usppa

Powered paragliding (aka paramotor and PPG) is a form of ultralight aviation.  The pilot wears a small motor on his/her back and runs into the air with lift from a paraglider wing. In many countries, including the United States, it is minimally regulated and requires no license. The low and slow flying capability, 'open' feel, portability, low equipment and maintenance costs, and safety aspects for this type of flying are its greatest merits.

Just like any other sport, there is some risk  involved. The amount of risk associated with this sport is about as much a one takes riding a motorcycle. Proper instruction and training will ensure safe and pleasurable flights.  Joining clubs like the PPPPC (Pikes Peak Powered Paragliding Club), can help reduce the risk by conferring with other more seasoned pilots.

mwich
Mathew Flying in Albuquerque, NM : 3/07

This sport has been hailed as " the safest form of private aviation ever devised".   A paramotor is safer than flying in small planes and other types of ultralights.  A good analogy is:  Riding motorcycles is fairly safe but not as safe as driving a car.  One reason for the good safety record is that most problems will prevent the pilot from successfully taking off.  Another reason is because of the low speed.  No other flying machine can fly as safely so slow and low, yet reach altitudes of over 10,000 ft.  It's also comforting to know that "you can't even leave the ground unless your parachute is already fully deployed!"

Like most adventure sports, it's as safe or dangerous as you make it. Powered Paragliding has a very good safety record among national as well as Colorado Springs pilots that have been properly trained by a professional.  It is of course, crucial that you receive instruction from a certified professional and use safe equipment. 

Powered paragliding is an outdoor sport and the weather is unpredictable. A thorough understanding of the air, and the dynamics of flight, especially around mountains like Pikes Peak, makes a trained pilot much safer than an untrained pilot. The primary safety factors are personal judgment and attitude. You must be willing to learn gradually and to think with your head not with your ego. If you do not, then you can get injured or killed.  Be sensible and you will paramotor well into your life.

jkerr
Jerry Trike Flying early at Meadowlake : 9/07
You will need a backpack motor unit (paramotor, PPG), a Powered paraglider (wing) specifically for paramotoring and a helmet.  Knee pads and gloves are also a good idea.  Most pilots also fly with radios for communicating with other pilots on the ground or in the air.   You won't need anything fancy.  A simple FRS family radio with a compatible helmet is most popular.

Just a few steps will be necessary in a 5-10 breeze. However, in a calm wind condition, 10 to 50 steps may be necessary. This increases with launch altitude.  More power = less steps.  So, make sure to buy the correct paramotor and wing for your area.

This is a self-regulated sport, so technically you are not required by law to be a certified pilot. Getting good training is, however, paramount to personal safety,  not breaking your equipment you've invested in and to avoiding blundering into restricted airspace.  Not getting proper training is a sure way to find trouble.

In the USA the FAA does not consider PPG's as aircraft, but are considered as  "a method of conveyance".    They are not subject to the rules for aircraft, not withstanding restricted airspace.  They  are instead subject to the rules and regulations of ultralights in FAR Part 103.

This is an ageless sport. It can be learned by all ages. Most important is a good attitude, but also willingness to listen, and some casual time to spend learning. You'll need shoes with ankle support and the ability to run aggressively for at least ten or twelve strides. Your body should be able to withstand jumping down two or three feet. You need to be, both physically and mentally fit.  If you haven't had any physical activity in a while, it would be a good idea to start some walking and stretching. Your training will be the most strenuous part of your flying career.  But ultimately, It's all about technique.  Discounting the weight of the motor, technique, not strength, makes launching  a paramotor almost effortless.

--Bubba Peters, PPPPC