Powered paragliding

« Back to Glossary Index

**Description and Operation**:
– Powered paragliding is minimally regulated in many countries, including the United States.
– Flying speeds range between 15 and 50mph (24 and 80km/h) at altitudes up to 18,000ft (5,500m).
– The paramotor weighs between 45 to 90lb (20 to 41kg) and is controlled by brake toggles, throttle, trimmers, and speed bar.
– Uses include personal recreation, military applications like special forces insertion, and civilian activities such as search and rescue and photography.
– Operating in high winds, turbulence, or thermal activity can be risky, especially for inexperienced pilots.

**Safety and Regulations**:
– Powered paragliding is slightly safer than riding motorcycles but more dangerous than cars.
– Serious injuries are often due to body contact with the spinning propeller.
– Accidents in Germany in 2018 involved 232 incidents, with 9 being fatal.
– Pilots carry a reserve parachute for emergencies, and proper training is essential for safety.
– Regulations vary by country, with some requiring formal training and certification.

**License, Training, and Regulations**:
– In the U.S., U.K., and many countries, no license or specific training is required.
– In regulated countries like Canada, France, Italy, and South Africa, formal training by licensed instructors is necessary.
– Full pilot syllabus training can take between 5 and 15 days, and certification may be needed to fly with passengers.
– Paramotor pilots operate under specific rules to minimize risks in most countries.
– Different regulations apply in countries like the U.S. under FAA regulation Part 103 and the U.K. under the Civil Aviation Authority.

**Associations and Representation**:
– In the U.S., the sport is primarily represented by the US Powered Paragliding Association (USPPA).
– The USPPA allows two-place training by certified tandem instructors.
– Instructors in the U.S. are certified by the USPPA, while in the U.K., representation is by the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association.
– Other supporting associations in the U.S. include the US Ultralight Association (USUA) and Aero Sports Connections (ASC).

**World Records and Notable Achievements**:
– World records include altitude, distance, and speed achievements in powered paragliding.
– Notable achievements include long-distance journeys, record times to fly in all U.S. states, and campaigns supporting charities.
– Various publications and reports provide information on safety, accidents, and achievements in the field.
– Recognitions by organizations like FAI and Guinness World Records highlight the accomplishments in powered paragliding.

Powered paragliding, also known as paramotoring or PPG, is a form of ultralight aviation where the pilot wears a back-pack motor (a paramotor) which provides enough thrust to take off using a paraglider. It can be launched in still air, and on level ground, by the pilot alone—no assistance is required.

Highest governing bodyFédération Aéronautique Internationale
TypeAir sports
Country or regionWorldwide
World Games2017
Two powered paragliders in flight
Powered paraglider at a Kanagawa beach in Japan, 2022
« Back to Glossary Index