OverArm Throttle Hold To Avoid Maiming
For Most Paramotor Throttles |
All Prop Safety | Rope
Trick another version |
A horrible accident happened while a pilot was walking with his
paramotor. It was idling but, at some point, possibly after powering up
to warm it up, the throttle stuck at a high power and he lost his
footing, falling mostly sideways then face down. It went to nearly full
power and his throttle cable got sucked into the prop, pulling his hand
in in severing the cable. With no kill switch he couldn't shut it off and his
hand got chewed to bits.
By far, the best solution is to make your paramotor resist
the possibility of the throttle cable getting to the prop. That will
usually be as simple as a well placed wire tie holding the cable to the
fame in a way that makes it impossible.
In the meantime, consider the following.
Typical (potentially dangerous) hold method in
next two images.
This is the standard hold
and may be dangerous on many machines that use this throttle style.
If a throttle CAN get to the prop, even if you have to work at it, even
if it seems difficult to do, you are at risk.
unfortunately is one such machine.
It took bystanders nearly half a minute to help since the motor was
still at high RPM and, by the time they got it shut down, it was too
late. He's an airline pilot who may be done flying. That struck home to
Several people have suggested a simple solution which is to hold the
throttle so it's cable goes OVER your arm rather than the more common
method of going under. We have created an illustration below to show.
Thanks to photographer Ray Khan for his help.
Many paramotors have at least two dangerous
Weak areas in their netting and a way for the throttle cable
to get in the prop, pulling the strapped hand in for a chopping.
cage SHOULD be modified with a safety hoop (the 2nd ring seen on this
machine) and a throttle/netting design that completely prevents throttle
But in the meantime, put the throttle cable over
your arm as shown. Make sure the throttle still moves freely and always
use all normal precautions.
The Best Solution
By far, the best solution is to have a throttle and cage design that
cannot allow this to happen!!! It's not hard.
People forget, they regress into old habits, etc., and it shouldn't
be a maiming sentence. But until that point, until your paramotor has a
proper cage or is modified to have a proper cage, this technique is a
Do NOT Use the Technique If
On one of our Miniplanes, throttle routing is such that the Overarm
method increased friction enough that the throttle could stick. That's
unacceptable. Even though the kill switch would still work, it can cause
problems either inflight or on the ground.
In this case, consider a different throttle routing that allows
either 1) using the overarm method or 2) where it can't get into the
prop using the more common underarm method. That could be as simple as
wire-tying the cable to a different place as it exits the frame or
adding netting in the hole where it could go.
You could also not put your hand in the throttle's strap but that
introduces another possibility: dropping the throttle which is like
having an engine out--the machine goes to idle. If you choose this
method, practice on the ground, then practice up high before doing it
low to the ground.
At least two people suggested this technique after we posted about
the "Rope Trick" method of starting clutch machines to dramatically
reduce the chance of propeller injuries. Thanks for the suggestion!
Rest assured, this will be in the next edition of the PPG Bible and
added to the "Better Paramotor" page.