A paramotor consists of a backpack-style ultra light aircraft-engine called a Paramotor; attached to which is a standard Paraglider wing. These paraglider wings are same wings which are also flown, without power, from hills and mountains.
Paramotoring is the easy, relatively safe and most accessible form of powered aviation. The entire aircraft fits into the boot of a small car and can be assembled for flight within a few minutes.
Paramotors can be safely flown from an area as small as a soccer field. The pilot gets into the harness and lifts the engine on his back, does his regular checks, starts the engine, glances at the laid out glider, opens power and within a few steps takes-off. Once taken off, he gains height as long as the power is on. On reaching the desired height he reduces power and maintains level height.
Now, he can decide whether to continue flying on the local field or to proceed on a cross-country flight. He has directional control and turns right or left using the control line. He ascends by opening power and descends by reducing power. Thus he has all the necessary maneuverability.
For landing he cuts power or keeps the engine running on idle on his landing approach, descends close to the ground, flares and lands with a smooth touch down within a few steps.
Flying speed is typically around
40 to 55 km/h depending on the wind and the wing. Ten-liters of fuel deliver three hours flying time. In good weather conditions, flights of over 100 km can be easily attempted.
Flying time may be extended by gliding and soaring, using lift from thermals, or from air rising over mountains, known as ridge-lift. In this manner, altitude may be maintained or gained, without using the motor, thus conserving fuel. The motor may be switched off; and re-started in-flight when required.
If the motor happens to quit in flight,
the wing, which is essentially a glider, will float the pilot gently and safely back to Earth. In fact, it is normal practice to switch the motor off before starting the landing approach.
It is fun flying a paramotor between 500 feet and 1000 feet above ground level, though they are capable of flying as high as 10,000 feet and more.
The most widely used engines for footlaunch/ backpack are single-cylinder, 2-stroke engines between 80 to 200 cc. The complete backpack unit usually weighs less than 25 kilograms. The better models sport a tuned exhaust system to boost power and performance, delivering around 22 to 25 horsepower, and around 70 kg of static thrust. For trike based units the engine capacity is usually above 200 cc and can go upto 500 cc depending on solo or tandem use.