Whenever possible, gear is used with the manufacturer or dealer
present so they can make whatever adjustments are necessary.
Frequently, gear can be uncomfortable or even dangerous if these
adjustments aren't made properly.
The good news is that we have nothing to sell here besides information.
No advertising is accepted and gear provided for review will be listed
with no precondition. That is, we will only accept gear without
precondition. There is no guarantee of a review's result.
Anybody selling gear will only emphasize the features and characteristics of
what they offer. That doesn't make it wrong, but will certainly be more biased.
Expect to spend between $6500 and $8500 on a new motor and wing. The best
course is to go with a reputable instructor and either buy from him or use gear
he's familiar with it. Some schools offer training on their equipment - this is
a wonderful option that should be explored.
The Powered Paragliding Bible has a very thorough section that discusses the
various aspects of equipment, what really matters and how you will use it. It
also includes pictures to clarify what is being described.
Powered Paragliding equipment provides probably the cheapest way into the
air—fortunately it just happens to be one of the most invigorating.
Some pilots load up with gadgets and gauges while others don't
even carry a watch. To each his own. Trade offs abound—engine
monitoring can alert a pilot to impending problems but you have to
be watching the thing enough to know what the normal indication are
to know what's abnormal. GPS is great for cross country flying to
know your ground speed, for example, in addition to easily returning
What Gets Reviewed
For the most part, I'm interested in trying stuff I'd like to fly
myself. But "like" is a personal thing. So I do my best to put aside
preferences, rather just calling the observed trait instead of
whether that's good or bad. A "solid" beginner wing, for example,
means that it has rather heavy brake pressures, isn't too
responsive, doesn't stall easy or have any untoward characteristics.
All of these traits would doom a competition wing.
A full review takes a long time and so not many get done which is
why there are a fair number of abbreviated reviews—where do few, if
any, measurements but just give an impression. I'm not consumer
reports since I can't go out anonymously buying everything that I
test, but try my hardest to be fair.
If you have something you'd like reviewed, the best bet is to get
it to me in Chicago or while I'm out on a road trip. Unfortunately,
I don't do cold so, in winter time, it would be best trying to hook
up with me at while in a warm climate. I've also found it difficult
to do full reviews at fly-ins—there's just too much going on
although I can frequently get an impression of something and love
trying new stuff.
It's great that people in our sport are working on new stuff.
Gear is evolving and I look forward to seeing what the fittest
eventually look like.