If you have just started paramotoring or you have a good experience, you must know there is no better feeling than being held out in open air. People usually prefer summertime for an adventure like this because of suitable weather and temperature.
Have you ever thought of paramotoring in winter? It is possible! However, you need to note down some modifications that you must know before you try it.
During winter, even a few degrees is enough to create thermal generation. Also, you will see a new reaction of precipitation with paramotor wings. Also, consider your flying speed and attitude.
Here is a quick video experiment where Jerry testing his flight in winters.
Thermal generations: What is it, and how does it work?
It is hardly possible for paramotor pilots to know the thermal generation‘s definition; then, it is least expected for ordinary people like us! Let’s look at the paramotor prodigy to understand what it is.
Atmosphere throws some patches of warm air, or better called as thermals. These thermal components in the air are used to get elevation by the paragliders. Although thermal has proven to cause some issues to the wings and paramotor, therefore it is crucial to know about them.
Cold air surrounds the thermal and pumps up the warm air. But in the case of paramotor, they do not use thermal as they have engines to gain elevations.
On the contrary, paramotor pilots face more trouble than good from thermals because of the turbulent wind surrounding them. For the pilots, such wind is even more dangerous and annoying. Thermal is common in other seasons as compared to winter.
Effect of thermals on paramotor: How much does it affect paramotors?
Thermal is created in the form of a warm air pocket through the sun. These are commonly observed in any season, mostly in the middle of the day. However, they can form in winter as well. It’s a cup of cake for the sun to generate hot air packets in winter.
As said above, thermals are not necessary to gain elevation in paramotor because the engine does the same work for them. It can be hazardous to fly with the thermal surrounding turbulent winds that may collapse your wing any time while flying.
Most paragliders look for the environment with thermals; without realizing it could be a significant nuisance. It can be a hassle and time-consuming task for paramotor pilots to interact with thermal.
Winter-care- Need to pay more attention?
Winter is no special, except it has different temperature and precipitation factors. It frequently snows all the time during winter, depending on the year.
But here let’s discuss on how winter acts variably in the presence of thermal.
Firstly it is rare to see thermal in the winter season. This is because there is always a chance of a dense cloud cover or snow on the ground. In a cold condition like that, it becomes difficult for the formation of a warm packet of air. Still, it doesn’t conclude that there is no formation of thermal at all in winter.
Mid-day is the best time for a thermal generation, be it any season. This fact is true even for the winter season. Snowfall in cloud cover will try to stop its formation, still, you will be able to bump into it often. While paramotoring, you can always face thermals unexpectedly. One way to avoid it is to head out to the skies either during the evening or in the morning.
Is snowfall really a big issue?
Whenever you go, the first condition you need to avoid is the rain. It is common for any season that you should not go for paramotoring when there is even a slight chance of rain.
Whereas you should be aware of the snow in the winter season.
With higher precipitation, there will be a lot more pressure in your wings, which can wear you down. The chance of having your wing collapse right in mid-air would be greater. However, it will not affect same as it will in the rain. From the moment the precipitation hits you until it is melted, you will see a difference in the impact.
If you feel a single snowflake falling from the sky, the best option would be to head right to the landing. Precipitation has always caused trouble for paramotor pilots, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Stall in the snowfall
Often a paramotor pilot reaches a point while stalling, where excessive speed doesn’t allow any effective controlling operation. It is common for wind to stall your wing, but it’s different with snow, as it depends on the temperature.
The most common situation may occur when you are flying on a daylight, having no sign of sun rays but just the cold atmosphere. Even after the snow lands on your wing, it’s possible that it will not melt soon because of frigid weather. You will be safe in that case as the snow will not melt. Now let’s look at the scenario for when the snow melts.
This situation will occur when you are flying on a sunny day, and the sky is clear. When the snow lands on your wing, you will notice that it melts rather quickly. Your speed will decrease as a result of this action.
It won’t look like a big trouble in the beginning, but eventually, it will hold you back from flying peacefully. And when you feel that this method is causing you real problems, it’s time for you to descent to land.
Still, after knowing the risk you wish to fly in snow or rain, you can go on exploring hydrographic wings. You can quickly fly through precipitation with the help of these wings without worrying about your safety.
Launching during winter
All paramotor pilots face this common issue while launching off the ground during winter. A steady running at the start is very important to begin. And it’s not possible if you are running on a land filled with snow.
The possible remedy to this is the sled. It’s a brilliant idea to bring the sled for paramotoring in winter conditions. Start riding on the sled from your knees. Once you think you have gained enough speed, just lift yourself using the wings. Make sure you have a well-wisher on the ground who can pick up the sled once you have launched off.
It’s common for pilots to land in a snowy field. After checking the functionality of the wing, they relaunch in no time. But when the motor blows the snow, it could reach the wing and cause more trouble. In that case, it will be even more challenging to launch.
The best case to avoid it check your wing thoroughly before your launch.
Effects of speed altitude and temperature on paramotoring
Winter is nothing but the presence of colder air. Speed and altitude of your flight don’t matter in any other season. All these might become an issue in winter as they are exacerbated in this very season.
It is a common knowledge about paramotoring that air gets colder as you go higher. The best advice would be to stay a thousand feet below to remain at a reasonable temperature during winters.
No matter what, you should try staying warm in the air. Warmth is crucial if you want to stay comfortable throughout your ride.
Rushing in cold air is a bad idea as you can get sick up in the air if your body is not ready to accept it. So it is better to stay careful of temperatures when you go for paramotoring during winter.
The temperature and the speed of your flight are directly related to each other. The wind is colder in the winter season compared to others. And if you are going to high altitude, you will feel the air get colder. You don’t want to be shivering the whole time you are up there.
For a pleasant experience and safety, it is vital to stay warm even if it requires you to slow your speed than the normal.
Staying warm: How to keep warm in winter during paramotoring?
Now that you know it is essential to stay warm in winter during paramotoring, let’s discuss how you can do that. Just remember this one step, and you are good to go- fly at a slower speed and lower altitudes. Going up there in cold air is a big no.
Another great option would be to carry hand warmers on the ride, especially during winters. These come at relatively cheaper costs and will keep your hands warm.
Also, you can keep some spare warm clothes in the compartment. Like a covering hat or a pair of extra gloves. Because when you are in the air at the speed of 30 mph, there’s nothing you can do when you drop something. It is better to carry an extra than to regret and shiver.
Suppose you drop something from your compartment at that altitude, there’s no chance you will ever see it. The extras in your compartment will save you from all the uncomfortable situations like this.
Winter flying gears: Some best products
Now you know what you should carry in the compartment of the paramotor during wintertime. Let’s look at what you should be wearing while paramotoring.
It’s the right time for you to get a standard winter gear. Two things that can save you from harsh winter are winter coats and snow pants. A ski mask is also recommended to protect your face from cold and freezing temperatures.
Or in a simple way, just remember to put on lots of layers.
Having multiple layers is the most comfortable and budget-friendly way of staying warm. You don’t need to purchase any extra winter fashion clothes for this. You can just wear anything you have in your wardrobe, like socks, shirts, sweatpants. Just be sure you wear winter gear on the outside of these layers for extra protection.
If you prefer functional fitted layers, go for compression undergarments. This will stay tight and regulate your blood flow in all temperatures. These high blood flow will keep you warm while you are there in cold weather.
Here are some recommended flying gears that you can opt. for: Winter Flying Gears
Another important cloth piece is a glove. Nobody wants a frostbite on the hands while flying in the cold. Not paying attention to this will potentially make the situation more uncomfortable and dangerous for you.
It is fine to get any pair of gloves, but we recommend you should get the one that is made explicitly for paramotor rides. If you find heated gloves, definitely don’t lose that.
However, you should know the gloves made for paramotoring will be a lot more expensive. So it depends on your budget and requirements on which gloves you should get.
What not to wear: A scarf
You may think a scarf can also cover your neck from the chills, but it can do more harm than good. If the scarf falls, I could get stuck on any part of the paramotor fan, damage the whole system, or worse could happen if it is directly attached to your neck. If you don’t want to imagine that, it’s better not to carry it.
The last piece you should carry to help you with winter is a windbreaker. These jackets will keep you warm as they are specifically designed to combat the wind.
Winter paramotoring or summer paramotoring: Which one should you go for?
It must be a common question for you to imagine if winter paramotoring is good enough, like the summer one. This is a subjective question and can be simplified by outlining the significant differences.
You might have heard from people who went paramotoring in winter that the sight and view is astonishing.
Frosty trees and misty valley appears prettier than ever. You can examine the snowy white landscape from the top above.
Whereas in summer you can fly higher than you can ever in winter. As we all know, doing the same thing in winter can cost you a lot, and not just in terms of money but your safety too. If you’d instead fly higher than do the sightseeing, summer paramotoring would be ideal for you.
Winter can also be of inconvenience for you in terms of snow and temperature. You definitely need lots of layers which can make it kind of clumsy.. But this point is also subjective as cold does not work the same for every person.
However, if you are a beginner, you would not go to a very high altitude. Considering that, winter would be an ideal time. That way you can learn to fly, and also do great sightseeing.
Especially when you hate thermals and wants smooth rights, winter is the one for you.
Winter paramotoring: Conclusion
To sum up, just like summer, winter comes with a lot of benefits and few drawbacks when it comes to paramotoring.
Here are the benefits:
- You will get a fantastic sightseeing experience. You can see snowy terrain, frozen trees, and lakes, that will look beautiful from that height.
- Enjoy launching and relaunching fun- you can use a sled for launching, and then paramotoring right after it. It will be a fun experience to do both of them simultaneously.
- Thermal generations which are not really of any use to paramotor pilots as they cause turbulence in winds. However, it can be useful for paragliders. The cloud cover and access snowfall don’t let the formation of thermals during paramotoring. But again, it highly depends on the intensity of the winter in that area.
Few drawbacks of winter paramotoring:
- You cannot fly at higher speeds or attitudes without getting colder.
- In such a cold temperature, you will need to wear lots of layers and warm clothes; that can make you slightly uncomfortable
- It will snow. Snowfall stuck on your wing will easily stall you and encourage it to collapse. You will need to be careful the whole time you are up there.