fly a paramotor on a budget

Paramotor on a budget: Get in the air cheaply with used paramotor gear

Is it possible to fly a paramotor on a budget? I’ve spoken about my bad experience with buying cheap kit a few times, so you need to be very careful when buying any used paramotor gear, but it’s definitely possible.

It’s quite upsetting that many people are held back because of the expense of paramotoring. I recently came across a survey that was conducted a few years back on various paramotor Facebook and Reddit pages. The survey found that the average age of paramotor pilots was 43 years old. There’s nothing wrong with that, but over the years I’ve only met a handful of pilots that are younger than me.

This tells me that it’s either a case of midlife crisis that’s attracting pilots to the sport, or the expense that is keeping younger pilots away. I’m willing to bet that in large, it’s more of a money issue!

So, in this post we’ll find out how to buy your equipment on a budget. We’ll look at all of your options, what to look for, where to look for budget kit, the things you need, and the things to avoid.

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Training on a budget


If you’re considering flying on a budget, then you’ve probably thought about self-training. Let me share a quick story about somebody I know who self-trained.

Long story short, he flew into a tree on his second flight. He walked away from the crash, but this was followed by a bunch of bad decisions, and further small crashes. He no longer flies because he broke his bank repairing his paramotor, he left the sport saying it’s too expensive!

Just like my friend found out, paramotoring can go wrong very fast if you skip the training. I’d say he actually got very lucky, as I’ve heard of people who’ve bust themselves up bad after self-training.

There’s a lot more to training than just strapping in and having an instructor guide you through your flight. There are certain steps you need to go through before you’re ready to fly, and for this reason, self-training is not recommended.

Find out more about self training by clicking here

But training is so expensive!

Training isn’t cheap, and spending over a grand in one chunk can be hard for some people. Although many training schools won’t say it on their websites, most of them will actually offer single day training.

This is usually an option that’s reserved for pilots who can’t get time off work to do 7 days of training in a row. It’s also a great option for people who can’t afford to pay out such a large sum of money in one go.

I’d still recommend saving up and doing it all in one go, so everything is still fresh in your mind on each new morning of training. If there’s big month long gaps, you’ll likely get rusty, and you could end up spending more in the long run. But if this is the only way you can do it, then the option is there.

“You can skimp on a lot of things, but don’t skimp on the training”

Buying a used paramotor on a budget

budget paramotoring

Never buy a paramotor or wing until you have completed your training. You can learn all about the mistake I made buying my first budget equipment before training by clicking here.

You’ll learn alot about paramotors during your training, like how they work, and specific things that may benefit different pilots. This will help you to know exactly what you need to look for when buying your first machine. You can learn the various things you need to look for in a paramotor here.

If you’re looking for a cheap paramotor I’d advise you to choose a good trusted brand, and buy second hand. A paramotor loses value as soon as it’s purchased, and if you can find one with 50 hours run time, you can knock around 2K off the new price.

Buy the newest technology as possible, because manufacturers didn’t consider things like torque and thrust effects on older paramotors.

Old paramotors can suffer with severe torque twist, which is reduced by different placement of the hang points on newer paramotors. And thrust induced pivoting around the hang points, this happens when the thrust line is too far above or below the hang points.

You can find used paramotors on sites like eBay, or on selling pages on Facebook here and here.

Never buy blind on these sites, as pictures and sellers descriptions can only tell you so much. And from my experience, sellers will usually make it sound better than it really is. Always go and take a look at the paramotor, for a better look at what you’re spending your hard earned cash on.

Things to look for in a used paramotor

Pilots want to sell their used paramotors as easily as possible, so they’ll likely tell a few porkies when advertising them. If somebody tells you the paramotor only has 10 hours flight time, don’t believe them.

This could be true, but if you believe the person, you may end up skipping certain important parts of the inspection. Treat the paramotor as if it’s flown for 500 hours, and check everything.


Check the harness for wear, and inspect the attachment points. Check the clips and buckles by clipping in and pulling on them to make sure they don’t come apart. Leg straps are super important, so be sure they are in perfect condition, with good solid quick-lock buckles.

Many harnesses have backup straps that keep you safe in the event of a swing arm failure, so check all backup straps. And don’t forget to check that the seat board inside of the harness is in good shape.


For me, a strong frame is important. No matter how experienced you are, it’s always possible to slip and fall. A weak frame can easily bend when impacting the floor.

Check all welds and stress points, and look all over the frame for cracks. Look across the frame tubing for bends or kinks, and if the cage is attached, remove it. Once the cage is removed put it back on, if this seems difficult and holes don’t line up, it could be an indication of a bent frame or cage.

Check the cage netting, older netting had fairly large gaps which can be dangerous. Hands have gone through into the propellers, and so have brake handles! If the netting has large gaps, bare in mind that you’ll need to fit new netting to stay safe.

Hang Points

Check all fixing points, and look closely at the swing arms and carabiners, checking them for cracks. Carabiners can be replaced, but bare in mind that a good pair will cost about $50, so negotiate the price accordingly.

Check the nylon webbing for wear, and ensure the point that fixes the webbing to the swing arm is in good order.


Check the propeller for scuffs or chips, just a small ding can put the propeller out of balance. An un-balanced prop will cause serious vibration during flight, which can cause damage and loosen bolts. I personally found out how easily vibrations can loosen bolts, and it ended with an emergency landing. You can read about what happened by clicking here.

If the propeller is damaged, bare in mind the cost of repairs, or the cost of a new propeller, which isn’t cheap.


Check the engine mounts, and the engine plate that attaches to the frame. If the engine is a pull start, you can take the spark plug cap off and pull on the cord to check the engines compression. You can also listen for anything that doesn’t sound right as you do this, like grinding or crunching noises etc.

Small amounts of oil around the intake, air-box, or dripping from the exhaust are normal on a two stroke engine. But check around the base of the cylinder, and the cylinder head for signs of oil or soot. This will indicate blown gaskets that need replacing.

Check that the throttle pulls smoothly, and that the cable returns to its stop on the hand lever side, and on the carburettor side. If it doesn’t, then don’t attempt to start the engine under any circumstances. Find out why, and how to safely start the paramotor by clicking here.

When you’re strapped in and the engine is running, make sure that the power delivery is smooth. Give the engine a good rev to check that it runs clean, and that it reaches full power.

Be sure to fully warm up the engine before you stop it. I’ve owned two strokes that run great cold, but cut out as soon as they get warm, which can be due to electrical problems.

The paramotors’ history

When buying a used paramotor, always be sure to ask the seller about its history. Ask about any parts that have been replaced, if it’s been rebuilt and when, if it’s been ran on quality 2-stroke oil, and if there are any problems to be aware of.

A good service history will be a great sign that the paramotor has been well cared for. On the other hand, if the seller tells you that the engine has done 200 hours with no rebuild, and has been run on cheap supermarket oil, then you’ll want to think twice before buying it.

Used paramotor checklist

  • Harness clips and buckles, general condition, and seat board.
  • Hang points, swingarms, webbing, carabiners.
  • Frame condition, welds, and check for signs of a previous crash.
  • Cage and netting condition, make sure it’s not bent.
  • Propeller condition.
  • Engine condition, check compression and leaks, check throttle cable. Start it and run it until it’s warm.
  • Find out the service history.

You can find a complete guide to buying a second hand paramotor and wing by clicking here

Buying a used paramotor wing on a budget

paramotor wing on a budget

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Before buying a used paramotor wing you should understand ratings and certifications, wing loading and sizing, the difference between reflex and classic wings etc. You can find all of this in my beginners guide to wings by clicking here.

When you understand all of the above, you can start looking on the sites that I mentioned earlier for a used wing. Again, don’t buy blind. Go and look at what you’re buying, or you’ll likely be very disappointed when it turns up.

Update: I recently found out that an EN-C wing that I sold on eBay was bought by a complete beginner, who obviously didn’t know what he was buying. Flying advanced wings can be dangerous, so please get to know your ratings, and don’t buy anything outside of your experience level.

What do I need to look for in a used paramotor wing?

Modern Technology

As with the paramotor, you should also look for a modern design when buying a wing. Wing design has changed enormously over the last few years, and the safety factor keeps getting better.

In general, the newer the design, the safer the wing is going to be. But you still need to choose the correct rating for your level of experience. A beginner flying a modern EN-C wing, could be just as dangerous as flying older technology.

Test Report

When buying a used paramotor wing, it’s important to ensure that it’s had a full inspection, and that it comes with its test report. All used wings need inspecting before going to a new owner, even if they’ve only flown for ten hours.

If somebody tells you the wing you’re interested in buying only has ten hours flight time and doesn’t need inspecting, don’t buy it. Never buy a wing without a test report, no matter how good it looks. When the wing is checked, a series of tests will be carried out, these include:

  • A porosity test – The older a wing gets, and the more use it has, the more porous it will become. A porosity test measures the void spaces in the material, and the report will contain the test result in excellent, good, fair, or bad.
  • Line check – The lines will be checked for damage that can’t be seen by simply looking at them. They will also undergo a strength test to ensure they’re still able to hold their certified weight.
  • Full visual check – This is done to check for small holes, tears, blown stitching, broken cell stiffeners, etc.
  • Riser check – The risers are checked for wear and tear. Maillons, which are the triangular shape rings used for attaching main lines to risers are also inspected.

By buying a wing that’s been inspected you’ll know that it’s safe, and good to fly for another 1-2 years before it needs inspecting again.

Visual Check

The wing has its test report, but you still need to give it a full visual check. So do exactly what is done during a wing inspection. Look for tears, snags and holes, check all of the stitching, and go along the leading edge, checking around the cells and their stiffeners.

Check the risers and the maillons, and make sure the brake handle magnets are present. Run your thumb and index finger along the lines, feeling for any imperfections. This is how you check for invisible damage and breaks.

Ground Handle

This may not always be possible, but if there’s a local park or a clear bit of land, then ask the seller if you can ground handle the glider. You can make sure the wing launches and flies as it should, and you can get a feel for it before making your decision.

The wings’ history

You can find out a lot about a wing from its flight history.

  • Find out how many hours the wing has flown for. Bare in mind the maximum life of a wing is around 400 hours.
  • Ask the seller how the wing has been stored (in a dark room or cupboard is best).
  • How has the wing been folded? Make sure the leading edge has been looked after.
  • Has the wing done a lot of ground handling? Ground handling will put a lot of stress on the wing, so the less it’s done the better.
  • Has the used wing been flown aggressively? For example lots of wing overs, SATs, or barrel rolls. This type of flying will put large amounts of stress on lines and materials.

Used paramotor wing checklist

  • Check the date of manufacture. Newer equals better.
  • Check the rating is suitable for your level of experience
  • How many hours has it flown for?
  • Has it been inspected?
  • Run a full visual check
  • Ground handle the wing
  • Find out its history
  • Watch and read reviews of the wing, to see if there is anything to be aware of.
Other essentials that won’t break the bank

Now you’ve got the expensive things out of the way, there’s a few more bits you’ll need to keep you safe.

Reserve parachute

A reserve chute is essential and you should never fly without one. They can be pricey at around $650, but you can buy them second hand.

If you’re buying a used paramotor reserve, you’ll need to find out the date of manufacture. Most manufacturers recommend replacing a reserve parachute after 10 years. So Beware that the secondhand prices will drop further as the reserve increases in age.

Similarly to wing testing, reserve parachutes undergo a full yearly check to ensure their safety. So before buying, you should also make sure the chute has a test certificate, this means it’s been inspected and repacked.

Be sure to look at the weight range that the reserve chute is certified for. Take your weight fully geared up, plus the paramotor and wing weight to find the correct size.


When buying a helmet, the price will usually be higher if you see “made for paramotoring or paragliding” on the description. Many pilots use mountain biking helmets, or even full face and open face motorcycle helmets.

I wouldn’t personally recommend a full face helmet, as your field of view can be very restricted. I see a bunch of pilots using a helmet that you can find on Amazon here.

Look at the related items and you’ll see that it sells more to paramotorists than any other sport, plus it’s cheap enough to fit any budget!

Ear Defenders And Comms

Don’t fly without ear protection, the sound of an engine a few inches from your ears will do permanent damage in no time. Foam earplugs are a cheap option, but if you want to add a communication system you’ll have no way of doing so.

So a better way of doing it is to use ear defenders that clip onto the helmet like these on Amazon > Ear Defenders. Then when you’re ready, you can integrate a Bluetooth communication device like the pilots favourite SENA 10R-01.

Anything Else?

There’s a few more bits and bobs you’ll need, like a windsock and pole, wind speed meter, etc. These are fairly cheap anyway, so I won’t list them here. You can find my list of essential paramotoring items that you’ll need to start flying by clicking here.

Start saving

Paramotoring will never be super cheap, but it is within reach of anybody after a little saving. By setting a budget and buying second hand, you should be able to save at least $4000 overall.

Thanks for checking out this post, good luck with finding all of your budget paramotor!

Next up: Discover 6 forms of aviation that are super cheap in this post.



  1. I want one but they are super expensive and over $5000 do you know of any cheaper ones

  2. You mentioned cheap 2 stroke oil and i have yet to see a recommended brand on a manufacturers web site.Perhaps i have overlooked something,but other then saying “we recommend a quality synthetic 2 stroke oil”i have seen nothing specific on this subject.

    1. Author

      Hi Wuff, take a look at THIS POST. There’s lots of info on 2 stroke oils

  3. Thank you for all of the information. I have always wanted to fly planes but could never afford to take lessons. One day while driving, my daughter yelled “look daddy” pointing to the sky. Someone was in a paramotor not more than a few hundred feet off of the ground. We drove slowly rolling down the windows to hear the sounds it made. This was only 10 miles from my house, I have never seen it again or been able to find this person. There are no groups in my area. Frustrating to say the least. Glad I found your site. I am bookmarking everything!

    1. Author

      Hey James, thanks for checking out the site! I’ve had the same problems with no local pilots, and 95% of my flights have been by myself. This doesn’t make it any less enjoyable, but if you do get lonely a quick post on some of the big Facebook groups usually reveals pilots fairly close to you that you weren’t aware of. I also travel to fly-ins a few times each year, this is a great way of meeting fellow pilots who will be interested in meeting up. Good luck with your research into the sport, I hope you get to fly soon!

  4. Thanks for the info without any bias lean. I really appreciate you not interjecting any BS into it. As some looking to start learning the sport it was very helpful.
    I have decided to definitely get lessons and buy new equipment. I’ve decided not to add any unknown risks of buying used equipment. From all the BS I’ve read I’ve decided to take lessons then buy equipment most likely from the instructor because he’s been very transparent. He’s also willing to start training me remotely and use his equipment to learn when I make my 3 hour drive for weekend flight lessons.
    Thanks again.

  5. Great web site, with a wealth of information for us “haven’t started yet” folks!
    I’ve seen discussions on all the different pieces and parts of the package, and obviously we can choose any wing we want. But my question is does the motor always come with its own frame, or (for example) can I buy a “Simonini” engine and attach it to a “Flat Top” cage, with a different prop? I’m sure that piecemealing it like that would be more expensive than a package deal – or is it?
    For instance; I like a lot of features on the “Fresh-Breeze” motor, but have heard bad things about having open netting on the cage. Plus the hole size of the netting seems too large. Your thoughts please?
    Thank you , Dave

    1. Author

      Hi Dave,

      Most frames will let you attach your own choice of engine, but all engines are mounted differently. To make things easier, most frame manufacturers create different engine plates that fit between the frame and the engine. This lets you bolt your choice of engine directly on while keeping the thrust line in the correct place. If there’s an engine plate already available for your chosen engine, things will be much simpler. If you choose an engine that isn’t catered for, the only option is to make your own engine plate; preferably from aluminium plate. With the sheer number of frame/engine combinations available it’s probably best to just find one that ticks all of your boxes rather than messing about making engine plates. For example my Parajet v3 is available with over 15 different engines so there’s one to suit everybody! If you buy a frame and motor as a package you will probably save a little over doing it separately. I hope this helps, good luck with your choice.

  6. Just to echo Johns comments Darrell,
    excellent site for a newbie like myself, keep it up,
    Kind Regards

    1. Author

      Thank you Ray, there’s a lot more to come as I’ve got some really cool ideas. Welcome to the sport!

  7. Awesome Blog! I’ve read every word and look forward to flying! The most informative out there!

    1. Author

      Thank you John, I’m glad the site has been helpful to you. See you in the air!

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