High Flying Paramotors
The latest craze that’s literally taking off is para-motoring. These powered paragliders are the cheapest and most compact form of ﬂying, offering mere mortals the chance to explore the heavens where the sky is literally the limit!
It’s remarkably simple: combining a backpack engine attached to a ram-air parafoil wing so you wear the engine itself. Variations include a tandem ﬂown by two people and a trike, which has wheels attached to increase the device’s ground adaptability. It is usually foot launched so there is no need for a long airﬁeld or runway to ascend and with the powerful two or four-stroke propelled engine in tow, there is no reliance on wind assistance.
The engine can be stopped and restarted mid-air to easily change direction and altitude. The steering controls work via brake lines that increase or decrease the drag on each side of the wing. But perhaps its most appealing feature is the low carbon footprint, with minimal emissions coming from a paramotor.
Costing between £3,500 and £12,000 ($5,900 and $20,200) each when brought from a constructor, many people also make their own and combine it with a second-hand paraglider wing. The pilots must also wear the appropriate safety gear including a ﬂying suit, boots and a helmet. In many countries Para-motoring does not require a special license, but pilots must learn and obey airspace regulations in order to avoid commercial airline ﬂight paths.
UK-based Parajet International is designing a paramotor-vehicle hybrid known as the SkyRunner. Designed to be all-terrain, it has been described as the ‘ultimate recreational sports vehicle.’ The ﬁ rst prototype emerged in 2009 when a design of attaching a paraglider to a buggy appeared. Through continual modiﬁcations it has morphed into its current incarnation.
The SkyRunner is a lightweight, high-strengthconstruction intended to tackle demanding landscapes and be road legal. As well as its impressive specs, the vehicle takes the pilot’s comfort seriously with new paraglider wing technology, which absorbs turbulence, and a ﬂy-wheel design that counters uncomfortable engine vibration without affecting performance.
Anatomy of a paramotor
The technology, aerodynamics and safety features explained
Storage and parachute
This area acts as a hold to safely put away valuables, essential items and a backup parachute.
Powering a two-blade propeller, lightweight engines increase strength-to-weight ratio – the size ranges from 50cc to 250cc.
Paramotoring is often done in a seated position to lessen fatigue and new versions are self-deployable for easier landing
These can be placed in a high or low position. The ﬁrst restricts movement and is for beginners while the second feels more like free ﬂight and is for expert ﬂyers.
These lock your arms into the mechanism allowing you to ﬂy safely and comfortably
Using air-mesh tech, this straps the body tight onto the paramotor and acts as a ‘backpack’ giving the pilot ideal weight distribution for ﬂight.