Over the past few years, the sport of paramotoring has become more popular. With that, paramotoring has been revolutionized; modern technology has made paramotoring safer and more fun.
You might be just getting into this sport – whether you just completed your training or you are getting ready to buy your equipment. But before you get out into the skies, you always want to make sure that you follow the laws, rules, and regulations of the place that you live in.
Paramotoring isn’t just like any other sport, which is why we must have a discussion about if a license is required to paramotor. But since the laws differ in each country, there’s not a straightforward answer to that question.
Like other aviation sports, the laws and regulations can become confusing and at times overwhelming. But don’t fret because Paramotor Prodigy is here to help you begin your paramotoring career safely… and within the law.
Paramotor License to Fly?
Before looking into whether you may need a license to fly a paramotor, let’s just deconstruct the entire essence of a paramotor: What is it?
A paramotor is a motorized steerable paraglider, and it is commonly classified as an ultralight. Ultralight aviation is the flying of lightweight, fixed-wing aircrafts. In many laws, you will be directed to the section of ultralights if you’re researching paramotor laws.
In order to stay safe, it is highly recommended that you get training from a professional before hopping on a paramotor. You don’t want to injure yourself or anyone else in the area.
In most countries, you do not need a license to operate a paramotor. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to follow any rules while paramotoring. You still must obey airspace regulations, even if you don’t need a license.
United States Law
Though paramotoring is generally more popular in the European Union, American paramotoring is on the rise. So we are going to dissect American law with regard to paramotoring and powered paragliding.
In the United States, you are not required by law to become a certified pilot in order to paramotor. Essentially, the sport is self-regulated. However, proper training is strongly recommended.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is focused on the protection of non-participants more than that of the actual participant because you fly at your own risk. Though training isn’t required, it isn’t any less necessary to keep yourself safe.
If you live in the United States, you should head to the United States Powered Paragliding Association (USPPA) website to examine the regulations that govern the sport in America. You will find that paramotors are classified as ultralights, so you will be directed to the rules and regulations for ultralights.
You should then read the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) that are applicable to ultralights. Specifically, you should take a look at FAR Part 103 and FAR Part 91. The USPPA website may also answer some other questions that you have about the regulations.
The laws governing paramotors in the United Kingdom are quite similar to those in the United States. In the United Kingdom, paramotoring is an unlicensed thrill.
But, like in the United States, there are regulations that one must follow in order to paramotor. In the UK, you must comply with the Air Navigation Order, which lays out the rules of the air. However, we all know that forecasts are not always correct.
UK regulations state that you should examine the weather before heading out on your paramotor. You should check the current weather conditions to determine if it is truly safe to fly.
Before launching, you should also thoroughly check all of your equipment for any deficiencies that would make it unsafe to fly. Though paramotors are not required to be inspected, you should still inspect it every 100 hours of flight.
According to UK law, you should keep any line of landmarks on your left if you’re following a road, railway, or coastline. If you find yourself heading for another aircraft, you must steer right to avoid a collision.
The laws in Canada regarding paramotoring differ greatly from their American and English counterparts. In Canada, paramotoring is regulated under Transport Canada (TC). In order to fly a paramotor, you must obtain a temporary or permanent permit from TC. If you live in Canada, you would apply for a continuing permit.
In order to start out, you must receive training. After you successfully complete the training, your instructor will notify TC that you have done so. Next, you will take an 80-question exam issued by Transport Canada. The minimum grade is 60% and you have three hours to complete it. If you pass, you will be granted a permit to paramotor.
However, there are some other steps that you have to go through before you can fly in Canada.
- You must register your paramotor with TC. In order to do this, you just need to fill out a form about your paramotor and attach your medical certificate.
- You must obtain a Restricted Operator Certificate with aeronautical qualification. You will have to go to Industry Canada to obtain this certificate, where you will go through written and oral exercises to demonstrate that you understand how to use radiotelephone equipment. The Industry Canada website will offer more information on exactly how you can prepare for this test. Their objective is to be sure that pilots can communicate using a two-way aviation radio.
Importance of Aviation Laws
When reading about these nuanced rules and regulations, it may seem that it’s all pointless. After all, you just want to fly out to the skies on your paramotor. But the truth is that these regulations are imperative for your safety and the safety of others. These aviation laws keep the entire industry safe, fair, and efficient.
In your paramotoring experience, you may find that some people choose to disobey or abuse the laws of the sport. This type of behavior presents many different problems within our community. First, their reckless behavior could put themselves or others in danger.
If the aviation authorities see that people refuse to follow the rules, they may be prompted to issue tighter regulations.
The freedom that we have in this sport is valuable, so let’s cherish it.
Launching and Landing
The short answer is that you cannot launch and land the paramotor anywhere you want. However, you can use your common sense to decide where it would be best to launch and land.
Though the rules differ in some countries, it is generally acceptable to launch and land from a park or a field. Basically, you can launch and land from anywhere with enough space and where you have permission.
You cannot take off or land within 1,000 meters of an organized event that contains 1,000 people.
Is There an Age Requirement?
This answer usually depends on the age that training schools set in countries like the US and the UK. Generally, training schools will not train a pilot who is under the age of 14.
In Canada, however, you must be 16 in order to apply for your permit through Transport Canada.