For Instructors: Paramotor Tandems & Wheels
A quick note. None of this applies to solo ultralight operations on
wheels or otherwise.
Log of Jeff Goin's Tandem Certification
The USPPA tandem exemption only applies to foot launched instruction. Flying a wheeled tandem is in
violation of the sport pilot regulation, not our exemption, and carries
significant fines. Plus, if anything happens and your passenger sues,
it would look decidedly bad in court. A disgruntled passenger or
competitor could also make life unpleasant.
Sadly, even though the
wording suggests that the motor should be able to support its own
weight, they have proclaimed that wheels cannot be used in any way.
Flying tandems with any non-certified wheeled craft
is a violation of the Sport Pilot Rule. You can help by making sure that
anyone who does so appreciates that
they risk a valuable training tool for all, let alone the consequence of
Typical Tandem Setup & Notes
Sadly, the FAA has ruled that even this type of
contraption is not allowed under the exemption.
There are many varieties of the typical tandem setup but all
incorporate similar aspects. They must do several things.
1. They must separate the student from the instructor and give the
wing a place to hang from. Connections should never rely on any single
point so, if any part fails, the student and instructor remain hanging
and be able to control the craft.
2. Must provide a way for adjusting the hang point so, during takeoff
and landing, the student leaves the ground before the instructor. This
can be done in several ways but must be able to be fixed sufficiently
securely that it cannot move in flight. The illustration shows holes in
a cross brace which would obviously be fixed.
3. Provide a way of handling thrust so it does not push awkwardly
against the instructor or student.
4. Provide a way of corralling the student during launch. This is
typically done with a U-shaped push bar as shown.
5. Consider only giving students only partial control over brakes.
For example, an extra set of brake toggles on that operate through
bungee material. That way, a panicking student doesn't have enough
authority to cause an accident. At least one serious accident happened
when a panicking student pulled the brakes all the way down and held
them there until the two pilots crashed.
Once they've had a few flights, then replace the bungee add-ons with
either normal brake extensions or just hand them the regular toggles.
Tandem Setup with Wheeled Support
Any addition of wheels must never support more than the motor and
harness's weight. The illustration at left is one idea. There could be
others, of course, but be leery of trying to get around the rule. The
instructor and student must always support at least their own weight
during the entire launch.
It is incumbent on us collectively to operate within the rule. If we
don't, if we're seen as trying to "get around" it for the purpose of
recreation, than the ability of instructors to legally give
tandem training will be rescinded.