Powered Paragliding For the Do-It-Yourselfer
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)Common questions about building your own paramotor
It's not for everybody. And it's usually not a good idea for your first paramotor. But for those who already know how to fly, and those who are pretty handy reading directions and fabricating, building your own machine can be quite rewarding.
There's also a good article on FootFlyer.com about home building from kits or plans. The Powered Paragliding Bible also compares home building's three levels, from scratch without plans, from plans, and from kits.
Here will attempt to answer the most common questions about home building.
1. How much will it cost to complete my machine?
A: That depends most dramatically on what motor you purchase. A brand new Black Devil paramotor, for example, costs about $2800. But a used Solo paramotor can be had for as little as a few hundred. That's the difference between new state-of-the-art and used, dated technology. The solo still works, and parts are readily available, but it has quite a bit less power for its weight.
In general, don't expect to save money buy homebuilding over what you can buy a package deal for, especially since the package deals usually come with a discounted wing.
Where you will save money is on repairs. If something breaks on your home-built frame or cage, you'll be able to fix it for a few dollars instead of a few hundred dollars.
2. How long will it take to finish from the day my plans arrive?
For someone who is pretty handy, version 2 can be finished in about 100 hours. For someone who has to repeat a lot of work, that time could be doubled.
3. Will I be able to get training?
If you've never flown, it's critical to get quality training. Insure the instructor that uses the USPPA/USUA syllabus or, if using a USHPA instructor, that he is very familiar with paramotors.
Work out training before you commit to building your machine. Not all instructors will training on your gear. Also, if you've never flown, or have very little experience, make sure the instructor flies your machine first. Any instructor worth his salt should be willing to test your machine to work out any balance or torque issues. Don't minimize this step. If you made a mistake, it's possible that the machine will have some serious problem. A good instructor will recognize it in the launch run and abort before taking a problem aloft.
4. How should I handle the first flight?
If you're an experienced PPG2 or greater level pilot, you should be OK to test fly it. Pick a very large area. Start with just a run and get the wing to lift. If there is no untoward torque or tilt, then add a bit more power and lift off into a shallow climb.
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