What's Happening around the sport of Powered Paragliding and
FootFlyer.com. What's New
Schanze Dropped By U-Turn Gliders
Apr 16, 2013
It's nice to see a company do
the right thing decisively like U-Turn has now done by dropping Dell Schanze
as its U.S. importer. Eagle Paragliding, a respectable company, has taken
over. Too bad it took so long, for sure, but some people only think of him
as eccentric because they have no idea how far he goes with fraudulent
claims and lies about many people. Outright lies, not just exaggerations.
Even in spite of being caught in many of them he continues to tell people
completely false information with a fervor that sounds believable.
Due to insanely restrictive
rules proposed by the city council and Mayer of Panama City Beach, John
Black had to cancel the event. Needing a rating became the least of anyone's
worry with police-state type rules. Besides pilots who were planning to
attend from all over the world, the people of Panama City Beach should be
livid that such a few people could ruin such an incredible event.
My heart goes out to John who
agonized over this after having spent hundreds of dollars and hundreds of
hours bringing this thing together. And to the pilots who carved plans out
of busy lives to attend. I was looking forward to trying out new gear as
always. Here is John's announcement:
careful consideration and evaluation of circumstances beyond our
control, I have decided that there is no reasonable way that Beach Blast
can occur this year. I know many of you have already seen a draft of the
proposed ordinance and three of the five city council members voted to
move this forward. The Mayor Gayle Oberst, Councilman Rick Russell, and
Councilman John Reichardt voted to move forward with this ordinance. I
had conveyed to the council many times that I could not run an event
with such an ordinance. With the proposed vote being only days away from
the event it cannot be complied with and puts us at risk of shutdown.
began issuing refunds several hours ago and should be finished with them
in the next few days. I apologize to our pilots and families for not
succeeding in this endeavor and I thank you from the bottom of my heart
for the support so many of you have given. I am truly honored that you
chose to spend your vacations and time here and make Beach Blast into
such a success. I encourage you to support other fly ins as these
directors spend hard hours working to provide the best environment
possible. If I can ever assist any of you please let me know.
Miniplane Importer Changed
Apr 6, 2013
Chad Bastian of
Miniplane USA is now the primary
importer for the Miniplane and parts. Francesco DeSantis will continue to
due very limited training but not doing Instructor training after finishing
off his current obligations.
Beware Possible Fake Paramotor Sales Sites
Mar 26, 2013
A paramotor pilot from
Australia has alerted me to probable fake websites. Although Alibaba.com is
a real website with sound organizations, some companies there may not be
legit. Another site, ParamotorEngine.com, probably is a scam. At least
according to one pilot who was asking for an advertised wing that was not
yet released by the manufacturer. He asked for a photo of the placard and
they never provided it. Reputable dealers don't need to go through such
hoops but suspicious new entrants must build a reputation and, if they won't
do something this simple, they remain suspicious.
Nirvana has specifically listed
ParamotorEngine.com as not authorized to sell their products and have no
idea if they even have any in stock or even have ANY product in stock.
Be careful. Buy from dealers
you know and trust and who have a reputation for good service. This is one
additional reason to buy from your instructor.
New Paramotor Friendly Airport Owners
Feb 21, 2013
Congratulations to Paul
Czarnecki of www.PlanetPPG.com who is
now part owner in the Pine Island Airport where he trains. The new owner is
an aviation buff and, along with Paul, plans to make a number of improvement
to the site, including some that will make it even more welcoming to
paramotor pilots. Among other improvements, possibly the most welcome will
be a new bathroom to replace the existing porta-pottie.
SafeStart, Hopefully Soon
Jan 28, 2013
This is the announcement, a bit
early but the cat is out of the bag.
Svec Miroslav has made
SafeStart a reality. It's not in production yet and I was holding off until
he was ready but he has a working model and, in fact, is working on an even
more impressive rendition. The fat lady certainly hasn't sung yet since
there's no product to buy yet but, he's got a working prototype. Having this
device on a paramotor would do more to improve safety than any other effort.
It's not the end-all, of course, but it will likely have a dramatic affect
on prop strike injuries that happen during start (which is well over 50% of
His newest version doesn't even
need a battery. He harnesses the little bit of energy from the spark but I
suspect that the battery version would be first in production.
Why is this so significant?
Every year there are probably DOZENS of pilots worldwide who get whacked by
a prop. The Safety Ring (or any sufficient cage protection) is good but a
number of the injuries happen on the other side of the cage. Safestart shuts
off the motor IMMEDIATELY if it goes above 3000 rpm (or some value) during
the first few seconds after start. That's the most likely time.
My hat is off to this gentleman
and I'd be honored to be the first buyer.
Jan 19, 2013
Michael Mixer has agreed to run
the USPPA competition in southern California. This is a great development
and I sure hope we get pilots to join us who have become high-end fliers. It
is scheduled for Feb 7, 8, 9 at the Paratoys event, Salton Sea, CA. I'll be competing since I don't
have to run it! Yeah! Anyone interested in joining us please do I and others
will gladly offer pointers to anyone who is interested in competing -- sort
of a mini clinic.
It could be the best thing to
happen for paramotor safety ever, doing what air bags and seat belts did for
cars. Like the Agama that so effectively protects against our sport's most
lethal accident type. This goodie has been tested and works. The maker wants
to be sure all is well with production before going public but I just
couldn't contain myself after seeing the demo. Stay tuned. I'm gonna be the
first one to buy if given the opportunity.
Safety Ring Now For Sale
July 5, 2012
Leon Wacker is now producing
the safety ring. This could save your arm, hand, fingers, shoulder, etc and
is now available for $65. It adds negligible weight and imparts significant
strength while also reducing dramatically the chance for the prop to hit
your netting, let alone body parts. You can buy it here at
more information about the ring, how to build it, and a video on how to
install it on your paramotor.
Sky Gliders Dumps Dell
June 29, 2012
You can now buy a Sky Glider
without the dark cloud of supporting a fraud. As of June 27, Real champion pilot
Bill Heaner, who dumped Dell long ago, has taken over as importer of Sky
Gliders and, in Bill's usual way, will do so in an ethical and honest
fashion. He has already been handling the free-flight side of their product
line. If you want a lightweight glider, Bill will be honest about the
difference between their standard and mountain gliders. Sky itself is a
fantastic company with great ethics and wanted to make some changes to
provide quality, honest, reliable service handled by someone who doesn't
have to fraud customers by making up their own organization or misleading
It was an unexpected pleasure
to see Bill Heaner during my recent visit to Sky's Factory but even more
thrilling was finding out that this deal was just finalized and hear it
right from Sky's CEO.
Kudos to them. We should
collectively support those participants who are actually beneficial to
powered paragliding. I learned of this myself during a post-Basse Ham visit
with several manufacturers in the Czech Republic. Needless to say, I was
thrilled that they did the ethical thing. They made a great choice,
too. Bill Heaner is not only an exceptional and knowledgeable pilot, but he is
a top notch human with high standards. He's also probably the country's best kiter (as many have seen in Master PPG 1). Buy Sky now with a clean
Simonini Engines Takes The High Road
May 29, 2012
Kudos to Simonini USA for
taking the high road and refusing to support Dell Schanze's many fraudulent
practices. They announced at Beach Blast 2012 that they would no longer
supply their Simonini motors for his business. Tip of the hat for their
willingness to do the right thing. We can feel better about buying products
with these engines on them. Supporting those sellers who engage in
destructive practices harms the sport. We applaud those who are willing to
risk losing business to do the right thing.
Walbro Discounts Available
Jan 16, 2012, updated May 31, 2012
Jake Hearnsberger runs the
outdoor-equipment-parts.com from which I've gotten some good content and
linked to. He is a pilot himself (building an RV-10) and is offering a 10%
discount on parts for us. Type the word "PARAGLIDE" as a coupon code to get
a 10% discount.
Jan 15, 2012
For those who like to record
their flights but don't need or want GPS navigation, check out the AMOD
Technology AGL 3080 data logger. This $70 GPS would be a great option for
anyone wanting to set world or national records because it wouldn't need to
be covered since there's no display of position.
According to Stephen Regenold
who reviewed it for the The Gear Junkie, it's as accurate as any and
works easily for downloading to your computer. It is also approved for use
as on paramotor competitions and record attempts as per the FAI.
Difference between a logger and
a tracker (thanks to Keith Pickersgill): A
tracker sends out position, speed, altitude, etc periodically via satellite,
cellular or similar to be tracked live on a webpage or other medium. This
device merely records your tracklog which can be retrieved AFTER the flight
for scoring purposes in comps or to view on google Earth, maps, etc.
Thanks to Jeff Burrill for the
Longtime parachute test pilot
Jon Sepp has set out for a flight across America last week, taking off from
this Dana Point, California intending to fly all the way to Florida's East
Coast. He's made incredible progress as this is written, getting all the way
to Texas. He's on a Blackhawk 125 Pro Series and Paratoys Recon Wing. The
route is loosely planned and will depend on the weather. Unlike the previous
group who did a similar flight several years ago, he's not intending to use
thermals. But he is flying through mid-day when the weather is relatively
benign. Benign is relative, though, given that a sunny day in the desert
west can serve up some pretty distasteful nastiness. So far, so good.
We did a radio show interview
with Mike Robinson of Paratoys on the
Powered Paragliding Show, which is now part of Powered Sport Flying
Radio, and plan another this coming Tuesday. Hopefully Jon will be in Texas.
During the radio show interview
I loved Mike's realistic comment about how he was doing with so much time in
the seat. "he's doing pretty good now, but lets talk after another week of
flying." As one who just flew 7 legs in a comfy Boeing 737 I can say that it
does feel like you've got the thing glued to your butt after a while!
He's being chased by
professional videographer Anson Fogel who has put together some cool
material on the Paratoys and other sites.
2011-10-15 Update. At some
point along the way these two groups, Paratoys and Jon, parted company. As
always there are two stories as to what happened but what we do know is that
Jon is reportedly finishing his flight with help from Paradrenalin. If
updates are available, they'll likely be on
www.Paradrenalin.com. We did
another radio show interview but the quality was too poor to put up on Roy's
show. It is being hosted at
Dell Schanze Strikes Again
Sept 06, 2011
We should not be surprised but
we should all be mad as hell.
It appears that Dell Schanze's
antics in Oregon has gotten PPG shut down on the state's entire coast. When
Schanze took his disrespectful "Superdell" antics to Astoria, Oregon and
flew from one of their vaunted monuments, the Astoria Column, it was but the first
of many insults that put our sport at odds with authorities. After flying
motors disrespectfully around sensitive sites, the locals started looking hard for a way to make
launching from the beach illegal. While it wasn't likely the Astoria
incident itself, all of Dell's subsequent abuses of decency got the ball
rolling. And rolling fast.
"I've got the right to fly here"
is a common refrain from the last person to fly somewhere. I'm reminded
of a statement by Jerry Daniele who wisely observed that we fly at the
pleasure of the people. Piss enough of them off and we won't fly anymore.
Simple as that. And guess what? Dell has pissed off a *LOT* of people in Oregon.
Highly respected USHPA/USPPA
Instructor Brad and Maren Hill have been instructing on this coast, working
well with authorities, for years. They've now been shut down on the beach as
a result of all this.
We as a community should recognize this train wreck for what it is. Dell
Schanze is a caustic force in our sport and this is just his latest
travesty. I can't say it strongly enough: supporting him is damaging the
long-term health of our entire sport. Do us all a collective favor and
"Just Say No" when it comes to supporting this disrespectful calamity.
Phil Russman has shot and
produced the most gorgeous moving pictures in all of paramotoring and none other than
Microsoft has taken notice. Phil has obviously sold some of his work as
evidenced from this video that I stumbled upon while checking out their new
operating system. Move the play head over to about minute 2:00 for some cool
powered paragliding action. You want to stop the presenter and say "hey,
look at that, this is the cool stuff here!"
New YouTube Channel,
Powered Paragliding News & Reviews
May 18, 2011
Our sport is full of colorful
figures and a new YouTube channel aims to let you hear from them directly
through a news-style interview. There will be reviews of equipment when
possible since video allows detail that's not possible with a written
There's an enormous amount of
misinformation on the net, especially youTube, and this is hoped to offer
balanced information from the people who make this sport a big part of their
Be sure to friend, subscribe,
and give thumbs up so these videos increase in rank, especially for the
search term "Powered Paragliding."
The YouTube channel is "GoPoweredParagliding".
The first interview has been uploaded and, now that the format shell is
complete, the rest of them should be coming soon. Bear with me as I learn
the ropes of effective live video interviewing but I try to keep them
concise. They are between 2 and 12 minutes long.
Powered Paragliding's least
ethical character, Dell Schanze, does it again, telling attendees at Beach
Blast to "Look Out" since he has been banned from the event. This was said
after a tornado caused millions of dollars worth of damage to airplanes at
Sun-N-Fun and Schanze ascribed it to his god as punishment for Planet PPG.
Ironically, Planet PPG had it's most successful show to date and had no
damage to its paramotors.
It just gets better and better.
His verbal diarrhea would be best labeled dellShit, or DS (Rhymes with BS).
Jason Jasnos has created a
website where pilots can connect, share pictures, engage in topical
discussions, and other useful bits. It's very well implemented and is worth
checking out. We have yet to see how forum moderation will take place as the
policies aren't published as of this writing. There are multiple topics so,
when "thread creep happens", converesations may be moved. That turns out to
be better for everyone, especially later pilots looking for info.
Like Facebook there is no cost
so eventually we can expect simple, non-intrusive ads to appear although
that's not planned.
Alex Varv, long time importer,
promoter and supporter of the Aero Corsair Black Devil engines, has taken
the next step to help design a new machine. He is working with Kangook of
Canada and their three-part cage Design, creating a new suspension system
similar to the Miniplane along with other modifications. It endeavors to
minimize torque while providing good weight shift and less fore-aft tilt
than others. I hope to review it at the Salton Sea in early February.
The paramotor will be available
for demo to qualified pilots at the 2011 Salton Sea Fly-in. For more
information visit www.Aerocorsair.com.
Paratoys has released a new
4-Stroke, the BlackHawk Hell Cat 360.
It's biggest innovation is that it uses a made-for-aviation motor weighing
69.5 pounds and generating 35HP. Mated with the production prop it' gets 220
pounds of thrust. It will be introduced and available to qualified pilots
for test flights at the 2011 Salton Sea Fly-in Feb 4 along with the rest of
the Blackhawk lineup.
Powered Sport Flying Magazine
has opened up a new website dedicated to our sport and other light flight
types. It combines information from the magazine, other websites, the
Powered Sport Flying radio show and, of course, its author Roy Beisswenger.
One feed includes content from here, FootFlyer.com under the title Jeff
December 2, 2010 USPPA National South FL
Competition & Convention is Off
Oct 3, 2010
It was a nice thought but the
county apparently wasn't really that interested. When it came to get a
contract, which we wouldn't proceed without, they wouldn't come through with
hard numbers. Costs for some things doubled and insurance requirement raised
their ugly heads.
The U.S. is a great country,
don't get me wrong, but our liability problems are crippling in many ways.
What a shame.
Other options are being
explored but time is obviously running short.
Pilot and Innovator Greg Peterson Passes Away
Sept 23, 2010
After a long battle with Cancer
Greg Peterson has passed away in Northern California, according to close
friend Brett Hays. Greg has been a paramotor pilot and instructor since
before I got into the sport in 1999. He was also the type of guy that made
everyone feel welcome and tried his hardest to get them airborne. I have
fond memories of time spent flying with Greg in the Sacramento area,
including one time when a foot drag down some local creek got a little deep.
He went in. By the time a couple of us landed by the bank, he had his wing
out of the water and on his way to relaunch. Sure enough he pulled it off.
Greg was friend to everyone he
met, humble, capable, fun-loving and innovative. To the best of my knowledge
he was the first one to pair a motor unit to the original kite buggy.
I didn't know Greg that well
but every encounter was always enjoyable and usually memorable. He was that
kind of guy. You immediately felt like one of the group and looked forward
to being a part.
He will be missed by many.
Sept 19, 2010
Now we're talkin'. Paramotor
competition is a lot more fun to watch when there's something to see. And
although the cross country aspect is fun for many pilots, it's not much to
look at. The World Air Games, USPPA's format and the precision part of FAI's
competition is all about precision flying. Now, a new circuit is being flown
called Parabatix. Paramotor magazine issue 21 will have a piece on it
but, for now, check out www.Parabatix.com
this article in XCMagazine.
Communications For Paramotorists
Aug 12, 2010
When I went to Australia last
Feb the fellow who put me up (and put up with me) for 8 days was Richard
Shelton. Turns out, he's an electronics wiz who makes a living building and
selling tiny cameras for the model world. Well now he's put those talents to
work on our communications needs. Unfortunately I haven't gotten to try his
handiwork but can speak highly of Richard. He's got a system that integrates
a cell phone, comm radio and music for use by paramotor (and other) pilots.
At the quantity he deals with the price is remarkable. In fact, I'd get him
to raise his prices so he keeps doing it. They're not cheap, but neither is
building quality stuff. And lord know I'm not going to be building
He's got a great PDF with the
prices and so forth but get the latest from his
HiCam web site.
Paramotor Give Away
Aug 11, 2010
I want one.
Paradrenalin, the Nirvana
importer in Arizona, is raffling off a brand new Simonini Rodeo. Well, I
assume that it's new given the value listed. I've flown one and found it to
good ride (new pilots want the smaller-prop version). The $25 ticket can be
purchased from Paradrenalin in
advance, or at the Monument Valley Gathering where it will be drawn and you
do not have to be present to win. That
event runs Friday, Oct 8 through Sunday the 10th, 2010 (see the
Event Calendar). If you're a gambler,
this sounds like mighty good odds.
You do nothave to be present to
Ryan Shaw at 602-540-9929 or
Skype: ParadrenalinUSA for more details.
French Electric At Basse Ham
July 24, 2010
There is life in Electric Land
and it whoed itself at Basse Ham.
Louis Fourdan of Parawatt hade
a showing of his drive mechanism which is also being used by U.S. pilot Jean
Beney. You can see the videos
here. More full
coverage is included at ElectricPPG.com. Louis can be contacted at +33 1 42
37 20 06 or through email at
Russian Paramotor Competition
July 22, 2010
This came across my inbox: A
cool-sounding competition is planned in Russia.
It seems somehow strange that,
while our government leaders hover over their respective doomsday buttons,
we angle for another reason to paramotor with each other. And another good
reminder of how people are basically the same wherever you go. Fun ones,
mean ones, jerks and the playful--all in about the same percentages and all
over the world. OK, I digress.
The Russians I've met have been
of the fun, playful type so I'm sorry to be missing out on this one. Here's
This came through my inbox a
few days and, being somewhat a connoisseur of thimble-thrusted machines, I
David Frank, from Israel, has
fashioned a paramotor from Radio-Controlled big scale airplane technology.
He calls it, rightfully so, "Nano." The unit's dry weight, including
a Supair PPG harness, is just under 20 pounds. He's breaking the motor in
now so we don't know if thee paltry push will be enough but, if it is, that
has to be a record. It's 29" prop is identical to that on my direct-drive
Solo 210 Fly that still serves yeoman duty. But it weighs almost twice as
much. This will be interesting.
David is an Acro pilot so all
he wants his puny pusher for is to get enough altitude to let him turn the
world upside down or soar in lift.
If all goes well with the
prototype he's gonna build an electric start to better enable in-air
A lot of incredible flying has
gone on here but Jerry and Michelle are moving on. They'll still be running
the business, and from the same general location, but from a more modest
site. More here.
FootFlyer.com Traffic Records
Nov 1, 2009
FootFlyer.com's website has
exceeded 2000 page views per day starting Sept, 2009. Thanks for your
support. We'll do our best to provide unbiased coverage of powered
paragliding as is humanly possible along with resources and training
An interesting observation is
the effect of Fox TV's Sports Science show where they had me land in a
boxing ring. Although there may have been some uptick in page views, it was
fleeting. It goes to show that, in spite of what we fliers may think, the
general public really isn't much interested beyond the "wow, that's cool"
comment, which is normally followed by "crazy, too, I'd never do
When I first got into powered
paragliding in 1999 it seemed that it would explode once Joe Schmoe
discovered it. Then I realized that it really wasn't that easy of a thing to
do, that it takes work and really doesn't get to be fun until a certain
skill level is obtained. Not something for Peter Public who is
generally petrified at the thought of being aloft, let alone flying the craft himself.
no, it really probably won't ever become a big thing. Lets face it, if
you're successfully foot launching a paramotor, you've achieved something of
significant difficulty. Just because someone nails nearly every launch
doesn't mean it's easy, it just means they've practiced. Every single launch
is barely successful.
Thanks again for your support
and keep those suggestions coming.
Animal Preservation Org Seeks Volunteer
Sep 12, 2009
They're ready for paramotor
pilots. We just got word today that the Wildlife Action Group International
in Malawi is ready to do their herding work and are seeking skilled
paramotor pilots that would be willing to come help. They'll provide food,
lodging, (consider this an adventure—think hut, not Hilton), local
transportation and a launch site, even if they have to cut it. See the news
This is serious business. The
elephants have killed 3 (one more than our Aug 17 report) mostly because
people interact with them improperly.
If you can spare the time and
get yourself and your gear to Lilongwe Airport in Malawi and back, they'd
love to hear from you. The full request is below on the Aug 17 entry.
USPPA Online Testing
Sep 11, 2009
If you haven't gone through the
USPPA ratings program, it might worth
considering. For one thing, you can get up to $200 back just for earning the
PPG3 rating. Most pilots would qualify for the PPG2, whose biggest challenge
is making 3 of the last 4 landings within 40 feet of a target set by your
instructor. Sounds easy but next time you're out go draw the circle and try
Also, the online testing has
been improved with more relevant questions and more material covered. Plus
the questions have been worked over to be quicker and more discriminating at
the same time. Online testing for the PPG1 and PPG2 is available to all
USPPA members. To take the online tests, log into the members services area
and select "Online Testing."
Animal Preservation Org Seeks Volunteer
Aug 17, 2009
We got a request for help from
the Chairman of the Wildlife Action Group International in Malawi. They're
putting up an electric fence to protect the village areas from crop raiding
www.wildlifeactiongroup.org) but can't close the fence since 10
elephants are still on the outside. So they're looking for one or two
skilled paramotor pilot volunteers who could help coral the elephants into
These elephants are outside the
reserve in farmer's fields. A helicopter is cost prohibitive and ground
vehicles can't manage the surface. They feel that one or two excellent
paramotor pilots would be able to direct the elephants back towards the
reserve using their motor noise and possibly an additional siren.
We would need such an pilot for
about 6 weeks, but maybe the task could be shared by several pilots as an
adventure holiday. They aren't in a position to pay salaries and
therefore hope for volunteers but will provide food, accommodation and local
If you are willing/able to
help, contact Georg Kloeble, Wildlife Action Group International e.V. at the
moment in Thuma Forest Reserve, Malawi. Mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
We asked a few questions and
here are the answers:
What is the urgency? The reason for the emergency fence is that the elephants killed 2 people
within the last 2 month. If we can not put that fence up within a short time
and get the elephants back into the reserve they might be shot or
What are the accommodations? Accommodation in our bush camp in the Reserve. Beautiful area. Hills and
mountains in the slopes of the Great Rift Valley not far from Lake Malawi.
Have a look at the link below in Google Maps: Have a look at the satellite
What is the terrain like? Flat in the village areas, some rocky outcrops, towards the Forest
reserve 500m bush and trees
Where would the pilot launch
from? Have to locate a site, but will prepare a site in the reserve if
What are the aviation laws
in Malawi? There is no provisional law for paragliders as far as I know. But know
that trikes from RSA were flying here. Should not be a problem.
Are any special permits
required for such flights? Don't think so!
Would aviation fuel be
available and two-stroke oil? I will organize it if you provide specifications.
v2 PPG Plans Now Downloadable from PPGPlans.com
July 22, 2009
The downloadable plans have been added to PPGPlans.com for the version 2
Skybolt. This is, by far, the most widely built plans-built paramotor
ever designed, made easier by the fact that no welding is required
through an ingenious combination of square and round tubing. The plans
site had been shut down by its owner/designer, Jeff Baumgartner, who was
moving on to other things. Rather than seeing this great system go dark,
FootFlyer.com purchased the website and rights to the plans and is
making them available under a limited license for no charge.
Homebuilding is not for everybody but, for those who choose to do so,
Skybolt plans represent, by far, the best solution. To see or download
the plans, visit www.PPGPlans.com.
Jeff Baumgartner created a valuable resource for the paramotor community
and it is our desire to help insure its continuance.
FootFlyer.com bought PPGPlans.com
July 15, 2009
Jeff Baumgartner designed and made available the most widely built
paramotor plans for our sport. I (Jeff Goin) had flown both versions of
the unit and was impressed. Enough that I did a review and dedicated a
special page to home building. When he decided to devote more time to
his family and and get out of the business, he took down his website
(PPGPLans.com) and discontinued sales, servicing only those orders that
had come in.
That seemed like a shame since these were, by far, the most viable plans
out there and resulted in a machine that was easy to build and
comfortable to fly. So we talked and, on July 10, agreed to the
transfer. I built a new website and will be making the plans available
within a week.
Jeff B. did a great job and we are both happy that his work will live on.
For more information, please visit
June 15, 2009
Miniplane had an bare electric motor and prop mounted to a frame with a
sign advertising the development of an electric model within six months.
Electric guru Mateo is putting some industrial electronics to use in an
effort to create a robust control circuit that handles the high wattages
required. It would use Lithium Polymer battery technology and a
Brushless AC motor.
Yuneec Electric Paramotor To Visit OSH
June 15, 2009
Yuneec has paid for two exhibition spots at EAA's OSHkosh fly-in scheduled
for July 27 through August 2, 2009. One spot, to show off their fully
electric airplane, will be in the general display area. Their other spot
will be in the ultralight area.
Another significant development is that they have reportedly begun
production. Unspecified upgrades to the prototype we flew in April 2008
have improved the unit in several ways, including a warning system for
impending power loss when the battery runs too low. We hope to complete
more test flights and report on the outcome here and on ElectricPPG.com
Paramotor Magazine Giving Away A Paramotor
Apr 11, 2009 (Correction)
Paramotor Magazine has announced a very generous giveaway during their
latest subscriber drive. Kobra is supplying the first prize motor, their
new Carbon Sport model. Paramania is providing 2nd place with a new
wing, and third place comes from Nirvana with a set of accessories
including their Agama water rescue system, Full Contact Helmet and
has announced a new production rotary engine light enough for
paramotoring. It will, of course, find many other applications but, if
it comes out as advertised, it will be a great step forward in power to
weight ratios. There are two versions of the Rotron, as its called, a
compact model at 160 cc and a larger 294 cc version. They will
only be sold on Parajet frames and dubbed Cyclone models.
Specs on the machine are impressive and we'll look forward to trying one
out when the opportunity comes. One claim that is particularly enticing
is that of zero vibration, a unique capability of rotary engines. Fuel
injection is also an option. They still apparently use mixed gas to save
the weight of an oil sump and pumping system.
Parajet's Jim Edmondson said, in a news blurb for
Paramotor Magazine, that fuel
efficiency is better than an equivalent piston engine and that
mechanical failure should be much less likely. Of course time-in-service
is always the best teller of reliability but they have overcome previous
issues dogging rotary engines with better materials and technology,
especially for the rotor tips.
Production starts "soon" with 15 motors of each size being produced and
offered for sale. They're not cheap, but then leading technologies
rarely are. The cost will be about US $10,000 with a 50% deposit
required. For complete information, visit
Electric PPG For Sale
May 14, 2009
paramotor maker Fresh Breeze, teamed up with Swing, is now selling
electric paramotors, or at least advertising them. The brochure we got
was in German and we'll have an English version as soon as Possible. No
word on whether or not the motor has landed on U.S. shores but, when it
does, we'll try to review it promptly.
The motor is based on the Sport-X frame and sports a 130 cm prop spun by
10kW electric motor. Weight is listed at 33kg (72 lbs). The brochure
seems to suggest that it will fly a 78 kg (170 lb) pilot for 23 minutes
of powered flight time give or take 10% for wing efficiency. Cost is
listed as €6990 which would be around $10,000US.
Hopefully we'll see a production version at be able to demo it soon.
May 05, 2009
Palm Bay Police department has established a program to use paramotors
for certain, appropriate police missions. They have 4 officers on board
including two where were already paramotor pilots and thought the craft
could fill certain missions more effectively and at much lower cost than
Police departments have special exemptions that allow them to operate
these Part 103 craft legally in this application.
Phil Russman, pictured on the pole, is providing the training in a
rigorous package that includes USPPA certification. They are learning
both foot launched and wheel launched flight in an endeavor that has
garnered wide publicity, from local news to national news. ABC is
reported to have a piece planned within the next week for one of their
national news broadcasts.
Police pilots are learning on Dudek wings and Paratoys motors, some of
which has been provided at cost or donated for some period of time.
The program, dubbed S.O.A.R. for Search Operations Aerial Response. Phil
tells us that they are very aware of the limitations of the craft and
have put safety above all else, knowing that there's no point in going
out if you're likely to need rescuing yourself.
Paratoys has launched a new engine, the BlackHawk 185. Components
are made in Japan and are assembled at the Paratoys shop in northern
parts common to the Aero Corsair Black Devil 172 engine. They report
25.5 hp and up to 150 pounds of static thrust, depending on prop size
and other factors. For more information, visit
The Paratoys Company, which recently sold to Mike and Michelle Robinson,
has also launched a slick new website, done by paramotor pilot Brian
Thivierge. Web work is what he does, and obviously does it well. Their
URL remains the same at
Training is conducted from the Robinson's large, and very scenic, ranch
located about an hour southeast of Sacramento. It is where the most
recent Paratoys Fly-In was held and is long enough for small airplanes
to takeoff and land on.
New Paratour Quad
Apr 25, 2009
of Paratour had introduced a new wheeled option to his existing lineup
of paramotors. The SkyKart quad portends greater stability and safety by
virtue of combining a wider wheelbase with a stout roll cage system that
protects the pilot.
It also features the "steering bar," a device that limits brake authority
for new pilots so they are less likely to overcontrol on early flights.
This is optional and can be removed if the pilot wants to.
Brad Weiss, who for several years maintained the parts inventory for Top
80 paramotors under an agreement with the inporter has discontinued the
business. The websites, Top80USA and Top80USA2 are no longer active.
Those wanting parts should now contact the importer, Francesco DeSantis
The Top 80 engine is currently
being sold on Miniplane Paramotors, PAP's and I-Flyers.
Apr 12, 2009
Former world champion and World Air Games competitor Mathieu Rouanet had
just finished a 3-month expedition in South America. An experience he
described as magical but, unfortunately, reality came when both he and
his friend, Emilia, had their paramotors stolen in Cusco, Chile.
Emilia's motor was in a black wheeled travel box with no logo on it. The
aluminum frame is painted red. Itframe , box type "travel box" with
wheels. It has a carbon fiber 2-blade prop with no logo on it. The motor
is a Radne Raket.
Mathieu's motor was also in a big black case. His frame is gray steel with
fishing style net. The frame comes apart in 4 parts and uses a Ros 125
motor with Helix brand two-blade prop.
If you come accross this motor, please contact
First Commercially Available Electric PPG
Apr 07, 2009
This date, April 7, 2009 is to be remembered as the day electric
propulsion started for the masses. Although we haven't gotten to test
fly the products, we have gotten independent verification of their
existence. Finally there is an Electric Paramotor being made available
for retail sale. Here is the press release.
Electric driven PPG's are
on market and can be ordered from now on.
At the exhibition and
airshow AERO Friedrichshafen (April 2-5, 2009) SWIFT/Fresh Breeze and
PAP Team Germany showed their new electric driven paragliders both
equipped with our drive chain based on HPD 10. These 2 different drive
units have already got the approval by German DULV (FB) and DMSV (PAP)
and can be ordered from now on. Together with an electrified version of
the light trike Dragonfly from FLYLIGHT (GB) and Toni Roth's E-Lift -
both also using our HPD10.
showed impressive flights at the airshow on these motors. Strong
climb-rates of more than 2m/s and very low noise-level of less than
50dB(A) set new standards for electric flying. Both drives are based on
standard frames FB/Sportix and PAP 1400, using propellers of 1.3m
diameter at 2000 Rpm. Different types and size of batteries can be
supplied to stay airborn from 20 - 60 min without themalling.
For those who prefer to
make their own project we can supply drive chains (battery, charger,
motor, controller, propeller and management system) directly. Ask
Fuel Injection System Paramotor
Mar 18, 2009
Bailey Aviation has announced the arrival of
electronic fuel injection system for paramotors. It was unveiled for the
first time and flown at Las Candelas 2009 and is expected to be be
available on all new V3-180 and 4V-200 engines as an option "soon."
Initial fuel consumption test suggest a 15-20% improvement over the
carbureted engine with a slight power increase.
Wheels just got bigger and the line between PPC and PPG blurred a bit
more. The new Green Eagle PPC is out. They plan on doing assembly videos
of both PPC, PPG, and PPG to PPC conversion kit instillation, torque
guides, and others.
The FAR 103 version has the Black Polymer Rims verses heavier metal rims.
This one weighed in at 238 which is 8 pounds heavier due to dual
controls as a PPC. The PPG weighs in at 230 you can go with a lighter
seat and take off 7 more pounds.
A new entrant to the prop and paramotor maker is offering gear to the U.S.
market. We don't have experience with them yet but hopefully they will
be able to deliver as promised.
has complete paramotor, parts and price lists.
You can see the complete list of gear makers and paramotor-related
services on the Resources page.
U.S. Fields a Paramotor Team
Jan 19, 2009
It's finally happening. The U.S. put up pilot into a global competition
and they did quite well when pitted against counterparts flying the same
tasks worldwide. Enough so that 3 were invited to take part in an
international World Air Games scheduled for June, 2009 in Turin Italy.
See USPPA.org for details. Yours truly was among those selected.
Thanks to Roy Beisswinger who put this thing together and to the other
volunteers, especially David Rogers and Jeff Steinkamp who have put tons
of energy into making the whole thing work.
England Gets Unlimited Fuel
Jan 19, 2009
We like to fancy our situation in the U.S. as among the most flexible but
lately that has not so much been the case. Geoff Soden of ParamotorsUK
sent us a note detailing how the CAA, England's FAA equivalent, has
removed their fuel limit. We still have to adhere to the 5 gallon limit
even for foot launchers. Not that many pilots would want to heft more
than 30 pounds of fuel on their backpack units but it would be nice to
have the option.
Kudos to an open government agency.
New Footflyer Products & Resources
Oct 11, 2008
Want another chance to qualify for the 2009 air games? You'll have to
travel farther than Greenville, IL (unless you live in Europe)
2009 WAG Qualifier in Italy
Aug 9, 2008
Want another chance to qualify for the 2009 air games? You'll have to
travel farther than Greenville, IL (unless you live in Europe) since
this one is going to be held in Torino Aeritalia Airport, Italy. Pilots
attending may have some advantage if they qualify because the organizers
plan on flying the tasks with pylons in addition to doing them with
Ray McMahon has become the U.S.
importer for Dudek paragliders. Dudek makes a number of models but is
most famous for their reflex gliders, including the Plasma. FootFlyer
hopes to review this one by the end of September, 2008 and will have it
Low Hook-In Fresh Breeze Revealed
July 24, 2008
Fresh Breeze has introduced a new paramotor with low hook-ins and a
dramatically different pivoting arm system. Southern Skies has an
example of it and hopefully, I'll get my hands on it to review someday.
It has some similarities to the Miniplane's system which I've reviewed
and like. Only testing will tell.
Basse Ham 2008 Update
June 28th 2008
It's the largest gathering of PPG pilots ever to grace one field. Jeff
Hamann reports there were 525 registered pilots and a mass launch
apparently 325 lofted to a new record. He says there has been one
injury, a midair, and the pilot is OK.
PPG Bible Edition 2 Story
June 6th 2008
The initial print of books was done in May 2006 with the expectation of
lasting 3 to 5 years. That we ran out much earlier is mostly good and we took opportunity to improve. There have been many changes in the sport over
the last two years and I'm amazed at what I've learned. For one thing, I
went from having only flown 3 trike flights to having flown nearly every
wheel-launch configuration out there. And wheels have become a bigger
part of the sport. The new book reflects that reality while still
Besides paramotoring, I've learned a lot about book production,
photography, and Photoshop techniques. One that I've been using in
magazine articles for the past couple years is the composite, where you
overlay multiple shots of action on one picture with the same
background. It conveys timing, an otherwise missing element from still
pictures. The forward launch is a great example. There's a spread across
two pages in Chapter 5 that features over 15 shots of a launch along
with description. It's like video on paper and the new book uses it
extensively. Plus, we paid extra for "bleeds," where the
pictures/graphics can go all the way to ("bleed off") the edge.
We've improved explanations, overall color, added
lots of new pictures, more relevant pictures, added new diagrams and
improved existing ones. New new technologies have been added along with new information, corrections
and much more. There are going to be typos and errors but they have been
greatly reduced, especially in substance.
We printed 30% more books this time so, since the "pipeline" is already
full, can realistically expect this to last 3 to 5 years.
Hope you enjoy!
Air Festival of El Yelmo
Added June 4, 2008, Press release May 26th 2008
of the major appointments for paragliding lovers in Spain, the International
Air Festival (FIA), will be back on July 3 to 6 at the foot of the
emblematic mountain of El Yelmo in the Sierra of Segura, province of Jaen.
Like in its previous editions, this great celebration of the aerial
sports and activities developed in the air will have plenty of spectacles,
by outstanding acrobats and flying teams of first level. Some of the
highlights of the program are the paramotor night show of lights and fantasy
by Paraddax (also known as “European Paramotor Team”); the return of the
paragliding acro team SAT, formed by world champions of this discipline who
perform the most radical manoeuvres; the Red Bull BASE jump team and the
squad of parachutists of the Army, or the acrobatic airplanes of the RACE
(Royal Air Club of Spain) carving the sky at full speed.
Among the new activities for this ninth edition, the Festival organizes a
special endurance competition of mountain and paragliding, in which the
pilot-athletes will have to make their way on foot to the takeoff of El
Yelmo carrying their flying gear, to then fly down to the goal at the
Festival premises. Also new is the 1st Paramotor Open of Freestyle, with
impressive ground-skimming tasks at high speed that can be observed by the
public. This is a qualifying competition for the World Air Games of Turin
Born in 1999 as Air Cinema Festival, El Yelmo keeps this section
dedicated to the latest productions related to air activities, so it is a
great place to learn about ground-breaking feats, epic trips in the lightest
aircrafts or aerial adventures in the most remote corners of the world,
through the films in competition coming from different countries. The films
will be projected every night on the main stage of the FIA and in the Cinema
by day, inside the air-conditioned Fair. Registration is still open for
filmmakers who want to submit their works to the contest.
For pilots and companions looking for new sensations, there will be
tandem flights in paragliders and helicopter rides in the area, games and
workshops for the children, and astronomical observations from the mountain
every night. At night, the celebration or ‘fiesta’ of the Air will continue
with batucadas (Brazilian and Africa rythms), DJs sessions and concerts by
well known Spanish bands. The objective of El Yelmo Festival is that all the
participants enjoy the most playful and visual side of flying in a fun
weekend for both aficionados and those who feel curious about this activity.
The website http://www.FlyPPG.com has
been separated from FootFlyer and its own content added. There's still a
link here but it will have it's own little verbiage with a slightly
different twist on why humans should fly PPG.
Apr 18, 2008 Geoff Soden
The British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA) has dealt a blow to
foot-launched paramotor pilots. After a failed attempt at updating the
training program, insurance was not renewed by the underwriter. The
organization then stopped issuing foot launch ratings. Hopefully we can
find out more details about what exactly they couldn't agree on that was
seen as so necessary to the insurers. The relevance is that, if it's bad for
the insurance company, might it not be bad for the pilots?
Geoff Soden adds "If anyone is about to start training In the UK or
abroad we suggest that you check the validity of the course's on offer or
BMAA instructor training overseas which will now be null and void."
The syllabus is still useful as a guide and the organization will
continue to support foot-launched flight in other ways. The British Hang
gliding and Paragliding Association (BHPA) also
represents paramotor pilots in the U.K. Here is the BMAA
First Production Prototype Electric To Fly
Apr 4, 2008, Updated Apr 18, 2008 The Electric Paramotor came. And it
Here is the review.
The Electric Paramotor cometh. Clive Coote of
International tells us that the first production electric paramotor has
been Fedex'd to the U.S. and will debut at Sun-N-Fun. Flights may be made
elsewhere due to the many flight restrictions there. Clive has offered us
the opportunity to try the machine and a review will be posted, including
pictures, here on FootFlyer and on
ElectricPPG.com. I hope to fly it Tuesday at Sun-N-Fun and again on
Wednesday in a venue with no flight restrictions, maybe Christmas, FL.
Experienced pilots (PPG3 or equivalent) are welcome to try the machine.
There will only be one battery pack so we'll get to see how it holds up to a
couple days of moderately heavy use. This is likely the iceberg's tip of
fundamental change in our sport. Electrics won't replace gas engines for a
long time but will become a significant portion of the market as technology
improves. A look at the Radio Controlled model airplane arena provides some
prescience: probably half of every R/C model sold is electric powered now.
Yuneec seems to be taking the Tesla Motors tack, bringing a classy looking
performer to market right off the bat.
We'll soon see!
Flight For Life
Mar 29, 2008
An international team of pilots is joining together in a first-ever
crossing of oceans along the Panama Canal. The flight will be publicized on
Panamanian TV, in Paramotor and in Powered Sport Flying Magazines. Eight pilots,
representing Panama, Canada, the U.S., and Germany will participate in the
40 mile aerial trek over jungle shrouded land, roughly paralleling the
Remy Swaab and others have worked through the many bureaucratic hurdles
to make the flight possible. The entire experience will be documented by
Phil Russman of Lite Touch Films, creator of the very popular "Why We Fly"
and "Risk & Reward" DVD's. The team of pilots featured in "Why We Fly" is
being reunited for the mission and several of them will remain for a second
segment aboard Jeff Hamann's catamaran yacht, the Gloriamaris.
Mar 28, 2008
Italian paramotor maker Kobra has lit up production as of February, 2008. The machines look to be a similar style to the
Pap, with low attachments and pivoting arms. They use the Sky 100 liquid
cooled motor that seems to be making a bit of a comeback. There are no U.S.
importers as of this writing.
For more information, visit
KobraPPG.com. It's a nicely
presented site but may take a while to load the flash-heavy content.
Fresh Breeze Tanks Up
Mar 10, 2008
For those who want to go long, Fresh Breeze
has introduced new, larger, gas tanks for several of their frames. The 13
Liter tank for the Snap will probably fly a 170 pound pilot on a Silex type
wing for over 3 hours.
The Monster/Solo frames also benefit from a 16.5 Liter tank. Pictures and
more information is available
Illinois Ultralight Safety Seminar
Mar 09, 2008
A sizely group of ultralighters and potentials came to Springfield, IL on
Saturday, March 8 for a seminar on various topics. A number of useful
presentations were given and gear was shown on site.
I was the sideshow, giving a presentation on something I'm barely
qualified to do, let alone talk about with authority: flying the Nanolight
hang glider trike. Yes, I own one of these in partnership with Harry Rosset
and Roy Beisswinger, the organizer, asked me to do a presentation. The talk
was about perspective, not expertise, since I don't have much time on the
craft and only have time in the one craft, a Samba. Frank Beagle MC'd and
was most gracious. It was good to see many familiar faces.
If you've not
been to one, I highly recommend it. Jeff Steinkamp displayed his PPG and,
next time, we'll have to give him company. The seminar is usually in
February but building problems prompted a postponement.
Mar 08, 2008
As most have gathered, there is no convention this year in Florida
but there are a couple fly-ins happening. The first at Paul Czarnecki's
place near Naples and next at Mike Britt/Eric Dufour's place near Orlando.
Eric's is limited to 50 pilots so let them know right away (email@example.com)
if you plan to be there.
The good news is that we are planning a
convention for 2009 and it will be at a large, wide-open field either near
Panama Beach or Orlando. We've were granted liability insurance to have a
convention this year but it was just too late in the game to put something
together. Having insurance is a big, big deal because all the large venues
we looked at required it. USPPA will be setting up the insurance.
Wing Maintenance DVD's Released
Feb 12, 2008
Daniele of American Flyer PPG, also known as Paramotor City West, has
released two DVD's about wing maintenance and inspection.
The first video, Understanding Your Wing Inspection comes in a CD
(media file) or DVD and includes the following: 1) Step by step explanations
of the inspection process, 2) Slide show with full color pictures, 3)
Explains of what all the test numbers mean, 4) other services offered.
Next up is Wing Tips, a 45 minute video to familiarize pilots with their
wing, how to care for it and how to perform small tasks without having to
send it in to a repair facility. It is set up in chapter form for easy
access to the area of your interest and includes: a. How to fold your wing,
b. How to store your wing, c. Familiarization and wing terminology, d. How
to clean your wing, e. How to change and order a line, f. How to measure a
line correctly, g. Checking your trimmers, h. Proper brake line knot, i. How
to make small repairs.
Understanding Your Wing Inspection is $14.99 plus $3.00 shipping and
Wing Tips is $29.95 plus $3.00 shipping.
As of January 31, 2008 the tandem exemption that allowed two-place PPG
expired. FAR 103 has always been for single place flying but, to allow safer
learning, an exemption was granted to several organizations to allow tandem
I've working with USUA and USPPA in an effort to get a new exemption. The
USPPA submitted an exemption request in 2002 and worked out the details with
Sue Gardner. After Sue left her post nothing else was done. The USPPA joined
forces with USUA and didn't act further on its own application.
The USPPA's proposal is based on the USHPA's (hang gliding and paragliding
association) tandem program where a tandem pilot must first have significant
experience and demonstrate high-level skills.
On Feb 1, I talked with an inspector at AFS 800 where the exemption requests
for this are handled. He assured me that they did not intend to leave us
hang. He also reiterated they wanted to make sure any exemption we get
doesn't overlap those craft under Sport Pilot. The sport pilot rule
specifically excludes PPGers by virtue of the wing and/or motor attaching to
a harness rather than a frame.
The gist is that we will be getting an exemption in some form but probably
only be for foot launch. That would be unfortunate but we must do what we
can. If the USPPA exemption request is approved, it would be much like the
USHPA program where prospective tandem pilots acquire experience flying with
other rated pilots before being loosed on new students. The prospective
tandem pilot must also be an instructor which, surprisingly, is not required
of USHPA tandem pilots.
We should know more on Feb 5 and I'll pass any news on here.
Jan 19, 2008
the best pilot on the planet? We're about to find out.
Several developments and some committed individuals have combined to finally
give U.S. paramotorists their chance to compete on a world stage and a level
playing field. And you won't even need a passport. Nor will you need a fast
wing—this one is all about precision flying. No economy tasks and no cross
The FAI is selecting the best 100 pilots to compete in 2009's World Air
Each country will host a competition using exactly the same rules, scoring
system, course dimensions and requirements as every other country. Total
scores will be tabulated then compared across all countries and only the top
100 pilots will be invited to Italy for a low-level match up of high level
The big news is that Roy Beisswinger, Powered Sport Flying radio show host and
Powered Sport Flying magazine columnist, will be hosting the U.S. event in
Greenville, IL. You can bet your booty that I and the Enterprise will be
there. Hopefully we'll also see Stan Kasica and Eric Dufour (previous U.S.
Champions). Eric is, unfortunately (since he usually beats me), my winning
pick if we can get his lovely loving wife, Elisabeth, to go along with it.
Thanks to Roy for stepping up to the plate. His flying area is huge and he's
got plentiful expertise in hosting large competition events. This will be an
FAI sanctioned event that the USUA and USPPA will likely sponsor. Don't miss
out. Can't wait. Better start practicing!
Dates aren't set yet but we'll keep you posted here and elsewhere. They'll
probably be sometime in July or August when the weather is best. Roy will be
on the PPG Radio Show soon to talk
Jan 14, 20087
Darren from Connecticut Paragliding shared this tidbit for cold weather
flyers. He found some gloves at Home Depot that are great for paramotoring
and only cost about $10 a pair. He uses them at his school and has found
them effective, especially given their cost.
Electric PPG to U.S.
Jan 7, 2008
Electrons may yet propel us. Yuneec International is planning
to bring several of their machines to the U.S. national convention tentatively planned (hoped) for April 3 through 6. Even if the
convention doesn't happen there will be some event on that date and pilots
will be able to see the electrons fly.
Yuneec has reported that three pilots are in South China flying the
motors to wring out any possible problems.