Is it possible to get over paramotor fear? It is associated with another factor that is fear of heights. Many people who would love the idea of paramotoring didn’t attempt it because they were scared of heights. And most prominently scared of flying alone. Now you can overcome this fear and get started with your first flight. Keep reading to find out how!
Many pilots experience the fear of flying before launching the paramotor. For some pilots, the fear persists even during the flight. If you are also suffering from the same, you must know what it feels like. You would end up constantly making excuses for not launching. You would get started because of minor turbulence and eager to land after just a 5-minute flight.
You are not alone in this world who has a fear of heights. I’ll tell you why; I posted my I issue with fear on Facebook, and more than 350 pilots replied, claiming they have the same problem.
When I started the training for flying, I noticed many people suffer from this paramotor fear. Many newcomer pilots shared their fearful experiences with me. Therefore this post is dedicated to people like me who want to paramotor but are scared. You will learn how this fear develops and how you can stop it.
HOW I MANAGED MY PARAMOTOR FEAR
I had no idea about this fear until I started paramotoring. I spent most of the time doing other sports; therefore, I was familiar with the adrenaline rush.
What I did was search for paramotors on YouTube. And unfortunately, the first thing I watched was the people who crashed in paramotors.
My instructors told me horrific stories about pilots. And I also witnessed a pilot who fell because he was not trained well enough to paramotor. I got all of this news before I started paramotoring.
It was obvious that my paramotor fear has come to a peak after hearing these stories. YouTube video had already scared me that I thought the wing would collapse on me. Also, I was scared of the incident when a pilot dropped from the sky. These horrific stories were the main causes of my fears.
It created a sense of anxiety in me, and I had to fight this paramotor fear to join the training. And once I started flying, it was like a horror movie.
If I say about myself, I don’t get scared easily of little things, but I had a history of suffering from anxiety. That’s the reason I was more likely to develop this paramotor fear. It took me a long time to finally get over this anxiety and fly the paramotor being fearless. I will help you guys get over your paramotor fear, just like I did in this post.
HOW DOES PARAMOTOR FEAR DEVELOP?
It’s very common to be scared of paramotoring, even for experienced pilots. Not just beginners, even the people who have been flying for years get scared for various reasons. I did my homework and talked to the pilots to conclude that it narrows down to three major causes-
No Trust On The Equipment
I started losing belief in my equipment when I watched videos on YouTube. It was all about crashes and death of pilots during unfortunate wing collapses. It generated an irrational paramotor fear and made me believe less about my equipment.
Other pilots also claim that they keep their eyes on carabiner, harness, and lines with a fear.
When you focus on the problem again and again for no reason, you exaggerate the situation. You think about it more intensely than the actual situation. This causes you to feel anxious before each flight and every time you think about paramotoring.
The fear of heights
The major cause for most people is the fear of heights. It’s a popular paramotor fear that exists outside the community of pilots. All the pilots love to fly but are scared in the first place because of the
The fear of uncertainty
This fear is also common among pilots who were flying for the first time. The thought of going up in the sky without a qualified instructor by their side gives them chills. It can be difficult for a beginner to judge the weather conditions and land or launch without live guidance. Also, there is always a fear of shocking turbulence.
IRRATIONAL FEARS ABOUT PARAMOTORING
It’s common for beginners to have irrational paramotor fear. Let’s head out to them one by one and rationalize them.
Carabiner breakage fear
I backed up the carabiners in the first year of my flying. I was also worried about breaking my carabiner and wondering what I would do if it happens. Always go with stainless steel carabiner, for example, Australian. These are robust and rarely gives you a chance to worry.
This carabiner can hold the weight of a huge car that is approximately 2651 kg. And you will be accompanied by two of those, which means it can hold a total of 5 tons.
The aluminum carabiner is not very strong and can fracture or break with time. Even a simple tiny scratch can contribute to reducing its strength. That’s why select the stainless steel only and check it before every flight. That’s how you can make sure that carabiners won’t be a problem.
Lines breakage fear
All the people I met on the field claimed they were nervous about how thin these lines are. Initially on your flight, you might be less confident about these lines.
The good news is that these lines undergo conditioning; strict line strength testing by En certified gliders.
The lines are bent for more than five thousand times to ensure they will work fine in their regular usage. To check the weight they can hold, these also undergo break strength tests; theoretical load test.
Wing also undergoes many tests, including a shock load test, sustained load test, and physical load test. In the sustained load test, a lot of weight is put over the wing, even more than it can hold according to its maximum capacity. It is approximately 8 times more than the pilot’s weight. So if you are going to be flying in a wing of 120 kg, it has been tested for at least 960 kg.
Fear of getting wings collapsed
It’s unlikely for your wings to get collapsed in a modern reflex glider. Click here to find out all about the situations where wings can collapse.
Fear of heights
I don’t come in the category of people who have an actual fear of height. I don’t get nervous or anxious if I am taken to a long hight; I would rather enjoy the scenery. In the beginning, I felt uneasy if someone would make me stand on the edge of something very tall. However, I get sweaty when I watch people walking over a rope at such high heights with no precautions. But if I go for paramotoring, I am not scared.
Talk to a pilot; you will understand that height is not an issue for most of them. While flying, you forget about it and enjoy the scenic beauty. You will realize that the harness has trapped you quite well and as you cannot dropdown.
Of course, you will have some amount of anxiety while taking off, but by the time you are in the air and flying, it will all go away. After finishing your first flight itself, you will be convinced that the fear of height won’t be an issue with while paramotoring.
Fearing the unknown
It can be nerve-wracking to go on your first flight without any guide by your side. Know about the weather conditions and climatic hazards before you go.
Take your first few flights in a plain field that has absolutely no obstructions. You should be launch and land without any hassle. Prepare the smooth conditions around you before you take off and recall everything from your training sessions.
You can check other similar articles on this website, which cater to all the problems a beginner may suffer while paramotoring.
Fearing the turbulence
This is another common problem people face. Even the smaller bumps can come out challenging for a new pilot while paramotoring. I discovered it on my last flight with my friend. He landed just within 10 minutes of the launch because he felt like he was thrown off a lot.
I also faced a few bumps, but I never paid attention to them during the flight. I remember how it feels as the bumps were intense during my training. This means that with your experience, you will gain more tolerance to bear bumps. You will then reach the point where you will no longer care about the bumps because you will be confident.
It is also connected with your trust in your wing. Find out how much your wing can bear at a time. The amount of turbulence a wing could handle can come as a shock to you. It’s way more than you can imagine. I have also seen people paramotor in rough weather conditions, and they were fine with their wings. Although the wing can handle such circumstances, it will be a better idea to dodge it if you can. It’s always best to continue flying on the smooth stuff.
Anxiety for paramotoring
If you’re paramotoring for the first time, it can be a shock to your body. It’s not natural for the human body to adapt to flying, especially when you are just holding on through a fabric wing. The harness will attach to you with few clips, and that’s it. It is scary and surprising for several irrational reasons. Follow the tips below to outgrow your paramotor fear.
STOP FEELING ANXIOUS BEFORE LAUNCHING
Here you can read what other pilots suggested about combating the paramotor fear. It was a lifesaver in the first few months of paramotoring.
Anxiety is natural.
Your body must protect itself by developing a sense of anxiety when it detects danger. It is not natural for the human body to sit hundreds of feet above another chair with feet in the air all relaxed. It’s common for everyone to be scared, and if you are not, you have lost your mind!
Don’t imagine yourself as someone who can’t paramotor ever. It’s natural to be fearful initially, but later on, your body will adapt to the changes. Give time to your body and mind to realize that it’s safe to stay up there if you are surrounded by secure equipment.
You will be able to fly without getting anxious or nervous when your body is compatible with the sky’s environment. Some instructors get nervous even after a thousand flights!
You can overcome this paramotor fear by exposing yourself more and more. It is somewhat like the term neuroplasticity. If you expose yourself to the danger, you will reconstruct your brain into believing that it’s not dangerous anymore! It’s like rewiring the brain into believing something that it didn’t initially.
Many pilots suffered through the paramotor fear for months or even years! The only way they could overcome it was by convincing and forcing your brain to do it. It eventually helped them forget that it was dangerous. This method can take longer, but it works. Even the experienced pilots are not completely out of paramotor fear today, but they are working on it.
It takes such a long time to develop this confidence that we should take a risk and expose ourselves to the problem. Imagine someone who is extremely scared of snakes. If someone exposes snakes around him for weeks, his fear will be gone. 2 weeks is approximately 336 hours, and flying for such a long time on a paramotor will take years!
I followed the same method, and that’s why it took me so long. If you do the same, be prepared for a long route; however, you will get promising results.
It’s a mood freshener to distract your mind from your paramotor fear. You can do this when you are waiting for your launch or driving in the car towards your field. During this time, many pilots suffer from vomiting, excessive peeing, which can wreck them by the time of launch.
If you distract yourself by the time of launch, you will be more confident and relaxed. You will feel calm when you fly just because you haven’t worried before.
Don’t constantly check the weather conditions for the day. If you do this, you remind yourself of flying the paramotor and the uncertain fears. Also, it is pointless because the weather doesn’t remain the same all day. Just check the weather forecast and then wait till your launch time. Check if the environment can support your paramotor, and that’s it.
To ease the anxiety, you can hear your favorite music on your way to the launch field. Happy music will release happy hormones called dopamine. These are scientifically the feel-good hormones that will make you forget about the anxiety thing. So play your track and sing along until you feel better. This is the best way to distract yourself and is also very common.
While you are going to the field, take a friend with you. Communicate with friend about how day was and have something new to talk about. Therefore take a partner with you who can make you feel more comfortable.
Look for a wingman
Many pilots got immense help by finding a mentor or a wingman. Having someone by your side who can constantly guide you on what’s right or wrong is all you need. You can calculate weather conditions like a pro after many trial and errors. It’s also among the few quickest ways that will help you descend into the unknown after launching without a hassle.
Don’t be the first to launch.
It’s always scary to be standing at the first in line. Frankly, I was relieved after I saw someone successfully launch. It’s very reassuring, and that’s why I never go first. While flying for the first time, you have limited knowledge and zero flying experience. It can be intimidating to go on without help from anyone else. That’s why it’s a clever choice to let someone else launch before you so you can come to your nerves.
Take your time
Try not to travel until the last moment as it can be stressful. You will already be going through a lot already. So try to sort out other issues beforehand. If you hurry through things, something is bound to get ruined. Leave for the field quite sometime before your launch time.
You get the same response from anxiety and stress. So if you somehow trigger stress, you are more likely to feel anxious as well.
Trick the brain
You can trick your brain into thinking that instead of scary, this sport will be exciting! This can work as excitement and anxiety both produce similar responses and feel. For instance, both produce adrenaline that causes shaking and an increase in heart rate.
I used this same trick on me as I heard another pilot giving out the same advice. Whenever I feel nervous, I would say to myself, “I am so excited and I can wait to fly!” this converts the feeling of danger into excitement as the brain works the same way for both.
Another problem with the paramotoring is we are expecting always to be scared the first time. We don’t want to get anxious; that’s why we get scared of being scared! People get anxious about getting anxiety. Why don’t you want to feel anxious? Because it’s not a pleasant feeling, it’s uncomfortable.
If you stop worrying about paramotoring, you will eventually stop the paramotor fear too. Try telling yourself that you don’t care about it. You can even tell yourself that you like and the thrill of fear and want to be scared. If you say you would like the paramotor fear to appear, it will, in fact, will not. This is a popular psychological trick and works every time like a charm.
Don’t forget the food.
Another great thing that can calm your nerves before launching is food and drink. If someone’s going to lose his life, he won’t do it on a full stomach. This trains your brain that nothing wrong will happen to you if you are eating. It sounds weird, but it’s true. The flight response can give you reactions like vomiting or nervous poo to make you lighter. So if you eat a snack in your field, you indirectly command your brain that your life won’t be in danger anymore.
When you are finally in the air, you will feel odd about bumps and uncertain weather. At that time you must keep reassuring yourself that you love paramotoring and it’s a fun sport. If you had your full focus on the training, you should be fine.
By riding on numerous bumps, you will build bump tolerance. Only in a limited time, you will discover what it is all about.
ENJOY THE JOURNEY
After all this research, I can conclude that it’s very common to be scared of paramotoring. What’s sad about this is people have backed up from flying because of the fear. They don’t realize it’s very easy to overcome the fear in the first place. Many people have a lifelong obsession with flying but can’t do anything because of their fear.
Fear is important to humanity but not in all cases. Fearing is not bad, but it knows when to be overwhelmed by this. Use all the tips and tricks shown in this article, and you are guaranteed to see improvements.
Put immense trust in your equipment and have a safe field for your first paramotor flight. Research about the sport and the uncertain flight conditions if you are a beginner. Learn about propeller safety, as well as it can pose a greater risk.