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fuzzybabybunny

Why don't people like to paramotor in thermic conditions but paragliders do?

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This is something that I've never fully understood. Instructors have told me that summer is bad for paramotoring but it's good for paragliding. For paragliding it's obvious - they need the thermals to stay up, so summer is great! Then they tell me that paramotoring isn't good in summer because the ride is bumpy, and this is where I lose the logic.

When both glider and motor are in the air in summer, BOTH are going to experience a bumpy ride... (I personally use the same wing for both). So, uh, why isn't summer a good time to paramotor again? It doesn't make sense to retire your motor to the garage during summer and use your freeflight harness instead based solely on ride quality.

The only logical explanation that I can think of is that launching and landing in thermic conditions is harder in summer with all that paramotor weight on your back and if you get knocked over you can break more stuff. 

Once you lift off you've got more of a chance of experiencing a low-altitude wing collapse but that should be the same for a paraglider as well, no?

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I guess one reason is it depends on whether you want to fly in thermals to get some altitude or whether you fly through them on your way somewhere whilst under power. 

I'm surprised to hear an instructor saying summer is bad for paramotors, it's usually awesome all year round. :-) 

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I do not mind the thermic conditions  ,but love the smooth ride the motor give me in smooth conditions  .I take fllying with the motor differently as I set my throttle  to level flight and go chaseing thermals . I am very careful  with the motor  on as you can get in serious trouble very fast ( I had  a few scares where   the thrust to made the conditions better than it realy was )

I do find that when I fly the motor in thermic conditions  I fly with a completely different  mindset  (almost scared ) , I struggle  to stay in lift as I have the motor  to back me up .

I am starting loveing  freeflying  even more than motoring as it is a challenge against nature to stay up and any thermic conditions is my beast friend , however bad they are. 

I am not even remotely  comfortable  flying in the same rough conditions  with a motor  on my back.

Casey 

 

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I fly in UK midday sun in the middle of summer. It is just bumpy.  I also fly in the south of Spain, where in mid summer it is too bumpy to be anywhere near flyable.......so stick to the beach during the day.

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I have also heard people say they will happily free fly in far worse conditions than they would ever attempt with a motor. But so far I haven't really heard why, other than comments like "it feels a lot less pleasant with a motor". I'd love to understand why.

Personally I get quite nervous when it starts to get bumpy, and I don't see why that would feel significantly different without a motor.

Edited by Gregwatson

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I suspect that it has more to do with the reasons why people do these things.  Paramotor pilots fly for the pleasure of flight, whereas Paraglider pilots do it for the challenge of gaining height and maintaining it using natural lift. A Paraglider has to fly in bumpy air, but a Paramotor has the choice and chooses to fly in smoother air.

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This is how I would answer it : In my freeflying harness  it feels like a glove that moves with me part of my body -- against the motor  witch is something I sit in ( although nice and tight , it ifeels external to me).

If you have ever been on a boom lift (Chery picker) ** They move , then you move ,when they stop , you stop after them  ,you are not part of it ,but yust on it. (I hate being up on one )

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Ah ha. Now it makes sense.

When free flying, the bumps move just yourself, the harness weighs very little.

When flying with paramotor, the 20 something kilograms on your back is also being bumped, but will not move in unison with your own body.  

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The height of the hang points must also play a part. On my machine with low hang points I feel every little bump but I have heard it said that on high hangpoint machines the effect is much less. I cannot comment on this personally as I have never flown anything other than low. 

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They're just different flying disciplines. I've done both for the last 22 years and they're only alike due to the wing similarity.

PG - lots of waiting around, retrieves, lots of circle turning, long journeys to sites. 0 to 4 hours flying for a 10 hour day.

PPG - 10 mins from home - 90 minute flight - back home in less than 3 hours.

Also need thermic or ridge lift for PG, but not this much ..... 😥

 

 

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22 hours ago, noddyc said:

This is how I would answer it : In my freeflying harness  it feels like a glove that moves with me part of my body -- against the motor  witch is something I sit in ( although nice and tight , it ifeels external to me).

If you have ever been on a boom lift (Chery picker) ** They move , then you move ,when they stop , you stop after them  ,you are not part of it ,but yust on it. (I hate being up on one )

Ok, so the bumps are felt more on the PPG kit than the PG kit, but there is no real difference in terms of actual safety and stability, right? It just feels a bit worse. 

I was under the impression that PPG isn't good for summer because it's somehow more dangerous than PG-flying in the same conditions (and the same wing).

Edited by fuzzybabybunny

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Hi Fuzzybabybunny

I would not say it is felt much more *** I'll  say rather different  *****  ( my mindset is different as well)

It is not more dangerous , it is probably more dangerous free flying  , where you actively search  for thermals  , where tugs on the wing is quite normal. ( I use them to tell me what the thermal is doing).

With my motor on I can only remember one frontall collaps where I was to far back over the  ridge , on the limit , soaring with the motor on idle **** if you touched the throttle  it did a full frontal collapse **** I yust let off , glided forward and when back on power. 

I love setting  my motor on level flight   then go chase thermals  ( or some times seaching for some heat to warm me up )

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Hi Fuzzybabybunny

I would not say it is felt much more *** I'll  say rather different  *****  ( my mindset is different as well)

It is not more dangerous , it is probably more dangerous free flying  , where you actively search  for thermals  , where tugs on the wing is quite normal. ( I use them to tell me what the thermal is doing).

With my motor on I can only remember one frontall collaps where I was to far back over the  ridge , on the limit , soaring with the motor on idle **** if you touched the throttle  it did a full frontal collapse **** I yust let off , glided forward and when back on power. 

I love setting  my motor on level flight   then go chase thermals  ( or some times seaching for some heat to warm me up )

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The problem occurs when motoring through a big thermal, on the entrance and exit you have a lot of sinking air just before the rising air this is what can cause collapses if you are not ready, paragliding you are flying actively and looking for the thermal, entering it and climbing with it so you are expecting to get thrown around a bit, 

theres no problem at all flying PPG in rough conditions if you know what to expect, 

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For my 20 cents worth...

1. Your wing loading with a motor is significantly higher (especially since we ppgers mostly use reflex gliders with high sink rates and poorer glide ratios, whereas pg guys mostly do not) so you dont feel thermals nor do they have as much effect until they get much stronger than with free flying...by the time you really feel them they are getting bloody strong and a lot more dangerous. Its at this point in the middle of the day that even a lot of free flight guys may be choosing to land!

2. Under thrust, paraglider wings dont like turbulence anywhere near as much with no thrust (under gravity)...ever landed your motor in turbulence from trees etc...notice how it snakes around and pitches much more than if you turn the motor off and descend through the rough stuff? 

3. Hitting bad sink near the ground or taking a collapse near the ground with 30kg on your back is going to hurt a lot more than free flying with just a harness (which also usually has back protection btw (unlike ppg harnesses which ushally do not)

4. Because of heavier wing loadings when motoring, effectively the amount of energy and difficulty your setup produces, is at least one class higher than the gliders free flight rating. So En A becomes En B, En B becomes En C and so on. Therefore you are actually flying a much more dynamic wing in more difficult and stronger thermic conditions needed in order to stay up without the motor going...thats a lot of extra difficulty compared with free flying

5. Because of less weight shift, increased cage drag, and restricted head and body movement due to things like cage and swing arms, thermalling in a motor is actually significantly more difficult than free flying.

6. If thermalling/soaring for a long time at altitude, you may find your motor has cooled down and difficult to start again. Because you arrived at said spot under power, you may have not thought about "can i get out of here to a safe bombout if motor wont start again?"

Your answer might be yes, but did you base your glide to that bombout on a free flying sink rate or motor sink rate. This is often a huge trap for guys who fly both pg and ppg...their brain subconsciously switches modes and they inadvertantly forget they now have a really terrible comparative glide ratio because they are concentrating on catching/following thermals or soaring ridge lift in the motor.

 

Not saying for a minute dont ridge soar or thermal a motor, just dont take it for granted ppg is the same same as free flying and just as easy. It isnt.

 

Kind regards

Adam

Edited by adamjedgar

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