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Paramotor without much local support


nameuser
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I am in USA. Wondering if others deal with this. Learning to fly now. Say you are fired up about flying paramotor but you're not exactly a whiz with small engines. Yes, I know basic mechanical skills... maintained a two stroke motorcycle as a kid and I've run and maintained chainsaws for a few years. But it certainly is not my bag and not something I look forward to. Tinkering is not my thing. But it seems with this sport, you certainly need to be that type. What have others found to be the case? Can you get support from forums this when things go wrong or questions arise? Establish face to face friendships with other ppg pilots such that you can get advice?

I like flying with groups, yes, but no doubt, I have a loner streak in me and look forward to doing quite a bit of flying alone once trained. So, I will have to be somewhat self-sufficient. But I know things will happen, broken this and that, mystery motor ailments, etc.

Hope some can chime in on this. Do you think one must be a skilled DIY mechanic? Do most locales have someone who will work on paramotors? I know that with chainsaws, there are countless commercial mechanics who really do not know how to tune and repair chainsaws. That's a bummer. But there are online forums where there are bonafide chainsaw experts and they do offer a lot of really good advice when problems arise. But that's just the motor. PPG is more than just a motor.

My guess is that there are probably a lot of people who learn and really don't have a lot of local support. Wondering how they get by. Or did they decide not to do it when they see how much there is to maintaining a rig? (I hear or people quitting after doing it a bit and always wonder why.)

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1 hour ago, nameuser said:

Say you are fired up about flying paramotor but you're not exactly a whiz with small engines.

Its not like chemistry, full of abstractions... Applying a bit of willing and pressure to the conundrum and bingo.
Even if that includes taking endless shit, making brews and supplying biscuits to the person who's arm you have twisted to help you.
 

1 hour ago, nameuser said:

is not my bag and not something I look forward to. Tinkering is not my thing

Then it would have to be more a "discipline" than an escape
 

1 hour ago, nameuser said:

But it seems with this sport, you certainly need to be that type.

I don't think that is true.
If you are a sociable type (crap with mechanicals) you will have the social skills to tap the loner geeks (crap social skills) and COLLABERATE.... just don't take the piss, geeks are awkward, not stupid  :) 
 

1 hour ago, nameuser said:

Can you get support from forums this when things go wrong or questions arise?

Are you new to the internet?
Its where all the geeks hang out and learn shit :) 
 

1 hour ago, nameuser said:

Do you think one must be a skilled DIY mechanic?

Not really but in my world I will only help someone I can take the piss out of, endlessly!
Not only is it the cornerstone to good quality friendships, its a reasonable payment method and a good teaching tool
 

1 hour ago, nameuser said:

Or did they decide not to do it when they see how much there is to maintaining a rig? (I hear or people quitting after doing it a bit and always wonder why.)

I am going to guess "no"... Those who wish to fly find a way forward and those who don't wish to fly find an excuse... Pretty sure its that simple :) 

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I have done 170 hours flying in 3 years. Three breakdowns.

1. On switch broke, easy fix.

2. Relay stuck on, easy fix.

3. And last week, would not rev to full revs. I asked the internet geeks and got hundreds of different suggestions as to what was wrong. Most suggestions involved fuel - change filters, meetering spring, re-build carb etc etc. Some said it was an electronic problem, check timing etc.

It was NONE of those. 

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1 hour ago, AndyB said:

if I had measured prop rpm!

I'm not sure why anyone would measure prop RPM... The motor RPM would have shown it was a belt or clutch slipping but easy to overlook if you don't have a tachometer on your machine.

So it was a lack of thrust that rang an alarm and you assumed it was down on engine RPM (or the prop sounded low on RPM and you assumed the motor was down on RPM?)
I'm guessing it will be the first thing you suggest when the next person reports a loss in thrust

 

4 hours ago, AndyB said:

asked the internet geeks and got hundreds of different suggestions as to what was wrong.

Geeks, bad info in = bad info out :) 

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My machine has rpm. The fault was that it would go to 6800 rpm, then suddenly drop back to 4500, then repeat. I did not diagnose slipping clutch from this.....and nor did any of the "experts". I did not diagnose lack of thrust because when the revs drop back to 4500, then I would expect less thrust.

My point re the "experts" is that they are not so good for diagnosing problems. What you get is a huge list everything that they all think it could be. Once you know what a problem is then someone always knows hows to fix it an they are very helpful.

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When I say "geeks" I mean those who are good with diagnostics. Balancing probabilities with ease of testing and eliminating. 
The term "experts" in inverted commas is poisoning the well a tad (are we playing at being adversaries Andy?)
EG:

1 hour ago, AndyB said:

What you get is a huge list everything that they all think it could be.

That's "diagnostics" for you :) 
 

1 hour ago, AndyB said:

6800 rpm, then suddenly drop back to 4500

Without hearing that "sudden" drop, that would indeed smack of fuel starvation... low pump pressure/leak/air..... "sudden" pretty much rules out air filter, timing, jet blockage.

In hindsight, as it was doing the opposite of what a belt slip would do, I'm guessing a resonant clutch pad bounce increased the torque transfer which in turn smoothed the resonance dropping the torque transfer... round and round it goes.
I shall tentatively add that to my list of probable causes in my quest to become a "geek" :) 

 

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9 minutes ago, AndyB said:

sudden increase in load would stall engine

That is extremely "sudden"!
A video might have had someone catch that it was unrelated to any type of combustion issue.

 

22 minutes ago, AndyB said:

It would start to slip, get very hot, stick back together again

Ill have to ponder this... I cant rule out resonance in my head, it can snap a shaft clean of when it takes hold, its very sudden and very "grippy" (usually accompanied with a high frequency squeal or buzz... if you heard anything like that?)
I would expect the steel to be much more cooked if heat was causing enough of a weld/bond and i would have thought a heat related increase in grip would be less abrupt..... But... hypothesis... they are ten a penny :) 

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The cycle was about 1 second or a little over. Only noise change was engine revs, otherwise sounded normal. The metal was not really welding. When metal gets very hot it "picks up" on the other side and hence the friction increases. In the photos you can see how much the metal has been transferring between the 2 surfaces, both shoes and bell housing are really rough. Not only has all the friction material gone from the bell housing, but it has ploughed a 1.5 mm deep grove, the width of the shoes.

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My comments are relevant to the original post because:

- It shows how little breakages there can actually be, so not much support required.

- Most breakages are VERY simple to fix.

- More difficult stuff gets LOTS of help online.

- There is always someone willing to help and try and draw out the issue so everyone can learn about it.

- But there are always a few who will disagree, because they feel offended, hurt their feelings or they don't agree. 

I fly alone, with no help and no other locals here, just like the the OP.

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AndyB, what is your background with small engines, do you have a lot of experience? Do you like to tinker with stuff. Just curious. Thanks to you guys for insight.

Your comments and those by Blackburn Mark are interesting, that was an odd problem. I had a chainsaw one time that had a baffling problem and, wow, even the 'experts' were a bit challenged. There is a forum that was very helpful; there are some people who know a LOT about chainsaws and they (edit: chainsaws) are not as simple as they seem.

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11 hours ago, nameuser said:

are not as simple as they seem.

We rarely ever need to delve any deeper than rudimentary diagnostics // swapping spares, cleaning, poking with a stick :)
Assuming you solved your chainsaw issue, you are armed with a set of symptoms and solution to at least one issue... The larger the collection of those you have, the less you will spend on throwing random spares at the problem (which is an option, just not very elegant)
OR.... You come to a place like this and hope you snag someone who has had the same problem, at worst you will end up with a list like Andy did... some good, some misguided.

I have enough spares to pretty much rebuild mine from the crank up twice over.... Good flying days are rare and parts are very cheap for my motor (not a two stoke though)... Unlikely to be grounded over a £5 part and a two week wait!
 

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I reckon it's fair to say if you are the sort of guy that has no power tools,  gets their dad/father in law/paid handyman in to fit a shelf, doesn't fix their own lawnmower, struggles to change a wheel, then paramotoring is probably not for you.

None of it's rocket science of course, but if you are not the sort of person that kinda just bodges through, learns new skills, etc - expects it to be like owning a Lexus - yer probably gonna be disappointed - these are high output engines made by little companies. stuff goes wrong,  needs adjusting, etc.

So if yer the much in sort of guys, there's plenty of forums (like this one) that will help you get up to speed and fix any issues you come across - don't sweat it. :-)

stu

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