Pilot, Tandem Powered Paragliding, & Wheels for Paramotor Pilots
Feb 17, 2007 |
Section II, Chapter 8 | See also
Chapter 6 on flying
| More on: Exemption For Wheels,
As of Sept. 2008, the USPPA has a new tandem exemption for training
with Foot Launch tandems. That's certainly cool but note that
it doesn't include typical wheeled craft. Nor does the ASC's exemption which they
obtained shortly after USPPA's.
The USPPA applied for this in 2002, using
a model based on USHPA's (then USHGA) but it wasn't awarded because the
existing exemptions covered paramotors. Those exemptions went away Jan 31, 2008 and
the new one is now in place.
I worked with the FAA for countless hours and iterations in an effort to
get something that was both realistic and useful. We all know that it's easier and safer to
launch a tandem with wheels but that, in the FAA's thinking, made it a sport
pilot machine. Nothing I can do there.
FAA regulators were dead set against approving anything until we made it clear
it wouldn't apply to wheeled craft. They did understand my concern about carrying a motor
powerful enough for two, a difficulty that prevents many instructors from participating,
so they allowed verbiage
that lets the wheels
support the motor's weight as long as the instructor/student support their full weight
during launch and landing. That provides a lot of
flexibility. No such craft has been built, but it's not hard to imagine.
Even that interpretation has been dealt a blow, though, by their updated
Our reality is that it's illegal under any FAR 103 exemption to launch
tandem with wheels bearing any of the student or pilot's weight.
It *IS* true that the USPPA
exemption is worded to allow wheels if they only support the motor's weight. That is,
the pilot and student support their own weight by running during launch and
landing but wheels support the weight of the motor at least until the wing
starts lifting. I worked
long and for this capability and would hate to see it die. The whole purpose
is to give professional flight instructors a legal path for tandem training. Abuse it and lose it. And to be honest, if instructors
think so little of it they want to risk that, I'll have little sympathy if
it's not renewed. Please help us protect the capability.
It was my hope with this wording that someone would develop a craft that
would support the weight of the motor with wheels while allowing the
occupants to run. That would allow even smaller
instructors to perform tandems with larger students. Such a machine had, in fact, been
created, in Eastern Europe I believe, when the verbiage was put together. No
such craft has been produced in the U.S. although one is in testing.
Grant wording of the USPPA Exemption: A
powered paraglider is "any ultralight vehicle where the powerplant is
attached to the pilot and the pilot/student supports at least their own
weight on foot during launch and landing until the wing begins
We've been given the opportunity to govern our own tandem operations but
most do so carefully. If we want to maintain it as a training tool then we
must honor its purpose as such.
Here is the
USPPA tandem program. Here is the
USPPA FAA Tandem
Exemption #9751 (now extended to 2012 as #9751A).
There are currently about 8 USPPA Tandem admins able to give tandem
ratings. Yes, you have to be an experienced PPG pilot with demonstrable
skills and earn the instructor rating. But it's only fair to your
prospective students passengers to meet such a requirement. The USPPA
doesn't charge anything and, in fact, will pay YOU to become tandem rated
under its program. The payment is actually to those who are able to earn the
PPG 3 rating. Membership is $34 per year but you'll get paid $200 for
earning the PPG 3 rating. Try THAT with another org!