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Heavyweight noob looking for advice


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Hello all,

I've been thinking about paramotoring for a while, but I need some advice.

I'm a big lad, currently tipping the scales at some 22 stone :shock: .... not exactly light as a feather I know, but bear with me.

Presumably the existence of wings to carry two persons mean that there should be one somewhere that could cope with my weight, but what do I do about training?

Going up in the air without training strikes me as a particularly daft thing to do, but every club I've investigated has weight restrictions that I cannot realistically reach.

I'm certain sure that once I get started it's a past-time that I'll keep up, so if I have to shell out for kit first that's a possibility. If that's the case, where would I be best looking to get a wing and motor and how much am I looking at investing?

Currently I'm living in Wallasey in Cheshire, but I can travel if it's going to help me get airborne.

Any help and advice (other than the obvious "go on a diet fatty" :D ) would be greatly appreciated... I can't be the first supersize paramotor pilot out there surely?

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Hi,

Give Simon a call 07983 428 453 I'm sure that he would be happy to give you training or advise on instructors closer to you.

A tandam wing and a Parajet Macro or similar should get you in the air. I know Simons got a Macro for training

but you may have to get your own wing as I dont think he has a tandem.

The ground school stuff can be done with a smaller wing obviously better with the wing you intend to fly but not imperative.

Hope thats some help. Look forward to hearing about your first flight. :D

Cheers Col......

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Hi,

22 stone that is 140 kg? Wings have weight ranges that they are certified to fly within. Typically Tandem wings are rated 140 to 200 or 160 to 220 or 240. Some power wings are rated to 160 kg. (e.g. Nova Rotor) but you may find these very fast at your weight.

It is recommended that you fly towards the top of the range so taking the motor and your weight and equipment all in you will be flying at around 178kg all up weight.

There are two problems that you will face. One the size of the wing you will be dealing with will make it harder for you to ground handle. In light winds you will need to give it enough energy to get it flying and in stronger winds you will find controlling it comparatively harder than a pilot with a smaller wing.

Second (related to the first) is your strength and fitness. learning can be quite tiring and needs a reasonable level of fitness (heart and lung) and the motor weighing up to 28kg, is cumbersome and makes handling the larger wing harder too, so you will need to have a good physical strength.

Assuming you are 22 stone of solid muscle and can climb the stairs without pausing for breath, there is equipment that you can use that is able to fly with your weight. :D:D and yes, you would probably need to buy it first to train on it.

Taster days are available and will involve you handling a smaller wing that will not lift you off the deck, running with it to take off speed, getting puffed out, having a chat with an instructor and generally finding out all about the sport and watching pilots fly at first hand. That would be the next step I suggest.

Most schools will have an upper weight limit and this is based on assumptions about the physical ability of a person of higher than average weight rather than the feasibility of them flying, and also the greater difficulties that student will have to overcome. A taster day will help you convince the instructor you are a viable prospect! They probably will not want to train someone to fly on a tandem wing; these can have shorter riser sets because they are designed to fly on spreader bars not directly on a harness. There are some dual purpose tandem/solo wings though. Their speed systems are different too so you would need careful research and advice before choosing a wing. If you were to ask me I would probably point you at the Powerplay Sting 180 as it has trims and an accelerator, is dhv 1-2 rated (beginner/intermediate) and has a DULV certification when flown with certain motors. It is identical in size and construction to thei Sting 250 which is a tandem wing (shorter risers) and that which is certified to 170kg all up weight. The sting is a well regarded design and from a long established manufacturer. I would also recommend using "quick outs" a type of wing attachment carabiner that lets you "dump" one or both sides of the wing on landing. With a big wing getting dragged or just getting it down after landing can be problematic in moderate winds.

Hope this is useful.

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I cant say much more than this but...

Paramania will have the answer for you before your trained enough to be in the air.

SW :D

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Francis,

Quick outs. I love the idea behind them but wonder why no-one seems to use them in PG/PM. Their potential when considering misuse is obvious but being able to seperate from the wing in an emergency could be a considerable benefit.

Any further thoughts?

FINSTERWALDER-QUICK-OUT-KARABINER-th.jpg

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well Norman,

They are expensive, compared to carabiners, and they are matched pairs. They need to be fitted to the wing and harness using thread locked set screws. All this makes them less ubiquitous than the standard carabiner. I always use them on wings that are "too big" for me to control if things go wrong.

As far as misuse goes, you need to first unlock both sides (red sliders in your photo) then press both silver trigger pins inward at the same time. This is a quite deliberate sequence of conscious acts that probably cannot happen accidentally.

A test (annecdotal) was made by a pilot over Lake Annecy releasing one side of a tandem wing. The pilots landed safely under half a wing. Certainly an accidental release in mid air of one side would not cripple the craft, you would still have directional control and time to consider options before deploying a reserve. (just a 50% asymetric collapse)

When I load them I always press the triggers in rather than just pushing the parts together to reduce wear on the mating surfaces and you are advised to keep sand and grit out of the mechanism. They have a service life of some 200 hours I think? so they live as long as the wing they are dedicated to.

The hazard in tandem is getting the wing down after landing in a strong breeze with a novice pilot strapped to your chest. You need to avoid getting dragged backwards as with 38 to 42 sq metres of sail to deal with in "spinaker" mode can be challenging and potential dangerous for your fragile cargoe. Being able to reduce it by half at the push of buttons is reassuring.

Charlie are the only ones I've used as per your photo.

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Hi,

Had a bit more of a think about this and the wing and the motor exist that will fly you no problem but I think the bit that will take a bit of research and hunting will be to find a harness to fit you.

Your size might mean that low hangpoints on pivot or fixed arms wont work as they tend to be a set distance apart so prob have to go for high hang points to give the the required width of harness.

Maybe have a look at the black hawk range from the States as they are built with the larger size American in mind so should have a harness option that will work for you.

Good hunting.

Cheers Col......

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Hi,

As you will see from the nick name, I too was 20 stone PLUS! The only difference was I did not ask for advice about paramotors, I just thought I was too heavy to fly! I had also looked at gliders and micro lights, but was also to heavy, or so I thought! After seeing a paramotor fly over one day it inspired me so much, that I thought I had to loose weight to be able to fly. I had been trying diets for the last 5 years but had never had a good enough reason to win (good tasting food always won).

So with this flying dream in my head I started a diet on 1ST. may 2007 (six very light meals every day) reason for six being the long hours I was awake each day. The result was by November 2007 I had lost six stone!! Without much exercise. I still have not got my feet off the ground yet, but with the summer weather, I feel not far away. This weight loss has totally changed my life in more ways than one.

Ask yourself do I really want to fly, if the answer like me was yes, give it your best shot, I got the result & now with a 30kg paramotor on my back I can run easy. I hope the above fact gives you the inspiration.

Paul (PhatBoy)

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Paul,

Your story is inspirational. I am tall and fairly heavy an can attest to the amount of energy that gets expended when you start out in this game. A bit like skiing really - after you begin to aquire a little bit of skill and technique, the energy expending drops a notch or two. A really heavy guy is going to hammer his knees and will be at risk of injury above that suffered by an Ethiopian Racing Snake like some I could mention. ;)

Paul's solution was the sound one in my humble opinion - make a little weight loss your hair shirt - your new wing your first reward. Those around and close to you may well share your dream and help you. Those that don't will show their cards for what they are.

Ground handling is a pivotal skill, kiting expends energy, as I say, particularly at first and that will help. You will gain greater insights into what is required from the outset and above all things, kiting is FUN!

Come to the field to watch and learn in the interim, and take inspiration from your fellow aviators because this is a sport where the rewards are considerable and those taking part generous with their time and encouragement.

In short dear fledgling, do what you know you must and the rest and much more will come your way. Bin the Laagerman mindset, find your inner Eagle. The sky awaits....

salisburycathedral.JPG

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Francis,

Thanks for the gems on quick outs. My 34 metre Synth has phenomenal power in a decent draft and I have to say the thought has crossed my mind to use them. I am happy with the concept, in fact I would favor the use. Would you advise against it for any reason Francis?

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Francis, (re using quick outs on a paramotor).

Would you advise against it for any reason Francis?

I cant think of any compelling reason why not. I think that some careful thought as to the procedure(s) for use, fitting and pre-flighting would be called for in a solo paramotor application.

They will be close to your body and low on a parajet and might be awkward to get to in a "flap". On tandem they are at eye level and near your hands when you are at half brake. We need to look at it and see what the issues are.

But in principle? yes! good idea.

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