Paramotors - an anomaly?

My pal texted me a while back saying there were 6 guys using Paramotors just in front of his house at Rossall Beach in between Thornton and Fleetwood north of Blackpool (Paramotoring).
He opined they were very noisy and smelly and asked about whether they were regulated with the same rules as drones and RCs. I had no idea so looked it up (see link above) and unless I have missed something it says

No CAA licence is required to fly a paramotor – but you still have to know and obey the rules and regulations applying to UK Airspace – of which there are many! The UK is a small island, and much of the airspace above it is reserved for commercial air traffic, bird sanctuaries, weapons testing etc…

Hard to believe you can shell out £4K and just take to the air!

Anyway that apart my friend lives in an upside down house about 20m from the beach with a large school about 100m to the right fronting onto the beach/promenade. Quite a populated area. This is also a very popular area for dog walkers and there are always plenty around not to mention possibly up to 50 or so cars all parked along the promenade just a few metres from the beach and plenty of walkers and joggers. I do fly near there occasionally but avoid overflying people, dogs, schools and houses which is quite difficult but possible if you choose your time and location properly.

Sunday afternoon with first sun and dry weather for a while the area would be heaving as its one of few areas where you can take dog and family on the beach safely for a walk. Ice cream vans … the lot.

How come I worry about flying my big beast M2 Pro safely and a team of flying humans presumably being trained don’t seem to need to worry about regulations I have to abide by? I didn’t hear them but I reckon they might be a tad noisier than my little drone and more of threat to seabirds than I am.

To rub salt in the wound if I move over Wyre I am advised to keep clear of an area where para-gliders hand out in case I hit one. There does seem to be a pecking order at work here.

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Yep, ridiculous isn’t it that no formal training required or licence to take to the air with a 35kg lawnmower strapped to your back, but a 900g piece of plastic is considered lethal.

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Anyone can, if they wanted to, buy a car and drive it on the roads without any training, license or insurance.

For any kind of insurance to fly a paramotor one needs to pass the BHPA exam and obtain their license … as you do for any paragliding or hang-gliding in the UK.

Many years ago, the CAA subordinated all licensing for those sports to the BHPA so as to not encumber themselves with unnecessary administration and keep the costs sensible, and to ensure that there was structured training, and it’s a system that works incredibly well. It’s a system that is constantly monitored by the CAA.

Also - the significant risk of death if you were to just “shell out £4K and just take to the air” is a pretty good incentive to be sensible.

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That is very illegal if I remember correctly. Possibly training may not required but advisable and certainly, test passed, insurance, tax and roadworthy car either new or tested all required. Not sure about para-watsits.

Idiots virtually by definition don’t have commonsense. That’s why there are so many posts both here and elsewhere on such persons letting the RC devices side down and bringing on further legislation for those that do follow the rules.

You seem rather to have missed the point @PingSpike and focused on a 1-line throwaway semi-jocular remark rather than the the lethal, to quote @stevesb , use of a flying lawnmower in a heavily populated area. I doubt you would condone flying anything down a street of houses or over a car park with people and animals getting in and out of cars let alone scaring dogs and horses being exercised in the immediate locality?

On the plus side no matter how far they fly I suppose they do always have LOS .

I’ve not commented in this thread yet @johnbirt mate :man_shrugging:

I doubt very much that our regulations apply to them. They surely have their own regulations? Which in turn, we as drone operators are not too worried about either?

I don’t actually know…

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I have a mate who paramotors. No training needed at all and no regulations. They’re free to fly up to 3,000 feet or metres; can’t remember which but frankly, what a fukn joke when the fuss that’s made about sub 1 Kg bits of plastic.
@OzoneVibe Dave, with the greatest respect, you’re missing the point. Obviously you can drive a car without any training or license, but, like flying an Inspire at the end of Heathrow’s runway, it’s illegal.
The idea that money or the danger of death negates any need for training or regs doesn’t wash; a paramotor is cheaper than a car and you could throw that argument at car drivers but few would agree.
If you’re flying way, way above our 400-foot limit, you’re still at risk of being hit by a low flying jet who would probably not see you until too late… but for some reason, the CAA doesn’t have any issue with paramotors. But they really do care about us flying at 30 feet in our back garden…
Ian

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As would be flying a paramotor there.

Indeed @PingSpike my mistake. Apologies. Hope flying my drone is more accurate than my pointing a mouse at a link.

My bias against ParaMotors is perhaps as result of what happened to my friend who was the one mentioned in the OP.

He and his wife were given a (IMHO highly dubious) present for a notable wedding anniversary of a hang-gliding lesson. Thanks kids!

They took the opportunity and turned up full of adrenalin and expectation at a site well out of nowhere where things like this ought to be conducted. On take off something went wrong and my friend was dragged along the ground only for his knee to encounter the only jagged piece of rock in the vicinity. Left knee ripped to pieces. Mountain rescue called and some long time later was deposited at hospital for plastic surgery. Many months later and it has healed well.

As regards insurance nothing paid out and he didn’t want to go the legal route. To be fair he and his wife were offered a replacement lesson to make up for the missed one. No surprise they have not taken that up. Can’t be sure but I don’t think his son and daughter were re-imbursed the lesson fee.

Haven’t spoken to him as he just texted the query about whether or not para-motoring near his house was covered by CAA rules or indeed any rules.Thanks to @ianinlondon we now know the answer which I will pass on.

Personally I think “anomaly” is about right and that there are far more dangerous pursuits than flying a drone responsibly that don’t have nearly the same level of monitoring. Perhaps those that argue our case with government and CAA might just point that out. Doubt we would get much re-laxation but we might get slightly more of a level playing field.

I fly a paramotor, there is a huge difference between paragliding and paramotoring, apart from the socking great fan on your back. Paragliding is inherently more dangerous than paramotoring as your friend found out. Paragliding requires a launch from a hill, usually gravity assisted by running, sometimes like the clappers, down it to maintain the wind pressure enough to keep the wing above your head inflated. The problem with hills is that they are very prone to turbulence and wind shear, or “rotor”, this can cause the wing to either collapse on one side or both, when very near to the ground, with little hope of recovering the situation before the inevitable face plant, or getting dragged along the ground. Para motoring just requires a fairly flat area to take off from. Flying a paraglider for paramotor is governed by the CAA rules, same as any aircraft, the only difference is that you don’t need any formal training to fly a paramotor or paraglider (you’d be wise to get some), there’s no legal requirement. It’s one of the cheapest and easiest ways to become airborne. The sense of freedom is unbelievable.
As I say, there’s no legal requirement for training, you can become self taught, and oddly there’s no legal requirement for qualifications to train or instruct someone. Tho you’d be wise to check on someone’s credentials before get instruction from anyone.
There are a lot of self taught paramotorists, after all, the Wright brothers were self taught, and they didn’t do so bad. The problem occurs the same as with drone flying, when you get the numpty who doesn’t take the time to research and learn, or just so darn thick they don’t understand the many safety aspects of flying.

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Thanks @Brian very informative.

I have to agree…it’s an anomaly. But I suppose it’s about risk, there’s relatively very few new paramotor pilots every year compared with the thousands of new uneducated drone pilots who just buy one and think they can take to the sky.

having looked at another post of some great footage of paraglider prompted me to look at rules for them
looks like it might be easier to strap a camera to yourself and fly one of these more public friendly as well

I was flying my drone a year or so back and I got three people make a beeline to where I was telling me I was invading their privacy ect etc and they was calling the police blah-d- blah
I was flying within the Drone code so wasn’t to bothered I had landed and was changing Batteries
at that point two powered Paragliders flew over I pointed out to the people what about those they can have cameras , and their reply was they are ok the come over all the time :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I just get there feeling we are a cash cow for every training company, health and safety, government dept
and get the short end of the stick
Do you not think also all this bureaucracy is handy for all these dept to justify their jobs and also earn money out of a less harmless sport hobby than a lot of other pastimes that they have yet to turn the general public against .
somewhere I think some people are getting a nice backhander

perhaps I am wrong perhaps its because I don’t trust the establishment Everyone seems to have an agenda hidden behind saving us from ourselves .

https://paramotorplanet.com/paramotor-flight-rules/

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Moved your post over here since this was being discussed only recently.

oh ok thanks Dave I did look and couldn’t see anything :eyes:

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Paramotorists, and I’m one, are bound by the air navigation order exactly the same as any other aircraft They can be reported for entering restricted airspace, no fly zones and flying over concerts etc. It’s the public’s perception that is skew whiffed.

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One contributor on Mavic Pilots the other day suggested the playing field wasn’t entirely level as when he visited the Hope Valley last year which is a no-go area for drones see https://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/visiting/frequently-asked-questions/drones

There were no shortage of para-gliders on his visit. Didn’t mention para-motors. Probably those aren’t welcome because the noise might frighten some rare birds and NT wardens like our drones do apparently.

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yeh I have a friend that’s been one for ages they seem to be more accepted by the public land owners ect
I haven’t any problems with them at all i think they are great I have a problem with the way drone owners are treated compared

I just get there feeling we are a cash cow for every training company, health and safety, government dept
and get the short end of the stick
Do you not think also all this bureaucracy is handy for all these dept to justify their jobs and also earn money out of a less harmless sport hobby than a lot of other pastimes that they have yet to turn the general public against .
somewhere I think some people are getting a nice backhander

I get the same impression at times. When I was on my PfCO training everyone was shocked at the amount of rules and hoops to jump through, it really made us question if this was the right thing to even be doing.

I can fly my drone 50m above a building and then need to find a suitable take off and landing position which likely will be a park to then find out the council have banned the use of drones in it.

Our instructor dropped a line that changed my perception, he said that the CAA treat us now as (remote) pilots and our drone are aircrafts in their eyes. If it crashes, we’ve got to report it. Made sense as to why they imposed so many restrictions and on the other hand, it’s 900g of plastic.

Rather than drones, we could use a paramotor and a nice zoom lens to get a photo and skip all the limiting drone regulations.

The EASA changes coming in July sound promising as we’ll be able to fly closer. Likely going to result in a knee-jerk reaction to ban drones from more places because of this.

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Is there a minimum height for a paramotor? One’s flown close to our house and I’ve done enough garden drone flying to have a fairly good idea about height relative to roofs and I doubt very much this one was over 400’.

There’s no minimum, or maximum for that matter.

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