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Paragliding question...

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Afternoon all,

i am looking for advice regarding the training and progression up to paramotoring. Ultimately, I want to fly paramotors but was considering taking up paragliding first. What are people's thoughts on this? Would you just go straight to paramotor?

if I were to paraglide first could I purchase a wing that I could eventually use for paramotoring? Any recommendations?

For me, paragliding is considerably cheaper in the short term however, I understand the limitations regarding suitable sites that I would be able to launch from. On the other hand paramotoring is more flexible in terms of launching and getting as much air time as possible.

Would anybody recommend a good, cost effective paramotor setup for a beginner?


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Cost wise, I would say that spending the extra money on PG training will work out something close to a half decent second hand Paramotor. 

Also: If you were in France I would say go for it (why not) but here in the UK it can take years!! (literally) to get rated, because of the UK weather and the PG window being so much smaller than PPG.  

Most of the 'conversion' people that we teach are at the end of there Para'waiting' course and feeling quite frustrated when they arrive. They leave with the realisation that they should have gone to PPG years ago!! :-):-) 


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I learned to paraglide 12 years ago. Then i bought a motor in 2012 (or thereabouts) and found that instead of flying once or twice a month i was suddenly able to fly at least once a week on average. Also i found i almost never had a wasted flying session as if the weather was ok i could simply go out and take off without being reliant on the right wind strength and direction. 

I still love freeflying, but i fly with a motor far more often. It's a very different sport, each have their own merits, and I love having the option to choose how i fly. I also have a PPL which is great for taking friends flying, although definitely not as fun in itself as paramotoring or paragliding.  If i had to choose only one method of flying, it would almost definitely be paramotors.

In hindsight, i found it very easy to teach myself to fly with a motor as i had around 200hrs of paragliding experience, but i would highly recommend getting quality training whichever one you choose to start with. I had an excellent paragliding instructor (Andrew Pearse of flying frenzy in Dorset) and i still think i benefit from his teaching 12 years down the line.


Edited by tomarnold
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  • 2 weeks later...

I think it depends where you live - you haven't said. I really enjoy both free flight and motoring, and you learn different things from flying both.

I live in South Wales close to paragliding sites so it's not too far to drive to the hills to go paraglide and that's easier than getting the motor out when I know it's definitely flyable at short notice.

If you live somewhere flat like East Anglia it would probably make more sense to learn to motor first.

Costs - well it's an expensive hobby, whichever you take up once you've added in a reserve, wing, radio, helmet, harness/paramotor, instruments, other stuff... Starting with a paraglider wing is fine on a motor and often recommended by paramotor instructors as can be easier to learn compared to a paramotor (reflex) wing - any one of the main brands would be fine.

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  • 1 month later...

As an ignorant additional question - which is the safer sport?  ISTM that flying in relatively calm air by yourself 1000 feet from anything solid might be safer than flying in more turbulent air close to a hillside in close proximity to other aircraft, and additionally the more frequently a person gets to fly, generally the safer they become.  Also I should think it is nice to have the option to "go around" if you've badly misjudged the landing approach or spot an obstacle very late.  But as I have as yet zero experience of either, I've probably overlooked many other factors.

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I don't think you can't compare. It is the one flying that determines how safe. There are many different ways of getting wrong with both.

I find very calm air can give a false sense of security. Yes, the flying in amazing, especially when you turn the motor off. But, the landing in no wind is one that has the fastest ground speed!

Definitely practice makes perfect, and long gaps between flying don't help.....After just a 10 day gap, yesterday I took off from the beach in no wind and struggled to get off the ground. My wife videoed it. A simple mistake, not leaning back enough so the power is pushing my feet slightly down, keeping my feet in the ridiculously soft sand.

PPG training requires landing without power, exactly as you would need to do when your engine fails. In thermic conditions I often do a power on low pass to have a good feel as to what is going on in the approach to the landing spot. 

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18 hours ago, cas_whitmore said:

Agree with Andy on zero wind landings . Last few times in the evening, trims pulled  to the stops still came in faster than I was used to of late, wasn't ready for the run off the first time . 


Great opportunity for some field surfing, it's my favourite method of landing in nil wind. :-) 

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When I skydived more people were killed each year doing swoop landings and hook turns under good canopy than were killed by malfunctions. With higher performance and smaller canopies I'm sure it would still be the same stats. Be careful letting brakes off to increase speed close to the ground. I certainly wouldn’t pull the brakes and let them off again close to the ground, you’re liable to hit the ground harder than you would under a nill wind, no flare landing. I feather the brakes instead to maintain an even height above the ground and finish with a stronger pull once its about to run out of energy.

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6 hours ago, cas_whitmore said:

Umm leave that to the experts.

ive been S ' turning on landing approach and sort of swooping in from the last turn quite addictive. 


Yes, I totally agree. The book does say don't do it near the ground until you are VERY confident. That will be some time away yet. :)

Where I fly off the beach the wind during the day tends to come off the sea onto the beach at a 45 degree angle. In the evening it switches to directly off the sea. On one of the narrow beaches I fly off (40 m wide flat area) I sometimes have to track along the coast path, parallel to beach and then do a 90 degree turn (buildings and trees in the way stopping straight approach). This turn has to be very low on the 40 m wide beach as it drops off suddenly down to the sea. I practised this loads with motor still on at first, as I always had a tendency to be too high and found landing in the sea a distinct possibility. This was how I a stuffed an elbow badly last year when flying off a small gravel car park. It all goes wrong very quickly near the ground!



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