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17 000 feet. Review from Winged Monkeys Paramoto Team.

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  • All the flights outside F and G zones must be approved with air traffic control.
  • Do not fly without oxygen at altitude over 14 000 feet.
  • Do not endanger your own and others lives.

We were considering doing high altitude flights for quite a while. Eventually we were lucky enough to get both the permission from local air traffic control and some good weather to do the flights. The idea behind these flights was just to have fun (not to set any record) so we used the same Apco Lift wings we fly every day and no tuning was done an ordinary moster 185 on a SkyMax frame with S-horns and 125mm Helix prop. We were really surprised with the outcome so here is the review of the flights.

Highest RPM at the ground level were 8350 and the climb rate was just about 3 – 3.5 foot per second. We made the first 3000 feet in approximately 12min. RPM was going down slowly, at 12000 feet highest RPM was 7700 and about 1.5 feet per second climb rate. So the RPM drop was around 550. In comparison to Moster, under the same circumstances Simonini mini 2 engines lost around 1500RPM and the climb rate stopped at 12000 feet.

At the altitude of 12800 feet I suddenly got into wide, around 600 feet in diameter ascending airflow. The Climb rate jump to 3 feet per second.
Thermic? Really? At 6:30am?
At 14200 feet. Moster is still perfect.
At 14800 feet I Am still getting 7500RPM. Initially I expected to be able to get to only around 12000 – 13000 feet but now I was hoping to reach 16400 feet (5000meters).

14 800ft, the views are amazing.

5000 meters (16400 feet) notch is getting closer  and closer… Got it!
 As you can see at the video, emotions are overwhelming.

At this point I made a decision to go higher until I run out of fuel. Climb rate at this altitude is about  60 feet per minute. Moster surprises me to no end  – I still got 7300RPM, which is fantastic.

At the same time, the symptoms of altitude sickness were getting worse as time went by – breathing difficulty had gone and my mood was getting higher and higher. Having previous experience with these symptoms I knew that I had to stop shortly.

Meanwhile the fuel runs out. Silence… Incredible.

My Brauniger IQ Alto shows 16961feet and Garmin GPS shows 17552feet.

I did not want to spent too much time at this altitude and pressed out the speed bar. Descent rate was 20 feet per second to 30 feet when doing light maneuvers. At that altitude I did not want to take the risks of doing spirals – with low oxygen the risk of passing out under G-force is significantly higher. my leg muscles were shaking making it difficult to press the speed bar.

From 11500 Feet I starting doing spirals.

On this 1h 46 min flight I used 12litres of fuel, with average consumption of 6,8l per hour and average climb rate of 2,6 foot per second with Apco Lift M (28m). I was really impressed with how Moster 185 handled altitude performance.

I was in the mountains at the same altitude and knew what to expect. Using oxygen for flying over 14 000 feet is a legal requirement when piloting a plane and we strongly recommend to do this with paramotoring.

The next flights were done using oxygen.
The idea was to explore how it all works and to get ready to fly in the mountains.For our paramotoring purposes oxygen systems designed for climbing mountains work perfect. They are light and are used in the same conditions we are flying in.

We used the set consisting of three elements:
1. The tank. For paramotoring a 2–3 liters tank is more than enough. It provides a pilot with oxygen for 4–8 hours depending on oxygen flow rate. The weight of such a tank is only 1–1.5 kilo. It is made of special polymer and holds the pressure up to 300ATM.



2. Air flow regulator with oxygen flow settings from 0,5 to 4 liters per minute.

3. Mask. We used the most simple type, the same you have seen in the hospitals.

Few tips on how to mount the tank to the motor.
The first thing you have to consider is that during the flight you have to be able to reach the air flow regulator and see the notches of the flow rate. Therefore we decided to mount the tank to the cockpit’s place in front, between the S horns.


The second thing is that Oxygen is quite a dangerous gas, and you have to avoid any contact of the tank and its regulator with oils. As we have the fuel tank just one foot away from the oxygen tank we decided to use a simple but effective solution a plastic pocket with sealable upper part was put over the tank. However if I would use it on a regular basis, I would find a proper holder for it.

Start with the tank is no different to ordinary one and there is nothing special about using the mask while flying. 

Oxygen does the job indeed. At 14700 feet I decided to do a test. I took off the oxygen mask for a few minutes. The difference is tremendous. In comparison with flying and breathing oxygen, it feels like you are drunk. High altitude flying is a stunning, marvelous experience. But in order to do it in a right and safe way, using oxygen is a must.



Edited by admin (Simon W)
Link caused an error :-( first link was OK :-)
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Good stuff and also nice to read about your experiences. I did 5059m recently, Thor250 and Ozone Scirocco 26. Going up too a bit over 50 minutes. I was taking it easy and monitoring water temp as I had adjusted the mixture to be quite lean to work better up there.. 

I logged my heart rate just because I was curious. After 4000m it starts to go up. I was happy that Thor died finally at 5059m and I could start my ride back down to more breathable air ;)



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It's a great feeling isn't it. I loved turning the engine off and that long silent glide down.  paragliding from olu deniz is similar.

Having done this myself howrver,and looked into the law for UK unless things have changed some of your info is incorrect - just in case others copy.

You are not allowed to fly above 10k in UK without:


1. An oxygen supply (you MUST use this above 14k but it has to be AVAILABLE above 10k)

2. A transponder. Not having one would require CAA exemption for the flight. And AFAIK no one is flying a paramotor with one at present.

Happy to be corrected, but this was certainly the case a few years ago when I did some high flights looking to set a UK altitude record. Too much hassle in the end so did a few 10ks and left it at that.


Also, regarding hypoxia - it is rare to feel the symptoms. It is not uncommon to simple pass out. And it's a weird thing. I've lived for months at 11k alti,  walking and skiing at 14k so I feel I know I'm OK up there but there are cases of similarly adjusted people who suddenly have problems. and I'd say about 20% of folk I knew had real problems even at 9k or so. obviously  the results of blacking out while skiing or walking are going to be painful, but probably survivable. Flying - possibly not so much.

So for folk thinking of doing a flight to 10k - take it very very carefully. Fly with a friend on radio contact , and maybe stage over several flight - working up to 10k ?



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It`s an interesting topic and one which may be relevant to me this summer.

I`ve gone up to 7000` with no drama but would like to do a 10K.

Trouble is, the area in which i fly has lots of airspace - there is a corridor of class G approx five miles wide between a 8 - 16K danger area (by NOTAM) on one side and class A airway at FL95 on the other....

Would you risk flying in the class G either side of that....?

It would be legal to fly in that Class G but is it wise?

What do folks do - just pick some suitable Class G and go for it?


Ivan,great video`s - what did you do to combat the cold, and how long in total was the flight?



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3 hours ago, paulg18 said:

I was aware of the 10 k rule in the UK but have never managed to find where this is written down. Can someone provide a link to this perhaps.

it's all in the ANO:


p148 covers supply of oxygen.

p145 - covers other stuff (e.g. transponder) you need above 10k. damned if I can find the transponder bit though - maybe they removed that last year ?

I know it was tricky to find the first time - and  I needed it pointed out to me.

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Thanks guys for correcting and adding the info.

Totally agree with everything said about high altitude flying. You have to know what you are doing thoroughly. This particular flight was done abroad with the full support of Air Traffic Control. We were given the permission to fly in "cylinder" approx.7 miles in diameter. We plan to do later on this year high altitude flight in Wales and will be discussing the options with the authorities shortly.

It took 1h 45 min until 12 litters of fuel has gone. It was not too bad in terms of the temperature, just around minus 7 approx. Today in Wales it is minus 20 degrees C at 17 000ft (info from Windguru). So it worth checking the temperature shift for the day you plan the flight – for example in two days it is going to be just minus 9 (instead of minus 20 today).

The main issue with this sort of temperatures is your hands. Therefore I bought Norvana HOT 5 gloves with electric heating and have no issue anymore flying at winter. They are fantastic, the only flaw is the price ) Another tip to keep your hands warm is to keep your hands down, under the front container (if you have one). And to use your weight to change the direction of the flight. With most of S-horns type paramotors it is not a problem.

Few comments to the hypoxia symptoms.

As Powerlord pointed for some people it can come with no forewarning. And you can not really understand and appreciate the difference between flying with oxygen and without till you try. Repeating myself, when I have done a sort of experiment and took off the mask at 14 700ft for a minute it was like being drunk. So, let us fly safe, enjoy our beautiful sport and do it in a right way.

Next day piece of video at 13000 ft. Important! Flight was done with ATC permission.



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No problem at all. I have an air conveyor installed and tuned my carb so the temperature does not exceed 200 degrees no matter how long I hold the throttle for. Then with an altitude the ambient temperature goes down and the air density goes down as well, so the fuel-air mixture becomes richer and there is no risk to overheat the cylinder head.

However, with all the motors I had (and with Moster as well) I have temperature gauge installed and I keep an eye on temperature just to be aware of any issues. 


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Very interesting read, but to clarify rulings on flight for Paramotors should we not always be:

•at VFR rules

•not running out of fuel (as it is actually illegal for an aircraft to do so) 

Bit confused that although ATC gave you clearance for the height surely that wouldn't include the IFR type flying above what appeared to be blanket clouds?



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But there where you dont have any A B C D air space or air trafic contro zone you can fly up to 24000 feet Becase above that its B control airspace

Over my hed I have opened gate just need to take some oxygen flask

Edited by Dariuszk24
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14 hours ago, Danny B said:

Very interesting read, but to clarify rulings on flight for Paramotors should we not always be:

•at VFR rules

•not running out of fuel (as it is actually illegal for an aircraft to do so) 

Bit confused that although ATC gave you clearance for the height surely that wouldn't include the IFR type flying above what appeared to be blanket clouds?



Hi Danny,

Just to clarify, repeating myself - that flights we have done abroad. And we  were really lucky to get the arrangements.

We are going to be in contacts shortly with CAA regarding the same flights in Wales. It can be done by special permission only as it has to be an exception from FL100 rule for transponders. So you can not legally fly in the UK above 10000 feet without CAA approval. I will keep the forum updated if we will manage to go through the process. 

As for the fuel, Danny, we are gliders :D how do you think the guys are flying without the motors? :D The rules for the airplanes and self propellered foot launched gliders (that what we are from the point of view of the law) are different. 

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6 hours ago, Dariuszk24 said:

Hi Ivan

Can you show me where in uk air law its write "its illegal to fly over 10000 feet without aircontrol trafic in air space class G and F



If you prove that I am wrong, you will make me the happiest person for the next 15 min :D


 The Air Navigation Order 2016 and Regulations

in the text go to:

- Radio communication and radio navigation equipment

looking for our aircraft type

- (4) All gliders and SLMGs within the United Kingdom -

- (a) Flying at or above flight level 100

looking for equipment scate type - E2

going to E2 description:

Secondary surveillance radar equipment which includes a pressure altitude reporting transponder capable of operating in Mode A and Mode Cand has the capability and functionality prescribed for Mode S Elementary surveillance and is capable of being operated in accordance with such instructions as may be given to the aircraft by the air traffic control unit. 







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that's the one - good find Ivan - I was searching for 10,000 and transponder and FL100 - but NOT "flight level 100'... good find.

I agree, this sort of stuff is not easy to find in amongst the 100s of pages sometimes, and though some folk have tried to do a good job of summarising things it's worth always being wary of non primary sources - that ppginfo stuff for example is 2008 - really out of date.

Only in 2015 for example, major changes happened to the LFAs in scotland .. though I suppose strictly speaking that was airspace changes but I got caught out similarly - finding secondary sources which were completely out of date and only later seeing the proper up to date info when I got a refreshed airspace map.



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Hi Ivan,

yes summarised well and the transponder thing was never really part of the question, or at least not  for me anyway.

to clarify on the flight above cloudbase, that would still only be reserved for "Aircraft" with instrumentation though? I get the permission allowed you to climb that high, but going back to my training it was always drummed in to me that you should never do two things:

fly above clouds

run out of fuel

hence my confusion...? Either way you did it so fair play to you, but we can't be aircraft one minute then gliders the next. Luckily we are unregulated, although I can't see it staying like that forever.

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VFR rules:

Below FL100: 5km visibility, 1500m horizontally from cloud, 1000ft vertically from cloud.

Above FL100: 8km visibility, 1500m horizontally from cloud, 1000ft vertically from cloud.

So, you can be above cloud, if over 1000ft higher, but would have to travel over 5km horizontally away from the edge of the cloud, in order to descend!!!!!!

Also, having been through a rather large cloud (accidentally while learning!). I don't want to do it again. It was very wet and very cold (no rain, just the cloud). Had to land and dry out!

Edited by AndyB
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not quite I don't think. From ppginfo (http://www.ppginfo.com/airlaw.html) and I think this is still unchanged for donkeys years:


Visual Flight Rules (VFR)

Rule 26 Rules of the Air Regulations 1996
These rules govern the procedures for conducting flight outside controlled airspace under visual meteorological conditions (VMC). The requirements are designed to provide sufficient visibility so that other aircraft can be seen and avoided. VFR flight is only permitted when conditions are equal to or better than the the VMC minima. VFR flight cannot be conducted at night (night means 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise at surface level).
Rule 5
Level                                                            Flight Visibility                                        Distance from cloud
At or below 3000 feet amsl  1.5 km  VIZ,            Clear of cloud AND in sight of the surface
Above 3000 feet amsl to Flight Level 100 (i.e. 10K - our max alti) -  5 km VIZ,  1000 feet vertically and 1500 metres horizontally

So strictly speaking you only need to be able to see the ground below 3000ft to be legal.

I mean, you'd have to be bloody stupid, but it would not be illegal to fly at, say 6000 feet, with a 100% cloud cover, cloudbase at 3000 feet. Of course, you will be breaking the law when you fly though it to land (or splat yourself on the side of a mountain)


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Hi Denny,

Sorry not coping with answering strait away as it requires going through the legislation which is really time consuming.

I can see where the question about Aircraft/Glider comes from and you are right, we are not in a position to decide, which type of an Aircraft we are.

It is Schedule 4 part 1 of the Air Navigation Order 2016 and Regulations delivering this.

We are classified as heavier then air aircrafts – power driven flying machines – type 4 - Aeroplane (Self Launching Motor Glider).

So, there are no Paramotors in the Air Navigation Order 2016. We are in the same group with SLMG

Just to give you an idea, Gliders like this


 can take off with engine then servo takes it away to the fuselage and they are landing as not a power driven glider.

If you are still not convinced, FAI approved part of paramotor competition is when you are given 1 or 2 liters of fuel and the winner is a pilot who will land the last one (with no fuel of course).

Please, let me have 3 – 4 days to get together some info on IFR / VFR rules you are asking about and transponders. I placed the inquiries with BHPA and CAA as there are some contradictions and it seems to be not so strait. Hope to get some news soon.  


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  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry for taking it so long to come back with some answers to the questions discussed earlier.

1. It took about a dozen calls, multiple emails to CAA and BHPA and studying of legislation to clarify the transponder question. 

Here is the response from General Aviation Unit of CAA:
Definition - Paramotoring is Paragliding with an auxiliary motor attached to the pilot. The CAA has defined this recently legitimized form of powered flight as a foot launched self-propelled Hang glider (SPHG). This does not mean that Paramotors are deregulated, as they still have to comply with all U.K. aviation law/rules of the air. 
AS a general rule for all normal flight in open FIR no transponder would be needed.  Although FL100 is a high level  for paramotor flight it would only need a transponder if operating outside a non SSR gliding area.  So essentially if you are operating within a non SSR gliding area you won't need to have a transponder. 

So, In one world – NO, we do not need the transponders in F and G lass airspace no matter what altitude we fly. (FIR – Flight Information Region, SSR – Secondary Surveillance Radar). And the second fact – Yes – we are classified as a type of Glider.

Just in case – that’s a doc stating that we do not need the transponders. Honestly, I would not be able to find it by my own, many thanks to GA unit.
The relevant extracts from 1.5 GEN of the AIP which is the definitive source of for all airspace equipment requirements: 
 5.3.4 Exceptions (to mode S transponder) The requirements at sub-paragraphs 5.3.1 (c) to 5.3.1 (f) shall not apply to:
(a) Gliders, including self-sustaining gliders and self-propelled hang gliders, and self-launching motor gliders except;
(i) Where operating above FL 195 outside airspace notified as TRA(G), or
(ii) Where operating below FL 195 outside notified Non-SSR Transponder Glider Areas. –

Although we do not need to use the transponders here is an advice from CAA regarding high altitude flights:  
Our advice here is most definitely keep all surrounding ATC informed when planning to fly at those higher levels.

Gentlemen, I would suggest – do not hesitate to contact your local ATC and ask if they want to know what you are doing.



2. The second question I promissed to come back to was VFR / IFR (Visual Flight Rules /Instrumental Flights Rules) question. In simple worlds - can we go through the clouds legaly. 

Prior to coming to the question itself,
I truly believe that it is silly and dangerous to fly in the cloud. It is nothing interesting inside and It is not safe for you or any other pilots. 

Regarding if it is it legal or not to go through the clouds. It is controversial. 
I preferred not to ask CAA a kind of silly question as “Can I fly into the cloud please” :D but I have done some research on it. 
I hope, nobody will argue that Air law does not recognize being in the cloud as a separate type of the flight. It is only VFR or IFR we can fly. 
One will fly according to VFR in VMC (Visual Meteorological Condition) and IFR in IMC (Instrumental Meteorological Condition)

What do you think about this photo from our recent flight to Wales? Are we flying under VMC or IMC here?


If you think that these are Visual Meteorological Conditions you are wrong. It is Instrumental. 
Because of the VFR minima difinition for Class G airspace for 3000ft – FL100 which is:
- 5 km flight visibility
- 1500m horizontally from cloud
- 1000ft vertically from cloud

So strictly speaking, when I approached and went through this small tiny cloud (Air Law has is not recognizing “BIG” and “tiny” clouds :D) I was flying under IMC.

So, is it legal? 
Two fundamental facts are:
1.    We are classified as Gliders.
2.    In G class airspace both VFR and IFR flights are permitted. No clearance needed as it is not controlled airspace.
3.    Gliders are permitted to fly IFR

At this point one can think that he can legally fly under IMC and fly through the cloud. Moreover, a lot of paragliding instructors in the UK think that it is silly, dangerous but still legal.
I personally do not think it is. The reason for it is Part 10 of Schedule 6 of the Air Navigation Order 2016 and Regulations which sets the minimal list of equipment for the aircrafts flying under IFR:
-    Magnetic heading
-    Pressure altitude
-    Indicated airspeed
-    Vertical airspeed
-    Turn and slip
-    Attitude
-    Stabilized heading 

I do not think that anybody has the slip indicators installed at his paramotor :D and I do not thing there is an exception made specially for us. Moreover, all the equipment to be used for flying IFR has to be approved by CAA.

This is the variometer I am using during the flights to identify the altitude and vertical airspeed.


It is a nice and reliable device but it is not approved by CAA so technically it is not legal to use it for IFR. And again - technically, we can not comply to minimum IMC equipment requirements. Thats my opinion. 

In conclusion - although there is no clear answer if there is a chance for us to legally fly under IMC I believe that nobody is interested how you are flying, where and what model of altimeter you have since you are not doing the silly things. In one sentence – do not fly through the clouds, in restricted airspace and over the public, do not endanger yours and others life. 

If you have any doubts where and when you can fly – do not hesitate to contact BHPA or CAA. They are really helpful and keen in keeping us all safe. 

So let us enjoy our beautiful sport and keep safe.  

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