Somehow I became the guy who helps people self train.... And I would be on coms and talking them thru their first few flights. This has worked well for 3 people so far, and makes the cost of entry (both in $$$ and time) much less. Of course you get what you pay for, and I am sure the professional training is much better. I was professionally trained after all.
I wanted to put up some of the info I give my "students" that I assist in their self training.
What to buy: (Roughly in order)
-PPG Bible, ideally with the "risk and reward" video included. The video is a very good intro to the risks of the sport and also good for showing a spouse or friend that may be scared about the risks. THIS IS A MUST BUY, there is so much info in this book that you will reference it many times.
-Kiting harness. this can be a converted fall arrest harness, specific kiting harness, or even a lightweight paragliding harness.
-Wing (A or B rated, in good condition). After reading the section in the Bible about choosing gear, a wing can be purchased. I suggest an EN-A or B rated wing that is rated for the pilots flying weight. Avoid old designs, as newer technology is just making things safer.
-Helmet, with hearing protection. This can be as simple as a bicycle helmet with ear protection bolted on, or a full on paragliding helmet with Bluetooth communication system.
-Paramotor. Avoid very old designs, They are cheap, but likely heavy and difficult to find parts for. pilots weight has something to do with the choice. A very light pilot on an overpowered machine can be unsafe if it is not setup right. A trike setup may be needed for pilots that cannot run very well, expecially during low wind days
-Gas tank for pre-mixed gas, and mixing cup. There are mixing containers with the ratio marks built in that make this helpful, and make sure you mark the gas can as pre-mixed 2 cycle gas.
-Transportation for paramotor. Pickup trucks can usually carry everything, but a car or SUV may need a trailer hitch transporter. Another good use for these is safely testing your motor on the ground...Do not dismiss this, as ground based injurys from those spinning blades are the most common type of dangerous and potentially deadly injury in this sport.
Optional but suggested:
-pilot log. this can be simple as a memo ap on your phone. just some place to keep track of your flights and write notes
-Video camera. gopro or similar, helmet mounted works well. The goal of the video is to be able to review your takeoffs and landings (and flights) and improve on them. Sometimes the video catches a strange cause of an issue, like a line snag during takeoff.
-Phone holder and lanyard. dropping your phone sucks....dropping it at 3,000 feet sucks more, and could injure somebody on the ground. A chest rig, with a retractable lanyard works very well and allows for easy phone access.
-PPG phone ap. PPGPS, and FlySkyhi are the 2 main ones, but avare, and just a link to skyvektor.com is also helpful.
Step 1: Kiting.
Kiting is just learning your wing, and needs to be done with the main goal of being able to safely control the wing and bring it up above your head for at least 3 full seconds. Kite in winds you will be flying in, and maybe a little higher than you will be flying in (15mph gusts max, ideally 8 to 10mph). Unclip and reclip in to help practice that reliably too. Practice both forwards and reverse kiting depending on the wind conditions.
A great video on kiting can be found here.
Step2: Hang Check.
Hang testing, is basically simulating flight in your paramotor, and it is sometimes called a simulator. The goal of the hang check is to make sure that your balance is correct. When seated, the thrust angle should be no more than 15 degrees down, Ideally in the 5 to 10 degree range. This is usually adjusted by moving the hang points forward or back and will vary based on pilot weight. The hang test is also where you want to practice getting in and out of the seat correctly (feet in ready to run position, one in front of the other). You also need to adjust the harness so it is comfortable for you and you can safely and easily deploy and retract your landing gear (get in and out of the seat)
A great video on how to hang test.
Step3: Motor on practice.
you got used to your wing in step1, and got setup to hang in your motor in step2, now you need to get used to your motor on the ground. The goal if this is to be comfortable putting it on, and walking around with power from the motor helping you run a little. Being smooth on the throttle is also a goal. Strap the motor to a sturdy mount (like a trailer hitch holder), or wear it on your back to start it up and warm it up (DO NOT ground start it without the prop strapped to the frame, if it has a clutch). Practice getting into and out of the harness, sometimes its useful to put it on a step stool before strapping it on. walk up to a wall, or a car and hold your hand on it as you slowly power up to full. Walk and jog with the power at 20% or so. just get used to manuvering with it, and remember you are now MUCH wider, so don't bump into things.
Step4: motor on kiting....Optional
This is just like kiting, but you have the motor on, and the throttle in your hand. it is helpful but not needed.
Step5: First Flight.
This should be done with Coms going to an experienced pilot on the ground. DO NOT ATTEMPT A FIRST FLIGHT WITHOUT AT LEAST 1 WAY COMS. There is tons of adrenaline flowing during the first flight and it is very easy to forget something. another person on the ground making sure you don't do something you shouldn't is needed to avoid injury, and possibly death....make sure you follow the instructions too. Coms can be as simple as telephone earbuds in the ear and a phone call to the trainer. The trainer is there to make sure your wing looks good on inflation and will give the "full power" command when you look good to takeoff.
The basic first flights will be a simple rectangle at about 300 feet to practice a landing aproach or 2, and then a landing.....repeat as many times as possible (ideally 5 to 10).
Step6: laws and airspace.
If you have not already done so, read the chapters in the Bible about this.
Step7: future flights.
Keep your first 10 to 50 flights restricted to easy and safe takeoff spots. Fly with others and on coms whenever possible. Video your flights and review them. Be open to others constructive criticism of your flights....there is still lots to learn before you are as comfortable with running into the sky as you are with riding a bike, Etc.
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