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Newbie wing collapses


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As a newbie yet to fly a paramotor for the first time, an area of concern is wing collapses.  I have a Full PPL that lapsed 15 yrs ago, 400 glider flights and a handful of microlight flights from many years ago.

Coyld anyone give me their thoughts on causes, effects and recovery.  How often do these occur? etc.  I'm obviously aware of thermals and gusts, but to what extent are they a risk to the parawing.

I can see that novice wings are more stable than competition and intermediate wings.

Particularly would welcome discussion around high level, low level and turn induced collapses.


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I have been paramotoring for 17 years and never had a collapse that needed any piloting input to recover from. Sure I have  had a few minor ones but wing has recovered before I could react. Just do not buy a hot shot wing and make sure your well into the weight range. If your light on a wing its more prone to wing tip collapses . 

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The most problematic time with wing collapses for me whilst motoring has been when hitting thermic activity...i have had some doozies in this regard. I think that the solution is simple...if that sort of stuff is outside ones comfort zone (which also tends to be outside ones ability too i might add) avoid flying in such conditions. If you want to fly in the middle of the day and there is thermic activity around its best to be coastal i reckon.

The reality is that wing loading and collapse resistance is to some extent a double edged sword.

If you are heavy on wing....remembering most paramotor wing loadings are significantly higher than free flying counterparts on similar sized wings, then the amount of wing dynamics is significantly higher

You mention gift wrapping....most often happens when you get a very large wing surge forwards after something like a stall, wing going down underneath you before deflating into a bedsheet...then you fall into it. I have very nearly ended up in a gift wrap whilst free flying a Niviuk Icepeak 6 2 liner competition wing...i can tell you from experience that seeing a bedsheet directly underneath you whilst falling towards terra firma is not a good feeling...especially if you dont have a reserve at the time as was my case that day (i was flying coastal at lowish altitude and some of us coastal pilots dont use reserves under such circumstances..so i recovered from said situation about 100 feet above ground counting my lucky stars)

If you are light on a wing wing then it is far more likely to collapse, however, since you are overloaded by around 30kg compared with similar free flying wings, you can afford to be quite a way underweight before its a huge huge problem.

Also, a lightly loaded wing is not as dynamic in recovery when compared with a heavily loaded one.

Finally...heavier loaded wing has different speed ranges when compared with lightly loaded wing..and for me the light wing loading becomes a pain in the ass if you encounter headwinds...it wont cut through them anywhere near as well.

I think gemerally most paramotor pilots prefer to be heavy rather than light and im in full agreement with this veiw. For me this is because with a heavier loading comes an inherant stability making collapses and parachutals and stalls less likely in the first place. Its i.portant to remember though that this can give one a false sense of security and then an overly confident attempt at advanced manouvres such as big wing overs,  spins and sats becomes ones undoing when all of a sudden the pilot finds themselves on an out of control "bucking bronco"!

Edited by adamjedgar
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I have flown all times of day in the UK, including in strong summer sun. Yes, the thermals can make it very bumpy and not as pleasant to fly in, but I have never, ever, so much as seen a wing-tip dip! And the thermals have been strong enough to keep power on when having to land over the rape seed field before getting to my landing field - there is always a strong 'up' over the rape seed, which then tends to dump me onto the landing field, so a burst of power is good to re-establish flight!

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On 11/11/2017 at 13:43, alan_k said:

The biggest safety factor is deciding when NOT to fly. .


I can not explain it better :)

Parmotoring is fun and safe because we can fly in totally calm conditions (not the same for free flight for example!)... I'm a newbie pilot and, like you, I was a little scared about wing collapses, my instructor said "if you have a wing collapse, you have committed a valutation error, and you should not be there"

Now I'm flying with little on shore constant wind (5-6 knots, we fly often on the beach) and it's very very funny...in fact when I come back and fly with the wind just in front of me, I can fly at very very low altitude in maximum safety ( look the video al 1.10... :D )


hope that my written english is good enough :)


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