASK your customer, you have a duty off care, if you sell and advanced wing to a new pilot just to make a few hundred quid then you need to take a time looking in the mirror asking yourself if the risk of someones life was worth it. 

Manufacturers: Stop selling directly, stop making such nasty wings and selling them to people with little to no airtime and then washing your hands. 





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Excellent approach Simon.

'Newer and faster' equates to sexier and cooler. NOT traits required for safe flying.

My wing history is very limited but I get the impression from specs and reviews that newer DHV1 wings (newbie) and the like are faster than before AND safer, due to continued improvement in design. Do correct me if I'm wrong on this.

Put another way, if you've only ever ridden a moped (me) you wouldn't get on a Fireblade or other performance bike and expect to live long without getting the right training and experience.

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Good shout Simon.

One of the first conclusions I reached when I started my training with Simon was the extend and depth of his knowledge. My wing and motor choices were all discussed with him and I'm really glad I did as I got equipment that is suited to my skill level.

If we want the sport to remain unlicensed and so accessible we need to make sure that we are perceived as responsible pilots.

As Simon said to me earlier today, paramotors are *NOT* flying motorbikes.

I really look forward to seeing what comes out of this.

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Good stuff Simon.

I learnt to paraglide in 2003, once I'd completed my BHPA CP and I bought my own wing the school instructors were there to support me on my first flights on this new wing.

50 (flying) hours later when I  moved up to a new wing I was able to test fly it  and give & recieve feedback from the instructor I was buying it through, then when my new wing arrived he met me on the hill and checked the wing with me before its first flight.

Be safe!

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Well said simon... 


There is a growing trend of low airtime pilots being advised by there mates to buy the latest hot ship.. I have personally had customers call up to buy X or Y high end wing with only around 20-30 hours. After turning them down I find out they went and bought the same new wing one from somewhere else!!  



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I believe Paramotoring is an amazing aerial freedom that most people with the desire for flight and adventure can achieve with a relitavely low budget (considering we are actually flying an aircraft), and without the regulation that flying other aircraft entails. I hope it stays that way.

I want my flying to be as safe and enjoyable as possible (after all I dont want the real flight safety inspector, AKA the wife to ground me :-) ), Fingers crossed my Synth 2 combined with great instruction and my desire to remain safe will ensure I enjoy this hobby for many years. Hopefully by keeping myself as safe as I can I will instill confidence in the doubters I meet...you never know...they may run into the sky also if they believe this hobby isnt as crazy as it may seem to the passer by :-):-) .

Its like most things though; when I was a biker I always wanted a bigger, faster and the best I could afford...must resist the temptation! :-)

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