Paramotor Safety

Paramotor Prop Safety

Avoiding Propeller Injuries | See also A Better Paramotor | Safety Ring Retrofit

Prop Injuries   SafeStart Development   Accident Examples   Safety Cage Add-On   Prop Stopper   Safer Starting Stand   Cage Intelligence   Shuttoff Technologies   Safer Throttle

Here is a centralized location to learn all about the causes and cures of our sport's most likely serious injuries: body contact with spinning prop. It is broken down into several sections to ease the search.

Hardware Improvements

There are a number of hardware improvements that would increase prop safety. Namely, the cage should be able to prevent an open human hand from reaching the prop at full rated thrust from anywhere on the cage, including netting and the cage system should fully enclose the prop. The easiest improvement that can be added to most machines is the safety ring. Here are some other resources.

Buy or build your body-saving ring here!

A Better Paramotor. This page lists a whole bunch of ideas to improve the safety of paramotors besides prop safety. 

SafeStart Under development.

A Better Throttle almost as good as SafeStart but much simpler.

Safety Cage Retrofit. Here you'll find details on adding a safety ring to existing machines.

Prop Stopper. Here you'll find a simple method for pilots of clutch-equipped machines to prevent their prop from turning during start.

Safer Starting Stand. This is a great way to reduce risk either out on the field or at home in the shop without having to do any modifications to your paramotor.

Safestart, Cage & Prop Intelligence. Here are a variety of ways to reduce risk, including the SafeStart electronic engine shutoff device. Among other ideas, this page has an animation detailing how SafeStart would work.

Jeff Baumgartner installed safety rings on several motors at the 2009 Holland, MI fly-in. These four pilots now have dramatically safer machines regarding prop injury risk. Machine "A" has the best protection since its ring goes all the way down, possibly preventing a hand from whacking during a launch fall, which has happened. The "B" machine prevents most of the prop-injury risk but still has this bottom area vulnerable.

Shutoff Technologies has some other ideas, besides SafeStart, for shutting off a thrusting motor during start.

Another element is that the prop should be fully enclosed by the cage. Doing so reduces the chance for a reach-around injury. Just because it's difficult to do that while hanging in a simulator doesn't mean its impossible during launch when things are bouncing around or during a fall.

Procedural Improvements

Here we show the various ways that pilots have gotten whacked by a prop and suggestions to reduce the risk. It is organized by phase of flight. Although most accidents happen while starting before flight, they happen elsewhere as well.

Example Accidents & Injury Types

Go to the USPPA incidents page for a full list but these are some examples of those that reflect the variety of ways props and people don't mix well.

Always start in such a way that you have good leverage to hold back a thrusting motor.
Working on a hard-to-start motor has proven to be high risk for a surprise.


© 2016 Jeff Goin & Tim Kaiser   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!