It’s mildly discouraging to realize that many people simply cannot get out into the sky on a paramotor because of the cost of this sport. But even with a small budget, you can definitely make your way out to the skies on your very own paramotor!
If your money situation is tight, you should first set a price that you cannot go beyond when buying equipment. In order to stay on budget, you should keep that total price tag in mind so that you don’t end up spending tons of money on paramotoring, even if it’s totally worth it.
Understand the Risks First
Paramotoring on a tight budget may force you to look into cheaper, used paramotoring equipment. Some used equipment will be just perfect for your needs and might also save you some money. But you must proceed with caution when looking for used equipment because while there are benefits, there are also some risks.
Before going out to buy equipment or scouring the Internet for good deals, just keep in mind that your life is at stake when you paramotor. This advice is important because you shouldn’t only be looking for cheap equipment; you should be looking for quality equipment that is completely safe to use.
Used equipment is especially risky from private sellers on platforms such as eBay, Facebook, and Craigslist. Though some of the equipment may be safe to use, you must distinguish between reputable and sketchy sellers. Many times, sellers will speak too highly of their equipment, so you should always be aware of that; you could also use that as a warning sign to potentially sketchy sellers.
If you purchase used equipment that turns out to be unsafe, you might find out at the worst possible time: when you’re in the air on your paramotor. And you never want to find out at that time because you could put yourself or others nearby in a very dangerous situation.
Another risk of buying used equipment is the possibility that it’s just not for you. If you’re just looking for the cheapest product, you may end up purchasing something that just doesn’t work for you. This could mean that you wasted hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to buy something that you cannot use.
Though there are many risks when it comes to buying used equipment, you can definitely do it safely and efficiently. As long as you invest time into the process, you should end up with quality pieces of equipment at significantly lower costs.
With all the expenses that come with buying equipment, going to school for training also poses a threat to your budget. Though it’s not recommended, you could ditch the training and teach yourself how to paramotor.
Training is definitely the safe way to go, as you will get the personalized experience from an instructor who could even help you pick out the right equipment. However, it’s easier than ever to learn something new because of the power of the Internet, and training isn’t cheap.
Here’s a quick guide to teaching yourself how to paramotor without dishing out money for an instructor or training school:
- As you begin to teach yourself, you should read up on the basics and techniques of paramotoring. A great resource to use is the “Powered Paragliding Bible” by Jeff Goin. This book will guide you through your first flight on a paramotor and beyond.
- You should also utilize videos that people have made on this sport. You could head over to YouTube for some in-depth videos or tutorials. In these videos, you can take note of the techniques that others use and try to replicate them. You can find basically everything about paramotoring, including launching and landing, on the Internet.
- If you come to a point in your self-training where you are completely stumped on a detail or topic, you can navigate to an online forum such as Reddit. There, you can ask your question in one of the powered paragliding communities and you can be in constant communication with real people who have experience in this sport.
- After you have coached yourself, you can begin practicing. After all, practice will help you become a better paraglider. But take this advice with a grain of salt, because you should not begin practicing until you are completely confident that you know how to launch, fly, and land the paramotor. When you’re ready to practice, you should consult someone with some experience to assist you in your practice runs.
Cheap Paramotors – Are They Worth it?
Most people expect that you are going to have to spend at least a few thousand dollars on buying a paramotor. But it is definitely possible to buy a cheaper paramotor that still works great.
As previously mentioned, you can head to a store online to shop for cheaper, used equipment. You can visit sites like Facebook and eBay for cheaper equipment, but you can also check powered paragliding companies that sometimes sell top-of-the-line used equipment. But you should never just find a cheap paramotor and buy it automatically.
You should do your best to go see the paramotor or piece of equipment in person. If you do this, you can check the different aspects of it to make sure that it’s safe to use and worth your money.
2-stroke paramotors will always be cheaper than 4-stroke paramotors. If you just recently started this sport, you should be looking for a beginner paramotor. However, you want to purchase one that you will be able to use for at least a few years. These machines can be very expensive, so you want to get the most out of your money.
If you’re going to spend your money on one thing, spend it here
Chances are that you’ve set a budget and you’re looking to spend the least amount of money possible on each piece of the paramotoring experience. But if you’re going to dish out more money than expected on anything, let it be the actual paramotor.
In most cases, the paramotor will be the most expensive and most important part. Though there are other essential parts, you need a good quality paramotor in order to journey to the skies.
If you buy a cheap, low-quality paramotor now, you might find yourself constantly spending money on upgrades. However, if you do your research and purchase a quality paramotor at the beginning, you won’t have to spend money on a new one for years to come.
What to Look for in a Used Paramotor
When looking for a used paramotor, you should never just buy any machine blindly. Keep this in mind during your search: the more you put into this process, the more that you will get out of it.
You should be looking at the frame, engine, propeller, hang points, and the overall history of the used paramotor.
For any beginners, the frame on the paramotor is the circular piece that rounds the entire machine and has netting inside of it. A strong frame is very important because you don’t want the machine to collapse if it hits the floor abruptly, which could happen with a weak frame. Here are some tips on checking the frame of the paramotor:
- Look over the frame to see if there are any cracks on it. You should also check all of the welds and stress points.
- Remove the cage if it is attached to it and look across the frame for any bends or damage on it. Once you’ve done this, put the cage back on. If you are having trouble putting it back on, or if the holes don’t align, that could be a sign of a bent frame or cage.
- Examine the cage netting and make sure that there aren’t any abnormally large holes in it. If there are large holes, this means that the netting is old and must be replaced.
The frame is one of the essential parts of the paramotor, so you should definitely make sure that the one that you purchase is equipped for flying. As long as you pick one that is of good quality, it will last long.
Checking the engine is a bit more complicated than other parts of this machine, but it’s just as important. Before you even start up the engine, examine the engine mounts and check that the engine plate successfully attaches to the frame.
Don’t be worried if you see any oil around the intake or if you see any dripping from the engine, as this is normal on a two-stroke engine. However, you should look around the base of the cylinder for any oil or soot. If either is present, this could mean that there are blown gaskets that need to be replaced.
You should pull the throttle to see if it goes smoothly and you should check that the lever returns to the stop on the side of the hand lever.
Next, you should rev the engine up to make sure that it can reach full power and rev cleanly. This step is imperative because if the engine cannot reach full power, there could be serious issues with it. This could also create some complications when you eventually get into the air with it.
Considering that this part of the paramotor will actually propel you into the air, it’s rather important. The propeller will thrust against the air using the energy from the engine so that you can enjoy this sport. There are many different types of propellers; you may find one that was made of wood or carbon fiber. The wood propellers are usually cheaper and less efficient, while the carbon fiber propellers are a bit more expensive and more efficient in delivering the thrust that you want.
Be sure to thoroughly inspect the propeller. You want it to be in great shape because the cost of a new propeller is not cheap by any means.
Check the actual propeller for any chips, scuffs, or nicks. If any of those are present, the propeller could be completely out of balance. With an unbalanced propeller, you could experience severe vibration in the air. Consequently, damage could occur and any bolts on the machine could be loosened. Losing any bolts could force you to spend even more money to make up for it or anything that was damaged as a result of it.
The hang points
The next thing that you should look out for on a used paramotor is the hang points. But the hang points may be at different spots on different paramotors. The hang points may be bolted to the bars. In order to move them to the desired angle, you would have to loosen and remove the bolts. Then, you can tighten the bolts to achieve the desired angle. When doing this, make sure that they’re in the same position on both sides.
When looking at the hang points, you should check all the fixing points and you should thoroughly examine the swing arms.
Then, you should inspect the carabiners on the paramotor. On the carabiners, you should specifically look for any cracks or dents. If there’s any damage to them, there’s a good chance that you will have to replace them. So, keep in mind that a new pair of carabiners could cost about $50.
Lastly, you should look at the nylon webbing for any wear and tear. Ensure that the point that connects webbing to the swing arm is in good shape. This point where they meet is quite important, so just check that it’s all in order.
What About Cheap Wings?
It’s definitely possible to buy a cheaper wing, but like some of the other equipment, you should make sure that it’s in good shape because it can be very expensive to replace. Before even looking into a wing, you should become familiar with the ratings and certifications and some other specific details about wings, including the sizing and loading and the different types of wings.
Doing your research is especially important because you don’t want to buy a wing that’s outside of your experience level. For example, a beginner using an advanced wing could be dangerous.
Once you’ve reviewed all of the information concerning paramotor wings, you should be ready to choose the paramotor wing for you. You can definitely look into any used wings, but you should look at it thoroughly. You want to make sure that the wing hasn’t been flown too much and that it has all of the necessary certifications.
The color of the wing is also important. It’s not just a matter of aesthetics; it concerns your safety. If you plan on flying over a green landscape, you should not purchase a green wing. You want to be positive that your wing will stand out and will not camouflage into anything. You want any aircrafts flying above you to see you clearly.
What to Look for in a used Wing
For beginners, used wings could be a great buy, especially if they’re cheaper and have not been flown too many times.
These are the things that you should be looking for in a used wing: modern technology, the test report, a visual check, the ground handle, and the history of the wing.
Find a newer model
When looking to purchase a paramotor wing, you should always be on the lookout for wings with a modern design. Wing design has continued to rapidly evolve over the years, so every year wings only get better and safer.
But this doesn’t mean that you should just purchase a wing because it is a newer model. You still have to keep in mind that you should buy a wing that is specifically tailored to your experience level.
A beginner flying a modern wing could be just as dangerous as a beginner flying much older wings.
Inspect the wing before purchasing
Before purchasing any wing, you should take a look at it for yourself. This usually comes in the form of a test report, which should be completed on behalf of the owner. In this report, someone will inspect the paramotor wing and complete tests on it:
- A porosity test will be done to measure the void spaces in the material. Older wings won’t do very well on this aspect of the test report.
- Someone will do a line check to see if there’s any underlying damage. You will find out if the wing can still hold its certified weight.
- The risers will also be checked for any wear and tear.
The test report, however, won’t tell you everything that you need to know about the wing. You should still request a visual check on the wing. When you see it in person, you should look for holes, tears, or snags. You should also examine the stitching to ensure that all of is still intact.
Next, you should run your finger along the lines to see if you can feel any damage that has been inflicted upon it. While you’re at it, you should check the risers and maillons, which are the triangular rings that are used for main line attachment, and make sure that the brake handle magnets are on the wing.
If you happen to be near clearing of land, ask the owner of the wing if you could ground handle it. While doing this, you’ll be able to verify if the wing launches and flies and you will be able to get the feel of it. If you’ve done all of this and the wing is still in good shape, then you’ll know that it’s safe to use.
Other Equipment on the Cheap!
After purchasing the paramotor and the wing, you’ve gotten the most expensive things out of the way. But there are still some other essential equipment that you need to purchase before heading out to launch out into the sky.
Since these items are usually smaller and slightly less important, it’s much more acceptable to cheap out on any of these items than to do it on the paramotor or the wing.
Some other essential items include a reserve parachute, helmet, ear defenders, etc.
You should never fly without a reserve parachute, but these items can cost up to $700. However, you can easily buy a used one for much cheaper. For buying a helmet, you don’t need to purchase one that is specifically made for paramotoring. Many people just use mountain biking or motorcycle helmets. As long as it protects your head, it should get the job done.
Don’t even think about flying without ear defenders. The sound of the engine will surely damage your unprotected ears, especially if you’re sitting so close to it. You can buy a pair of foam earplugs at a very inexpensive price, but these would prevent you from adding a communication system. You can find a cheap pair of ear defenders on Amazon that even clip to your helmet.
Contradicting popular belief, you can begin paramotoring on a pretty tight budget. But as you can tell, the process is not easy and there aren’t many shortcuts. Newer equipment will obviously be a bit safer and easier to use, but the price tags could easily break the bank.
Used equipment is definitely a viable option, as long as you don’t go about the process carelessly. The Internet is a great resource that you should utilize when it comes to looking for used equipment. When looking at a piece of equipment such as the paramotor or the wing, you should make it a point to go inspect it. It will be disappointing to purchase something off of the Internet and realize that it’s defective after you’ve already purchased it.
As long as you go about the buying process carefully, you’ll be flying to the skies in no time!