You might be asking yourself how fast a paramotor flies. But there really isn’t a direct answer to this question because paramotors can fly at many different speeds. Some can reach 70 mph while others can only fly 20 mph. The average speed of a paramotor is about 30 mph.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll always be flying at 30 mph. There may be times where you are flying on 3 or 4 mph because you’re flying into the wind.
In this post, we’re going to give you everything you need to know about the speed of your paramotor and what can affect your speed while flying.
Wind’s Effects on Speed
Even if you’re a beginner, you know that wind is the biggest factor when it comes to having an effect on paramotor speed. In order to take off and land successfully, we always fly into the wind because a light breeze can slow the paramotor down.
For example, you might encounter a 25 mph headwind while flying. This type of wind can bring most paramotors to a halt. You will remain airborne, but you’ll be flying at a sluggish speed.
Wind gradient, the rise in wind speed as altitude increases, can cause paramotors to completely stop, or even fly backwards.
Before heading out to the skies with your paramotor, you should monitor the wind speed, wind gusts, direction of the wind, and winds aloft speed. Then, you should plan your flight using the data that you can find online.
Though we’ve only discussed the wind’s adverse effects on paramotoring, there is another side to this story. You can actually use the wind to fly faster. If the wind is blowing from behind, you can use it to fly up to 60 mph. This will prove to be quite a thrill!
Wing’s Effects on Speed
Obviously, the type of wing you have will affect the speed that you fly at. But again, all wings are different so there is not an answer that extends to all wings.
When ordering a wing online, you will see that each wing will have a top speed. This should be a good reference point if you’re looking for a wing that reaches a certain speed.
It is unclear as to if the manufacturers actually test each wing for top speeds, but it’s still useful information that can be found in the specifications of the wing.
If you’re looking for a faster wing, you should look for wings that have a higher aspect ratio. Wings with a higher aspect ratio focus on speed and maneuverability, but also require a demanding piloting technique to fly safely.
Therefore, beginner wings will have a lower aspect ratio so that the wing is slower, but more stable and less prone to unpredictable reactions in times of turbulence.
Compared to classic wings, reflex wings are faster and much safer if flown correctly. Reflex wings also form a different shape that is different in classic wings.
Overall, reflex wings are much safer than classic wings. If you’re a beginner, you may want to consider purchasing a reflex wing so that your wing is less prone to collapse.
When it comes to reaching high speeds, reflex wings are ideal. The design of these wings will allow you to fly much faster and even decrease the possibility of a wing collapse.
By entering reflex mode, you can increase your paramotor speed by up to 8 mph!
Every wing will come with the addition of a speed bar, which is a foot control that can alter the speed of your paramotor. You can attach a speed bar to the risers to add a few mph of speed onto your paramotor.
If you’re in reflex mode, you can activate the speed bar with your feet. This will pull on the A, B, and C lines and the leading edge of your wing.
The AOA (angle of attack) will be reduced, effectively providing you with more speed. This technique can also make your wing much safer to fly. But speed bars can be tiring to use for periods of time.
The Speeds of Different Engines
We’re going to go over what you can expect in terms of speed from each engine on a paramotor. Whether you’re a beginner who’s looking to purchase an engine or an expert that is open to change, this information could be very helpful to you.
Electric engines are not very common in the paramotoring realm. Perhaps the reason for this is that they are definitely not built to deliver high speeds.
In addition, they do not have solid lasting power or thrust. However, electric engines aren’t completely useless. The maintenance required for electric engines is quite minimal compared to that of two-stroke or four-stroke engines.
Though electric engines cannot provide you with high speeds, they are much cheaper than other engines. If you’re on a tight budget and soaring at high speeds isn’t your desire, then an electric engine may be the perfect option for you.
These engines are the most common type of engine for paramotors. Unlike the electric engines, you will need to monitor this engine and may have to do maintenance on it quite frequently. This can be an unnecessary hassle for some people.
But two-stroke engines have solid thrust and are very light. These engines are sturdy and reliable, which makes them perfect for a normal paramotor flying experience.
Four-stroke engines are different from two-stroke engines in a few different ways. These engines are pure powerhouses. They are more stable, weighing much more than the two-stroke engines.
These engines are also more powerful. They will allow you to fly through turbulent winds more easily and are very reliable in the air. However, the two-stroke engine is still better when it comes to speed. This is because of the lightness of the two-stroke engine as compared to the weight of the four-stroke.
Speed at Different Altitudes
Your speed in a paramotor will differ at different altitudes. Here, we’re going to cover the broad spaces of altitude and what you need to know about the speed before hitting the skies.
Wind speeds tend to be slower when flying closer to the ground. When you get closer to the ground, you should be going slower anyway because of trees, mountains, and power lines.
But there also may be other oppositional, turbulent winds near the ground that would impede your speed. The ground channels the oppositional winds together, effectively canceling them out.
As you rise up in the air with the paramotor, the effect is minimized because there isn’t as much influence from the axis of the ground, which frequently acts as a barrier to the winds.
Turbulence and friction generally decreases as you increase in altitude. If you’re flying above 10,000 feet, you can travel significantly faster than on the ground. The jetstreams of wind will be more powerful at higher altitudes. But it will be colder and there will be lower oxygen levels as you go past 10,000 feet in the air.
Is it Possible to Fly Too Slow?
It’s rather obvious that the paramotor needs to be moving forward for you to be flying. But the speed that you fly at is at your complete discretion. If you’re looking to go on a smooth, slow ride in the sky, that shouldn’t be an issue for you.
However, some things can go wrong from flying too slowly. We’re going to give you all the information so that you can avoid any issues from flying slow.
It is definitely possible to fly slowly and safely. If you want to stay safe:
- Do not pump the brakes. This is a common beginner mistake that you should be aware of. Pumping the brakes on your paramotor can cause a stall or even a wing collapse. While you’re in the sky, you should be confident about what you’re doing. Don’t be afraid if you start going fast, and be gentle with the controls on your paramotor.
- Do not make sharp turns. This is another common mistake made by beginners that you should be sure to avoid. All of your actions on the paramotor should be drawn out. You shouldn’t be making blinkered, instantaneous decisions in the air. Plan what you’re going to do in your mind before you execute it. Be slow and deliberate with your actions.
Clothes for Different Speeds
Before heading out on your paramotor, you should decide whether you will be going on a light stroll through the sky or on a rapid joyride. This would be the first step in deciding what clothes to wear before jumping on your paramotor.
It all depends on what time of the year you will be paramotoring. In the winter, you should put on many layers so that you won’t be too cold while flying.
If you’re planning on flying up to higher altitudes, you should consider putting layers on. As you go higher up, the air gets colder and it’s easier to fly faster. Compression undergarments may come in handy, in addition to hand warmers.
You should also check the wind speeds on the day that you plan to go out. Higher wind speeds make it colder outside, which means that you might want to bundle up.
If you are planning to fly closer to the ground and it is humid out, flying can become uncomfortable, especially if you are flying fast. A solution to this issue is to buy a windbreaker, which will block moisture in the air and keep your clothes dry.
Does Weight Affect Speed?
The answer to this question: absolutely. You can witness this firsthand by watching a tandem paramotor in flight, which carries two people. This means double the weight. The large engine and the extra harness and bars on the tandem flight definitely makes takeoff slow.
But contrary to what you may have thought, the added weight actually adds to the speed of the paramotor. Though there may be increased drag, the tandem wing makes the paramotor slow, not the weight.
The logic remains the same for single-seat paramotors. For example, a 160 lb. pilot will fly slower than a 210 lb. pilot in the same paramotor setup. So, if you’re looking to buy a wing and you like to travel faster, you should look for one where you place at the end of the weight range.
The type of paramotor that you choose to buy will also have an effect on the speed of your paramotor. If you buy a paramotor that’s on the lighter side, you may fly slower than you hoped. Conversely, a heavier paramotor will fly much faster because of its weight.
For this same reason, wheeled paramotors tend to fly at higher speeds compared to other paramotors. The weight of them causes this increase in speed.
But the increase in weight and speed has its drawbacks. Because of the increased weight, it will take more power to keep you in the air. Subsequently, you will also burn more fuel with each ride.
Used Paramotor Speed
As we have gone over in other posts, used paramotors are definitely cheaper. But they do deteriorate over time, even with constant and consistent maintenance. Depending on how old it is, some paramotors can lose up to 20 lbs of thrust over the years.
But even then, this loss of thrust won’t have a large impact on the speed that you want to fly at. Most paramotorists understand that the thrust of the machines matters less than the pilot’s ability to capture and utilize the wind. Once you become a knowledgeable pilot who can use the wind to your advantage, you won’t have to worry about that loss of thrust.
All in all, you may lose a few mph with a used paramotor. If you’re able to operate your machine correctly and efficiently, then any deficit of thrust may even be unnoticeable.
Are There Any Limits to How Fast I Can Fly?
There are definitely various limits to how fast you can fly in your paramotor. Your speed is always limited by the amount of drag that’s produced by the wing of the paramotor. The wing of your paramotor will hold back when flying at full power and is held back by the drag of the wing.
You might think that a way around this would be putting it into full reflex mode to reduce lift and drag. Though you would be flying faster, your speed would still be limited when the wing produces excess drag and lift.
Wings have very limited trim range, so the speed that you fly will always be limited by lift and drag.
Ultralight regulations also limit how fast you can fly. Current regulations state that paramotors can have a top speed of no more than 55 knots, or 63.29 mph.
Without the help of strong winds, paramotors won’t be able to fly this fast anyway. But as the technology develops, we might see high-speed paramotors pop up on the market.
Turning at High Speeds
Traveling at high speeds can definitely be a thrill, but you should be aware of turning at high speeds. Trying to turn sharply is never a good idea at high speeds.
You may have heard the term “angle of attack” before. This term describes the angle that the paramotor wing cuts through the air. Typically, wings will have an AOA that’s above the airstream. When you turn at a high speed, this can change.
If this happens, air may start pushing in on top of the wing. This can create a problem for you. If this happens, there is a chance that the pressure on the wing can cause a collapse.
You should be especially cautious while flying through turbulent winds. You should also always try to avoid a collapsed wing.
Paramotor Speed: Summary
The speed of a paramotor will differ and is dependent on numerous factors, such as the wind, engine, and the wing of your paramotor.
Most of the time, paramotors won’t be traveling at lightning speeds, but flying is a thrill in and of itself. If you’re really looking to fly at high speeds, you might want to consider purchasing a reflex wing. These wings are safer and much faster than classic wings.
But before anything, remember to stay safe. Check the wind and weather conditions before jumping on your paramotor and always plan your rides ahead.
You should keep in mind the rules and regulations that govern ultralights as well. Perhaps in the near future, we will see a paramotor that flies past 70 mph!