What is Powered Paragliding (PPG & WPPG) ?
A foot launched Powered Paraglider is the smallest, simplest, manned powered aircraft in the world and said to be the easiest to learn to fly. A paraglider wing ensures safety and is inherent stability, while the engine adds autonomy and freedom, the control is very easy;
- Pull the right brake handel/toggle to turn right.
- Pull the left brake handel/toggle to turn left.
- Pull both brake handles/toggles together at 2~3 metres (6~9 feet) above the ground to flare in for a gentle landing.
When approaching the ground to land, pulling both handles together at higher that 3mt could cause the wing to stall in mid air, this is called "stalling the wing", when you stall the wing you will then drop! That is not so critical if you are flying at a lot higher altitude, as when you release both brake lines, the wing will automatically rest and start flying again, that is the basics of flying a PPG, learning to control the wing from swinging around, comes form training and experience.
The latest development in weight reduction in engine & cage metal advances, for foot or wheel launched PPG equipment, means a PPG is literally an airplane that can be transported in a rug sack or boot of a car!
A small capacity 2 or 4 stroke engines powered with either Petrol, LPG simply drive a propeller, via a belt or geared re-drive reduction system, some re-drive boxes use poly gears to reduce weight further.
Electric motors are currently available but (don't get confused, a motor is not an engine) are held back by current battery technology, most only able to be constantly powered-up for approximately 30 minutes flight time in 2017.
Foot Launch Powered Paraglider configuration (PPG) has an engine mounted to a Cage chassis, then the Cage sections surrounds the engine and propeller with strong Netting, all fitted to protect the pilot & stop objects hitting the propeller, a comfortable chair type harness is often fitted with "J" Bars that attach to the chassis to secure you in position. So, in short a foot launch PPG is carried like a Back-Pack & you fly beneath a paragliding wing.
Foot launch and landing a PPG gives a new meaning to an all-terrain vehicle, without the usual limitations imposed by rough, wet or abnormal locations of a typical landing location associated with normal Aviation.
Wheeled Launch Powered Paraglider configuration (WPPG) has some disadvantages but these are out weighed if you are not as fit as you would like to be or your legs may not be able to carry or deal the the sometimes demanding agility needed to launch or land carrying 25~30kg on your shoulders.
Once dismantled both our foot & wheel launch Paramotor kits with Wheels, Axle, Frame, Seat, Cage and Paraglider can be stowed in a small suitcase(s), our LowBoy-II solo and tandem quad buggy breaks down into small pieces in 5 minutes easily – both types can even taken on a airplane when you go on holiday, obviously you will have to drain the fuel tank & engine if you have a 4 stroke engine you should drain the sump oil, the freight weight may be expensive.
PPG & WPPG are classified the safest form of Aviation in the world !
Why you may ask? Well if your engine happens to fail you are still under or being carried by your "Paraglider Wing" (and you should carry a reserve parachute), this is why it is the easiest powered aircraft you will ever learn to fly, paraglider wings are very forgiving, more so the higher you are flying, as if you get into trouble, by simply letting go of the brake/steering toggles, your wing will normally re-set itself with no input !
The popularity of Powered Paragliding in Australia, it is still relatively in it's infancy & many developments are still evolving, like our NEW light weigh (18kg) INTRUDER 250cc single cylinder, four valves per cylinder 4 stroke engine, and our latest development of a unique Worlds First 4 stroke engine with Two contra-rotating Propellers, the contra-rotating propellers totally eliminate "Torque Riser Twist", making for a very safe PPG engine, and by default 4 stroke engine have up to 10 times the re-build life of a typical 2 stroke engine.
The first PPG flown in Australia was over 30 years ago and the sport is constantly growing in popularity, however in 2017 there are only some 1'300 registered PPG & WPPG pilots in the biggest island in the world, with vast areas of land to discover. A PPG is an evolution of hang
gliding without the dangerous rigid structure, making it easier & safer to learn to fly, light in weight, but most important of all can be
carried in a rucksack and flown from flat land.
As for Canopy Design over several years there has seen amazing progress with combining more
performance with greatly increased safety. Nowadays a typical paraglider stalls at around 10 kph (6 mph) with a top speed
of 80klm (50 mph).
The Glide Ratio of a Paraglider wing is between 6:1 and 9:1 (a hang glider=11:1). Depending of the total weight the Sink rate is typically around 60~90 mt (200~300
feet) per minute.
While the standard type of paraglider needs a hill or mountain to self launch, adding an engine to the unit enables take
off to be achieved from any suitable field. Unlike hill flying, the wind direction is
not as important and there is no minimum wind speed required, but a slight 2~5 knot wind will assist in a very short launch distance, However PPG is a fair/good weather sport - flying in strong or gusty winds is not highly recommended unless experienced. Paramotoring kits have a fuel duration of up to 2~3 hours with a 8.3 litres fuel tank, making cross-country or extended local flying possible when using multiple fuel tanks. Landing near any petrol station or location with a source of petrol can get
you back in the air straight away ! (obviously 2 stroke oil is needed for a 2 stroke engine)
The engine can be switched off once airborne to glide gently back down to earth for a slow power-off landing. Alternatively you can use thermal lift to climb to cloud base, or soar in a ridge lift the same way
that a glider type planes, hang gliders and paraglider's can when favourable conditions exist.
A pull or electric start allows the
re-starting of the engine in mid-air, extending the possibilities of this versatile powered-glider. With the engine disconnected or switched off, you can use your paraglider wing and harness to fly from hills or mountains, joining the thousands of people who already enjoy this unique sport throughout Australia and
around the world.
The most important item is to use the correct size wing !
The Primary factors in determining your wing size is your total flight weight, location & weather conditions. Manufacturer's always list there gliders weight range in there technical specifications.
Calculating your Total Flight weight accurately is the most important factor when selecting a paraglider wing, the wings weight range indicated & is usually the certified weight range, this means the glider's flight characteristics were tested at these weights by certification organizations like DVH, AFNOR, and CEN. Typically paramotoring pilots should choose a wing that places them as close as possible to the upper end of the wing's weight range. It is best to be heavy on the wing for a responsive and safe wing. It is commonly acceptable to be 15% over the top of the range for beginner gliders and 20% over the top for intermediate gliders. The intermediate gliders have more performance, enabling them to carry heavier loads.
In addition to flight weight, the launch altitude also effects your weight range decision. If you fly at 1'500 mt (5000 feet), the air is thinner and your glider will have less lift than it has at sea level. So, it may not be better to be below the top of the wings weight range when flying at higher altitudes.
Climate can also effect glider size, in windy conditions it is usually better to be heavier on a wing. In light wind conditions avoid being too far over maximum wing weight as you will increase the sink weight.
If you are physically challenged due to age or previous injuries for example, stay below the top of the weight range. A lighter wing loading will give you slower launches and slower landing speed.
If you are launching primarily on wheels, stay above the top of the weight range because you are taking off and landing on wheels, higher landing and takeoff speeds are not an issue on smooth ground. At the higher wing loading, you'll enjoy additional responsiveness and safety. With all these factors, choosing the right wing size can be complicated, especially when considering several glider models.
Give us a call on (02) 9555 2131 we can help new pilots choose the correct size paraglider/wing.