Many may think of the idea of taking paragliding and adding an engine as dangerous and risky. It may make you stop and think, if this is a sport, it’s definitely in the extreme category. But is it really an extreme sport? I wondered the same exact thing. What I found was surprising. Let me tell you a little more about the great sport of paramotoring.
So, is paramotoring an extreme sport? Paramotoring is intense, exhilarating and something that adrenaline-seekers are a fan of. It is definitely an extreme sport, but not the most dangerous sport out there. In the United States, rules, regulations and license requirements are minimal.
So, what is this sport all about and why do people risk so much to participate? Well, there are many reasons and they are intricate reasons at that. In this article, I will tell you more about why paramotoring is considered an extreme sport.
Paramotoring As an Extreme Sport
Although the idea of an extreme sport seems to be something that is a bit controversial, one thing is for sure, and that is that paramotoring is an extreme sport. On a discussion on Reddit, people discussed whether they thought paramotoring was a sport or not, and people sure had their opinions. But, the consensus was that because it has the potential of being extremely dangerous that it is an extreme sport.
I would go further to say simply the fact that you’re up to 18,000 feet in the air is enough reason to call it an extreme sport. KarmaCommando_ says it best by saying, “Okay but seriously, you’re suspended by a nylon wind thousands of feet above the ground. It’s extreme. End o’ discussion.”
Paramotoring is also known as powered paragliding, which pretty well explains what this sport actually is. It is basically paragliding with a motor attached. But, how does this actually change the game?
For the most part, the two are the same, but there are still some stark differences. Paramotoring involves only one person, the pilot. No assistance is needed! Unlike paragliding, you can launch from nearly anywhere because of the motor. With gliding, you have to hike up a mountain, and then jump off it.
Paramotoring is much more flexible, though. Once in the air, you can switch the motor on and off depending on whether you want to ride the wind or propel yourself somewhere specific.
The sport is surprisingly easier than you would think! It is a self-regulated sport and only requires training rather than any kind of license. That being said, the training is incredibly crucial, as training is with any extreme sport.
In order to participate in this sport, training is required, which makes sense. When in the air you’ll be in charge of the motor, the direction, and your own life. According to Seeker, in training, you’ll gain a “good understanding of how the different parts, such as the handheld throttle and the brake toggles work”.
This seems pretty important considering those are the things that will keep you in the air where you want to be and keep you from ending up broken on the ground. Surprisingly though, paramotor pilots actually require less training than paragliders do!
Sweet Competitive Drive
Although paragliding is an extreme sport, it is often thought of as gliding across the skies peacefully. Paramotoring is different in this way. Because paramotors don’t rely on things such as the wind, or the thermals, there is a lot more control given to the pilot.
The powerful motors help to propel pilots through the sky at never before seen speeds and never before seen heights. This new control and potential, of course, kicked people’s competitive drive into action. With paragliding, you just don’t have the same control and potential as you do when paramotoring.
Because of this amazing potential, paramotor pilots are constantly trying to one-up each other. There are avid pilots who train, practice and strive to set records with this extreme sport.
One example of this, according to Seeker, is Bear Grylls who took his modified paramotor over the Himalayas in 2007. He was able to reach a whopping 29,494 feet. If validated by the proper authorities, this will be by far the new record in this extreme sport.
One of the Easier Extreme Sports
Add the words motor to an already scary sport, and many people might shy away! But, surprisingly this is one of the easier extreme sports out there according to people like Tyler (a.k.a. Honcho), a travel blogger.
He refers to the sport as “an amateur form of aviation”. Later he states, “What should surprise you is how quickly one can pick up the sport and begin flying immediately. The joys associated with it are only limited by your imagination and a 3-hour fuel range per flight.”
After declaring his love more for the sport he finishes up the blog with “it truly is a unique sport and the easiest form of personal aviation”.
How to Stay Safe In This Extreme Sport
While it is easy, there are still a few things that you need to do in order to stay safe. Just like any sport, if you start playing while you have no idea what you’re doing, you are very likely to get very hurt.
Paramotor Planet offers a great list of things to do to start paramotoring. Although it’s easy, they warn to not just buy all the equipment before even signing up for the training. It is important to make sure this sport is right for you before investing in it.
- Don’t buy your equipment before you start paramotoring.
- Before you start paramotoring get a tandem flight!
- Find a good paramotor instructor and school.
- Buy your paramotor and wing.
- Have fun learning how to paramotor!
Regulations and Rules
As stated before, paramotoring is predominately a self-regulated extreme sport in almost all countries. It is the responsibility of the paramotor pilots to not be in the wrong place at the wrong time. According to Para Jet, the UK is one example of where you need to be especially aware of certain regulations.
Para Jet also goes on to talk about what is strongly suggested/expected of potential pilots. It is expected that pilots will finish training with a professional flight school and have a good basic knowledge of the rules and needs of the sky. You can find a flight school near you here!
Although the sport is self-regulated and there are no formal licensing requirements there are things that pilots need to be very aware of. They need to understand that it’s their responsibility to know weather conditions, paramotor efficiency, and other external conditions.
Although learning how to participate in this extreme sport may sound difficult or scary, USPPA claims that everything you need to learn about paramotoring (weather and other life things permitting) in only about 5-8 days! But even if you only have a little time each week it takes about 2-3 months at most. This extreme sport isn’t extremely hard to learn.
Is paramotoring as safe as paragliding? Although paramotoring and paragliding seem very similar there are many differences when one looks into it. And paramotoring can actually be safer than paragliding in some instances. While paragliding depends on external sources such as wind and thermals, paramotoring depends on the engine mostly.
Do you need a license to paramotor? Paramotoring is a self-regulated sport, so there is no license required. But, in order for your safety and the safety of others around you, it is required that proper training is obtained before you fly. The sport can be dangerous when participated in by those who don’t know what they’re doing.