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Various newbie questions


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Hello all,  

I recently started watching various Paramotor videos on YouTube and really like the idea of the sport, especially the freedom it offers, but I have a few clarification questions before i take it much further.  I have read a fair bit of conflicting information from Paramotor sites in the UK/US/Europe so it would be handy to confirm what the rules are in the UK.

1) I understand that PPG / Paramotor is considered an un-licensed activity and technically doesn't require training or certification for solo flight.  Is this the case? (Note: I wouldn't consider flying without training but its just a point of clarification)

2) There are a number of public playing fields near where I live that would make perfect take-off / landing spots.  Is it legal to just rock up with your Paramotor and take off? Or do you need to seek special permissions from someone? Does the field need to be a minimum size?

3) I read a couple of people say something about 500ft or 500m minimum distance from things.  Whats the deal with that?

4) Are you limited to a specific altitude?  or is that limitation based on where you are? (i.e. restricted air spaces)

5) Do you have to file a flight plan or anything?

I appreciate that most, if not all, of these questions would be answered on a training course, but I am trying to assess the practicality of flying in my local area (South Hampshire).  If i have to drive for hours each way just to get in the air then chances are I would never get time to do it regularly, so I don't want to sink hundreds or thousands of pounds into it if I cant take advantage of it.

Cheers.

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1) Correct - no license required but training almost universally advised........ Think of it as riding a bike on the public highway - no license required but you have to obey the highway code.

2) You need the landowners permission. Public playing fields will be controlled by the local council - they will have an appoplectic fit if they hear you want to use a paramotor from there - engines, flying machines and propellors do not mix well with the public. Find a co-operative farmer who will allow you to fly from a field. Fly responsibly, don`t draw attention to yourself by being a nuisance and keep the sport un-regulated. There are whingers out there.....

3)There`s a rule (among hundreds of others) that states you have to stay 500` clear of `any person, vehicle, vessel or structure` when flying, not during a normal take-off and landing, though.

500` is far too low for normal flight anyway- get high! (see above about nuisance..)

4) How high you can fly/altitude is `limited` by controlled airspace. It can be from the ground up or have a bottom `ceiling height` which you could fly under. Study a CAA chart of your local area. The CAA will see the consequences of straying into controlled airspace far more severely than plod would if you were to ride your bicycle on the pavement, however.

5)No.

All these questions would be answered in more depth with your instructor, but that`s the basics.

Where abouts in south Hampshire - it`s quite busy airspace down here, we can have a look and tell you where you could fly.

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Hi Hann, Thanks for the answers.

Regarding point 2, this is why i wanted clarification.  I have seen a lot of videos based out of the states where people just launch from a football field or something.  I guess if its a one-off and no-one see where you launched from then it probably wouldn't amount to much but these videos seem to launch from the same places all the time suggesting its less of an issue over there.  I do get your point about keeping the sport un-regulated tho.  Dont want to p*** people off if you can avoid it.

I am based in Fareham, so sites in the Portsmouth / Fareham / Southampton areas would be good.   Obviously anywhere close to Southampton airport would be problematic, and presumably any of the military bases may have fly-over restrictions of some kind.  

There is the Solent airport in Lee-On-Solent that flys gliders and light aircraft that i guess might allow paramotor launching, and theres also Popham airfield just off the 303 north of Winchester, but thats a bit further away than i would like.  Theres also an airfield in Lower Upham, run by "Solent Flight" that may be usable but i see no reference to anything other than plane lessons on their website.  There are, obviously, a myriad of farmers fields in the area north of Fareham, so that might be an option, however if anyone has previous experience with one nearby that would be useful.

Thanks in advance for any info.

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Personally, i`d avoid trying to get permission to fly from a GA airfield or farmstrip, try and get a local farmer on-side.

Some pilots/flying clubs see paramotors as a `poor relation` and you may come up against prejudice. We probably don`t mix well with other aircraft, either (flying speeds/operational factors). Places like Popham would be a no-no, anyway.

Fareham is in Fleetlands ATZ so no flying there, but find a field just to the North and you can easily fly around it - there`s loads of space to fly to the north - Meon Valley etc with 3000` ceiling, and the coast/Portsmouth to Hayling / Witterings  would be very cool to fly over.

Isle of Wight when you`ve got a bit of experience, too.

 

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Out of interest why would places like Popham be a no-no?  Its little more than a grass field, than a full-on airport.  They also seem to do microlight training there so i would have thought they would be amenable to relatively slow / light aircraft launching like a paramotor.

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Hi Paraknight,  i'm in a very similar position in terms of looking to start, and I live in Gosport, if you fancy a learning buddy to explore training etc. let me know.

I have seen a paramotorist once turn up at 7pm one evening at Stokes Bay, Gosport and fly off over the Solent to IOW but doubt if he had formal permission from council.  Wort tonote that one mile east of where he took off is Fort Monkton which is highly restricted and they dont mess about with onlookers (ran by Intelligence services)

A friendly farmer in Meon valley or Titchfield might work. I know a friend land owner of several fields in Titchfield whom it might be worth a chat with.

SIMON. 07754 951221

 

 

 

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There's probably no need for a specific post code really. Anything within easy reach of PO16 (Fareham), or any PO (Portsmouth) post code would be good.

As noted by SimonC there are a number of public common grounds that would be perfect, but likely permission will be challenging.  That said there are a few private fields that would work equally well.

I am guessing this is the field the guy used:  https://goo.gl/FTxW22 (Right on the shore so not launching over houses, parking, etc.  Nearly ideal really)

This is one of the fields that also looked quite good. https://goo.gl/MSaoMj (Reasonably open, not heavily used, away from houses, Launches over water)

Another location is here:  https://goo.gl/s56r2R (Looks like its a private field owned by the company who run the storage buildings nearby)

This one is on top of the hill: https://goo.gl/bWvjG9 (Appears to be public, but possibly owned by the Churchillian pub)

Lastly, there's this place: 
https://goo.gl/3hrww4 ("Solent Flight", appears to be a little private grass airfield for light aircraft training.  Only a couple of planes appear to fly from here so if they are amenable, it would likely be perfect.)

 

All these sites appear, on the surface at least, to be great launch sites.  There are a load more that work if you are less concerned with launching over houses / etc.  I would assume as long as you get up and away from those houses you aren't likely to garner the ire of the locals unless you do it a lot.  We get a lot of loud cars and motorbikes, as well as semi-regular low-flying aircraft, in the area so a paramotor probably isn't going to annoy anyone any more than they do.

But ultimately if the air space in this area is controlled then that would explain why there are so few fliers around here (I think ive probably seen no more than a handful over the years).  If there is a convenient location near here that isnt as controlled that would be cool.

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