Educational by Chapter of the Powered Paragliding Bible

I: First Flight

01 Training Process

02 Gearing Up

03 Handling the Wing

04 Prep For 1st Flight

05 The Flight

06 Flying With Wheels 

II: Spreading Wings

07 Weather Basics

08 The Law

09 Airspace   

10 Flying Anywhere

11 Controlled Airports

12 Setup & Mx

13 Flying Cross Country

14 Flying With Others

III: Mastery

15 Adv Ground Handling

16 Precision Flying

17 Challenging Sites

18 Advanced Maneuvers

19 Risk Management

20 Competition

21 Free Flight Transition

IV: Theory

22 Aerodynamics

23 Motor & Propeller

24 Weather & Wind

25 Roots: Our History

V: Choosing Gear

26 The Wing

27 The Motor Unit

28 Accessories

29 Home Building

VI: Getting the Most

30 Other Uses

31 Traveling With Gear

32 Photography


--- Not in book ---

33 Organizing Fly-Ins

34 Places To Fly

35 Preserving the Sport

36 Tandem

Chapter 35: Preserving the Sport (Not In Book)

Jan 18, 2014 | Section VI: Getting the Most Out of PPG

See related opinion article How To Really Muck It Up.

It is a sad reality that some pilots are willing to risk the entire sport for their own amusement, attention or gain. Such behavior won't likely shoot us down at once, rather it will pick off our freedoms gradually or sully our reputation one more notch. Eventually, any given violation raises the possibility of starting an avalanche of regulation.

This is a web-only Chapter and will be updated as new material becomes appropriate.

Haunting the Hunters

It turns out that paramotors and skittish prey don't mix.

Given that hunters gravitate to the same times of day as we do and frequently at the same times, it might be good to learn where they're likely to be. Bullets fly. We fly. We'd rather not meet so this could be quite beneficial. To date, I know of nobody getting violent but there are anecdotes that include holes in wings.

Pilots have had nasty confrontations about what turned out to be hunting grounds. Needless to say, if you have any evidence of getting shot at, that's attempted murder and the offender should go to Prison. Do everything you safely can to achieve that but, in the meantime, don't go looking for a confrontation.

Yes, you may indeed have a right to the airspace but that property is owned by someone. It's possible he's someone who could be friendly to paramotorists unless he's turned off by an angry rent-paying hunter. These people may be paying high dollar for their few days in the "blind" so they may be easily provoked. Be reasonable.

Marty Hathaway in Florida offered up this website for locals but other states will have something similar. It might be a good idea to learn more about where and when these guys will be. http://myfwc.com/hunting/season-dates/zone-map/

Be careful, not every hunter follows these dates to the T.

Happy height hunting.

Minimizing Damage

Most pilots who put us in a bad light don't want to. They may not even be aware of how they are being perceived. Simply talking with them will reveal if that's the case. Don't be intimidating or threatening, just let them know that what they're doing could bring bad press or worse on themselves and the entire sport. If delivered tactfully, your message will probably be well received.  Try to include the pilot in groups that fly together and demonstrate responsible flying with regard to the public. But if and the pilot persists, and continues irresponsible behavior that attracts poor press, take the next steps.

Let the rogue pilot know that they're actions threaten everybody's freedom and it is not appreciated. Talk to those they respect and try to enlist their help.

Avoid contacting the FAA or local government agencies unless they are already involved or their involvement is imminent. It is best to handle our problems internally, to the extent possible, rather than increase the awareness of our bad apples. But once they're involved, most certainly let them know that you've tried to do you part, that most of the pilots are trying to do the right thing and would rather work within the law.

Positive Image

Thanks to Ed Poccia for suggestions in this material

There are a number of ways to put powered paragliding in a good light. These can do a lot to counter the bad press that is, unfortunately, what the media tends to focus on. Here are some suggestions of things you can do although some may not be likely depending on where you live. Thanks to Ed Poccia for pointing this out. If you have other ways that you have been successful at putting PPG in a positive light, we would love to hear them! Send your story or idea to contact.

Offer organizations the opportunity to have you or your group fly at local events. Of course you must be able to remain clear of gathered people or congested areas but, in many cases, that's easy. For example:

  • Albuquerque's Bob Morin had their group fly at the opening of golf tournaments in Grants, NM to provide a bit of spectacle during the opening ceremonies.

  • Bob Peters of Colorado has had PPGs participate in a Balloon Rally used as a charity fund raiser.

  • The city of Socorro, NM welcomes PPGs as part of their holiday celebration.

  • Organize a Charity Fly-In where all or part of the proceeds go to benefit the charity. Get pilots to sign up contributors who donate some amount per minute flown.

Each of these efforts will give PPGs a positive image and offset, to some degree, the bad taste left by those who don't give a hoot.

What can happen

Thanks to Jeff Burill for the information

Besides ruining it for future generations of pilots, a rogue or thoughtless pilot can feel the wrath of society, too. As the case below reveals, authorities do sometimes intervene. Some interventions aren't always even fair or legal but the pilot will still have to show up in court.

This pilot disregarded good practice and garnered some undesirable attention when he violated the country's rules. The organization that covers paragliding there is tasked with keeping the peace. Don't blame them for trying to protect their member's privileges.

 


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