Are you jumping off a cliff?
No! Don’t worry. There’s no "free fall" or "big drop off" in paragliding or paramotoring.
Quite the opposite. Our take offs and landings are conducted in a very organized and controlled way.
When paragliding, we start by taking off with the help of a towing device called a winch. Take offs are also possible from mountains but no jumping is involved. You are 100% in control at all times.
Once airborne, we use rising columns of air called thermals to stay up. This is the exact same concept used by soaring birds during flight. Paragliding is free flight, meaning there is no engine involved. It’s all about learning the ability to use the forces of nature to fly.
When paramotoring, you launch and land on flat meadows. The field has to be a minimum of 200 feet long and and clear of any obstacles that may jeopardize a safe take off and landing. In this case, instead of thermals, we use an engine mounted on shoulder harnesses to climb into the air at a steady rate.
How high up will I go?
For paragliding, beginner's start at 100 feet, then 300, then 1500 so the progression is gradual. Don't worry, we'll never ask you to go higher than you feel comfortable going based on your level of experience.
When you're fully certified, flights can reach heights of 10,000 feet. Two limiting factors we keep in mind are the airspace regulations and cloud base of the area we fly in which unfortunately put a cap on the maximum altitude we’re able to fly at.
When flying a paramotor, our cruising altitude most often varies from 10 meters above the ground up. Again, altitude can be limited by airspace regulations in the area we’re in.
How long can you stay up?
We average 10-25 minutes of air time when doing tandem flights with potential student. Student flights average 10-35 minutes depending on the lesson plan and pilot experience level. Experienced pilots, in the right conditions, can fly for hours of at a time.
Since you don’t use engine when paragliding, flight time is dependent on using thermals to maintain altitude. Weather’s effect on thermals and the pilot’s ability to stay up using thermals are what determine the flight time.
So besides weather, a pilot’s experience, flight strategy and goals are what determine the flight time. As a fun fact, the current world record in distance flight was set on an 12 hours flight of 550+ kilometres across Brazil.
In paramotoring, as we have benefit of a motor, flight time is limited by meteorological conditions, pilot experience and the amount of fuel we have. Usually it’s enough for 3 to 4 hours of flight, which is enough to cover 120 to 150 kilometres.
What is the difference between paragliding and paramotoring?
Paragliding is an adventure sport where pilots fly for recreation and compete in various ways. It’s all about learning how to use the forces of nature to stay in flight.
Paramotoring (aka powered paragliding) is a form of ultralight aviation where the pilot wears a motor on their back to take off and stay airborne. Paramotor pilots fly cross-country and compete in various ways: speed flying (slalom racing), economy (staying in flight the longest with a set limit of fuel), navigation (flying through given points on a map), and many more.
In both cases, pilots can pack their aircrafts into backpacks and are free to take off and land pretty much anywhere. Your gear can be stored in your basement, closet or even under your bed :) So you can see why paragliding and paramotoring are the most accessible forms of aviation.
Is this safe?
Absolutely! However, you have to remember that both paragliding and paramotoring are considered extreme sports. And they can be fatal if performed under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When safety rules and air regulations are followed, meteorological conditions are properly assessed and the pilot follows proper training protocol, safety is maintained.
Equipment has come a long way since the sport's inception in 1960s. From statistics we can tell that fatalities are rare and accidents happen mostly due to pilot errors. Proper training is fundamental to safety.
Safety and managing risks is a major part of our training and all these factors are covered by our ground school.
How long is the training?
Training never ends. It's all about experience. The more sites and various conditions you fly, the safer and more aware you are.
What’s the proper name for this?
We hear a lot of different names so here’s a quick breakdown.
The aircraft is called a paraglider or a wing and is designed to produce aerodynamic lift.
The aircraft is not called a kite (these are used by kitesurfers or kiteboarders), it is not parachute (these are used by skydivers), and it is not a parasail (these are used in parasailing). All the above use high-drag properties to increase or decrease ground speed that then may convert into lift.
How high can I go?
You can go just about as high as you’d like. The current record is an altitude of 7,589m which is really quite exceptional and helps to illustrate the point that you’ll never feel limited by as how high you can go.
That said, you need to ask yourself two questions: why do you want to go that high AND is flying that high actually allowed?
You need to be aware of the airspace you're planning your flight in and comply with regulations governing this airspace.
When you have your airspace figured out you need to know that flying that high isn't trivial from technical stand point view. It's cold, there is not enough oxygen for your 2-stroke motor to run properly and there's not enough oxygen for you to breathe. People die at this altitude!
Overall, this is not the kind of trip you should go on the day after you graduate from our paramotor course.
How far can I go?
Simple math on this one. Paramotor wings can fly 40 to 80 kilometres per hour. With 2 to 3 hours of gas mileage as an average, you can easily make it over 100 kilometres in a single flight.
The distance you cover will be also affected by whether you are flying up wind or down wind. Wind will be helping you cover more distance when flying down wind, and it'll be slowing you down when flying up wind.
Can I fly from ___________?
The great thing about paramotoring is you can fly from almost anywhere.
The only restrictions you need to be aware of are:
- Having permission from the landowner whose property you're planning to use to takeoff and/or land on.
- Staying out of restricted airspace that you are not allowed to fly in.
Can I learn on my own?
Paramotors are considered an ultra-light aircraft in Canada, so you are required to have a permit issued by Transport Canada before operating. You are required to work with a Transport Canada approved and authorized instructor when obtaining your permit.
We qualify and offer paramotor training courses.
What if I learn how to fly in the USA?
Learning in the United States does not qualify you to fly in Canada. Again, paramotors are considered an ultra-light aircraft in Canada, so you're required to have a permit issued by Transport Canada before operating.
Paramotors are not regulated in the U.S. There is no central training program or requirements that are implemented by U.S. schools.
How long will my wing last?
The way you care for your equipment will impact how long it lasts.
300 - 400 hours of airtime is not uncommon. The average pilot in Canada flies around 40 hours a year which equates to about 10 years of use before replacement, which we think is reasonable.
Wings need to be checked by authorized service centres at intervals recommended by manufacturer. Please refer to wing manual for maintenance and service recommendations.
How long will my motor last?
Same as with the wing, the way you care for your equipment will impact how long it lasts.
Following engine manufacturer service recommendations is key to having your motor run for a long time and be reliable. Using good oil, good gas, manufacturer approved parts will ensure you'll be happy with your motor.
Do you fly in winter?
No, but you can ;) As long as you can manage the cold and conditions you’re good to go.
Do you train in winter?
Not at the moment, but maybe at some point in the future.
Can I train on weekends only?
Yes you can. We have no problem working around your busy schedule, and conducting training only on weekends.
Please note that reduced availability means you may need to purchase your own equipment for training. This is due to the limited number of sets we use for training. All our equipment can be assigned to our more frequent students.
We are 100% weather dependant as well. If the weather is not good we have to wait until it improves. Chances are that the weather will not be good on days when you can train.
What wind speed is good to fly?
Wind below 10km/h (no gusts) is what we need for training.
Experienced pilots can fly in stronger winds (event up to 30km/h). Inland, strong wind usually means high turbulence as well. You need to know how to handle that.
Do I need a reserve parachute?
A reserve parachute is not required by law so there are pilots that choose to fly without it.
Flying without reserve parachute is like driving without wearing seat belt. You don't need it until you need it. Then it's a matter of life and death or serious injury.
What is a take off weight?
Your take off weight is how much you weigh with all your gear on at take off.
Your take off weight is something you should always know and keep in mind as it affects your wing load. Wing's flight characteristics can change drastically when wing is overloaded or underloaded so it's very important you have it right. It directly affects your safety!
When purchasing your equipment from us we'll make sure you and your equipment are a perfect match.
How fit do I need to be?
Foot launching is actually fairly physical! Especially at the very beginning of your career.
A motor with gas is around 30kg. You will have to be able to lift it from the ground and sprint (!!!) with it. The engine is NOT used during the first phase of your take off so you'll have to use your muscles quite a lot. When we get to flying, we'll be doing multiple flights a day, which means you'll will need to earn your wings with hard work and you need to be ready for that.
In short, if you can 20 deep squats in one go, run 1k at a fairly fast pace, you're almost there.
Can I fly with a passenger?
Yes and no.
When it comes to PPG flying with a passenger is possible only in 2 cases:
- Both you and your passenger are rated PPG pilots
- You are rated ULTRA instructor and the flight is conducted for a purpose of flight training
Do you offer financing?
Yes! We teamed up with a leading Canadian consumer loans provider to help make our services and products more accessible and affordable. The application process is fast and easy. Customers get approved instantly.
On approved credit - we offer 0% financing for 6 months.
12 and 24 months credit (at moderate interest rate) are also available.
What's up with "bring a helmet and shoes"?
For your safety you will need to wear a helmet when you are connected to your wing at all times (that's our requirement).
And you'll definitely be sweating. A lot.
For that reason we ask you to bring your own helmet. A light helmet is best. Biking, skiing or snowboarding will do.
Don't stress, we will get you helmet with comms when we'll get to flying.
Shoes.... well, we recommend you bring hiking boots. When kiting and you don't have "technique required" yet, it's very easy to twist your ankle. On windy days you'll need a good traction to prevent your wing from dragging you. Good shoes go a long way!
You will definitely need good shoes when we get to flying. We have seen our share of sprained ankles and knees! This recommendation comes from experience. Sprained ankle takes weeks if not months to heal so it's worth getting proper footwear.
What is your training schedule?
We don't have fixed dates for our courses. Students start and finish at any time during the season. 95% of students train on weekends but we do offer blocks of time where we can do your entire training in one go.
Ground handling is done in groups. Usually 3 - 4 students at a time. Flying is always one on one.