Can you paramotor anywhere

Can you paramotor anywhere? Where to fly your paramotor

If you’re just starting out in the wonderful world of paramotoring, you’re probably wondering where you can fly, and if you can paramotor anywhere you like. Paramotors are completely unregulated in most countries, and people can fly them with no license. With this in mind pilots get tricked into thinking they can fly just about anywhere that looks good. In this post we’ll give you some ideas of where to fly, how to do it legally, and tell you why you cannot legally fly a paramotor anywhere you like.

Can you paramotor anywhere you like?

The short answer is no, you can’t paramotor anywhere you like. Paramotoring rules are pretty relaxed compared to most other forms of aviation, but you still need to obey basic air laws written by the aviation authority in your specific country. This means you can’t just paramotor anywhere that looks good, you need to check that the area you plan on launching from, flying over, and landing in is class G airspace.

In the US and UK (and most other countries) there are currently five classes of airspace; A,C,D,E and G. Each classification of airspace has a different set of flight rules that apply, classes A, C, D and E are areas of controlled airspace with much tighter control.

Class G airspace is also known as uncontrolled airspace, and when flying in these areas aircraft may operate when and where they like, and are only subject to a set of very simple rules.

HOW TO KNOW IF THE AIRSPACE IS CLASS G

Most of the places you wish to fly from will be in or under class G airspace, but you need to check your VFR sectional chart first. If you don’t have a VFR chart, this is the first thing you’ll need to buy. You can also view them online at places like VFRMAP.COM.

The short video below will quickly explain how to identify class G airspace on a VFR chart. You can then apply this to the area you wish to fly in.

Paramotor pilots should never fly in any other classes, or restricted airspace without first obtaining permission.

I cover all of the different classes of airspace, along with air law, and lots of other important points for paramotor pilots in THIS POST.

Now you know how to identify class G airspace, you’ll be able to find a suitable spot to launch and fly your paramotor over, but there’s still a few other things to consider.

Where can you launch a paramotor

You can’t just set up and fly a paramotor anywhere that falls in class G airspace. The first thing to consider when launching your paramotor is the land you’re launching from. You’ll need to know if it’s owned by anyone, and if it is you’ll need to seek their permission to use it as a launch / landing area.

When you have permission, or if the land isn’t owned, you’ll be able to consider it as a suitable spot to fly from. But before launching you’ll need to do a full reconnaissance of the area, this will include checking all of the following points.

DANGERS ON THE GROUND

You’ll want to check all around the area you’ll be launching and landing from. You’ll be looking for uneven ground as this is easy to trip over when launching and landing. This can cause broken props, cages, and body parts, so don’t neglect this. I once skipped this step after landing at another pilots field, I ended up breaking my prop and getting stuck there unable to fly back home.

You’ll also be looking for things like rabbit holes, large stones or rocks, muddy areas, and even long grass can cause problems for pilots, especially trike pilots. Basically check for anything that could cause you to trip over, any lose objects that could get sucked into your propeller, or any plants that could tear your wing and damage your lines, like brambles for example.

DANGERS IN THE SURROUNDING AIRSPACE

Dangers in the surrounding airspace will include power lines, which are notorious for injuring paramotor pilots (check out THIS POST for more on power lines and how to avoid an accident). High fences, telegraph poles and lines, trees, and other air traffic passing overhead.

Remember, many small to medium sized airfields are also in class G airspace, these airfields can attract large amounts of air traffic, so if you launch from one, or fly close to one, you’ll need to be very aware of air traffic coming and going at all times.

If you fly from, or have an airfield close to your take-off zone, it’s worth getting yourself a radio to listen in to other pilots in the area. This will give you an early warning so you can avoid launching, or a chance to get out of the way if you’re already in the air.

Where can you land a paramotor

Legally speaking, it’s hard to go wrong with landing a paramotor, you’re only flying in class G airspace so you can land almost anywhere. Places you can’t or shouldn’t land are owned areas of land, areas close to gatherings of people, on busy roads, busy beaches, or any areas prohibited in your countries specific rules of the air.

When you’re checking your chosen launch zone, as previously mentioned above, remember to also consider your landing. You generally need more space to land, as the slightest breeze can cause you to land in a totally different part of the field than you wanted to, and zero wind landings will need a much longer glide with a gentler flare. So make sure there’s plenty of obstacle free space, and a nice flat surface free from holes and rocks.

Where can you fly a paramotor

So you’re launching your paramotor in class G airspace, you’re using land with the owners permission, and the spot you’ve chosen is safe for paramotor flight. So now you’re ready to go for a flight, but there’s still some written, and some unwritten rules you need to be aware of before you can fly your paramotor.

Rules of the air can be pretty vague in how they’re written. For example, for US pilots FAR 103 section 103.15 states “No person may operate an ultralight vehicle over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons.”

Obviously there will be times when you’ll need to fly over roads, people, and houses, but in these situations you’ll need to use a little common sense, and be smart about it. For example, if you’re in a situation where you’re flying over a house, don’t buzz over the rooftop at 60ft without considering the people living there, just because it looks good on your live Facebook video. This can really annoy home owners, and scare children and pets living there.

I regularly get comments on this website from people asking for advice on how to deal with the guy who has been buzzing their property on a noisy paramotor, and how they can stop it. Reports from these people are only likely to lead to tighter regulations for paramotorists, so be respectful and aware of property owners below you at all times.

Also be aware of animals below you, horses and cattle hate paramotors flying over them, so if you spot any animals below you safely turn away to avoid scaring them.

Remember that you’re flying an unreliable machine with an engine that could quit at any time, if you’re flying low over crowds of people you’re putting them in an unnecessary dangerous situation. So don’t fly directly over any people, sports events or fairs etc.

THINGS THAT AREN’T MENTIONED IN THE RULE BOOKS

There’s also many other places you shouldn’t be flying over that aren’t written about in the rules of the air. It’s important to consider the safety of yourself, so these are things that keep you the pilot safe, and you should be thinking about these at all times during your flights to keep yourself safe from unnecessary dangers.

Some of the common dangers below can be avoided with a little forward thinking and common sense, but pilots regularly get themselves into trouble because they do these things on a whim without considering the what ifs.

FLYING LOW OVER WATER

I’ve got a whole post dedicated to this HERE, so I won’t go into great detail, but flying low over water has caught out many pilots, and it doesn’t usually end well. Think about it, you’re strapped securely into a 3 point harness that’s attached to a 30kg lump of metal, your engine quits and you hit the water.

Panic immediately sets in, you’re struggling to unclip the harness, you’re wrapped in the wing’s lines, and the weight is pulling you down under the water fast, you didn’t even get a chance to take a deep breath of air before going under. You don’t have much time before you drown, do you think you could get free of the harness and the lines that are tightly wrapped around you, and swim back to the surface in time? It’s not a nice thought is it, so if you need to cross water do it safely by reading my post linked above.

SOLAR FARMS

Here’s one I haven’t mentioned before, but I recently watched in absolute dread as one of my friends flew his paramotor over a field of solar panels at about 10ft, and with more and more solar farms popping up around the world it’s probably only a matter of time until somebody crash lands into one.

Never ever trust your engine, most of us are flying 2 stroke paramotors, and if you’re unfamiliar with these engines you should know that they’re extremely unreliable, and they’ll quit instantly with no warning. If you’re over one of these solar farms when this happens you’ve got no option but to fly into a solar panel, and at 35mph it’ll most definitely hurt! Although this may be the least of your worries, because if your insurance doesn’t cover the damages, the costs to you could be horrendous.

TREES AND FORESTS

This is similar to solar farms, simply avoid flying low over forests due to the risk of an engine failure. But we also have to mention trees in general. because most of us have trees dotted around our launch fields. If you must take off in the direction of a tree, be sure that you turn away from the hazard immediately after take off.

Not only could you experience dangerous wing collapsing, sinking rotor turbulence caused by wind coming from behind the tree, but an engine failure, lack of power, or lack of lift in this situation could spell disaster.

The guy in the video below didn’t think this through. He launched in the direction of a tree, failed to gain enough height because of what looks like a lack of power, and flew straight into it. This also happened to one of my friends, luckily he walked away from it, as did the guy in the video.

NO LANDING OPTIONS

As with the points above this is common sense, but easy to neglect when you’re enjoying a nice cross country flight. I’ve mentioned how unreliable our engines are, so no matter where you’re flying, you should always have a landing option within gliding distance just in case your engine suddenly quits.

As you fly your paramotor, make sure you’re always looking around for safe landing options, and scanning any available areas for hazards like power lines and fences. I’ve had many engine outs, and if you fly enough you will eventually find yourself in this situation.

If you always have a good landing option, this is no big deal and will be like any other landing. If you’re flying over a built up urban area with no parks or fields in sight, you’ll be in trouble.

Find out more about engine outs HERE.

You really can paramotor almost anywhere

Paramotoring in class G airspace really isn’t restrictive, the majority of the airspace under 1200ft is class G, and in some places it even stretches up to 14500ft, which is more than enough for any paramotor pilot. There’s also many places where you can just set up and launch on the side of the road without permission from landowners.

As long as you stay in class G airspace, there are no restrictions on the area you are flying over. So launching and landing may be slightly restrictive due to the fact that a lot of land is owned, but following a few basic rules, and flying in class G airspace, you really can paramotor anywhere!

Don’t forget to check your VFR chart for restricted airspace that may be close to your launch zone. There are currently around 500 restricted areas in the USA, and they’re marked on your VFR chart with a blue hatched border and labelled starting with the letter “R”.

If you’re new to the sport of paramotoring, the points listed in this post may seem a little daunting, but after a while this all becomes second nature. You won’t really travel great distances on your paramotor, so you’ll mainly be flying from the same spot, or around the same area. This means you won’t need to check your VFR chart every flight, you’ll soon become aware of the dangers around your launch spot, and you’ll find yourself constantly checking for dangers and landing options while in flight without even thinking about it.

Now you know where to fly your lovely new paramotor, check out THIS POST to learn how stay safe while flying it low!

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Comments

  1. I live in Laguna it’s super annoying to have these things buzzing our beaches please stop!!!!

  2. Nice article
    Which countries in Europe you can fly paramotor?

    1. Author

      Hi Hanan, We can fly paramotors all over Europe. Just find a good instructor and familiarize yourself with your country’s airspace and air laws, as they can differ from country to country.

  3. My neighbor uses one of these contraptions and loves to buzz the neighborhood at about 150 ft. I’m going to report him to the FAA for his troubles.

    1. Author

      Hi Jeff, I was sorry to hear this. I’m interested in what the FAA had to say, and is the pilot still flying?

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