History of Paramotor
However, there are photographs and video of a group of skydivers flying their parachutes off of small hills in eastern Montana in the late seventies. At about this same time, a handful climbers in the French Alps began to use ram air skydiving canopies to make safe and efficient descents from peaks after ascending technical routes. These parachutes weighted only eight ponds, flew at 20 mph, and were able to glide about three feet forward for every foot of altitude lost. By the mid – eighties, people realized there was a whole new challenge in prolonging the distance and duration of such as flights if one could find and lotler in areas of rising air like the hang gliders did.
With this challenge came many attempts to improve parachute glide performance by using non porous fabric, increasing the wingspan and modifying the shape and trim of the airfoil. As each new design was tested, unexpected changes in the flight characteristics often appeared whi9ch demanded different pilots skills and techniques. Ideas which worked well were produced in large numbers to meet the demands of a growing population of paraglider pilots. The sport was well established in Europe by 1986.
For several years, a wide range of equipment was developed in the US, Europe and Asia. Afew gliders with very dangerous flight characteristics were hastly distributed in the international market while other manufacturers conducted thorough tests with pilot safety in mind. In the US, at least three manufacturers of skydiving equipment were involved in developing and marketing paragliders which were extremely safe and stable, but which lacked the performance of the European designs. Since then, all three have returned their attention exclusively back to the skydiving market, primarily for economic reasons. By the early nineties, there were fewer radicak new designs emerging and production was concentrated on paragliders with very stable handling characteristics for the general flying population.
Distinctions emerged among wings intended for students, intermediate / recreational pilot, and competition pilots. Standardizes procedures for testing and certifying paragliders were established in France and Germany which now represent the benchmark for manufacturers around the world. Today there are flew pilots willing to fly an uncertified gliger, and there are many regulated flying sites where the French or Germany certification is required. It is interesting to note that, although paragliders evolved from ram air skydiving parachute technology, the two sports have not completely diverged. On fact, they have begun to come full – circle in some and thin profile airfoils which allows for higher speeds, better glider performance and greater aerodynamic efficiency.
There features which were develop for paragliders, are now being incorporated back into skydiving parachute. Beware that, even though paragliders may look similar to some skydiving canopies at first glance, they have different flight charachteristic which require completely different pilot technique. Proper instruction is an absolute must even for hang glider pilot or a highly experience skydiver. A student paraglider pilot spend hours learning how to ground handle and launch a wing in different wind conditions. There is also a variety of procedures for managing the dynamic shanges in flight characteristic which commonly occur when paragliders are flown in turbulent air. Understanding what is taking place and practicing the appropriate response under the direction of an instructor is essential for pilot safety.
In addition to learning how to launch, land and control a paraglider in flight, a student spends considerable time studying meteorology on both the large and small scale. For example, it is critical to understand the effect that terrain features have on the movement of air. It is also important for pilots to know how changes in cloud condition, atmospheric stability and even the time of say can dramatically influence the outcome and safety of a flight. Considering the complexity of the weather. It’s no wonder that even the most experienced pilots feel they are in a constant state of learning throughout a lifetime of soaring.
The most important requirement for safe and successful paragliding is a proper attitude and good judgement. A pilot flying the most stable glider on the market, off the safest hill on the planet and in a calm wind is not guaranteed a safe flight if concentration is lost poor decision are made, or a complacent attitude prevalls. Shen learning to fly listen carefully to your instructor and other pilots. Read what is remommended and then more. Pay close attention to what you are doing and dluble check all your equipment before launch.
Spend considerable time studying the clouds and the wind speed and direction for changers, trends and cycles. Watch how these changes affect the flight of other pilots. Once you are skilled enough to earn a pilot certification and fly on your own, don’t let the learning stop. Review emergency procedures frequently in your mind and always leave your self a “way out” should the conditions of your flight change.
Do not be in hurry to buy a high performance equipment. Allow yourself a couple hundred hours to experience different conditions and fly at different sites before complicating your life with equipment that requires more attention and quicker responses than you can provide as a novice,. While in the air, know where all the other gliders are at all times. Constantly think and plan a head. You must be in control of the glider, not vice versa. Most of all, trust your instincts. Do not fly if something doesn’t feel right,. There is much truth to the old saying that it’s better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than to be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Respect the weather and what it can do. Have fun and let’s be careful out there.