If you’ve made it to this point, there’s not much standing in your way from getting out on your paramotor and flying high to the skies. But you cannot do that without a wing.
The wing that will be attached to your paramotor is essential in order to fly. As you begin to browse for paramotor wings, you will soon find out that there are so many of them on the market. But instead of allowing this to discourage you, use this as an experience to learn about everything related to the paramotor wing itself.
Allow us to guide you through the process of choosing a paramotor wing that’s perfect for you!
Defining Your Experience Level
Before choosing a wing, you need to define your experience level. This is important because there will be specific wings for each level of expertise.
But there’s a large selection of paramotor wings on the market and there is not a specific wing tailored to a certain skill level. The objective is to figure out which wing is best for you. Figuring out your experience level is the first step in determining which wing will work the best.
You should be able to quickly determine your experience level by the amount of time you have been paramotoring and whether you do it competitively.
If you’re a beginner, you may have just finished your training and you might be ready to purchase all of the necessary equipment. This might be a bit overwhelming to you, but you shouldn’t worry about this. As long as you put some time into this process, you will be able to find a wing that is fitting and affordable for you.
Some new pilots look to buy intermediate wings because they are concerned with growing out of a beginner glider too quickly. However, there are definitely some flaws with this way of thinking.
Entry-level gliders can actually end up lasting a while. Some pilots even opt to buy that same, beginner glider again when they eventually look for another wing.
An intermediate glider is rarely useful for a beginner, but there are some exceptions and nuances to this rule. For example, intermediate gliders can be useful for people who live at high altitudes because those wings have more lift.
If you consider yourself to be on the intermediate level, you may have been paramotoring for a year or two now and you seem to be getting the hang of it. Choosing a new wing is now better than ever because every year, the technology advances so that paramotoring becomes safer and more fun.
Similar to the situation for beginners, there are so many wings on the market. This can make for a confusing buying process. Everyone has their own unique style, so you should invest time into finding the wing that is perfect for you.
In general, intermediate gliders are faster and more responsive. Intermediate gliders also have easier light wind launches and improved efficiency for bigger ranges and longer stretches of time. Many users even remark that with an intermediate glider, the landing will feel almost magical to you.
Perhaps an intermediate glider can revolutionize your experience with this sport.
For advanced pilots, you have been involved in this sport for years. You know the ins and outs of paramotoring. You might still be using an intermediate glider because you don’t want to trade safety for a minuscule increase in performance.
If you’re an advanced pilot, there are definitely some advantages to ditching your intermediate glider and switching to an advanced one. Advanced wings can offer an upgrade in the fun and excitement categories. Generally, advanced gliders can do everything that intermediate and beginner gliders can do. They just do things better.
But there are some drawbacks to advanced wings that you should be aware of before you go out to buy one. Bottom line, advanced wings won’t be safer than intermediate or beginner wings. Advanced wings are usually harder to launch and can be too responsive
So if you’re looking to invest in an advanced wing, you should consider all of the pros and cons before making the purchase. When you’re ready for an advanced glider, you’ll know it.
Introduction to Wing Ratings and Certifications
Believe it or not, wing ratings and certifications are actually an important part of this process. There are many different rating systems that are used to rate the wings. These systems will determine the flight characteristics and the safety of the wing that you are interested in.
These ratings will also show the pilot skills that are required in order to fly the respective wing in a safe manner.
There are many different manufacturers with different principles, so we can use these ratings to determine which wing is the best for you.
The EN Certification divides gliders into four classes: A, B, C, and D. For each class, there are flight characteristics and skill descriptions so that you can distinguish which class you should be in.
Though these ratings were designed specifically for paragliders, they could be used for paramotor wings. Some paramotor wing manufacturers, however, have utilized other rating systems, some of which we will cover next.
Here are brief descriptions of the four classes:
- EN-A: This class contains the gliders with the maximum level of passive safety. These paragliders are designed for all pilots at any stage of training. These work best with pilots who may have just started this sport or who fly occasionally.
- EN-B: This class is quite similar to the class above. Some of these wings are actually quite close in characteristics to the EN-A certified gliders. They show good passive-safety and are mildly forgiving. These gliders work best for pilots who have flown 30+ hours in a variety of conditions.
- EN-C: This class of paragliders has some passive safety, but can exhibit dynamic reactions to turbulence while flying. These are usually made for pilots who fly frequently and have advanced ratings or certifications.
- EN-D: If you’ve been reading along from the start, you already know what’s coming. These wings are for the experts who can handle extreme reactions to turbulence and unconventional flying conditions.
This certification is from the French Civil Aviation Authority, covering ultralight aircraft in much of the European Union. Some wing manufacturers, such as Dudek and Paramania, use this rating system. Therefore, having knowledge about this system could come in handy when you are looking to purchase a paramotor wing.
The wing manufacturers will complete the tests and send them to the French Aviation Authority in order to receive approval. The DGAC will issue a certificate based on load tests and flying under propulsion. The wings are also tested in different weather conditions to mimic what might take place in reality.
Here’s what is assessed during the examination:
- The flight characteristics of the wing
- How the wing behaves when it is launched
- The speed parameters during a straight flight
- The behavior of the wing during a sharp turn in the air
- Longitudinal stability during and while leaving accelerated flight control
This certification was formerly known as the DHV certification, but it has since been changed to “LTF.”
Similar to the EN rating system, the wings will be given a rating based on the skill of the pilot that would be operating them. The ratings stretch from 1 to 3 and everything in between.
Rating 1 and 1-2 are generally for beginner pilots. These gliders are rather simple to operate and are forgiving to the pilots that operate them.
Rating 2 and 2-3 are for pilots that fly regularly. These wings are known to have violent reactions to turbulence and pilot errors. Therefore, there are some demanding flight characteristics. If you find a wing in either category, make sure that you are experienced in this sport.
Rating 3 is the highest and most demanding level. Wings with this rating are only recommended for pilots who are well-versed experts in the sport. You must be able to handle very violent reactions to turbulence and pilot errors.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Wing
There are just so many things to consider when choosing a wing that you might not know where to begin. We are going to help navigate you through the process. In this article, we will be going through so many details about paramotor wings. Most people are only concerned with the size and the price of the wing, but there is so much more to consider when choosing a wing.
For example, when looking at a paramotor wing to purchase, you should consider the slink rate. If you’re a beginner, you might be wondering what that even means – and that’s a fair reaction to have if you are just getting into this sport. The slink rate is the rate of descent of the wing, usually in meters per second and this all depends on preference.
The glide ratio is another feature that you should take into consideration when purchasing a wing. This ratio shows the rate of fall to horizontal speed for a glider with the engine turned off.
You should also check out the speeds of each wing that you are considering to buy. Most manufacturers will tell you the speed of the wing at different trim settings. You can even find out the absolute maximum speed of the glider. This number could be very helpful, especially if you’re a daredevil and you’re hoping to reach high speeds.
Lastly, you should take a look at the weight of the glider. Again, taking the weight into consideration relies on personal preference. However, if you’re a beginner, lighter wings might be the way to go. Generally, lighter wings are easier to launch if you’re flying somewhere where the wind speeds are low.
Used Wings – a Good Investment?
In many previous articles, we have discussed the possibility of buying used wings. It’s always safer to stick with new wings, but many of us are on a tight budget. Used wings are inherently cheaper and could be a great bargain for someone who is just starting in this sport.
But before purchasing a used wing, here’s what you should do:
- Find out how many hours the wing has been flown so that you will know how much time it has left before you shouldn’t use it anymore.
- Request the history of the wing from the current owner.
- Make sure that you get a test report. This document will tell you everything that you need to know about the used paramotor wing. If the seller refuses to give you a test report, you should not even consider purchasing any equipment from them. The test report and its contents will give you some assurance that you are making a good purchase.
- It is always smart to go look at the wing in person. This piece of advice goes for most used equipment as well. If possible, you should look at it with your own eyes. If you get this opportunity, you can examine it thoroughly so you don’t have to rely on the seller to attempt to describe it for you.
When looking for used wings, always look out for newer wings, because those have more advanced technology. This makes them safer and more efficient wings.
Which Wing is Best?
As if your search for a new paramotor wing was not complicated enough, there are actually different types of wings: reflex wings and traditional wings.
We are going to review the differences between the reflex wing and the traditional paramotor wing so that you can decide which one would be a better fit for you.
The Difference Between Reflex and Traditional Wings
If you’re in the beginning stages of paramotor training, you may not have heard of a “reflex” wing. Even if you have heard of it, you might be perplexed as to which wing you should purchase. There are a few differences between reflex and traditional wings that we’re going to cover so that you can make an educated decision based on the information given.
The main difference, the one that we will focus on, between the reflex and traditional wings is the shape of the wing itself.
With a reflex wing, the airfoil can change the point of lift on the wing during episodes of turbulence. When the wing is trimmed to the fast position, the A and B lines will become extremely loaded. When the trimmers are released, the lift point and the center of pressure moves forward on the airfoil. This makes reflex wings different from traditional wings, and much less likely to collapse.
Generally, reflex wings are less common in the United States when compared to the UK and Europe. With reflex wings, there is an ease of inflation and some extra speed, things that are not presented in traditional wings.
Which Wing is Safer?
This question is especially relevant for beginners, who are looking for the first glider that they will purchase. Though most in the United States settle for traditional gliders, reflex gliders are on the rise around the world. In general, reflex gliders are actually safer than traditional gliders.
But we do want to clarify that, because in some cases reflex gliders could be less safe, depending on how you choose to use it. It is a fact that reflex wings are more resistant to collapses, but they are not immune to them, especially in conditions of strong turbulence. Because they are less likely to collapse, some pilots might think that it’s OK to fly them fast in harsh conditions. A crash in high speeds is much harder to control.
It’s important to know that you cannot use the brakes while trimmed to the fast position with the reflex wing. If this is done, it is much more likely for the wing to collapse on the side that is being pulled. When trimmed to a fast mode, you will also use up more fuel.
So, for beginners, it looks like the reflex wing is the way to go. Generally, the reflex wings are safer and less likely to collapse. However, that’s not to say that they won’t ever collapse if pushed to their limits.
When looking at a wing to purchase, you must look at the PPG weight range. You want your weight to be in the range on that wing. Your total weight will be your weight plus all of your equipment. Ideally, your total weight would be right in the middle of the PPG weight range. If you’re in the middle or upper part of that range, you should be able to use the respective wing.
It’s important to pay attention to the weight range for your own safety when you eventually get into the air.
If you are in the upper portion of the weight range, the wing will be more resistant to collapse. Conversely, if you are in the lower portion of the weight range, the wing is more likely to collapse in the air because of turbulence. However, if a heavily loaded wing were to collapse, it would be much harder to control.
It is definitely not recommended to buy a wing in which your weight is anywhere outside of the PPG range. It would be especially difficult to fly a wing that is too small for you. Here’s what could happen with a smaller wing:
- You won’t be able to launch easily because the wing won’t produce enough lift for you to get in the air.
- Landing speed may be too fast to handle.
- Handling of the paramotor would be harder and your fuel might run out quicker.
- The materials might become damaged because of the stress of your weight.
In short, you should make sure that you pay close attention to the weight range when choosing a glider so that you pick the perfect one for you.
Wing Life Span
Just like most major pieces of paramotor equipment, the wing won’t last forever. There are many different things that will affect the life span of your wing.
Believe it or not, the age of the wing could affect the life span, regardless of whether it has ever been flown.
Effects on Your Wing’s Life Span
As aforementioned, many factors will affect the life span of your wing. Here’s a detailed list of those factors:
- Saltwater: Wings that have been exposed to saltwater have increased porosity and are less likely to remain in good condition than wings that have not been exposed to salt. This is because the salt attracts moisture to your wing and increases degradation as a result of the minuscule salt crystals.
- Age: This factor usually leaves people confused. If a wing remains in a bag for a year, you could account that for 20-40 hours of flying time. There is really no getting around this. Ozone, which is always present in atmospheric oxygen, will reduce the integrity of the fabric on the wing. Just be aware that age will take its toll on a wing, even if it has not been flown for years.
- UV Light: The sun will eventually have an effect on the life span of your wing. The nylon fabric is capable of chemical degradation, and the sun’s powerful ways just stimulate that.
- Hours: This one is pretty obvious. The more you fly a wing, the less time that you’ll have left with it. If you take good care of your wing, you should be able to fly it for between 300 and 600 hours.
Best Brands for Paramotor Wings
Many people wonder what the best brands are to buy paramotor wings. We would definitely recommend buying equipment from Dudek Universal and Ozone. These brands sell reputable, new equipment that will provide you with an amazing experience on your paramotor!