Ask the Expert… FAQs
Taken straight from the horse’s mouth, Mike Campbell-Jones explains everything under the Paramania sun!
1. Where can I find out the latest news on paramotoring?
2. Are reflex wings just as safe as standard wings?
3. Do you make powergliders for free flight?
Many people free fly our wings. The terminology ‘free flight’ is a little bit difficult, you mean gliding flight, yes. Our powergliders work really well for ridge soaring. Generally they are faster, more stable, but have higher sink rates, so generally for stronger conditions.
4. What is a powerglider?
The Powerglider is a term coined by Pascal Campbell-Jones to refer to a paraglider that is under power, and tailored specifically for use in powered flights/with a paramotor.
Its derived from a paraglider. It’s much stronger in terms of its construction. It tends to be heavier because you have the extra loads of the pilot weight plus the engine. The stability and handling is different; we tend to have more roll on the brakes, when you pull on the brakes, instead of a flatter turn, you’ll get more of a diving turn which is more tuned for powered flight because you have the torque effects of the engine, and everything else, you need more roll control as opposed to flat turning ability. A paraglider used for gliding needs to turn efficiently and flat in a thermal, so they make them so that they turn very flat so that they don’t lose a lot of altitude in the turn, whereas a paramotorist is not worried about that. In fact what we need is more roll rate in order to have the directional control given that we’ve also got a propeller on our back. Because you can always use power to compensate for the lack of altitude in a turn, and also its safer; With paragliders, if you put power underneath them and they’re turning flat, they also can stall; they’re doing a slower turn, so the inside wing, the side that’s going really slowly that slow up so much that it goes into what we call a spin. A powered glider has more speed and energy built up, so it’s a different type of flying. You have a great margin of safety because you’re travelling faster and there’s less chance of you actually spinning.
5. How long will my powerglider last before I have to replace it?
This depends on how you use it. Everything degrades underneath the sun, including us! So if you leave it out in the sun, it will suffer; it is a plastic after all, however if you are careful and you don’t go ground handling too often in strong conditions because that really wears a wing out as well. Its good to ground handle and everybody should be really good at it, but if you use your new nice shiny wing in strong conditions, inflating, deflating, you will shorten the life of your glider for sure.
A note on Saltwater:
If you land in the sea, or ground handle at the beach or coastline a lot, what happens in salt crystals will get in the lines and when they move, they abrade when the salt crystals are dry. Inside you’ve got little fibres made of Kevlar, and salt crystals can form once the seawater dries out, and they are like sandpaper on the lines, so they start wearing out much faster. So it’s always good if you go in the sea or anything like that to really wash your lines and soak them in non-salt water.
Lines should be changed out regardless every 100 hours (once a year more or less, depending) but in general you should get between 300 and 600 hours out of your wing. This is hard to gauge how long this would take with the ‘typical pilot’ because if you live in Southern Spain for example, you’ll put on 100, 150 or even 200 hours in a year, whereas someone who lives in the North of Scotland will be lucky to put 50 on.
6. Why is the powerglider more tuned for the paramotor?
We need to fly hands off so we need more stability then they have in a paraglider, so we need better pitch stability, the thing should fly itself more so that you don’t need to constantly be on the brakes. You put a tank of fuel in a machine and you’re going to fly for three hours – you cannot sit in the seat with your hands up in the air that whole time, so we make our wings more stable so you don’t have to. And also, we fly lower; we’re in a place where the air is generally rougher – we don’t have time to throw reserve parachutes and things, so we need inherent stability in our wings.
7. What makes your wings specific for paramotoring?
It is improved pitch stability, its speed range without the need to do active flying. You can measure performance, you can measure sink rate, glide angle, etc. but another measure of performance is speed range, that’s how slow it can fly and how fast it can fly, and be safe. And paramotor-specific wings have the widest range possible, which means we can fly in more conditions than most other wings adapted from say paragliding.
8. What is Paramania’s mission?
Our mission is to be the very best powerglider manufacturer in terms of quality. We really do look at it in terms of aircraft or aeroplanes as opposed to just a wing or a kite. Our whole spirit is centered around that because we come from that background. Paramania duty is to be fun, because everything has to be 50% fun in life, otherwise its not even worth doing. We are in an exciting, interesting, although sometimes highly responsible position leading the market which is growing very fast. We’re the only manufacturer that just make powergliders, everybody else is dabbling in lots of other areas. We’re very focused on what we do and we intend to maintain that, and to maintain our position as the innovators of this sport, and keep the sport as safe as we can through our technology, and build a future. We’ve always set the standards; You can’t uninvent television – if you can come out with the new stuff and really be on top of it, things like reflex, like the turbo toggles, those things lead the market in terms of technology, and then to a certain extent, you are the trendsetter. We are showing what can be done, crossing new frontiers of the time, and always keeping it fun and not too dangerous. We will never take the public into a realm where they are going to get hurt.
I’ve been involved in so many sports, handgliding, microlighting, ballooning, gliding, every aspect of those types of things, paragliding in the beginning, and they always do the same thing, they go chasing after performance and narrow themselves into a cul-de-sac of only those people who can do that sport, and then the sport withers on the vin and then has to reinvent itself. The thing with paramotoring, it is really the most accessible form of aviation and is proving to be the safest due to its low kinetic energy and when you can choose to fly. Its available to modern society, it is the ultimate thing, like batman or superman; we had all these dreams of personal flight, and its realizable with this little engine with a propeller on it and these fabulous wings, and we’re the fabulous wings.
9. How are the 2015 models different from earlier ones?
As we move in through the sport, initially everyone just wanted to go paramotoring so we just stuck a wing on a paramotor and just tried to optimize that, but we had all sorts of problems in the beginning with very heavy motors, high hang points, wide hang points, its very difficult to design something around a chassis that keeps changing, and what’s happened recently is that little by little, the motor manufacturers have gotten better and better, and they’ve started to make a more centralized geometry, which means I can design wings around that, and improve the feeling and the handling in the gliders relative to the motors and that has been an ongoing process. Improving the ability to fly slower and faster with a better roll rate, lighter handling, nicer feel to the glider, all those things have been improvements.
10. Which wing should I buy for slalom competition?
For slaloms, you definitely need to go for the GTS right now. It will look after you, its safe, it doesn’t do anything naughty. You will need some training on it, or you will need to train yourself on it.
11. Can I use my wing for ‘normal’ use?
There is a Paramania wing for every type of pilot.
12. How do I know if I’m good enough to fly Paramania wings?
You can fly any one of these wings with quite a low level – they’re not ‘hot’ in the same sense as high aspect ratio wings that can fold on you and pile you in. We have a reputation of safety in Paramania that’s above all. We don’t have deflations, if you look at all the GTX that are out there, all the GTRs, and now we have all the GTSs as well, and we’ve never had a deflation unless induced by a pilot. That means yanking on a line or pulling something down. Nobody has ever experienced a proper full on collapse even with all the full speed bar stuff and everything else.
You can click on our questionnaire that will examine your skills and what type of flying you’re going to do, submit your answers to us and we’ll let you know what level of pilot you are and which wings would be the most suitable for you.
13. Who makes the Paramania wings?
(link to aerodynamics video?) All of our materials are from European manufacturers. We are 100% Porcher Marine, which means our wings are of higher quality and therefore cost. Assembly of the wings is done out of town.
14. How long does it take to make a wing ?
The amount of man hours in putting a wing together for one person (cutting and sewing) is between 40 and 80 hours, depending on the complexity of the wing. Shipping takes about 5-10 days to ship it anywhere.
15. Is there a demo video for the Revo 3 I can watch?
Not yet. Check out our Youtube channel where we post all the demo videos, or from the Movie section.
16. Where will my wing come from once I order it?
17. Who else is making Paramania wings?
18. Who else is selling Paramania wings?
Check our Global Distribution Map to see who’s selling Paramania wings and what they’ve got in stock.
19. Who else is loving Paramania wings?
Check out our fan collection from Facebook likes, Youtube, Twitter, Competitors, list of fans, team pilots,
20. Who was the first company to make reflex wings?
23. I live in ……… Can I still get a Paramania wing?
Parmania wings have been out to Taiwan, Hawaii, St. Lucia,,,
Ofcourse you can! Parmania has a worldwide network. We work with any Pros because we work with a system where you pay for the glider, you get it sent not to you, but to a Pro, to show you the glider properly. If the Pro is not anywhere near you, than we can usually find somebody within range of you. If you live in the Galapagos islands, you might have to travel to mainland Chile, might be a little bit difficult, unless you’re a seasoned pilot. If you’re a seasoned pilot (which you might have to prove first) than we might make it possible to send directly to you. Normally though, we prefer to suggest a really good place for you to go pick up your wing, and get some really good training, and prove your skills at the same time.
24. I still don’t understand the concept of ‘reflex’. Can you explain it again?
(answered in previous question)
25. Who else is flying Paramania wings?
There are several thousand people flying Paramania wings, if we average 500 a year there’s probably 10,000 wings out there. Most people will buy two to three Paramania wings in their flying career, as most of our fans are returning customers. Also most tend not to sell off their old models; second-values on Paramania wings are very high. In fact we have cases recently that the Revo2 second hand has been resold for more than the latest model because its easier to get a hold of.