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Paramotor Safety

Paramotor Maiming & the "Rope Trick" aka "Prop Stopper"

For clutch equipped machines | Original

Hands, limbs, and heads are getting mutilated at an increasing rate. Experienced pilots are most at risk.

Clutched machines are no safer than others UNLESS you do the following. Are you a student? Does your instructor use something like this? Ask him to. Point out that the statistics for prop injuries are disgusting and probably half of them could be cured by this simple method. Other methods are available for non-clutched machines and we'll present that when a good example is created. Do you have a good, easy, practical suggestion? Simple braces or stands that prevent the motor from going forward have already been suggested. Shoot us your pictures.

It's simple.

1. Have a rope or strap that can be placed quickly on the prop and wrapped around the frame in a way that it would stop the prop even if it accidentally went to full power.

2. The rope/strap must not be able to slip off without the user unfastening it.

3. Make sure it's clear of hot parts.

4. It must be easy to remove WITHOUT putting your hand in or near the prop.

5. Use normal starting precautions, calling "clear prop," guarding the kill switch, verifying idle, insuring cruise control is off, and holding the throttle in a way that won't throttle up more if the cage lunges forward. These are limb-saving habits that must be maintained when you're starting a machine without protection.

6. Make sure it's strong enough. If the prop is held near its tip then it has leverage and doesn't need to be as strong. But it's also more likely to fall off. Make sure that's not possible.

7. Only use the "Rope Trick" when you want to avoid being chopped up.


This implementation is an Ozone wing strap. Start the motor, let it idle, remove this before getting ready to fly and put it in the side pocket. It's easy to make your own using strapping material and buckles from a hardware store. Thanks to Francesco DeSantis for the idea.


Pap prop covers come with a strap that attaches to the cage.
Even if it bends the cage that would be cheaper than surgering a chopped limb back together.
A secondary benefit is that the prop won't spin in the wind when transporting or in the field.
Thanks to Jespers Albers for the photo.


It's always safer to start the paramotor when it's on your back!

Prop injuries can and do still happen during launch, landing, and even walking around if the throttle is squeezed. That's why your paramotor should have a second hoop just inside the diameter of the prop or sufficient cage clearance to keep a hand out. It won't prevent all accidents but it will certainly help a lot. I know of *NO* hand or body injuries on a machine equipped with the 2nd hoop or with an appropriately designed cage.

Remember, these won't SOLVE the problem but will reduce it. Take all the usual precautions, be thoughtful, smart, and careful, and ALWAYS use the strap.

These injuries are maiming pilots monthly!!!

For a properly adjusted clutched motor where the prop doesn't spin at idle, this will incur no wear unless you throttle up. Then the clutch shoes will wear just like brake pads on a car wheel.

This works for motor starting risk. There is still risk for prop injury during flight, mostly on launch and landing, which can be dramatically reduced by having a second hoop or appropriately strong cage as shown below and on the "Cages" page.


The hoop is held on with wire ties which is fine since forces are mostly against the radial arms.
This makes getting a body part in the prop much more difficult. It's still possible, of course, but much less likely.
Consider putting your hand at the most vulnerable spot, where the hand is shown, and squeezing the prop against it with your other hand. WithOUT the 2nd hoop (safety ring) it takes VERY little. With the hoop it takes considerably more. The hoop must be installed inside the prop diameter by 1 to 2 inches and forward of the radial arms for maximum effectiveness. For more info on this go here.

Thanks to Dana Scheetz who did the work and provided a picture.

So what percentage of the fleet have clutches? Here is a poll of facebook users where you can see and contribute. 


© 2018 Jeff Goin & Tim Kaiser   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!