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poz
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Being new to paramotoring I've been trying to work out what the true cost of this form of flying is going to be.

The only reference I ever seem to read with regard to the cost of paramotoring is how cheap a paramotors cost to run in terms of fuel consumption only. "...it only burns 3 litres/hour. Costs nothing!" etc

I come from a GA background where I was part of a flying syndicate of 20 members, flying a very old Cessna 150 (2 seater) and we all contributed a standing monthly sum of £35 (£700), which covered insurance, parking, maintenance and long term costs such as repainting, re-upholstering.

Then we paid £35 per hour (engine on to engine off), split roughly 50/50 to cover the cost of fuel (approx 23l/hour) and an engine fund (engines lsast approx 2500 hrs). This system worked incredibly well. We never had to put our hand in our pocket to cover large unexpected bills because there was always a healthy bank balance.

I understand that paramotoring is seen as a much cheaper form of aviation. However, I bought my share in the Cessna for £1500 and 11 years later I sold it on for.....£1500. Cost of ownership £0. This is completely normal. The aircraft stopped depreciating after it was around 10 years old, back in the 80's. Many people actually make money on their share (some loose depending on the urgency of the need to sell :cry: ).

My 40 hr, 3 week, PPL training course, (undertaken at a British school in Florida), all in cost me £1995, this was in 1994. The same course today costs £2995, but is now a 45 hr course.

The course I have just booked, together with accomodation is costing £2000. Not cheap!

Once completed, according to my research, the kit that I am looking to purchase: PAP Ros 1400, with maybe a Dudek Synthesis + reserve, helmet clothing etc etc is going to cost me in the region of £7000.

So, so far we're up to £9000. Yes I know I will be getting new kit for this money and a new GA aircraft would be around £60k+, however, in my humble opinion you cannot compare the two. The main reason is that a GA aircraft is governed by incredibly strict maintenance rules. The owner unless CAA qualified cannot touch it. Therefore the history of a GA aircraft is logged, by law, and therefore almost guarenteed accurate.

In contrast there appears to be no rules whatsoever about the maintenace schedule of a paramotor and therefore I would feel quite nervous about buying second hand.

Having looked at various adverts for second hand equipment, non of them seem to have flown for more than 10 hrs! "Like new", Really? Prove it. You can't because there is no legal requirement to log the history of the machine, not even the hours. SCARY!!

So, I would only feel completely comfortable if I were to buy new.

The more I look into this, the more I realise that I'm going to need to be very creative whilst justifying all of this to my missus, whom I have led to believe that the whole thing will cost around £3k, because intitially that's what I thought.

Anyway, although I look forward to any responses and opinions on the subject of costs, my main reason for this post is because I would like to approach my paramotoring, financially, the same way as I approached my GA flying.

In other words I need to understand the costs involved, such as:

Approximately, how many hours can I expect from a paramotor engine, assuming a programme of regular maintenance is strictly adhered to?

Is really good fully sythetic 2 stroke oil a cost factor that needs to be taken into consideration?

In your experience how much per hour should I budget for engine maintenance and eventual replacement?

Same for the wing. All the 2nd hand wings I see on the web, advertise number of hours flown (usually below 20hrs - really?) and not the number of hours it's been exposed to the damaging sun.

I've guestimated some figures below and invite comments as to their accuracy:

Engine replacement fund (Pap Ros 1400) with reserve: after approx 500 hrs £5000 £10hr

Wing replacement after approx 150 hrs (I live in Spain, lots of damaging UV) £2300 £15hr

Fuel + Oil £6hr

Maintenance (plugs etc) £2hr

Contingencies (there must be other hidden costs - bottles whiskey for farmers etc) £2hr

Total £35 per hour

Obviously having no real experience of the costs, I am sure that my figures will be shredded by the wisened of you out there. But, that figure of £35 per hour seems to be a very familiar one from my GA days, except that I rarely flew alone in my spam can and always cost shared, and, maybe suprisingly to some, my completely accurate cost per hour over 11 years and just over 600 hrs flying worked out at £23.50 per hour.

Just to head off any sensitive egos out there, my post is not in any way making any critisism toward my newly chosen hobby, I cannot wait to get going and in so many ways that I can think of, paramotoring has so many advantages over GA flying as a form of being in the air...that's why I have chosen it.

Even if my figures are accurate, I do happen to think that that £35 per hour is a very reasonable price for a great hobby.

FYI: The time spent flying per year for your average UK PPL is 47 hours - Not much, but I bet it's a few more than the average PPG pilot in the UK.

I live in southern Spain and fortunately the climate here will allow me to fly most days 8) , which is why it's paramotoring for me, and also one of the reasons I need to address the cost, because unlike many of the residents of southern Spain, I certainly am not loaded :cry:

Dan :)

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My 40 hr, 3 week, PPL training course, (undertaken at a British school in Florida), all in cost me £1995, this was in 1994. The same course today costs £2995, but is now a 45 hr course.

The course I have just booked, together with accomodation is costing £2000. Not cheap!

Here you are paying for the time of an instructor, not the cost of flying, so I would expect it to be comparable. That said, With a bit of pre-practice with a wing, you could probably be flying within 3 days, and an instructor might charge you £200 a day if you use your own kit

Once completed, according to my research, the kit that I am looking to purchase: PAP Ros 1400, with maybe a Dudek Synthesis + reserve, helmet clothing etc etc is going to cost me in the region of £7000.

So, so far we're up to £9000. Yes I know I will be getting new kit for this money and a new GA aircraft would be around £60k+, however, in my humble opinion you cannot compare the two. The main reason is that a GA aircraft is governed by incredibly strict maintenance rules. The owner unless CAA qualified cannot touch it. Therefore the history of a GA aircraft is logged, by law, and therefore almost guarenteed accurate.

Just a small point, on the one hand you say you can't compare GA with paramotoring, but that is exactly what you are choosing to do.

In contrast there appears to be no rules whatsoever about the maintenace schedule of a paramotor and therefore I would feel quite nervous about buying second hand.

Having looked at various adverts for second hand equipment, non of them seem to have flown for more than 10 hrs! "Like new", Really? Prove it. You can't because there is no legal requirement to log the history of the machine, not even the hours. SCARY!!

Why is it scary? there are no 'lifed' components on a paramotor. Everything bar engine internals are visible, so a worst case scenario might be you would need to replace a crank, barrel and piston. An engine out on a paramotor is a non event. Many people land 'deadstick' as standard. You should always be assuming your engine might quit, and have a viable alternate landing spot. Nothing to scare you there then.

So, I would only feel completely comfortable if I were to buy new.

The more I look into this, the more I realise that I'm going to need to be very creative whilst justifying all of this to my missus, whom I have led to believe that the whole thing will cost around £3k, because intitially that's what I thought.

It can be done quite easily. I was airborne well within that budget, and have only upgraded because I want to, not because I need to. Motor 2K, Wing £600, bits and bobs, £300. If you want the paramotoring equivalent of a Glasair or a Mooney, you will have to pay top dollar. Horses for courses.

Anyway, although I look forward to any responses and opinions on the subject of costs, my main reason for this post is because I would like to approach my paramotoring, financially, the same way as I approached my GA flying.

In other words I need to understand the costs involved, such as:

Approximately, how many hours can I expect from a paramotor engine, assuming a programme of regular maintenance is strictly adhered to?

Is really good fully sythetic 2 stroke oil a cost factor that needs to be taken into consideration?

In your experience how much per hour should I budget for engine maintenance and eventual replacement?

Well I'm hoping my Bailey will give me a couple of years service before any major mishap, so that is 200 plus hours. As in GA, I'd look to replace the engine not the whole kit, so £3000 ish over 200 hours (which if you are keen is not unreasonable) gives you £15 per hour. But that is a worst case scenario, assuming a complete engine swap at minimum time. It is far more likely to be a barrel and piston and maybe a handful of bearings after rather more hours.

Same for the wing. All the 2nd hand wings I see on the web, advertise number of hours flown (usually below 20hrs - really?) and not the number of hours it's been exposed to the damaging sun.

Insist on a wing test and report before purchase, and you'll get a porosity report. Together with general condition this will tell you if your investment is worth it.

I've guestimated some figures below and invite comments as to their accuracy:

Engine replacement fund (Pap Ros 1400) with reserve: after approx 500 hrs £5000 £10hr

Wing replacement after approx 150 hrs (I live in Spain, lots of damaging UV) £2300 £15hr

Fuel + Oil £6hr

Maintenance (plugs etc) £2hr

Contingencies (there must be other hidden costs - bottles whiskey for farmers etc) £2hr

Total £35 per hour

Obviously having no real experience of the costs, I am sure that my figures will be shredded by the wisened of you out there. But, that figure of £35 per hour seems to be a very familiar one from my GA days, except that I rarely flew alone in my spam can and always cost shared, and, maybe suprisingly to some, my completely accurate cost per hour over 11 years and just over 600 hrs flying worked out at £23.50 per hour.

Take up tandem flying and split the costs again :-)

Just to head off any sensitive egos out there, my post is not in any way making any critisism toward my newly chosen hobby, I cannot wait to get going and in so many ways that I can think of, paramotoring has so many advantages over GA flying as a form of being in the air...that's why I have chosen it.

Not taken as criticism, happy to give my opinions.

Even if my figures are accurate, I do happen to think that that £35 per hour is a very reasonable price for a great hobby.

FYI: The time spent flying per year for your average UK PPL is 47 hours - Not much, but I bet it's a few more than the average PPG pilot in the UK.

I've managed nearly 100 hours in my first years flying, here in the UK. A figure I never got close to in GA.

I live in southern Spain and fortunately the climate here will allow me to fly most days 8) , which is why it's paramotoring for me, and also one of the reasons I need to address the cost, because unlike many of the residents of southern Spain, I certainly am not loaded :cry:

Dan :)

I bought a motor for £2000 (ex demo) and a half decent wing off ebay for £600. I sold on after about 60 hours for £1500 and £400 respectively. So a total spend of £700, that's just under £12 an hour. I could have carried on flying on the kit probably for a couple of years, and not lost substantially more, bringing the cost down proportionately.

Phil

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Another factor that need to be weighed in is the depreciation of the wing. Relative to the paramotor this is quite rapid, and has a finite life.

I've almost completed a full life cycle on my first wing- back in 2004 it cost me £2000..... i had 350hours from it- technically you can get upto 400 if you really look after it and get regular inspecions. This immediately puts the cost per hour upto a min of £5... not including fuel yet.

I use around 3 litres per hour- thats another £3.50 or so, then once youve got your oil in there it's not far off £4 i guess.

To amortise the cost of training- another significant factor..... and wear and tear on the motor..... you could be looking at around £10-£12 per hours flight roughly.....

GD

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Interesting post with some good points put forward.

A typical 2 stroke paramotor is so simple that it is easily ascertained if a motor has done 10hrs, or a lot more.

If people are selling at under 10 hrs then for whatever reason paramotoring is not for them and I say grab the saving over new and get on and enjoy flying.

Dan are you a practical sort of guy :?: The maintenance is simple so there is no labour cost involved if you do it yourself.

The UV exposure will be less in the early mornings and evenings so I would expect more than 150 hrs on the wing.

Alan

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My 40 hr, 3 week, PPL training course, (undertaken at a British school in Florida), all in cost me £1995, this was in 1994. The same course today costs £2995, but is now a 45 hr course.

The course I have just booked, together with accomodation is costing £2000. Not cheap!

Here you are paying for the time of an instructor, not the cost of flying, so I would expect it to be comparable. That said, With a bit of pre-practice with a wing, you could probably be flying within 3 days, and an instructor might charge you £200 a day if you use your own kit

Once completed, according to my research, the kit that I am looking to purchase: PAP Ros 1400, with maybe a Dudek Synthesis + reserve, helmet clothing etc etc is going to cost me in the region of £7000.

So, so far we're up to £9000. Yes I know I will be getting new kit for this money and a new GA aircraft would be around £60k+, however, in my humble opinion you cannot compare the two. The main reason is that a GA aircraft is governed by incredibly strict maintenance rules. The owner unless CAA qualified cannot touch it. Therefore the history of a GA aircraft is logged, by law, and therefore almost guarenteed accurate.

Just a small point, on the one hand you say you can't compare GA with paramotoring, but that is exactly what you are choosing to do.

In contrast there appears to be no rules whatsoever about the maintenace schedule of a paramotor and therefore I would feel quite nervous about buying second hand.

Having looked at various adverts for second hand equipment, non of them seem to have flown for more than 10 hrs! "Like new", Really? Prove it. You can't because there is no legal requirement to log the history of the machine, not even the hours. SCARY!!

Why is it scary? there are no 'lifed' components on a paramotor. Everything bar engine internals are visible, so a worst case scenario might be you would need to replace a crank, barrel and piston. An engine out on a paramotor is a non event. Many people land 'deadstick' as standard. You should always be assuming your engine might quit, and have a viable alternate landing spot. Nothing to scare you there then.

So, I would only feel completely comfortable if I were to buy new.

The more I look into this, the more I realise that I'm going to need to be very creative whilst justifying all of this to my missus, whom I have led to believe that the whole thing will cost around £3k, because intitially that's what I thought.

It can be done quite easily. I was airborne well within that budget, and have only upgraded because I want to, not because I need to. Motor 2K, Wing £600, bits and bobs, £300. If you want the paramotoring equivalent of a Glasair or a Mooney, you will have to pay top dollar. Horses for courses.

Anyway, although I look forward to any responses and opinions on the subject of costs, my main reason for this post is because I would like to approach my paramotoring, financially, the same way as I approached my GA flying.

In other words I need to understand the costs involved, such as:

Approximately, how many hours can I expect from a paramotor engine, assuming a programme of regular maintenance is strictly adhered to?

Is really good fully sythetic 2 stroke oil a cost factor that needs to be taken into consideration?

In your experience how much per hour should I budget for engine maintenance and eventual replacement?

Well I'm hoping my Bailey will give me a couple of years service before any major mishap, so that is 200 plus hours. As in GA, I'd look to replace the engine not the whole kit, so £3000 ish over 200 hours (which if you are keen is not unreasonable) gives you £15 per hour. But that is a worst case scenario, assuming a complete engine swap at minimum time. It is far more likely to be a barrel and piston and maybe a handful of bearings after rather more hours.

Same for the wing. All the 2nd hand wings I see on the web, advertise number of hours flown (usually below 20hrs - really?) and not the number of hours it's been exposed to the damaging sun.

Insist on a wing test and report before purchase, and you'll get a porosity report. Together with general condition this will tell you if your investment is worth it.

I've guestimated some figures below and invite comments as to their accuracy:

Engine replacement fund (Pap Ros 1400) with reserve: after approx 500 hrs £5000 £10hr

Wing replacement after approx 150 hrs (I live in Spain, lots of damaging UV) £2300 £15hr

Fuel + Oil £6hr

Maintenance (plugs etc) £2hr

Contingencies (there must be other hidden costs - bottles whiskey for farmers etc) £2hr

Total £35 per hour

Obviously having no real experience of the costs, I am sure that my figures will be shredded by the wisened of you out there. But, that figure of £35 per hour seems to be a very familiar one from my GA days, except that I rarely flew alone in my spam can and always cost shared, and, maybe suprisingly to some, my completely accurate cost per hour over 11 years and just over 600 hrs flying worked out at £23.50 per hour.

Take up tandem flying and split the costs again :-)

Just to head off any sensitive egos out there, my post is not in any way making any critisism toward my newly chosen hobby, I cannot wait to get going and in so many ways that I can think of, paramotoring has so many advantages over GA flying as a form of being in the air...that's why I have chosen it.

Not taken as criticism, happy to give my opinions.

Even if my figures are accurate, I do happen to think that that £35 per hour is a very reasonable price for a great hobby.

FYI: The time spent flying per year for your average UK PPL is 47 hours - Not much, but I bet it's a few more than the average PPG pilot in the UK.

I've managed nearly 100 hours in my first years flying, here in the UK. A figure I never got close to in GA.

I live in southern Spain and fortunately the climate here will allow me to fly most days 8) , which is why it's paramotoring for me, and also one of the reasons I need to address the cost, because unlike many of the residents of southern Spain, I certainly am not loaded :cry:

Dan :)

I bought a motor for £2000 (ex demo) and a half decent wing off ebay for £600. I sold on after about 60 hours for £1500 and £400 respectively. So a total spend of £700, that's just under £12 an hour. I could have carried on flying on the kit probably for a couple of years, and not lost substantially more, bringing the cost down proportionately.

Phil

Hi Phil.

Thanks for such a prompt and comprehensive reply. I believe that, to summerise, you are telling me that my figures are unnecessarily high and that paramotoring doesn't need to be anywhere near as expensive as I have calculated, provided that, like yourself, the pilot has a good understanding of how a 2 stroke engine is put together, and knows how and feels confident enough to service it.

Also, that he is willing to take a chance on used equipment with no accurate record of history because worse case scenario you get an engine out which "is a non event". (Does this not depend on where and when you get an engine out? :? )

The fact that you manage to fly 100 hrs per year is fantastic! Well above what I understand most PPG pilots manage. Well done you!

That is the sort of figure that I am hoping to achieve in Southern Spain.

Are there many pilots clocking up these hours?

I have to say that although I really do appreciate your take on the costs involved, I'm not sold on all of your arguments simply because I know very little about the equipment involved and cannot ever envisage a time when an engine out, at any point, will amount to a non event. If I am proved wrong on that one, I will be a very happy chappy :D

With regards to the training aspect. I agree that once I fully understand all the aspects of kiting a wing then it is simply down to practice, practice, practice. However, cutting back on the instructor based training experience would not be my idea sensible economising. I'm a slow but methodical learner.

Once again thanks for your take on it. Probably, once I learn how to do it, I will understand more about where you're coming from.

Dan

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Also, that he is willing to take a chance on used equipment with no accurate record of history because worse case scenario you get an engine out which "is a non event". (Does this not depend on where and when you get an engine out? :? )

Dan

Dan, you will probably find that even a brand new motor will carry the caveat that it is not certified for aviation use, and has no guarantee of airworthiness. Manufacturers also often say (as do many pilots) that you should not fly over anything that you would be unhappy to land on, unless with sufficient height to be able to glide to somewhere that you CAN land safely.

An engine out should be a simple case of reassessing the most recent landing option that you considered, together with any new options that are now available. Make an appropriate choice and land safely. There is a current thread about a relatively new pilot that has had loads of forced landings, and hasn't yet encountered serious problems.

I personally have had a couple of out of fuel episodes. Both cases where I underestimated the wind strength, and also a couple of mechanical failures of the type that I think you will find, most paramotorists accept as an occupational hazard. None of these was any more problematic than any other landing, the most difficult bit being the hike out of a large area of fields to where my wife could pick me up.

This can I admit be something of a difficult mind set for someone with a GA background to come to terms with, but when you consider our flexibility in landing sites, you will soon realise that fear is not required.

My personal feeling regarding your costs estimation, is that with good choices at the purchase stage, you are at least 100% over what I would think is reasonable. Remember that you would also pay a huge premium in GA flying to have 100% aircraft availability for your sole use. There is nothing to prevent you having a PPG syndicate, and defraying the costs that way.

Good instruction may well save you some unpredictable costs in terms of broken props and damaged cage sections. Again, these are pretty de riguer in PPG circles and having a few bob spare for such eventualities is no bad thing.

Here is to low flying costs (I sure as hell can't afford to fly the club Warrior at about £120 per hour wet).

Phil

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Also, that he is willing to take a chance on used equipment with no accurate record of history because worse case scenario you get an engine out which "is a non event". (Does this not depend on where and when you get an engine out? :? )

Dan

Dan, you will probably find that even a brand new motor will carry the caveat that it is not certified for aviation use, and has no guarantee of airworthiness. Manufacturers also often say (as do many pilots) that you should not fly over anything that you would be unhappy to land on, unless with sufficient height to be able to glide to somewhere that you CAN land safely.

An engine out should be a simple case of reassessing the most recent landing option that you considered, together with any new options that are now available. Make an appropriate choice and land safely. There is a current thread about a relatively new pilot that has had loads of forced landings, and hasn't yet encountered serious problems.

I personally have had a couple of out of fuel episodes. Both cases where I underestimated the wind strength, and also a couple of mechanical failures of the type that I think you will find, most paramotorists accept as an occupational hazard. None of these was any more problematic than any other landing, the most difficult bit being the hike out of a large area of fields to where my wife could pick me up.

This can I admit be something of a difficult mind set for someone with a GA background to come to terms with, but when you consider our flexibility in landing sites, you will soon realise that fear is not required.

My personal feeling regarding your costs estimation, is that with good choices at the purchase stage, you are at least 100% over what I would think is reasonable. Remember that you would also pay a huge premium in GA flying to have 100% aircraft availability for your sole use. There is nothing to prevent you having a PPG syndicate, and defraying the costs that way.

Good instruction may well save you some unpredictable costs in terms of broken props and damaged cage sections. Again, these are pretty de riguer in PPG circles and having a few bob spare for such eventualities is no bad thing.

Here is to low flying costs (I sure as hell can't afford to fly the club Warrior at about £120 per hour wet).

Phil

You are absolutely right about the GA mind set. The thought of an engine out in the Cessna fills me with dread.

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Landing with the engine idling is perfectly safe but exposes the prop to unneccessary risk in the event of a stumble (especially if no clutch), turning the motor off at about 10-15 feet is daft as it can make you pitch about under the wing at a time you least want that to happen. IMO the safest way to operate and most noise conscious is to switch off at altitude and glide in to land. Personally I tend to overfly the field at 1500-2000, shut down and glide in. The biggest bonus with making this your normal operating manner is that engine out worries are a thing of the past.

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I admire anyone who can glide in, engine off, from high altitudes. It's a great one to practice and perfect and prepares you well. Having the engine ready and running, if it's thermic and you're likely to get a bit of sink on landing, is just as good to practice though. You can sort out a load of trouble with powering up whilst hard on the brakes if it feels like it's going to be a hard one. Get the engine killed quick or keep the wing up after landing. I find you're less likely to fall over with the power landing but if you do fall over alot, make sure you buy a paramotor that is sturdy and doesn't break props ! !

In answer to the original financial questions. £4 / hour petrol and oil (min) but at 16 stone. Wing £5 / hour. Motor depreciation will vary wildly but if I'm honest a hundred hours and a 14 month period from new must be about £15 / hour. No broken props (despite trying to) and only £5 repairing 2 bolts in that year. Oh yes. The battery's just gone flat on my vario. Spose that'll be another couple of quid.

Very interesting to read about the cost of Cessna PPL. Thanks for posting

Dave

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Thanks for the input guys. I guess I may have over estimated the cost of paramotoring.

I showed this post to my wife and she thinks that I put you guys up to it to appease her over the cost :wink:

At the end of the day so many of my happiest memories to date are from my GA flying days and it was worth every penny. I am fully expecting that paramotoring will bring me similar memories and it will cost what it will cost. :D

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I hope it lives up to your expectations.

I have taught a few PPL / Puma / 777 / people to fly Paramotors now and they all (no exception) have said that paramotoring is the best flying they have done!

I love that you have had the misses read the thread! LOL nice one...

If you had of let us know we could have made it less. :D

Wecome BTW.

SW :D

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just as a matter of interest on cost, I enquired at the local parachute club how much it cost for every 'drop'.

31 Euros :shock: 25 for the aircraft fuel and 6 for the hire of the 'chute. Think how far we can fly on 25 Euro or quids worth of fuel :D

Alan

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Hi Alan

All Skydivers jump their own kit and would only need to hire right at the very beginning of learning the sport.

I have to say that I am enjoying Paramotoring very much but the 2 sports have nothing in common except that they are done in the air!

On a cost note, the last 400 jumps I did cost nothing as I was jumping video camera and the cost is paid for by the team that you are filming.

Still prefer to be flying a Paramotor now though whatever the cost, can't beat it!.

Eddie

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