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  • Learning to Paramotor

    Paramotoring is Paragliding with an auxiliary motor attached to the pilot. The CAA has defined this recently de-regulated this form of powered flight as a foot launched self-propelled Hang glider (SPHG). This does not mean that Paramotors are free to fly anywhere, They still have to comply with all U.K. aviation law, and some specific restrictions of their own (Click right hand Image to read Paramotor PDF syllabus → ). However these small aircraft allow you the freedom of the skies, with less red tape and costs than any other powered aircraft. With the ability to be able to take off from a small flat field and climb a Paramotor can fly just like any other aircraft. Para motors can have enough fuel to fly for between 2.5 - 4 hrs, can climb to around 500' per minute and fly at between 25 to 45 mph. At Axis training we have a lot of experience with Paramotoring, our first flights were in 1993 on Scobojets, and we have learned a lot and developed great teaching techniques ever since. We prefer if possible to have most of our Paramotorists, learn as much on the paraglider as they can prior to flying a Paramotor. This helps them become much better, safer and more confident pilots. It is no coincidence that nearly all of the worlds top pilots started as paraglider pilots

    The beauty of Paramotoring is that this tiny aircraft can fit in the boot of a car, take off from a very small field and land almost anywhere. A Paramotor will cruise at a similar speed to a paraglider, about 25mph, perhaps 40+ mph on the fastest wings! And so is still only useable in fairly light winds. This slow flight characteristic means that very low-level flying 'hedge hopping' is possible, and great fun. It is also possible to climb to great heights (UK record over 11,000ft) and to travel distances- Southern Spain to Tenerife has recently been achieved in one flight of over 1000km.

    To learn Paramotoring we believe that there are no shortcuts. Do not believe anyone who tells you that you need no training, or just a couple of days! They are probably just trying to sell you some equipment! Any form of aviation can kill if practiced in error. Knowledge is the key to safe flight! We now have a new syllabus from the BHPA with a first step "restricted qualification" BHPA CP POWER rating, which can be achieved in around 8 days or so of training. This new easier to obtain rating means you don't have to take a full paragliding course Your first big flights and circuits will be solo on the Paramotor. The restricted qualification will allow you to fly from your "own" field. If you wish to fly Cross Country and further afield, then you will need to continue to the Full BHPA "Pilot" rating which may take another 1 day. At Axis we are a BHPA registered school, and we are covered by third party Insurance to teach you. You will also be Insured as the pilot!

    As you begin the training, you will begin to realize how much is involved in this sport, it is not an aerial motorbike or jetski, and learning about flying meteorology is essential.

    Parajet paramotor

    DO NOT BUY EQUIPMENT BEFORE TRAINING!

    You do not need to buy yet, as we will provide everything you need during training. You will make a much better and more informed choice after your course. (We often have to tell pilots who buy first, that the equipment they have bought, is either unsuitable, or dangerous or both) It's a man thing; see, want, buy, but really it is a decision that is best done with expert guidance. Honestly, there is nothing more scary than being in the air on a crock, that was a bargain on e bay. Confidence in aviation is everything!

     

     

    Do you need a special Paraglider to use with a Paramotor?

    No, but the selection of wing is very important when using a Paramotor,
    the size should just be your normal paragliding size and no bigger (i.e.. body weight + 15-20kg to the upper end of the weight range- No motor weight unless the manufacturer has allowed for this). There are several manufacturers of Paramotoring wings, most will free fly well, and be 
    good with the motor. There are also many specialist Paramotor specific wings (Reflex) that do not free fly so well, but are fast and stable under power, however these some of these wings can be suitable to learn on, or to buy for your first wing We often have nearly new wings in the School that we teach you on, and you can buy these to get you started, as the take off and landing characteristics are so much more forgiving. Then when you have done 50 flights or so and are ready to move up we can give you a guaranteed part exchange price against a Paramotor specific wing!

    Ozone Spark, The perfect introduction to Paramotoring

     

    How much does it cost to learn?

    It's not going to be the same for everyone, as people are different, and have different skills and different rates of learning, some are luckier than others with the conditions they get when trying to achieve the tasks. To make it as fair as we possibly can, we charge for all training by the day. So you will only pay for what you do. Someone with good skills, or previous aviation experience, may only need 5 days on the Paraglider and then 2 days with the Paramotor to get to the BHPA Club Pilot Power rating. So this could cost from £900, up to about £1500  for the full "BHPA Power Pilot Rating" which gets you up to dross country flying standard. This includes all equipment whilst learning, but not insurance and fuel. Equipment will cost roughly £2400-£3500 for a wing, and approximately £4500-£7000 for a paramotor.

    I am not that fit/young anymore/had an injury, can I fly one with Wheels on: Trikes and Quads.

    From April 2017 Trikes have now been placed on a one year trial period by the CAA and are allowed to be used legally now with certain parameters. At the present time we do not have a BHPA trike Syllabus and so are unable to instruct on trikes, but this situation is in process, and may be available in the not too distant future.

    SPHG Code of Conduct for paramotor pilots and pilots of other types of SPHG.
     
    1. Preamble 
     
    This document is intended to give general guidance, and unless otherwise stated, its contents are
    not mandatory.  Although the term “paramotor” is used throughout this document, the term is
    intended to encompass all “Self Propelled Hang Gliders” (SPHG) including those falling under the
    UK CAA’s General Exemption E4653 for wheeled SPHG.

     
    2. BHPA Requirements 
     
     
    ln addition to the legal requirements, the BHPA may introduce requirements from time to time.
    Pilots should maintain their membership of the Association to keep up-to-date with existing and
    new regulations and guidance, and to maintain third party insurance (note: for some launch types,
    third party insurance is a legal requirement).   
    The BHPA strongly recommends that all paramotor pilots holding the BHPA Club Pilot (Novice)
    rating undertake training to obtain the full “Pilot” rating.  “Pilot” rated pilots are seen as being fully
    qualified, and therefore able to plan and execute cross country flight with the necessary skills and
    knowledge.  Holders of the CP (Novice) rating who fly out of the range of sight of their launch may
    find themselves uninsured.
     

    3. Taking off - General 
     
    Wherever possible a paramotor should take off from a non-public area.  One possibility is an
    existing microlight airfield which has the appropriate Local Authority permissions.

    When pilots take off from existing microlight areas, they should familiarise themselves with and
    comply with local rules, particularly those relating to noise sensitive areas and numbers of aircraft
    movements per day.  

    If a paramotor takes off from other areas the following procedures should be taken:  

    a) Where possible, permission should be obtained from the owner of the land. 
    b) The area should be secure from the possibility of animals and/or spectators being in an area 
    of danger.  
    c) Any spectators should be properly marshalled, and any dogs should be firmly attached to a
    lead (they have been known to chase a paramotor when it starts to move). 
    d) The take-off area should be closely inspected for possible trips and holes (to at least expected
    take-off distance + 50%). 
    e) Where appropriate, any neighbours should be informed of your future activities. 


    3.1  Taking off - Planning Approval 
     
    Land designated as agricultural can be used as a temporary take-off area for up to twenty-eight
    days in a twelve-month period (unless the land is part of a special zone such as a conservation
    area). If you fly on more than twenty-eight days without Planning Approval the owner of the land
    may be served with an enforcement notice by the Local Authority and could be subject to a fine. 
    Local Authorities will generally include all of the land in one ownership in an enforcement order. 
    Do not try to argue that you are taking off from different fields and they each have a twenty-eight-
    BHPA SPHG Code of Conduct  03-2020 Page 1 of 3 
              
    day dispensation.  The Local Authority may also have local bye laws which should not be
    contravened.
     

    3.2 Taking off - Hang Gliding and Paragliding Sites
     
    Do not use hill or tow sites for powered flight unless you have permission from the club. 

     
    4.  Powered flying - General 
     
    If you regularly take off from one place, vary your flight path to avoid annoying the general public. 
    ln particular, powered paragliders flying against the wind will remain in view and earshot for a long
    period of time.  If they fly higher to make less noise, they may fly slower due to the wind gradient. 
    If you are not making much headway it may be better to land and get a lift back to base. 

    It should be noted that German research has shown that an aircraft is a greater source of
    annoyance if it can be seen. 
     

    4.1  Flying – Airspace
     
    It is strongly recommended that: every pilot possesses an up-to-date airchart of the area they intend
    to fly in, is equipped with an altimeter capable of displaying altitude and height, and understands 
    how to use the airchart and altimeter to avoid flying into controlled airspace.

    As well as permanent areas of controlled airspace, there are temporary restricted and prohibited
    areas through which you cannot fly a paramotor.  The BHPA’s CANP web page
    (https://www.bhpa.co.uk/documents/safety/canp/) contains information on how to obtain temporary
    airspace notifications, and how to notify the military of your intention to fly midweek. 

    If you are intending to fly in an area of uncontrolled airspace under a UK TMA or CTA, the general
    rule is that you set your altimeter to the QNH of that TMA / CTA (Local QNH) to be able to
    understand your altitude in relation to the controlled airspace above you (and avoid popping up into
    it!).  Making an airspace infringement like this may have significant safety implications, may cause
    emergency diversions of other aircraft and may lead to your prosecution. 

    In addition to knowing your position relative to any nearby controlled airspace, it is essential that
    you respect the low flying rules.  In the UK you are required to keep at least 500ft away from any
    person, vehicle, vessel or structure – this means not entering a 500ft radius ‘bubble’ around any
    person, structure, etc (unless you are taking off or landing).  The CAA prosecutes paramotor pilots
    who break this rule.  Powered ground-skimming within 150m (500ft) of walkers would not only be
    an illegal activity, you may well find that you have invalidated your BHPA insurance and be
    personally liable for any third party claims made against you for injury or loss.   


    4.2  Flying - Hang Gliding and Paragliding Hill Sites 
     

     
    It may be very tempting to buzz your mates who are grounded on a nil wind day. Please do not do
    this!  A number of Hang Gliding and Paragliding Clubs have introduced rules which generally
    exclude SPHGs (paramotors).  In at least one case there is a self-declared exclusion zone around
    each site.  Most such sites were negotiated with landowners on the basis of the activity being silent.
    Unless you actually know that powered machines are welcome on a particular site, treat all such
    sites as PPR (Prior Permission Required), just as you should if planning to visit alternative airfields
    or strips.  The general rule to be followed is use your common sense and stay away.

     
    BHPA SPHG Code of Conduct  03-2020 Page 2 of 3 
    4.3  Flying - Livestock 
      
    Adherence to the General Exemption should mean that livestock is not disturbed. However, you
    should particularly avoid bird sanctuaries and riding stables. If you are taking-off from a field, you
    should check that there are no horse riders in the vicinity.  If there are, wait until they are well away
    from the area before starting your engine and ensure that you will not be overflying them at low
    level.

     
    4.4 Flying – cross country

     The BHPA Club Pilot rating allows pilots that hold it to fly unsupervised, but they are strongly 

     
    advised to restrict their flying to a familiar local area that is free of any controlled airspace, and to
    stay within sight of their landing area to avoid getting lost.  The BHPA Pilot rating covers cross
    country flying.  A pilot holding this rating is seen as being properly trained in navigation and airspace
    recognition, and able to plan and execute cross-country flights with the necessary skills, knowledge
    and diligence. 
    5.  Landing
     
    For a variety of reasons, you may decide to 'land-out'.
     
    If you are landing on private land you must find the landowner and tell him/her of your arrival.  
    Courtesy takes five minutes of your time and usually results in a pleasant experience.  
     
    It should be noted that some years ago a pilot was fined many thousands of pounds for attempting
    to land in a field and in changing to a fly-over was reported by two ramblers on the ground.  He was
    prosecuted for breaking the 500ft rule. 

    Always remember that you are an ambassador for your club, the Association and the sport.  If
    confronted by an aggrieved landowner, try to de-escalate the situation by being polite and
    reasonable.  Explain your reasons for landing there and say you will leave as soon as you have
    packed your kit up.
     

    6.  Display flying 
     
    The laws on display flying require each pilot to hold a CAA Display Authorisation (DA).  Obtaining
    a DA involves having your planned display evaluated by a Display Authorisation Evaluator (DAE)
    appointed by the CAA. The BHPA Head Office will be able to give you the names of Display
    Assessment Evaluators authorised to evaluate SPHG display pilots.  You will also need to become
    acquainted with CAP 403, the CAA Air Display bible.
     

    7.  Conclusion 
     
    Any breach of common sense or good manners is potentially a breach of this Code of Conduct. 

     
    8. Further resources
     
    The CAA’s Skyway Code is a useful resource for information on airlaw and flight planning.  It is
    available as a download from the CAA website (link: https://www.caa.co.uk/Generalaviation/Safety-information/The-Skyway-Code/

    ).  NATS AE is a useful app-based resource for
    understanding the UK’s layout of controlled airspace.

    The BHPA Pilot Handbook contains essential information, flight theory and specialist techniques
    relevant to paragliding and hang gliding.