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Paramotor in flight

A motor shield is in the broadest sense, a with engine equipped paraglider . Today, however, it is commonly understood to be a paraglider equipped with a backpack motor or trike ("backpack motor with wheels") . Motor umbrellas are air sports equipment and in some countries face problems with air law .


The first paramotor flights took place as early as 1964, but not with paragliders but with flat parachutes : On October 1, 1964, Domina Jalbert (1904–1991) registered his box or mattress-shaped multi-cell parachute concept ("Jalbert Parafoil" or "Parafoil" for short); the principle underlying practically all sport parachutes and paragliders today. In 1964 a first motorized version of Nicolaides flew.


Paramotor over the CalaConta, Ibiza
Paramotor pilot in flight, foot launch

Thanks to the motor, the paraglider can also be started on level ground - on foot or by roll start - and can stay in the air for a long time without dynamic updrafts or thermals . The engine power is essentially converted into climbing during flight, while the speed range of the paraglider used remains responsible for the speed. So “accelerating” doesn't make the glider faster, but rather leads to climbing . The speed can be changed in a small area using the screen trim. For this purpose, trimmers (rear line level) and / or an accelerator (front line level) are used.

Compared to paragliding without a motor, a higher wing loading is used. This increases the trim speed. At stationary altitude, however, the flight speed is only about the same as with a non-motorized paraglider, since the motor increases the angle of attack and thus reduces the horizontal speed (vertical component). New screen developments with a reflective profile currently allow speeds of up to 70 km / h. The S-flap profile changes the aerodynamics and the glide ratio deteriorates. The engines now have sufficient power, the higher sinking can be compensated. With fully reflex canopies, the paraglider cannot be folded in in a controlled manner using the risers ("50% collapse", "75% collapse" ...), so it is not possible to test the behavior in the event of canopy disorders using the LTF test protocol.


Motor umbrellas are subject to different legal provisions depending on the device and country:


In Germany, because of the engine, they are considered ultralight aircraft .

In spring 2013 there was a change in the law of the LuftGerPV:

Section 11 (4) Model or device approvals from a member state of the European Union or a signatory to the Agreement on the European Economic Area are immediately valid and replace the tests according to Paragraphs 1 and 2.

According to information from the BMVBS, reflex profiles that are type-approved in an EU state can be flown legally in Germany.

Theoretically, these gliders react more dynamically than "normal" gliders in extreme situations due to the higher speeds. However, the resulting increased risk potential cannot be seen in the accident statistics from countries where reflective caps are permitted (e.g. France).


In Austria, motorized hang gliders and paragliders are a separate class of equipment (Aviation Act § 12.3).


In Switzerland, paramotoring was generally banned in the 1980s. Since June 2016, motorized umbrellas with an electric drive have been permitted, but with the restriction that they have to take off and land at an airfield. The legal basis is defined in the DETEC Ordinance on Special Category Aircraft (VLK) .

United States

In the English-speaking world, motorized paragliders are referred to as either “Powered paraglider” (PPG) or “Powered parachute” (PPC). Although this conceptual distinction is primarily made according to the type of paraglider used, its preferred use in the USA often also indicates whether it is a foot-launch paramotor or a roll-start paramotor: a paramotor with a backpack motor is therefore usually PPG , While paramotor trikes are called PPC. In the USA, the latter actually actually serve as wing parachutes.

Backpack motor

Paramotor pilot with backpack engine

The components of a backpack motor are a motor with tank and propeller as well as a 1 or 2-ring protective cage often covered with a net. The connection to the pilot is usually made by means of carrier straps, as with a rucksack, whereby the weight of the motor is carried by the glider in flight and hardly loads the pilot sitting in a comfortable harness. At the moment almost only two-stroke engines are used as drive. With a consumption between three and four liters per hour, flight times of two to four hours are possible with the usual tanks. The range is then (depending on the wind) about 100 km.

Electric backpack motor

The components of an "electric backpack motor" are usually:

  • a directly driven brushless three-phase synchronous electric motor with a starting power of 12.5 or 16 kW and a continuous power of 10 or 13.5 kW
  • the power electronics for generating the rotating electrical field
  • a lithium-ion or lithium-polymer battery with a capacity from 1.2 kWh to usually 3.0 kWh and a nominal voltage of 48 volts
  • the motor controller controlled by a microprocessor for monitoring and controlling the power unit and the operating unit with display for outputting the motor parameters and remaining range
  • the throttle

See also

Web links

Commons : Paramotor  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Electric flight in Switzerland
  2. SR 748.941: DETEC Ordinance of November 24, 1994 on Special Category Aircraft (VLK)