Choosing a safe paramotor as a beginner can be a bit of a challenge when you don’t know what to look for. In extreme sports like paramotoring, it isn’t a wonder beginners are nervous and uncertain about their safety.
Here are some of the safest paramotors out there to get you started:
- Flat top Ninja
- Nirvana Rodeo
- Nitro 200
- Fresh Breeze Simonini
- Top 180
- FlyPod (Trike)
How a pilot pairs paramotors with different wings, and how those motors and wings correlate according to the pilot’s weight, will increase pilot safety. Materials and manufacturing are also key components of a safe paramotor.
Safest Paramotor Choices and Why They’re Safe
Some portions of flight safety can’t be accounted for when testing wings and motors because they are dependent on the pilot’s personal choices during flight. However, we believe these are some of the safest paramotors for beginners on the market. They are all well-liked and have great safety reviews.
Keep in mind there are other paramotors which compare with these, however, I’ve chosen the ones which are safest and have the best consumer praise.
Flat Top Ninja- $7300
This paramotor is currently under scrutiny, but don’t let that influence your decision. In my experience, research and comparison need to happen before I make any kind of choice about what product I want.
The Flat Top Ninja passes all the tests and is one of the safest paramotors out there. Paramotor pilot’s in the industry in general only have good comments about this paramotor.
This paramotor is so named for the “flat top” feature of its cage. The design is geared towards head comfort and startup safety. The paramotor itself is also sturdier than most of the competitors out there.
- Unit Weight– 54 lbs
- Thrust– 160 lbs
- Pilot Weight– 100-550 lbs
- Famous flat top for comfort and safety
- 2 blade carbon fiber propeller
- kevlar quick release harness
- 9 liter fuel tank
- Noise level 1 (on a 10-1 scale)
Nirvana Rodeo- $7,800.00
The Nirvana Rodeo is made to withstand an enormous amount of impact. The strongest part of this paramotor is its impressive frame. It can withstand an impact of about 200 lbs without it popping out of place.
Laminate shell backing protects the pilot’s spine during flight and on any hard landing. You can’t accidentally start the engine, and there’s a fuel mirror gauge so you can keep track of your fuel supply.
- Unit Weight– 25 kg
- Thrust– (Minimum) 70/65 kp
- PIlot Weight– 80-160 kg
- Carbon two-blade foldable propeller
- Manual and electrical options
- Body & Frame are self-supporting with a laminated shell
- AustriAlpin Cobra straps on Harness
Here is a video showing some launching with the Nirvana Rodeo.
Nitro 200- $6,795.00
A new design, the Nitro 200 is very lightweight. Lightweight paramotors reduce back pain and fatigue. Heavy paramotors may not be an in-flight safety issue, but they are a long-term problem.
The Nitro 200 solves this problem with its excellent design.
- Unit Weight– 55 lbs
- Thrust– 165 lbs
- Pilot weight- 230 lbs
- Pull start
- Carbon fiber silencer
- Internal & external engine cooling.
- Anti-slip triple belt.
- Bolts thread locked and position marked
- Extra thick padded shoulder straps
- Fully lined safe reserve connection points
Fresh Breeze Simonini 110- $7,290.00
This Paramotor is German-made. It is DULV tested and certified. Germany has paramotoring laws and certifications that other countries don’t have, so their paramotors are some of the safest choices.
- Unit Weight– 62 lbs
- Thrust– 153 lbs
- Max Pilot weight– 260 lbs
- High energy ignition system
- Comfort bars
- High Performance roller bearings
- Easy Start
Miniplane Top 80- $5,200.00
This paramotor engine is Italian by design. The Per II Volo Top 80 is an extremely reliable paramotor. It is the first purpose-designed paramotor engine.
The Miniplane Top 80 had its first flight in 1989 and has remained in production ever since. History supports the safety of this paramotor.
“In 1996 Per il Volo invented and produced the first harness attachment system to feature high hook-in points with low J-bar distance bars…(…)… It is today appreciated as the industry standard and most often copied by other manufacturers worldwide.”PeaktoPeakParagliding.com
- Unit Weight– 42 lbs
- Thrust– 115 lbs
- Pilot weight– 100-180 lbs
- Centrifugal clutch
- SportiX suspension
Trikes and Quads
Much of human error is taken away from liftoff and landing with the use of a trike or quad. The pilot does not have to worry about tripping and falling with a motor on their back, nor do they have to worry about having the stamina to get a running start.
If you’re really worried about safety then a trike is for you. These babies fly smoothly and are great for older pilots who don’t have great knees or backs. In foot-launch paramotors, a lot of strain is placed on the pilot’s knees and back because of the weight that is carried.
Trikes eliminate that weight and the pilot does not have to worry about being sore in the morning or any time of day for that matter…except maybe their arms because of steering. I mean, that’s a nice bargain!
This video is 20 minutes, but it’s basically everything great about the trike and why you should get one.
Depending on the design, the trike is often built with guard bars on either side of the pilot. In the event of a crash or roll-over during take-off, the pilot has a buffer between them and the ground.
The buffer created by the bars gives the pilot a chance to take advantage of that extra reaction time before they hit the ground. Crashing is a different story in a trike.
Trikes are usually more heavy duty than a foot-launch because they’re meant to hold more weight. Being heavy duty makes them durable and reliable for quite a long time.
The fact that trikes have wheels eliminates many of the natural human mistakes that could be made by the pilot. The wheels create balance and stability during liftoff that isn’t always possible in a foot launch.
The FlyPod- $2800
The FlyPod was manufactured to make up where other trikes fail. The self-steering feature helps with lift-off, flight, and landing. It was made with pilot comments in mind.
The designer, manufacturers heard a lot of complaints from their students at Flight Junkies. Because of the many reviews and complaints about other trikes, they were able to create one that fulfilled the needs and wants of consumers and pilots.
- Unit Weight– 40 lbs
- Pilot Weight- 85 lbs-385 lbs
- Pilot Height- 4ft-7ft tall
- Self-steering, articulated front end
- multiple, high hand points
- pilot protection bars
- A-line assist
- Great Maneuverability
Paramotor Safety is not Solely Dependent Upon the Motor
A paramotor’s material and functionality definitely factors into safety, but safety isn’t so much about the material as it is a combination of paramotor quality, wing quality, and pilot experience.
You can get all the safest materials and still make dumb decisions when you fly, causing a lot of damage to you and your equipment. My advice, get the best of the best and do your best.
After you’ve chosen the safest motor, it doesn’t guarantee you’re scot-free. A pilot’s safety isn’t only dependent on their matching to their best motor, the type of wing is also a very important factor as well.
A good wing will last you a long time, and it can also give you peace of mind. There have been some high-quality wings manufactured over the years. We’ll only focus on the beginner wings, but just know that as you upgrade, you still have a lot of options to choose from.
Here is a list of some of the best beginner wings:
*Note: There are many wings which could fit into the category of being very safe. Many manufacturers are great at what they do and strive for the safest option for their pilots.
The most commonly chosen wing is the Ozone Mojo PWR. It is tested and owned by many paramotor pilots. Choosing this wing as your start is a good move because it has a lot of pilot experience and feedback to back it up.
What makes a safe wing?
There are several components of a wing which makes it safe. Wings have to pass a certain type of certification for them to be considered safe; this is a parameter manufacturers must follow to make their wings credible. Different certification has different certification requirements, but overall they cover some of the most basic safety parameters.
These are the basic safety testing requirements to give you an idea of how safe the wings are:
- Harness efficiency
- Turning capabilities and behavior
- Landing and takeoff safety
- Steady/turbulent flight behavior
You’ll know your wing is at least on a basic level of safety if it’s passed the certification tests. Not every country uses the same certification pattern, which is why it’s important to know the differences between them.
The four different types of certification are as follows:
- EN (A/B/C/D)
- LTF (DGAC)
If your wing hasn’t had these tests, it’s not safe to fly and you should not purchase it. Your safety is the most important thing when you fly and, a paramotor wing which has passed certification can give you that peace of mind when you fly.
Pilot Experience and Training Enhances Safety
All that money spent on safe wings and paramotors is a waste without the proper training. Self-training is possible, but not advisable. There are plenty of trainers who are willing to train you. These trainers are experienced and know all the paramotoring secrets.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel when there are so many people out there who already know all the tricks and methods for awesome flights and know what the best equipment is.
These trainers are awesome and some are very generous with what they know. FlightJunkies.com trains for free which are awesome!
“I will personally train you for free.”-Capt. Kurt Owner of Flight Junkies
Once you have a trainer, your responsibility to fly safe doesn’t end because someone is teaching you how to fly. Once you’re in the air, your safety depends on you.
Flying is one of the most freeing experiences out there, but freedom comes with an unspoken rule: Fly free responsibly! Yeah, you’re free, but you want to be safe still. Even in the air, there are things you should avoid and be aware of. Examples of some of these would be airspace regulations, powerline avoidance, collision prevention, etc.
While paramotoring gives you the chance to be free, that does not mean you are the only person taking advantage of the skies. Airplanes, paragliders, hot air balloons, etc. all of these aircraft have the right to be in the air. Everyone has a designated space.
The reason these regulations exist is so you don’t collide with an airplane or a huge aircraft. Paramotor’s don’t come equipped with the high tech comms systems an airplane has. You can get apps which keep you safe and show you where other aircraft is at, but it’s not the same as what an airplane has. Airspace regulation is all about pilot and passenger safety
It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt 😉
*Note: Just a little note about modifications to class G and E airspace, around airports there are regulations which prevent small aircrafts such as paramotors to fly near the airport. The G and E airspace around airports are classified as B, C, and D airspace and is completely different with new restrictions and rules.
It might surprise you to know that most paramotoring accidents happen due to pilot error. While the percentage for fatalities of these accidents are high, they are also highly preventable with the correct training and preparation of the paramotorist.
Powerlines can be hard to see when you are flying. Be aware of your surroundings as you fly. Flying in open spaces is the best way to stay safe therefore, stay clear of objects and natural obstacles that could potentially knock you out of the sky or make it hard to land.
Many pilots think they can avoid powerlines because they are experienced, but that is not the case. Even the most experienced pilot can get clothes-lined by a powerline.
Many powerlines are visible, but there are instances where they’re hidden behind trees or they’re camouflaged by the sky. The wings on a paramotor are extremely tall and it’s difficult to judge exactly how tall.
It is especially hard to react quickly after a certain distance. You’d be surprised how easily powerlines and other large buildings and things can sneak up on you when you’re not aware.
There have been quite a few collisions between paragliders, paramotorists and the like because of pilots who aren’t observant of their surroundings. Be aware of who’s flying.
Collisions are potentially fatal and it is devastating when common sense and awareness isn’t being utilized. Be careful in the air and pay attention. At least one pilot should be able to see the other pilot and should try to avoid a collision if at all possible.
Fly staggered so that you can always see each other. This is a good practice not just for collisions but for other risks as well. It’s just smart flying to keep your surroundings fully in view. For instance, if your engine quits and you have less control, you aren’t as likely to run into someone if you are following paramotoring safety rules.
The DHV flight rules give some great tips on how to avoid collisions and some rules to follow while flying to stay safe.
Here are the general rules:
- Motor-driven aircraft must always give way to paragliders and hang gliders.
- Paragliders and hang gliders must always give way to balloons.
- Before launching, the pilot has to check whether the airspace is free.
- Before performing a turn, the pilot has to check, whether the airspace is free.
- During landing-approach, the deeper flying pilot has the right of way.
- After landing, the pilot has to leave the landing area immediately.
- No alcohol, no drugs
The site gives more in-depth and descriptive instructions as to what can be done in tight situations.
The above video shows some crashes caused by circumstances and/or pilot error. It also discusses how normal or abnormal some of those crashes are, with tips on how to avoid it in the future.
Don’t Show Off!
I know it’s tempting, but showing off is a great way to get hurt. I know you’re probably pretty skilled but think about your future, is it really worth it? Paramotoring is a great sport and there’s much you can do that is awesome and jaw-dropping.
However, the worst thing you can do is show off your skills. Unless you know what you’re doing and showing off just means being you…which there might be someone in this world whom their very existence is a show-off.
You never know, there are some impressive people out there.
Not all accidents are going to be caused by pilot error. Things like torque, thermals, and freak weather can also cause accidents. There are unavoidable circumstances during flight.
The best way to be prepared for these accidents is to receive the proper training and try not to go out alone when you fly.
Wing and Motor Safety Certification Explained
Wing certification is categorized by flyer experience. It really doesn’t matter which certification is used, just as long as your wing is tested. If the report has one or all of these options, then you can rest assured that they’ve been properly tested and your wing is safe to use.
DHV is certification done by the French Civil Aviation Authority. The tests are a bit different, but the fact is, this acronym shows that the wing has been through the necessary channels to make it airworthy.
DULV certifications are done specifically on German manufactured paramotors. The difference between DHV and DULV is the testing method.
“The DHV tests wings only using a standard harness with set riser spread. DULV tests wings in combination with a motor as a set and tests to see that a wing is generally suitable for paramotoring. In Germany, the glider has to be tested with every single engine, a process simplified by doing only a conformity check flight.“Footflyer.com
EN certification has levels. Whether your wing is an A, B, C, or D level, if they are ranked in this range, they’ve passed inspection and are safe enough to fly.
- EN A– this level is suitable for all pilots and has the safest/maximum level of air safety. This level of certification is the best choice for paramotor wings because you can’t go wrong as they have the most steady flight reputation than the lower levels.
- EN B- Good flight, but not as stable as the EN-A certified wings. To be honest, though, these aren’t too different from EN-A certified wings.
- EN C- The safety level of these wings are moderate and should be used by pilots with more experience. They are more prone to be whipped around by turbulence and require the pilot to be more aware and capable than the A or B certified wings.
- EN D- This is for the enthusiast who flies all the time. This certification should not be purchased by anyone who is not an experienced paramotor pilot. What does it mean to be an experienced pilot? It means that you fly 200+ hours a year and you know specific and special techniques for flying.
More presently known as LTF certification, DGAC follows a very similar pattern to EN-A certification. The only difference between the two is that numbers are used for LTF rather than letters. Each wing is ranked by the level of difficulty; which is based on the pilot’s flight experience.
1: Beginner- It works for all pilots and is the safest to fly and is what they call very forgiving.
1-2: Beginner to Intermediate- Those who will use these wings are still pretty fresh, but are beginning to gain a bit more experience.
2: Experienced- The higher up you move, the more dangerous these wings become, but you’re also more familiar with flight technique and flight safety.
2-3: Experienced to Expert- You should be a regular pilot to fly the experienced to expert wings because they are not very forgiving and have some tough consequences if a pilot makes a mistake.
3: Expert- At this level, you basically live in the air and fly all the time. It’s probably what you do for a living (in my opinion). Careful with these certified wings as they are not very forgiving either and you should only purchase them if you are willing to accept the consequences in the case of pilot error.
How Does Pilot Weight Affect Paramotor Safety?
We’re not saying that if you’re a certain weight you can’t fly, but if you don’t choose the right motor according to your weight, flying won’t be as easy or safe. It’s important to choose the best paramotor and wing for your specific personal specifications.
For example, if the motor is too heavy, you won’t be able to run with it. If it’s too light for your weight, it won’t be able to carry you and there will be a lot of strain put on the engine.
Why does weight matter so much? The lighter you are, the faster you are going to lift off. How you lift off and fly needs to be manageable.
For a safe flight to occur, there needs to be a proper balance in weight distribution. Just like when you are trying to balance a scale. You can’t add heavier weight to one side and expect the lighter side to lift it, it doesn’t work like that.
“There are some general rules that relate to being heavy or small on a wing. When a wing is more lightly loaded, the reactions to collapses and flying events will happen slower and with less severity. With higher loading on the wings, there will be higher pressurization of the wing, but more dramatic reactions.”Paragliding Weight Range Discussion
A tip about choosing a paramotor according to weight is to consider how heavy your equipment is going to be. I’m talking about what paramotor certifiers call “all up” weight. What will be your weight when you’re in the air with all the extra baggage?
The question is whether or not your motor and wing can work together to support your weight, the engine weight (with a full tank), and the weight of all your extra equipment.
The great thing about a wing and motor certification is they have tested their equipment already according to the “all up” weight specifications. The “all up” weight test is the measure of the wing capacity to carry you, your equipment, and your paramotor with a full tank.
As mentioned earlier, your wing is going to react quicker or slower depending on the weight it’s carrying. It’s all about balance when we’re talking about safety. As long as everything is as balanced as you can get it, you have a higher chance of being as safe as everyone else in the air.