The article is devoted to the types of hooks used in modern paramotor construction. In the article, for a visual illustration, videos and photographs of paramotor units of the following manufacturers are used: MatrixParamotors, High-Fly, PapTeam, Nirvana, FlatTop, FreshBreeze, Parajet, MiniPlane, as well as photos of paramotors manufactured in Irkutsk, videos by Andrey Kurinin, Mathieu Riuanet, Gearhe Nervela.
The type of paramotor pickup, the height of the pickup point relative to the center of gravity strongly depends on such characteristics as the ease of start, the ability to control the paraglider using its own weight, the degree of torque manifestation, the position of the hands in flight, comfort, visibility, safety.
I hope this review article will help you finally understand the types of picks and choose the one that best suits your requirements, goals, and experience.
Choosing A Paramotor for Beginners: Types
The influence of the distance of the hook point from the center of gravity on the behavior of the wing.
CG is the center of gravity. Hang / Pivot point – the point of the hook.
The farther the hook point is from the center of gravity, the less torque will affect the paramotor + wing system, and the less pronounced the ability to control weight.
The closer the hook point is to the center of gravity, the stronger the gas operation will affect the position of the paramotor relative to the vertical. It can be seen from the upper part of the figure that on paramotors with a lower hitch, the thrust vector passes above the hitch point and center of gravity. This leads to the fact that, depending on the operation of the gas, you will change your position relative to the vertical more than on systems with an overhead hook, where the thrust vector passes between the point of support and the center of gravity.
First, let’s take a quick look at the existing paramotors.
Description: The upper hard horns are located above the pilot’s shoulders. The attachment point of the free ends of the paraglider to the carabiners is located above the pilot’s shoulders and much above the axis of rotation of the propeller.
Comments: The top horns paramotor is suitable for a beginner with no paragliding experience or someone who wants to hunt from the air and fly difficult routes without feeling turbulence under their butt. The torque manifestation is minimal. But at the same time, you will be deprived of the ability to control weight, the horns limit your view, but protect you from possible blows. Catching a “turtle” is perhaps much easier than on any other type of hook. This type of paramotor is widespread in Russia. It is not a difficult task to buy an installation with this type of pick-up – most manufacturers make them. At the same time, there are no such installations in Europe at all, they have gone down in history and no one else produces them.
Video of a serious route from Andrey Kurinin on the upper legs:
FreshBreeze upper rocker arms.
Description: The upper rocker arms are in many ways similar to the upper rigid horns, but they have the ability to change their position in space relative to each other. The hook point of the free ends of the paraglider is located above the pilot’s shoulders and much above the axis of rotation of the propeller. The balance between pilot and paramotor is found by placing the carabiner in the hole in the shoulder rocker.
Comments: Suitable for any beginner. The ability to manage weight is negligible. The torque manifestation is minimal.
Upper soft hook with struts.
Description: Often confused with fixed lower horns. The struts run under the pilot’s armpits, through which thrust is transmitted to the harness belts (without the pilot’s struts, it would press against the front harness straps). Unlike the fixed lower horns, the struts do not take on the weight load (it is distributed through the harness straps). The hook point is above the pilot’s shoulders.
Comments: Quite common Europe. Low weight control, high hook point, and low torque make the paramotor easy to learn for beginners. Good visibility in flight. Easy to start.
Video note: The pilot in the video, George Nervela, uses a Nirvana soft-top paramotor but admits that for such aerobatics it would be better to use a paramotor with lower swinging horns to be able to control the weight more. Although we can see that he’s doing pretty well
You can also read: How to Start Flying on Your Own? Best Options for 2020
Lower horns (fixed).
Description: The lower fixed horns run under the armpits. Unlike spacers, they are subject to weight loading. The hook point is at the chest and slightly above the propeller pivot.
Comments: The not unknown Del Shanz flies on such a motor, who is promoting this motor with might and main (he is his dealer). The ability to manage weight is already evident more than in the previous versions, but much less than in the swinging horns version. Depending on the height of the pick-up point (it may be different depending on the design), you will have little opportunity to control the weight, or it will not be at all (as, for example, on a paramotor with lower fixed from SibAero)
Lower swinging horns.
Description: The lower swinging horns were first introduced by PapTeam and come in two types: straight and S-shaped. They have a similar principle of action, which is based on the mobility of the horns relative to each other, and with it the suspension system. The two types of structure are distinguished by the height of the hook point relative to the center of gravity and the axis of rotation of the propeller (i.e. the thrust vector). The S-shaped has a higher hook point. As with the spacer version, the lower swinging horns bear little or no weight-bearing (it is distributed through the harness).
Lower swinging horns. Depending on the thrust, the vertical position of the pilot with the paramotor changes significantly. The torque is maximized. To eliminate it, various kinds of compensating schemes are used (one of them is the displacement of the pick-up point to the side). In case of incorrect adjustment of the suspension system or too much thrust, there is a chance of getting a twist. When flying in turbulence, it shakes unpleasantly in the harness. This will take some getting used to. Weight management is maximized. Closest to the free option.
S-shaped swinging horns. Were created after the appearance of the lower swinging ones in order to reduce the manifestation of such negative effects as the influence of thrust on the vertical position, the manifestation of the rotating moment, the sensitivity of the suspension system to turbulence. At the same time, of course, the effectiveness of weight management decreases. This was achieved by displacing the horns upward (increased the distance between the pickup point and the center of gravity), and so that straight horns did not interfere with the pilot’s armpits, they were made S-shaped.
An old video example from Matthew.
Choosing A Paramotor for Beginners: Summary.
When choosing a paramotor, you should clearly assess the level of your training and the goals you want to achieve.
If you are a freelancer with experience, who is tired of waiting for the weather and standing in line for the winch, and want to soar in the thermal with the engine off, or learn aerobatics, then feel free to choose the lower swinging horns (straight or S-shaped). In any other case, you will be sorely lacking the ability to manage weight. So it was in my case when I just started flying on the upper horns. But keep in mind that on the lower swinging horns, there is quite a lot of sausage in the bump of the pilot. A freeman will easily get used to this, but for an unaccustomed minder it will be very uncomfortable and even distracting.
If you have absolutely no experience, then, firstly, you need an instructor, and secondly, a frame with high hook points (for example, upper horns or upper soft hook) is recommended, because they are easier for beginners to learn.
Well, the third option. You have been flying since your 90s shaggy year, and you are satisfied with the upper horns in everything. Well. A matter of habit plays an important role. Any new system requires retraining, mastering, habituation, material costs in the end. Therefore, you may not need it. However, if a person changes the paramotor, then more often he does it with a decrease in the height of the pick-up point and less often vice versa.
A couple of myths:
Myth 1: The low drop point paramotor is only for experienced pilots.
It’s true. Many instructors report that the student learns faster on paramotors with a high lift point. However, once the starting skills are mastered, the whole difference in training ends. Some instructors are quite successful in teaching how to fly a paramotor with a low pick point.
In some schools in European countries, instructors are taught only on paramotors with a low pick point. Perhaps the reason for this is the fact that free flying is very common, so the free pilot simply adds to his skills the ability to take off under power.
Myth 2: High drop paramotors for beginners only.
Some of the more experienced pilots fly paramotors with a high drop point. It’s a matter of taste.
Myth 3: Paramotors with lower hook points are dangerous.
Each system has its own disadvantages. On many paramotors with a low pick-up point, during the start, the brakes are close to the railing and can be sucked into the propeller (approx.It hardly seems like this is possible if you have them in your hands ) However, on paramotors with a high pick-up point, it is easier for a beginner to break the wing, exceeding the brake travel (caused by the high position of the toggles)
Paramotors with a lower attachment point tend to tilt backward from the vertical, which increases torque, especially during take-off. ( approx. this is the reason for the twist at the start. Choose the right engine power, carefully tune the harness, and do not use the throttle suddenly. In case you feel that you are turning too much, do not try (!) to counteract the twist with the opposite brake. , You will only speed up this process. Smoothly reduce the throttle, land, and figure out what caused it. )
Myth 4. Experienced pilots fly on paramotors with a low hook point.
(approx. The general idea of the author is not. Provides examples of victories in national competitions on low-lift paramotors. )