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Paragliding Safer than Paramotoring?


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Saw this being chatted about on the Paramotor Mag site... and pinched it for here.

Interesting topic this!

http://www.footflyer.com/Safety/Inciden ... alysis.htm

"...Compared to paragliding. The U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA) has about 10,000 members of which approximately 4500 are paraglider pilots. To be conservative, I'm assuming all are active (at least 5 flights per year). Over the past 5 years they have experienced about 3 fatalities per year. That's about 0.7 fatalities per 1000 participants�almost identical to motorcycle riders which means that paragliding is about 30% more dangerous than powered paragliding. Given that its entirely possible that paraglider pilots have even fewer yearly flights (they are more weather dependant) than paramotor pilots, paragliding could easily be far more dangerous than this suggests.

...Compared to Sky Diving. Not surprisingly, sky diving is incredibly dangerous! It's a skydiver myth that flying up in the airplane is more dangerous than the jump out. According to the U.S. Parachute association (USPA), a sky diver is 4 times more likely to die on the jump out than the flight up. That means that sky diving is about 4 times more dangerous than powered paragliding. 4 paramotor flights is the same death risk as one skydive. That is, in fact, how I decided to go skydiving�I decided the fun factor would equate to 4 paramotor flights. Risk and reward..."

SW :D

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One thing to bear in mind is that their statistics are based on incidents per 1000 persons indulging in it per annum. So the figures that compare motorcycling to paramotoring should be examined a little more closely. I'm probably a middling motorcycle user, perhaps doing 5000 miles per year, so perhaps 6000 hours on the bike. I should think that any aviator doing that number of hours (as a hobby pursuit) would be doing rather more than the average. This would suggest that motorcycling on a hour to hour, or even trip to trip comparison with paramotoring, is far, far safer rather than comparable.

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Dont really see how to compare any of this stuff. Even comparing hill soaring with thermalling or speed flying or acro.

From a personal point of view I feel safer when paragliding. I feel much more part of the machine. In paramotoring I feel exposed, stuck out on the front bumper somehow. I have flown my paramotor in quite turbulent air and do not feel I can control it as well as I can a paraglider (which I have flown in much rougher stuff without a qualm). I think it is mainly the body position and the inability to roll at the hip. I also feel vulnerable near the ground as I know if I come in hard I cannot do a proper plf and the weight of the motor will load my back as the wing unloads.

BUT this is all my psychological response to the unknown. It may be that the lower confidence I feel in my safety on a paramotor would actually contribute to a mishap? I do know that well placed confidence in your equipment and your ability is a key safety feature of a flight.

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Dont really see how to compare any of this stuff. Even comparing hill soaring with thermalling or speed flying or acro.

From a personal point of view I feel safer when paragliding. I feel much more part of the machine. In paramotoring I feel exposed, stuck out on the front bumper somehow. I have flown my paramotor in quite turbulent air and do not feel I can control it as well as I can a paraglider (which I have flown in much rougher stuff without a qualm). I think it is mainly the body position and the inability to roll at the hip. I also feel vulnerable near the ground as I know if I come in hard I cannot do a proper plf and the weight of the motor will load my back as the wing unloads.

BUT this is all my psychological response to the unknown. It may be that the lower confidence I feel in my safety on a paramotor would actually contribute to a mishap? I do know that well placed confidence in your equipment and your ability is a key safety feature of a flight.

If you had as many hours paramotoring as paragliding you would probably feel the same about both

Pete b

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I understand what Francis is saying, but I add that Paragliding is best performed in unstable conditions. for best results. (dangerous part of the day)

Paramotoring is the reverse. Best flying at Dawn and dusk (work friendly). Active weather either not begun or just finished.

In todays market it is not too difficult to predict when weather will be unstable. Dont fly your motor under these conditions.

All said and done our biggest risk is asymetric collapse - These happen much more in unstable conditions

Simon

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All said and done our biggest risk is asymetric collapse - These happen much more in unstable conditions

Simon

Yes definitely, but I have begun to have a different take on collapses to this.

My experience of collapses is that rather than them "happening" they often occur as a result of how we manage the wing (wittingly or not). My point about body position is important here as the body roll (being able to load one or other side of the wing) is a crucial control input. You are able to anticipate the unloading of one side just prior to a potential collapse and avert it. I fly quite a high aspect ratio glider but cannot remember the last time I had a collapse because (I believe) of my wing management (famous last words!). On paramotor I feel I do not have such control input. (my paramotor wing is much lower aspect ratio but feels at least as twitchy in active air)

Simon you are absolutely right about the choice of conditions. Instability is essential to paragliding (other than ridge soaring). So from that perspective PPG is going to be "safer" (at least from collapse) because of the choice of flying conditions? It is low level collapse that does for many (most?) paragliding accidents.

My comments are probably not easily transferable to reflex profile wings which ( I am learning) have a different turbulence management philosophy.

edit[ It just occurred to me that I do not know what distance the risers are set from each other on my machine? That is a very important measurement and a "beginner" rated wing will become very twitchy if the risers are too far apart.]

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Francis....

Your talking about low hang points chap arn't you? I know that flying PG is WAY more touchy feely in the way you describe but with my motor I can feel when a side is going light soon enough to react with ease....

SW :D

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This is all fascinating reading, especially as I convinced my wife that paramotoring is the safest form of private flying ;-)

Surely the real comparisons between sports can only be made in terms of accidents per hour flown (or ridden) not in terms of the number of people participating. Also, there is always a huge difference between those who engage in the riskier end of a sport (close to the ground aerobatics) and those who just pootle around.

And finally, as some wise pilot once said "the only bad altitude is the bit above you." At least with more height you have more time to take action before the briefly painful impact with the ground. 2000 feet is about 12 seconds of free fall. Plenty of time to deploy a reserve. 50 feet is a little under 2 seconds. Just enough time to say "oh f***" :wink:

Happy flying - see you all when the wind drops!

Stuart

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