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Paramotor training with PPL?

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Hi there.

I'd like to learn to fly a paramotor & I already have a PPL with about 400hrs. Do you think my training time could be reduced because of my PPL? How long do you think it could take considering average ability?

I may be visiting Spain later this year, can you recommend a good school over there. Otherwise, as I live near Lymington in Hampshire, it seems that the Isle of Wight might be the closest school to me.?


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Hi there yawingdog.... (you must hate your parents for giving you that name..... :? )

Think I'm in a similar position - 400hrs on fixed wing (licence lapsed 5 years ago) and now going to get flying again.

I've spent a few months researching and have come to the following conclusions (my own opinion only):-

1. The sport remains relatively unregulated with the CAA basically "maintaining a listening watch", but leaing regulation to some of the organisations that are developing.

2. Incidents cause them to look at it again and there was a report in Feb this year that suggested they will likely move control to a single entity - see http://www.aaib.gov.uk/cms_resources/Pa ... 002-09.pdf

3. I've always thought myself capable and have done bikes and kites most of my life so think this should be OK, but these modern wings are complex enough for me to conclude I need to draw on some the great expertise out there.

4. Due to the "newness" of the sport, training standards have yet to settle down. There are strong curricula forming (with this club leading some of them) and they seem to tie in pretty well to the PPL in areas of met, nav, law, radio, etc. I've concluded it's the practical stuff I need help with.

5. I'm in touch with Simon Westmore (SimonW on this forum) and am hoping that he can help me with getting the right balance between an "ab-initio" approach and a tailored training that will not only make me safe (that'll please wifey & kids) :P , but also mean I can get a "semi-ticket" that will give grandfather rights for when the sport does become fully regulated. (Which I'm sure it will - like most things from which people get freedom!)

Just my thoughts and ramblings anyway - hope that helps.

In closing I may say I'm very jealous of someone who lives in such a beautiful part of the world - I get to Lymington every year by boat - always a "must-visit" port of call.

I'm hoping to get to Lambourne next week-end and I get plenty of reasons to get down south, so perhaps meet you one day.

Mark (Marky) Johnson.

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Hi there Marky

Thanks for your reply. Interesting points. But how does that equate in "time? I see that training time quoted on school websites varies. It seems to me that anything up to 12 days. That feels like quite a long time to me, especially when one is trying to juggle work & flyable weather.

About 10 years ago I did a couple of paragliding training days down at Steyning Bowl, nr Brighton. I wonder if it might be realistic to assume that I could become a "safe" paramotor pilot with 6 days training, or is that unreasonable? The theoretical subjects including airmanship should hopefully already be covered (excluding paramotor specific stuff).

Also, considering the weather, how much flying per year do most paramotor pilots achieve in the UK?

By the way, thanks Marky for being so complimentary about Lymington. I hope you get back into the air soon.

Guy McNair-Wilson

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My take is that having your PPL will help a lot with the theoretical aspects of paramotoring, but will have next to no benefit when it comes to hands on flying. It is such a different environment to the 'spam can' that just about every aspect is different. I'd suggest that you dohn't expect PPL training to shorten your PPG training, but it will give you quite a bunch of well developed skills that will be useful (weather recognition, navigation, air law etc).


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  • 1 month later...


i have done general aviation, as well as gliding and i have to say that 'flying' a paramotor is nothing like either of those. i agree that the only things that you can take with you are the safety that you have learned (airmanship etc) from flying fixed wind, and a greater knowledge of airlaw, nav, weather etc (they dont seem to teach you much of that when you are learning). probably 80% is in learning how to handle the wing, when you fly you are on your own (apart from a radio) and the sensory overload is pretty high for the first flight, possibly because you know the dangers?! after that you take off, put the toggles in the magnets, and fly off (not much else to it, lol). I took up paramotoring as a cheaper way to still go flying, with the added bonus that you do not need to book an aircraft in advance, just get it out of the garage and fly!

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oh and its the weather really that limits the days needed for training (took me 2 days to get to know and old canopy, buying a new one was much easier), flying days depends on wether or not you want your kit dirty! and at the start i would say you need wind between 6 and 10 mph (not knots, you notice!!), with calm conditions (it can get bumpy) they say 3 hrs before sunset or after sunrise, cold days are different

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I have ~350 hours Group A, and have spent some time paragliding. I would echo the other comments, that the only real transferable elements are met, air law & general airmanship. Ground handling the wing is the key & fixed wing aviation will not help you much with that! I did a six day course at SkySchool & am now happy forward launching without assistance - still need to crack reverse launches though.

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A perspective from one fixed wing pilot to others.

This is a very interesting subject that has increasing relevence as people migrate from conventional fixed wing fling to our sport. It is tempting to arrive on the PPG doorstep believing that somehow you are exceptionally well equipped to excel and hack down your training time as your obvious qualification from elswhere has enormous value. I have found the truth to be subtly different.

An opinion for what its worth.

Aviation is aviation, the environment and the rules of law and common sense that govern it don't change when viewed from a paramotor, but they can change subtly in their apllicability. The associated technical sujects like air law, meterology et al (as has already been pointed out) apply equally as well to PPG as they do GA. So if you have a PPL or higher you are well placed to save yourself some time in the study, if you add flying experience to that you have a valuable basis on which to build. Your airmanship skills and selected instincts have a place in your new sport as does your famiiarity with the flying scene. But that, as they say, is about it.

I believe it is essentaila to create a mental bubble around your new flying machine and consider EVERYTHING within it as NEW STUFF.

You can make potentailly dangerous assumptions about the handling and flying characteristics of a ripstop nylon wing. ALL of your biomechanical factors, muscle memory, muscle structure and some of your flying/handling instincts need training and re-orientating.

As a conventianal fixed wing pilot you have a great head start but my advice would be to use the one skill that does transpot wonderfully. A healthy respect for your new flying machine and a keen ear to those that KNOW the equipment you are going to trust your life to.

There is no substitute for qualitly training, you cannot 'wing it' with what you already know imho.

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i would say get ya self a wing and spend time groundhandling which can be read up on how to do it, once you have had a few weeks on that and are competent with it, go see Paul Haxby and assuming you are clued up with the wing i would think he will have you in the air on your second if not first day, he does this on a day rate and is very fair. there would be more training after if you felt you needed it but he wont push for you to train, he will give an honest opinion and the rest is up to you .

another thing buy the powered paragliding bible, its easy to follow and will save you a lot of money in training

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I started paragliding after flying over 30 aircraft types (flex/3 axis UL/PPL/complex retractables incl theory to ATPL)and skydiving and thought it would be a piece of cake. It didn't work out quite as I envisaged. However the transfer from PG to PPG was a lot easier with only 1 knackered prop to my name.

I'd have to agree with what everyone else has written here. The PPL will give you a head start with the theory, airlaw, PoF, and met on any other ab initio PPG wanabee but don't expect your practical stick and rudder experience to transfer to the flying of a large kite and a cumbersome screaming motor on your back. You'll be knowledgable about circuits, radio calls and reading an airmap and that's all good but that's not the hard part.

As others have said, learn to ground handle the canopy and become proficient at forward and reverse launches, assessing the wind strength and direction. This is a physical aspect of the sport you will need to master before anything else.

It's nothing like being in a spam can. I've found experienced spam can pilots terrified at the thought of flying exposed in a microlight let alone and 'armchair in the sky'.

Once you master it though there is nothing like it (except a long XC on a PG) and you will wish you tried it sooner. :o

Best of luck

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