If you’re going to purchase an engine, it needs to be suited specifically to your needs. No one wants to waste their hard-earned money on products that don’t work well.
A pilot needs to be able to carry and run with whatever engine they choose to use. On top of that, the output of thrust needs to be manageable. When choosing a paramotor engine, it’s best to wait until after the pilot has undergone training.
How much you weigh, engine weight and the amount of thrust output needs to be balanced when you fly. Being able to carry a heavy engine needs to be taken into account when you choose as well.
Popular Engine Choices and Why Pilots Like Them
While it’s important to choose a motor which suits each pilot, knowing what is popular can sometimes be an indicator of what’s reliable and safe. In this case, following the crowd isn’t all bad.
All of these example engines I’ve mentioned below are among the most popular and safe. All models have their own characteristics that make each a good option.
- Miniplane TOP 80
- Nitro 200
- EOS 100
- Vitorazzi Moster 185
- Minari F1
- Simonini Mini 2
Most of these suggestions are Italian by origin and design.
Engine Choices According to Pilot Weight
|Pilot Weight||Engine||Est. Weight Capacity|
|Light Pilots||-Miniplane TOP 80|
|Heavier PIlots||-EOS 100||190 lbs or more|
|Both Pilot Types||-Vitorazzi Moster 185|
-Simonini Mini 2
|175-190 lbs or more|
The numbers in this table are an estimate so when you go to purchase your paramotor, be sure to double check.
Vitorazzi Moster 185
The most popular engine of all these is the Vittorazi Moster 185. It’s versatile and powerful, which is probably why it’s popular. Most paramotor pilots are looking for an engine that is not only lightweight but puts forth a lot of power.
- Easy startup
- Inexpensive (for a paramotor)
- Dual start (manual or electric)
- Several different options
This motor is crafted so that foreign objects can’t enter and ruin the engine. It is a safety feature and also a feature which increases the engine’s longevity.
Miniplane TOP 80
Introduced in 1989, this engine has a great history! It is very lightweight, which means it’s great for those who can’t carry much. Walking around with it on your back is a breeze and taking off is easy- like giving your brother a wedgie easy.
- Low fuel burn
- Good for competition pilots
- Fairly good throttle response
- Pretty small
The Miniplane Top 80 is a pretty reliable model. It will last you a long time with the proper maintenance. It is a relatively popular model for its low vibration and fuel efficiency. Its parts are also easily accessible.
Well-maintained, this motor can last about 175 hours without a hiccup. That’s about as long as I wait to do my laundry, but that’s neither here nor there. This does not guarantee that your motor will last that long, but it’s possible. This motor is a great starter because it’s not only lightweight, but it has good thrust as well; depending on the model, that is.
- 200 cc
- 2 stroke
- Carbon fiber silencer
- Internal and external engine cooling
- tuned for linear throttle response
- 2-year warranty
The video below features the electric start version of the Nitro 200.
This engine comes from Austria. It has a lot of power to it and good throttle response. Its unique characteristics cater to what pilots are looking for the most; so far it hasn’t been disappointing (not like the last date I went on).
- Lightweight and compact
- Easy startup
- Fan cooling (prevents overheating)
- Power and Thrust
- Reliable Quality
The Minari is Italian. This engine’s crankcase is made of magnesium. It is durable and has excellent heat abstraction. I found a pretty good video that shows the engine pretty well:
- 2 stroke
- 180 cc
- CNC manufactured
- Great for heavier pilots
- Easy startup
- (needs “break-in” time)
Simonini Mini 2
This engine is popular with heavier pilots. This one is great for trikes and quads therefore, it’s also heavy itself. So, bear that in mind.
- 2 Stroke
- 202 cc.
- Lots of power
You don’t have to get one of these engines, but it’s smart to know what attracts paramotor pilots. If you didn’t like any of these engines, there’s more out there, but those are some paths less traveled.
If you are going to look at some other models, just make sure you know all the criteria that go into searching for the right model for you.
Trust Your Trainer’s Opinion About Engine Size
While the internet holds a lot of information about the what’s, who’s, where’, and when’s of life, it doesn’t know everything. Experts are better people to ask for opinions. When I say experts, I’m talking about your trainer.
Ask your trainer for suggestions on what paramotor engine is right for you. They have had hundreds of students come through their schools and they’ve experienced the ups and downs of the paramotor world. You can trust their opinion.
If you want several different opinions to get a better idea of what is right for you, go ahead; the more, the better.
If you don’t have a trainer, you can go to the closest paramotoring school and have a chat with one of the trainers.
Note: Bear in mind that some trainers have their own brand of paramotor. There may be some trainers who will try and convince you to buy their brand. It’s not too likely, but still possible.
Ask to try out an engine
If you find you’ve got a good school nearby who will let you try out an engine, do it. Testing engines out for yourself is an awesome idea. If you’ve got buddies who have some of these engines, give them a call or text and ask if you can test it out to see if it’s for you. There’s no need to waste money on something you haven’t tried.
Once you’ve tried it out for yourself, you’ll have a better idea of what you like. Things like how the engine sounds, how smooth it is, how heavy it is, etc. You’ll know what is right for you the more engines you try.
Experience isn’t always a good teacher, but in this case, I’d take a class from him.
Engine Examples According to Weight Capacity and Thrust
If you don’t have buddies and the internet is your only friend at this time, then I’ll help you out. If you want to choose the right engine, starting with a small vision of what a few different ones are capable of is helpful.
Everyone is different, and they want their own special experience when it comes to flying. I would too. So, here I’ve created a sort of vision to give you an idea of what you’re looking for.
Below is a table with a few popular engines; their weight, weight capacity, HP (Horsepower) and thrust. After viewing this table, it will be easier to know what to look for in an engine.
|Engine||Thrust||Engine Weight||HP (Horsepower)|
|Vittorazi Moster 185||78 kg (prop. 130 cm)||14.2 kg (pull starter version)||25 HP at 7.800 RPM|
|Miniplane Top 80||49 kg (prop. 125 cm)||11.1 kg||14.8 HP at 9500 RPM.|
|Simonini Mini 2+||75 kg (prop. 125 cm)||18.6 kg||26 HP at 7.200 RPM|
|Minari F1||65 kg (prop. 125 cm)||14.4 kg (manual start non clutched version)||26 HP at 7.500 RPM|
|EOS 100 Booster||61 kg (prop. 130 cm)||9.6 kg (manual start no clutch)||21.6 HP at 9500 RPM|
|*Tornado 280||80 kg (prop. 125 cm)|
92 kg (140 cm prop.)
|11.5 kg||33 HP at 7500 rpms|
*Note: The Tornado 280 is a new 2018 engine built for larger pilots. It’s comparable to the Nitro 200- as super lightweight and powerful motor.
A Bit about Thrust
Thrust is the force which moves an aircraft forward, overcoming the craft’s drag. It is generated by the engine through a propulsion system. In the case of paramotors, that propulsion system is the propeller coupled with the engine.
The key to thrust is to balance the drag while in flight, therefore the thrust must exceed the drag in order for the aircraft to accelerate. Without proper thrust, you’d find yourself traveling extremely slow.
“Latin words: pro meaning before or forwards and pellere meaning to drive. Propulsion means to push forward or drive an object forward. A propulsion system is a machine that produces thrust to push an object forward.”NASA.gov
Thrust will change depending on the type of propeller you use. For example, a motor like the Nitro 200 will have a different thrust output using a 125 cm propeller (72kg thrust) rather than a 130 cm propeller (74kg thrust).
You may wonder why thrust is even important. Well, thrust is the moving force for a paramotor, that means the more thrust which is present, the faster the aircraft will go.
More thrust also means a heavier engine. If an engine is heavier, the pilot will need to be able to carry it.
Can You Carry it?
How much can you take on your back? There’s no point in purchasing a paramotor engine that’s too heavy for you to carry. If you can’t run with 55 lbs on your back, it’s not the right engine for you. You have to be strong enough to carry whatever engine/motor you buy.
Besides, who wants to carry it on their back if it’s just going to ruin your knees and back? Balance is more important than you might realize.
When you go out to fly, you’re going to start adding on extra equipment the more you fly. Here’s an idea of what you might be adding on to your weight:
- Flight Tracking instruments (Weather App, PP GPS APP (specially made for paramotor pilots), FlySkyHigh App, Airspace App, etc.)
- Reserve Parachute
- Radio Headset (if you’re in a group or have friends on the ground)
- Paramotoring Gloves
- Hook Knife
- Tree rescue Kit
- Reserve fuel
To get a more complete guide to paramotoring equipment and flying tips, click here. This is a bestselling book.
Some of these won’t take a lot of weight, and you might even have a lot of these things (especially the flight tracking instruments) on your phone. Small or big; these things will add weight.
Note: Part of the engine weight is the fuel weight. Your engine will slowly lose weight as you use your fuel. That means landing will be different as well.
Some people are more fit than others. You don’t have to be an athlete to fly a paramotor. There are a lot of pilots who can fly that are by no means of small mass, but strength and stamina are important for that short takeoff period. If you can’t make it, that’s a problem.
Being able to carry your motor is not just a question of liftoff, but it’s a question of safety as well. When I say safety, I mean safety for you and your paramotor.
Paramotor parts are expensive and pilots aren’t invincible, keep that in mind. There are also different types of flying; if you’re going to do Pylon Racing, Acro Flying, Thermalling, or Cross Country, some pilots require engines that can handle aggressive flying over tranquil flying and vice versa.
Can You Maintain it?
What about maintenance? Not all engines are easy to maintain and clean. 2 stroke engines, for example, are high maintenance. On the other hand, engines like the Vitorazzi Moster 185 are built to resist debris from entering the engine.
It all depends on what amount of effort you are willing to put into it. Most paramotor engines don’t need much maintenance, but everyone’s got a lazy meter. You’re either willing to putting in more or less effort, so you might as well seek out your level of laziness. Why not? Right?
Larger engines are easier to clean than smaller ones, for example. There’s more to a larger engine and the spaces aren’t as compact. That’s what’s a nuisance about small engines, they are more compact and the pieces are smaller.
It’s also easier to lose the pieces in a smaller engine. If you’re a paramotor nut and you don’t care about that sort of thing, then don’t worry about this portion. I, however, don’t like things that because it’s hard to clean. That’s just me.
Here are all the things which need to be cleaned and maintained in a paramotor engine:
- Spark plug
- Throttle cable (oiling it)
- Air filter
- Piston and rings
- Exhaust system
Not all of these necessary pieces need to be checked all at the same time, but they do all need to be checked. Imagine the ease or difficulty of each in each engine size. Would it be easier on a larger or smaller engine? It’s not a huge deal, but it’s also not a bad idea to make these considerations when you’re choosing your engine.
Weight is probably the most important factor for choosing an engine, but durability and sustainability are also important. Don’t know what I mean? Knowing what type of flying you are going to be doing is going to influence what motor you choose to use.
If you’re planning on flying long distance, pick an engine that will make the trip. If it’s twisting and turning that you are interested in, pick an engine that will be suitable for that. You can’t just go around willy-nilly, be educated about your choice to avoid problems during flight.
Across the countryside and into the wild blue yonder you go! A cross country flight is a steady flight which starts and ends in different places. You may be flying to a camping spot, meeting someone, or anything along those lines. It is generally a pretty low key type of flight.
Most likely, with this type of flight, you will not be going too fast or doing anything too crazy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not boring at all and can be very relaxing, but it’s not your only option.
For this type of flying, you’ll want an engine that can handle keeping up high altitude. This would probably be an engine that is more heavy duty with higher fuel capacity.
Possible Engine Choices for this Type of Flight:
- Top 80
- EOS 100
Acro flying is for those who like to do loops, twists, and turns. It’s kind of like those acrobats in the circus who twist and fly in ways you wish you could too. It’s much more of a thrill and a lot more dangerous, though. It’s definitely worth learning how to fly like acro.
However, this type of flight is not for the faint of heart. Unfortunately, humankind wasn’t born with wings, so having the right experience and equipment to do it is important.
Smaller and lighter engines are better for acro flying because they are easier to maneuver; if that’s what you want. Also, you don’t want an engine that will make you look like a bird with a tumor, something light and sleek is good.
There are some pilots that choose to use heavier motors/engines, but that’s really personal preference. (You can obviously tell what my preference is, just saying)
Possible Engine Choices for this Type of Flight:
- Nitro 200
- Miniplane Top 80
Any engine that will get the job done is just fine. Everything else, walk right on outta there! You don’t need anything extra.
By definition, a thermal is a column of rising air in the lower altitudes of earth’s atmosphere; an atmospheric updraft.
Thermals are created by the uneven heating of the Earth’s surface from solar radiation. Now that you know what a thermal is, I bet you can guess what thermalling is?
Yup! You are basically using those updrafts to create a thrilling and dangerous ride for yourself. Awesome huh? This type of flight is for those who are more experienced in paramotoring. It is very dangerous but very fun!
As a beginner, you probably won’t be doing much of this because of how unsafe it can be, but it’s good to know your options. I would even suggest that you talk to your trainer about this and what you can do to prepare now to fly in thermals.
Thermalling requires you to turn off your engine and for your propeller to be completely stopped. This means your engine should be non-clutched; clutched engines create drag. Drag is the last thing you want when you’re thermalling.
Low-level flying is exactly what it sounds like. It’s like those anime shows where the male lead lifts the female lead up into the sky and they fly low over the countryside while romantic and classical music plays for five minutes and you wonder when the action scenes are going to come back on.
So, basically, a flight that is closer to the ground. This kind of flying is dangerous in areas with a lot of trees and obstacles.
If you’re in a more open area you don’t have to worry about low-level obstacles. You’ll probably start out with low-level at the beginning just because it might take you a while to get off the ground and into a flight. In the right places, it’s usually pretty safe.
A powerful electric start engine would be best for low level flying because you can more easily avoid obstacles and it’s less likely to die.
Possible Engine Choices for this Type of Flight:
- Tornado 280
This is a type of flying is basically paramotor racing. Pilots who do pylon racing are generally more experienced. It’s good, however, to keep in mind whether you want to get into racing or not.
Depending on the type of race, this version of flight involves pilots racing around pylons, or passing through an obstacle course; in the air and/or on the ground. The competition varies, and injury is obviously higher, but it’s worth a try to get into this adventure.
With racing, pilots need an engine with a lot of power. The idea is that they can move forward quickly to get around the pylon while maintaining altitude.
Possible Engine Choice for this Type of Flight:
- Vitorazzi Moster 185
Trikes and Quads
Being able to carry a paramotor on your back doesn’t apply to trikes. That’s actually the beauty of flying a trike. It really doesn’t matter what you choose to use as an engine; at least with regards to getting a running start.
If you do choose to use a trike, the larger and more heavy duty engines are the best to use. You need a lot of thrust and prime fuel efficiency.
Don’t worry if the engine is a little smaller. There are some smaller engines which can handle tandem and wheeled paramotors just fine. Looks can be deceiving with paramotors.
Technology has come a long way and engines are built to be more lightweight and powerful, with the capability to handle a lot of weight.
Why Weight Matters
Weight is a big deal in paramotoring; manufacturers for paramotors are always trying to advance their designs to be lighter, sturdier, and more reliable. If you want a great lift off and landing; the lighter the better.
However, not all pilots weigh the same, nor do they fly the same way with the same equipment. A heavier pilot- say 250-300 lbs- is not going to be able to fly a paramotor with a low weight capacity. If they want to, they’ll either have to lose weight or lose baggage as they fly.
Pilot, engine, and equipment all add to the weight of a paramotor. The more weight, the more energy, and fuel are emitted to push the craft forward. There are ways to lower weight. If you are willing to use these methods, your options widen.
As long as you have chosen the correct engine, equipment, suited to your specific dimensions you shouldn’t have a problem with the flight. Just make sure you make the best choice before you go out to fly.
When reducing weight to create a better flight, finding the correct balance can’t be overlooked. Don’t get so excited that you leave behind necessary equipment for your flight.
Engine Fuel Capacity
There are a lot of engines out there for paramotors and each one has a limit to how much fuel it contains. Have you ever noticed that you use more gas in your car when you drive your friends around? It’s the same amount of gas, but the weight takes more energy.
Paramotors aren’t much different. While weight distribution is different depending on the paramotor model, it remains true that the heavier the weight, the quicker your fuel will run out.
It helps to know what the tank capacity is and the estimated flight time related to that tank capacity. Once you know this, you will be able to gauge what tank you want to buy.
Your weight doesn’t have a huge impact on your flight time, but if you are OCD like me, you want to know what you’re paying for.
Below are some of the most popular paramotor engines and their fuel capacity:
|Paramotors||Tank Capacity||Est. Flight Time|
|Parajet Maverick||10 L||2.5 Hrs|
|Air Conception||9 L, 11.5 L, 15 L||5.5 hrs (15L tank)|
|Scout||12 L||3 hrs|
|*Bailey V5||11.5 L||5 hrs|
|Miniplane ABM||12 L, 18 L||4+ hrs|
*The Bailey V5 gets more flight time because it’s a 4-stroke engine. You’ll get more flying time out of this baby because it’s more fuel efficient. The flight time o these engines are based on the average flight time for paramotor pilots.