What is Powered Paragliding ?

As many people wonder what powered paragliding is, how it varies from paragliding, whether it is safe enough to be worth trying, and so on, we decided to uncover everything about powered paragliding through this article.

Have a read and you will get your all questions answered!

Powered paragliding (also known as paramotoring) is the motorized kind of paragliding. It is just another type of light aviation, where the paraglider wears a rear-mounted engine which gives enough thrust to take off using a paraglider.

What does the engine do?

The engine makes a paraglider a more flexible and maneuverable machine. As you may already know, paragliders depend on thermals and wind to stay aloft and to obtain altitude. But when you have a motor, you are in a better condition, as you don’t have to rely on thermals (thermals are streams of warm air paragliders use to gain height as birds do). 

Moreover, you have the advantages of launching easier and from flat sites, which are more straightforward to find. Regarding the wind speeds, powered paragliders are able to manage speeds higher than 12 mph. However, an engine also allows the paraglider to fly without any wind.

How long will it take to learn paramotoring?

Normally, learning how to manage the powered paraglider securely requires 5-8 days training. Nevertheless, take into consideration that weather conditions can be a barrier, so it can last a few months, if the weather isn’t flyable.

Are there age or weight limitations?

Regarding the age, there are no age restrictions. There are many people over 70 years old and early teenagers who paraglide. Weight limitations aren’t a matter as well, as only the weight of the paramotor matters.

Is paramotoring safe?

People often ask “is paramotoring safe” or “what if engine failures happen”. The answer is that paramotoring is absolutely safe. It’s likely the safest type of private aviation. If the motor fails, you will just glide down: after all there is a wing. Besides, you always have a reserve parachute and other safety equipment with you, which will keep you safe, in case something undesirable happens. 

That said, I have to say that no matter which adventure sport it is. Your safety depends on you. If you approach it securely, you will be out of risks. Learn about meteorology, weather conditions and flight dynamics, get adequate training and make sure your equipment is in a good state before flying. That’s all you need to ensure your safety.

Differences between Powered and Non-powered paragliding

Many people wonder what differences there are between powered paragliding and paragliding. If you are new to these two aerial sports, you can notice only two distinguishing characteristics. The first one is the fairly similar wing included in both gliding equipment and the second one is that both paragliders launch the canopy (wing) like a kite. 

Certainly, a powered paraglider and a paraglider can seem quite alike in form and function, but actually there are many differences between these aerial adventures and here I’m gonna provide you with a list of differences between paragliding and powered paragliding.

1. Weather Reliance

So, as we have already learned, one of the main differences between the two aerial sports is that paragliders are weather dependent and if the thermal or wind cease, the pilot will be forced to land. Powered paragliders, on the other hand, depend on a motor rather than on environmental factors.

2. Differences in ease of learning

The next difference between powered and non-powered paragliding is the ease of learning. You already know that both pilots highly depend on thermals, but do you know how hard finding and using thermals can be in terms of paragliding?

Undoubtedly, it is easier to learn powered paragliding. As powered paragliding equipment involves an engine, it is easier to grasp paramotoring. In powered paragliding, you just use the motor for rising and complete beginners’ understanding of the wind can be enough. Whereas when it comes to paragliding, you must have a thorough comprehension of wing patterns and its usage to be able to go up to the sky.

Definitely, both paragliding and powered paragliding aren’t things you can learn alone. There are special training courses for powered paragliding and paragliding, where you can get both theoretical knowledge about one of the two aerial sports and will have a chance to practice with a professional instructor. For a more detailed source of information about how to become a paragliding pilot, you can check this article.

3. Wing Differences

Despite many similarities, the wings of paragliders and powered paragliders differentiate in some ways. For instance, the canopy of a paraglider doesn’t have trimmers – additional lines that pull the canopy tips in and when active operate alike a speed bar in that they help the powered paraglider go at a faster speed. 

Paragliders usually don’t have trimmers as it will increase the chances of brutal whipping maneuvers in the air. Though, the ones for professional paragliding pilots involve trimmers, as they have the abilities necessary to manage a paraglider with trimmers. Another difference is that the wings of most paragliders usually can hold less weight than the wings of powered paragliders.

4. Take-off site differences

Concerning the take-off site, while paragliders launch from a hill or a mountain, powered paragliders take-off from flat ground as it uses a motor to rise into the air. So paragliding is not as flexible as paramotoring, as you have to find an appropriate hill and for that sometimes you will need to drive a long distance. 

On the other hand, in terms of powered paragliding, you should be cautious to not face power lines or other barriers while launching. Apart from this, the heavy weight makes transportation difficult.

5. Maintenance process of paragliders and powered paragliders

If you carefully follow certain steps, you can extend the useful life of both powered and non-powered paragliders. In the case of paragliders, it is necessary to check if there are no tears. You also need to make sure the canopy is cleaned and not wet before packing, and take-off areas are safe to not damage the wing. 

Regarding the maintenance of powered paragliders, in addition to the steps mentioned above you should also make sure the motor works perfectly: ensure the bolts and the prop rig are tight, the idle is firm, and check for fuel leaks.

6. The cost differences between powered and non-powered paragliders

Despite the many advantages of powered paragliders, they have a disadvantage, that may keep many people away from buying paramotors. As paramotors also include a motor, their price is higher than that of paragliders. In the case of paragliders, you need to buy only a wing. 

Whereas, you will have to pay 3000$ higher for buying a paramotor  as it’s the usual price of a motor. In addition, their maintenance is harder and more expensive, as you also have to pay for the fuel. Have a look at this article to learn more about paragliding equipment and its cost.

7. Noise

The last difference is the noise. Many of you will find it distracting, that’s why I decided to refer to this question as well. In contrast to paragliders, powered paragliders have a noise that comes from the engine and propeller.

To sum up, although powered and non-powered paragliding differ in some ways, as far as the thrill is concerned, both aerial sports are worth trying. In case you don’t want to learn paragliding or feel scared to fly alone, you can order a tandem paragliding flight with an instructor and enjoy your adventure.

That’s it. We hope that the information was useful and we’ve covered all your questions. Anyways, if still there are questions you are interested in contact us and we will help with you get them answered.