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Trying to find the right approach


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Hi all,

I've recently become interested in paragliding/motoring. I haven't done a tandem flight yet, but this weekend I hope to try it, if the paragliding instructor has time.

It looks like there are a lot of things to consider when making a purchase. According to this page: http://www.usppa.org/Training/Paramotor_Gear.htm you want to buy gear your school is familiar with.

I think if I go with paramotoring (rather than paragliding) I'm probably going to choose Blackhawk as the school. I live in the bay area, California, which is pretty close to their school. It looks like they also have reasonable package prices on the gear.

The paragliding instructor told me he doesn't paramotor anymore, and that he's had people who think they want to paramotor, but end up taking paragliding lessons from him and are happy going that route. I'm not sure what I want to do, but because of all the expenses involved, you do want to make the right choice of instructor, because they usually offer discounts if you train and purchase gear through them.

Let me know if you have any thoughts, thanks!

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As a UK based Paramotor instructor I would say that 30% of our students are Paragliding pilots and want to open a larger flying window.

Dont listen to him... He is the devil trying to tempt you away from the ultimate fun!!

SW :D

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Haha, thanks Simon. It would seem you're right! I watched the California coast YouTube video by Blackhawk. I'd love to do something like that sometime!

So just so I'm clear, because I've seen a lot of smack talking online between people back and forth, Blackhawk is both a reputable school and manufacturer, right?

Also, are there any US forums out there that are good? This seems like a great forum, but it seems more for people in Europe. From what I'm told paramotoring isn't allowed in the bay area (very unfortunate), and that I'd have to travel out of the area if I want to do it. What local authority decides this; does anyone know?

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In the USA Blackhawk is a well known and respected brand. :-)

There are less of them here as we have some cool British manufactures but if so many people in the USA are happy to a) fly them and B) recommend them they cant be a bad motor.

Don't get me wrong, your not getting a Ferrari. But the sheer numbers of happy pilots flying them is enough for a convincing vibe in my opinion.

One of the main things to consider is not indeed the motor (or the Ferrari engine in it) as many Polini owners will tell you... Its more about the service you get when it DOES go wrong. :-)

People like Parajet and Bulldog in the UK are examples of people who will make sure you stay flying. I am fairly sure that the Black Hawk kit is the same in the USA, but talk to some owners to confirm this.

Motors are all fairly good now, the test and adjust has been mostly done.

SW :D

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Yeah, for service issues, and since Blackhawk is about 2 hours away from me, I think I'll take the advice and purchase from a local dealer. And they give discounts for training and gear packages so it makes sense.

I thought about buying used, but if I remember correctly Blackhawk has a 2 year warranty, so that seems like a big plus. If I can avoid paying taxes by having somebody out of state make the purchase for me, then I'll do that. If I can't, then my CC company "should" add another year onto the warranty as a service they provide.

Haha, I guess it depends on what you mean by Ferrari. Sure they go fast, but I hear they're hell to maintain! Unless that's what you meant! ;)

Haha, that would be awesome! But I have to learn how to SAFELY fly and handle the damn thing first! Hahahaha Safety is one thing I really want to keep in mind. Those props can be dangerous! And I know that there are a lot of things to know about, and be aware of, when flying. Very cool that people get together for amazing trips like that! :)

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Both forms of flying are great. I like both free flying and motor but as life gets busier and more complicated driving to the mountain for me happens less and less (takes the whole day). I live 15min to the beach and within 30min I have three. I can drive 30min, 15min setup fly for 1-2h then be back home in the third hour. I don’t like the noise but the view always wins out. I have also converted my helmet to quite the ipod headset and find myself snapping my fingers to the beat most flights.

As for the motor I would take your time and find out what you like. Being in Cali you have a ton of options. Motor for me can make or break the experience.

I don’t like to compare motors but the BH 90 is 53lbs (actual ready for gas I’m guessing 55lbs) that’s way too heavy for my liking. But again find out what you like can you try some bands out? Maybe go to a fly-in great place to talk to the guys and buy a motor with your eyes wide open (highly recommend this, you will learn a ton from going to one and talking to people may save yourself a ton of cash).

I have a motor in the middle of Brazil with no suppliers and fly a ton (just need a few extra parts). My point being just because the school sells it does not mean it the best could mean it’s the motor with the highest resale margin.

What is you weight? That will make a big d ifference

Hopes that helps some

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Hey, thanks for the reply.

It seems like if I go with paramotoring then I'll go with Blackhawk for lessons, probably for the gear too since it does seem valuable to be fairly close to the dealer. My understanding is that engine problems are common. I could ship the gear to get it fixed if necessary I guess, but it seems better that Blackhawk's about 2-2.5 hours away.

If I want to go with paragliding, then I'll probably go with Eagle Paragliding in Santa Barbara. They seem very highly rated. I talked to Rob on the phone earlier. He seems cool, and he gave me his take on it. He actually prefers gliding to motoring, and so does the other gliding instructor I spoke to over the weekend. So I'm getting different points of view from different people.

It does seem cool to be able to launch from anywhere though, and flying the coast seems awesome! Maybe it would work to get a noise canceling headset to deal with the engine noise.

Blackhawk has a new 8.5 pound frame design. Looks nice!

My thought was that if I go with motoring, then I'd want the dealer to be close, and I'd buy from them for now. If I'm still doing it in a few years, I could go for a different brand if I want to once I'm not a beginner anymore.

Right now I'm about 190 pounds. I think my target weight is about 175-180, but I'm not positive.

I have a tandem ride scheduled with Blackhawk for Sunday. If I'm still not sure what I want to do after the ride, I may go down to Eagle and take a day or two class with them.

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