Many adventurers and even newbie pilots are interested in discovering this. A lot of factors are similar when it comes to both paragliding or paramotoring. Both involve flight of pilots, and wings that are uncovered like a cockpit. Not to forget the harness attached to the wings also plays a role in increasing the similarities.
Let’s look a little more in-depth on how these both distinct from each other in terms of their sporting qualities. This will help you know which one will give you what kind of experience. So you can choose the best for you; shall we begin!?
You can also read: How to Start Flying on Your Own? Best Options for 2020
Significant differences- How does a paramotor differ from a paraglider?
Here are some of the significant factors one can quickly notice among the two. It will come as a surprise to you to realize the differences are a lot beyond just the equipment.
One of the primary criteria is the weather and the time of flight initiation. It includes the maintenance and position of takeoff. Other differences come when you practice or train yourself for the actual event. It includes everything from learning that difficulties, ground handling, and taking off your first flight.
Motor – How different does motor work in both?
As per the research, the motor creates the most significant difference in the working of a paraglider and a paramotor. Paramotor comes with both a motor and a wing, whereas a paraglider only comes with a wing.
It is somewhat similar to the vehicle’s engine; the paramotor acts like a propeller. It is responsible for providing the moment, and let’s pilot take on elevation during the flight. Motor is used because it solves two difficulties. One is to find a secure take-off place, and another is to launch the paramoter safely.
Motor can be much more massive in paramotors as compared to paragliders. The flight experience can be tedious for a paramotor as the motor itself weighs 50 pounds. Another thing is the maintenance of a paraglider is cheap because the only equipment it has is a wing.
Finding a Launching Point
Paraglider has a different launching process than a paramotor. This task is responsible for finding a perfect time and location of launch in both:
In paramotor, the pilot is required to run on a flat ground during the launch. The motor then propels the pilot in the air. Whereas in the case of a paraglider, the pilot will get to air only if he runs from a hillside. So the launch part is quite different for both.
In other words, it is limited for paragliders as they require a hillside for launch. It is limited to public places having hilltops or mountains. Relatively, it is much easier for a paramotor pilot to find a plain area that is clear of any obstacles like power lines or trees.
Therefore it is quite a challenging task for paragliders to find a suitable launch site because the restriction is not just for the location but the weather too.
The ideal wind speed best for a paraglider is 2 to 16 mph in the presence of thermals in the middle of the day. It fills in anything that falls short for a paraglider for not having a motor.
Impact of wind during flight
Since paramotor comes with a motor and not a propeller, does it make wind factors different for paragliders? Forward momentum and elevation depend mainly on two types of forces, which are thermal and wind current. It states that this sport depends totally on weather compared to paramotoring.
Role of propeller
Paragliding can only be performed on a space having sufficient wind speed. Wind speed of 2 to 16 mph is necessary to launch paraglider. Such conditions can only be obtained at a hilltop.
Often to get pulled in the wind, a winch is also used when launching space is not available. It makes the whole process of starting a paraglider in the wind quite simpler. However, it will be unfortunate if the wind drops; you will face difficulties in staying aloft. The only way to do so in such a condition is to find thermals, often known as warm air packet.
With the help of a variometer, one can easily find thermals on different routes. With its help, the pilot can stay steady in the thermal zone and maintain his course.
Paramotors do not rely on thermal current or the wind. Even with the dead engine, they can stay aloft in the wind and maneuver themselves in flight. Wind-less weather is considered as the perfect time for the flight. It’s better to start paramotoring, before thermal current rises. If not possible, the next good time would be the evening time when thermal currents are down, and the weather is calm.
If you think about going for the flight in the midday, it can be a dangerous job for pilots. All the extra weight and pressure of the wind makes the controlling of paramotor difficult.
In harsh conditions, paramotors are considered as more reliable than paragliding.
Here is a quick video that will help you hadle your beloved motor:
The difference in the wing structure of paramotor and paraglider
In appearance, paramotor and paraglider wings look very similar despite their structural difference. It’s hard to notice this minute differences from a distance.
Trimmers contribute the extra lines on the paramotor wings. It initiates the speed of the paramotor, and is stuck on the tip of wings. On the other hand, paragliders do not have trimmers. This is because the wings always run on the active currents that have the potential to propel the pilot.
Therefore with trimmers attached, only experienced paragliders can handle it when the speed is increased.
Now you must be thinking if you can interchange the wings on both the sports and experience that. Sadly it is not practical. The wing is designed by considering the weight allowance of their sport. The paragliding wings are strong enough to lift the person from the ground. Any changes in its weight tolerance ability can make a disastrous impact. It will distort the air impact on the wings and weight distribution of the sport.
Easy to learn
You must have an idea which one is easy for you to learn among paramoters and paragliders. Calculations, rigorousness, and technicalities determine how easy it is to learn a sport.
A paramotor’s wing structure can easily teach you the flying mechanism using the engine. It doesn’t work with paragliding. Here you will have to do calculations among thermals and wind to pursue a more extended flight.
You get 80% of the flight control when you are paramotoring. A proper landing or launching is the major problem you can experience here. However, with a bit of practice, you can excel in that too. In contrast, you get 50% control if you are paragliding. You will need to get a lot of theoretical knowledge to understand the working of thermal and wind. Understanding wind patterns should be of your advantage, so you can use them to direct your flight.
The least challenging part in paragliding is launching, and the difficult one is the flight. While flying, you need to continually do mental calculations and make quick decisions on how your wing will react to specific wind patterns. Also, be prepared for any emergency that can occur. You should prepare yourself with these tips if you want to have a successful solo flight.
It must be clear to you know that you need a lot of training to excel at paragliding. On the contrary is much handy to get a hold of paramotoring in no time.
You can also read: Paramotor Training: Can you Self Train Yourself for Paramotoring?
Cost: Which one can you afford? Paramotor or paraglider?
Considering the running costs and equipment, we can tell paramotoring is not cheaper than paragliding. Sports enthusiasts who want to experience paramotoring often face the challenge with their budget.
How expensive can it be? Paramotor or paraglider?
To get a reasonable weight allowance and the proper wing, 3500 dollars to be an average budget of both pilots. The cost is different for each sport. Standard harness is also provided to a paraglider along with the wing. Other accessories like an extra parachute, variometer, and helmet cost about 5400 dollars, that makes up your essential paragliding equipment.
For a paramotor pilot, the total cost, including all additional equipment, would be $5000. That makes the total cost of paramotor equipment to be $10,400. If you cannot afford it, going for a piece of second-hand equipment will save you a lot of money.
Another expense you will have to bear is the cost of gas that can stack up in time. The type of engine used in the sport determines the price. A four-stroke engine is not as efficient as a two-stroke engine.
You can also read: How to Choose A Paramotor for Beginners? 5 Things to keep in mind.
Maintenance: Which one is easier to maintain? Paramotor or paraglider?
It is relatively cheaper to maintain paragliders compared to the paramotors. Because for maintaining a paramotor, you will need a maintenance check for the engine as well as wings.
It is a strict advice to check all the equipment after the flight, clean them as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
The wings are then packed once the flight is complete and checked carefully for any wear and tear. One should consistently check the harness and dry the wings before packing.
Other obstacles one may get are the landing point or launch area. Be careful of this, and try to avoid any damage to the wing.
Manufacturers instruction should be followed carefully in case of a paramotor engine. Other duties include checking for gas leaks, spark plugs, bolt tightening.
Are laws and regulations different for paramotor and paragliders?
Fortunately, you do not need to go through two different routes to find out the law for each. Both have pretty much similar laws; the same aviation authority guides them. You do not require any license as these sports are foot-launched. However, restricted airspace laws other flying conditions mentioned in “Can you paramotor anywhere?”, is still considered.
If you are still not sure how such a big sport can be free of law, click here to find out all about it in detail.
You can also read: Paramotor License- How important is it for your next paramotor journey?
What should you choose? Paramotor or paraglider?
After knowing all the pros and cons of both sports, you have to decide which one could be right for you. Paragliding gives you a package of noiselessness, risk, and low weight; if you crave that, go for it.
However, do remember the sport is highly unpredictable and is easily vulnerable when it comes to weather conditions. This is just to warn you for any possible challenges you may face, like collapsing of a wing.
On the other, paramotoring comes with a safer option. The only instance when paramotoring can be threatening is when the pilot does not follow the safety procedures.
You can always transition from one sport to another. When you go to the second one, it should be of higher risk. This is because you gain good enough experience from the first sport. You get ready to face a more significant challenge; a more risky game.
What about safety? Paramotor or paraglider?
Your decision on whether you should go for a paramotor or paraglider should revolve around safety. No matter which you take, it only depends on the pilot and how ethical decisions he makes.
Here is why we think paramotor can be a safer option:
- You will get relaxation and the soothing feeling while paramotoring as it requires calm weather. It requires morning or evening time that will not put you in extreme hot or cold. Also, paramotors don’t engage with thermal conditions for turbulent winds in the midday.
- Paramotors usually don’t consider the wind predictions like paragliders. The paragliders often end up in bad situations because of making the wrong decisions based on the predictions.
- Paramotor does not usually fall in the trap of getting wing collapsed due to bad weather. Because when you are paramotoring, you can control the momentum and not the weather.
- Paramotors can quickly climb to greater heights because of the elevation of altitudes. The pilot has enough time to decide on the landing point in case of any danger ahead. However, this gift of time is not provided to paragliders as they need to perform quick action.
What is your decision? Paramotor or paraglider?
After coming down through a long way of which sport offers what it should be easy for you to make a decision. Whatever you go with paramotoring or paragliding, be careful. There are risks in both some less some more. Just be sure of what you are getting yourself into.
Here is a quick video that will clear up your doubts.