Paramotor Flight Instruction

Learn to Fly a Powered Paraglider ('PPG')

CONTACT:   Nick Antonaccio   215-630-6759   nick@ppglessons.com

RESOURCES   Schedule   Clinic Prep   Book  (PDF)

Contents:

1. Getting Started
2. What is a Paramotor?
3. How is Paramotor Instruction Typically Taught?
4. It's a Challenge!
5. Phases of Training, and Various Course Options
5.1 Ground School
5.2 Kiting
5.3 Engine-On Training and Initial Flights
5.4 Ongoing Support
5.5 Advanced Training
6. Can Paramotor Flight be Self-Taught?
7. Contact Us

1. Getting Started

FULL TRAINING ACTIVITIES HAVE RESUMED.   Clinic Details/Pricing

It typically takes 3 online groundschool sessions, plus 2-4 intensive full day sessions outside at the field, in addition to significant practice on your own between sessions, to be able to take your first solo flights. The total cost for PPG1 certification typically averages less than $1500 (it can cost less or more, depending upon how much you practice on your own).

To learn how to fly, follow these steps:

1) Please read through this website. The section below answers most of the common introductory questions about powered paragliding. The following sections describe how training works.

2) If you have any questions or if you want to chat about anything having to do with paramotors, please call Nick at 215-630-6759. You're welcome to visit a training session any time to meet and talk with pilots, to watch students take their first flights, to see equipment up close, and to witness the whole process.

3) Most students begin training with online groundschool classes, using Zoom videoconference meetings to complete essential bookwork about laws, air space charts, weather, aerodynamics, equipment and mechanical skills, simulator, kiting and maneuvers prep, and other necessary topics before training at the field. Ground school curriculum is the most dense and time-consuming work that we can get out of the way before you start physical training. A minimum of 8 hours of book work is required for certification, and it can take up to 12 hours, depending upon how much a class group asks questions and socializes. The rate for online ground school is $125 per person, for each 2-4 hour session, and a total of 3 sessions are typically required ($375 total). This includes all my fees for the USPPA certification signoff paperwork, whenever it's ready to be submitted. You can prepare for ground school by reading the tutorials on the resources page. Please see the schedule page, and call 215-630-6759 to sign up for ground school appointments.

4) Our most popular field training program is broken up into multiple single day intensive clinics for $325 per day (group discounts and pro-rated partial days available), which includes equipment rental, kiting instruction, simulator training, equipment maintenance/setup/preflight instruction, and potential tow, tandem, and comm-guided student solo flights (when student skills, schedule, and conditions allow). To begin outdoor training at the field:
  • Please read the clinics and preparations pages
  • Fill out and submit the info form at paramotr.com
  • Sign the waiver documents
  • Call me at 215-630-6759 to confirm plans to train, and to answer any further questions you have
  • Prepay the class rate (Venmo, Zelle, Paypal, or check by mail)
  • Watch the schedule page and/or call/text me to see when weather conditions allow sessions to take place
  • Confirm any training appointment the day before meeting
Training is entirely weather dependant, so must be confirmed with a call or text prior to visiting the field. In addition to ground school, most students require at least 2-4 training days at the field, with significant practice in between, to build the skills needed to launch safely.

5) Optional: If you have equipment and a place to lay out your wing, you can reduce training time at the field by learning to set up your machine and harness, to begin practice hooking into the wing, to work on basic inflation practice, and to complete simulation training, all using video conference. Since the pandemic began, this has become a popular and well established option. We can cover the exact same training requirements online that we dig into in person, and getting any of those time-consuming portions of training done will help get you up in the air much more quickly, as soon as you have a chance to come to the field. The cost of remote training typically works out about the same as getting practice done at the field, and online units help to ease the amount of work and fatigue you'll experience in a single day at the field. Please see the schedule page, and call 215-630-6759 to set any appointments for online work.

All published training rates are listed for group instruction activities at school field locations. The total cost of training depends entirely upon how much practice you accomplish with your own equipment between training sessions. Plan on at least $1200 to complete your first flights and to earn PPG1 certification. The most time-consuming portion of training is kiting practice, and you can complete 90% of that work at home on your own time. The most cost effective way to learn after ground school is to take a day or two of field training, followed by as much time at home as you need to perfect kiting skills, and then return for a day or two of field training to take your first solo flights. Please read the sections below, along with the clinics and preparations pages, to fully understand how the training program works.

We do travel to teach. Weekends are most common, but other days and longer/shorter sessions are available by contract. If you're interested in visiting a session before you begin training, or if you have any questions at all, please submit the form below, and/or call, text, email any time.

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2. What is a Paramotor?

PARAMOTORS are also called Powered Paragliders or PPGs.

They're the least expensive, simplest, and safest type of private aircraft you can buy (statistically, per 10,000 people who do it, you're safer flying a PPG than driving in a car).

You can climb to thousands of feet and perform extreme aerobatics, or fly low and slow to drag feet and explore terrain, or just boat around at a comfortable altitude and enjoy the most amazing sunset views imaginable, right from your local field.

No license is required. Learn to fly solo in 4-8 days.

There are no age, health, or weight limitations. Entire families can learn to fly.

PPGs can carry up to 600lbs.

You can fly for 3+ hours on a single tank of normal automobile fuel from your local gas station, plus readily available 2 stroke engine oil.

Run into the air with a foot launchable backpack unit, or attach a 32lb packable wheeled trike to roll on the ground and sit in comfort throughout your flights.

No runway is needed. Launch in just a few feet, from fields, beaches, farms, parks, back yards, small airports, etc., once you learn how.

Paramotors are generally less expensive than a motorcycle. Complete packages, with motor, wing, and all accessories required to fly cost as little as $8300 delivered.

An entire paramotor rig folds in minutes to fit in the trunk of your car, or you can fit several complete flying vehicles in a mini van. Some pilots even transport their units via motorcycle. Own and control your own gear, no hanger or rental fees are required.

Add a reserve parachute and flotation for unmatched security and confidence compared to other forms of flight.

Paramotor pilots fly legally under US ultralight regulations - just TWO simple pages of rules (compared to ~1600 pages of general aviation law that other aircraft must follow!). It's simple and quick to learn. Make your own adjustments to gear. No required maintenance logs, flight plans, or other similar restrictions apply. More than 99% of the US air space is available for unparalleled freedom of flight.

There is no other sport like this - it's a constantly amazing, life changing experience! One of the safest and most exhilarating forms of adventure available to humans. These units have been flown from coast to coast across the USA, from Alaska down to South America, and everywhere around the world. Fly with friends, using convenient headset communication, or fly solo. Turn your back yard into a mind bending port of adventure and a beautiful destination that regularly rivals any vacation spot.

Training is based in Montague NJ and Allentown NJ, but our equipment is mobile and can accommodate groups of students at virtually any location. New students are welcome to visit a training session and see the equipment, take an introductory lesson, meet some other students and pilots, watch a flying demo, ask any and every question you have, etc.

Training can be broken up into multiple segments that are convenient for your schedule. We can, for example, separate wing handling and engine-on portions into different short trips. It's also possible to complete much of the time consuming ground school instruction using online video conference. You can return to do additional instruction and certifications in the future. Your instructor can take you through USPPA PPG1, PPG2, and PPG3 ratings, and more if you're interested, and is always available to help with issues such as weather, air space, and site evaluation, equipment maintenance, etc. The cost for instruction is $325 for an intensive full day training session, and you can use school equipment to complete the course, if you're not ready to buy. A weather-specific training schedule is kept here

If you have any questions about equipment, if you'd like to take a quick look at the air space in your area, or if you'd just like to chat casually about flying, don't hesitate to call, text, or email anytime!

CONTACT: Nick Antonaccio, USPPA and ASC Certified Instructor, phone: 215-630-6759, email: nick@ppglessons.com, or submit the form below:

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3. How is Paramotor Instruction Typically Taught?

Be sure to see our Clinic Details and Pricing page.

Most paramotor schools have you visit to study for a week or two at the instructor's location. The weather in the northeast US generally dictates that it's best to complete your instruction over several long weekends, with periods of practice and study between. Traditionally, students spend a portion of their time indoors, doing 'ground school' lessons (book learning about weather, laws, aerodynamics, equipment, etc.), whenever weather conditions outside are unflyable. You'll spend most of your outdoor lesson time learning to 'kite' a paraglider wing, learning to handle it on the ground, and to position it overhead while running, ready to take off. You'll also learn to handle the motor on your back and while simultaneously kiting the wing. You'll practice the flight routine repeatedly in a simulator until you can run through every movement by habit. You may also get to take a tandem or tow flight before launching on your own. At the end of your study, when weather conditions permit, your instructor will guide you via a headset through the process of launching, moving through turns in the air, and landing. You'll spend as much time as possible getting in additional flights during every available weather opportunity.

You should chose an instructor with whom you can connect personally, whom you trust, and whom you enjoy talking with regularly, because you'll rely on them for support and equipment maintenance for years to come.

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4. It's a Challenge!

Learning to fly a paramotor is extraordinarily fun and rewarding, but it's also quite a bit more difficult and time consuming than most people ever imagine. It looks deceivingly easy. Pilots just seem to pull up their wing, run a few steps, engage their throttle, and take off. How difficult could that possibly be to learn?

The answer is that it's harder than it looks, at least in the very beginning. Kiting a paramotor wing well can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks of instruction and practice, to build basic skills. Paramotor engines initially feel very heavy, and frames/harnesses feel strikingly awkward to pick up, let alone to run with, and kiting a wing at the same time is nearly impossible if you try to jump right into it. You need to learn to kite perfectly straight during take off, while running full speed on uneven ground, with the engine weighing you down, and also pushing 100-170 lbs of thrust on your back, without the wing oscillating at all during takeoff. This is the reality of learning to fly a PPG, and you need lots of training and practice to do it well. For most students, it's a tremendously challenging process, compared to expectations. Even experienced general aviation pilots discover that their previous training and knowledge prepares them little for the physical challenge of learning to fly with a propeller attached to a gigantic backpack, and a wing that needs to be inflated while running.

Flying a PPG is also extremely weather dependent. Unlike fixed wing aircraft which weigh thousands of pounds, are equipped with many times the thrust, and fly much faster, paramotors are much more like leaves blowing in the wind. If you try to fly a paramotor during mid day thermal activity, or any time when wind conditions around obstacles are bad, you may find yourself in an uncontrollable situation, as a beginner. It can take years to learn to fly in rough conditions, and many paramotor pilots never even attempt it. The last 2 hours of the day, or the first 2 hours of morning light (before the local atmosphere heats up), are the only conditions in which a beginner should even consider flying (except at a beach, or in certain rare, calm conditions). Weather requirements pose real, hard limits to scheduled training. You'll need to plan for instruction with these realistic limits in mind.

There's more to the equation too. You'll most likely learn to fly on your own equipment. If you fall over and break anything on your machine, you'll need to get it repaired before you can fly again. You'll want to be prepared to handle mishaps quickly.

Please don't try to train yourself. There are just too many things that can go seriously wrong without instruction.

Hopefully, you can find a group of local pilots who are willing to help you regularly determine if flying conditions are good, and who can help sort and maintain equipment, repair 2-stroke engines, etc. Be sure to talk with some pilots about more than the normal 'it's awesome' conversation. It is truly awesome, but getting started is probably more complicated than you initially think. Having a realistic training plan is essential if you want to have a good time.

5. Phases of Training, and Various Course Options

PPGLessons.com offers traditional training courses, using the classic tried and true methods. We provide certified ratings through both USPPA and ASC. You're welcome to come visit and study at a school location for as long as you want. Or, if you prefer totally private and personalized instruction, you can potentially have an instructor come to you, and teach directly at your own flying site. Just call 215-630-6759 to ask questions and/or to schedule a training session.

You can perform each phase of instruction all at once during a long vacation, or take each bit of instruction during short visits, practicing and perfecting each phase at home, before moving on to new skills. For the book learning portions of initial ground school training, PPGLessons.com can also offer remote videoconference instruction - live, online distance learning - which allows you to complete some of the time consuming portions of introductory training at your home location.

5.1 Ground School

The first part of any PPG course, ground school, teaches you everything you need to know about how paramotors work, what it's like to fly, how the law governs our flying activity, how to determine flyable weather conditions, how the equipment is operated and maintained, what the entire training process will entail, etc. However you decide to perform your ground school, you will need some personal attention, to get all your questions answered and to learn how everything works. You can receive ground school instruction in a class room, or in a live videoconference environment, privately, or with other students.

This portion of the training requires absolutely no equipment purchase. You will understand all of the 'book' knowledge required to fly, when you complete this portion of your instruction. During intensive training sessions, we perform portions of ground school curriculum during breaks from physical activity, whenever weather conditions aren't perfect, during meal times, and after dark at the end of the day. Book learning will be mixed in regularly to clarify all the details of each learning phase.

5.2 Kiting

Another initial stage of instruction is kiting practice. This is the most time consuming, and arguably the most important phase of training. You can learn the fundamentals of paraglider wing control in a short course at an instructor's location, or during a visit from a traveling instructor. The basics are easy to understand, but the skills can take weeks to master. Some PPG schools have produced videos to teach potential new students how to practice kiting on their own, but self study is really not recommended. It's important to have someone help you understand which weather conditions are safe for practice, how to hook into your harness correctly, how the various lines and controls (along with your body movements and the movement of the air around you) affect the way the wing moves, etc. It is much easier and safer to get started if you have help.

The most important skills which you'll need to fly are built during the kiting phase. Traditional kiting instruction will help you to keep away from bad habits, and help you gain the most fundamental knowledge about how your wing moves and lifts you into the sky. In your initial lessons, you will learn to simply kite your wing, to pull it up above your head, and run with it, as if launching. You will not fly at all, but you will feel how the wing responds to the movement of air, and how your movements, weight shift, the controls, etc. all affect how the wing flies. When you first begin this phase of training, you will practice only when weather conditions are absolutely perfect, with no chance of the wing pulling you out of control. This kiting stage may be completed quickly in a few days, or it can potentially require weeks to master, depending upon your schedule, your natural ability, and the conditions that your weather provides.

When you can kite with perfect skill, you can begin to strap into your paramotor, without the engine ever running, and learn to perform the same kiting and launch skills with the weight of the engine on your back. This portion of the training is the most physically demanding. You will likely lose some weight, and you will need to take regular breaks. In any school environment, your instructor will work with several students at the same time, so you'll be able to take rests from running and watch others practice. Your instructor will help you determine a good location to fly in your local area, point out obstacles, space requirements, etc., and help assess that the practice space you use, the conditions in which you train, and the techniques which you use, are as safe and effective as possible.

You will learn the most critical skills needed to take off during this stage of training. You can learn at your own rate, take as many lessons as you need, and practice in your home location, as opposed to being rushed through a short training course during a limited vacation trip. You can take the days, weeks or months which are required to build habitual muscle memory, understanding, and skill needed to control the wing and fly safely.

It's best to buy a new wing and get thoroughly comfortable with it throughout the process. Despite the fact that you will expose a new wing to some wear and tear, UV degradation, etc. it's best to become thoroughly familiar with the wing that you will fly with, for the entire training period - that is the typical expectation in most training routines. During this phase, you'll get all the help you need to choose what to buy.

5.3 Engine-On Training and Initial Flights

The final stage of basic training is the 'engine-on' portion of your instruction. This phase requires a great deal of interaction with your instructor, either at your location, or at a school site. By the end of this stage, you will take your first flights. You can choose to use a school machine to perform this entire phase of training, or bring your own equipment. Your instructor will help you make a decision about what to buy, but that is ultimately your choice alone. If you choose to use the instructor's equipment, there is no additional rental cost, but you must agree to pay for any equipment which you break. You can try a limited variety of school machines, and decide which suits your tastes and priorities best. You'll do a hang check and learn how to configure the harness and all other in-flight settings. It's critical that you learn to do this specifically for your weight and size, on the same style paramotor that you'll eventually fly at home. You'll do 'simulator' training, in which you hang in the paramotor with the engine on, learning to feel how the engine thrust pushes you in the harness, how it feels to hold and pull brakes while running the engine up and down, etc. You'll learn to walk and run properly with the engine running on your back. You'll practice every move that makes up an entire flight, over and over again, until you can perform every move without thinking. You'll learn to perform more advanced kiting techniques. You can also choose to purchase tandem instruction flights, in which your instructor takes you into the air, preparing you fully for the feeling of paramotor flight, feeling how the controls affect turns, etc., before you ever have to do it on your own. You can also take a controlled tow flight, to learn how the wing feels in the air. And finally, you'll be guided through your first launches and landings, with your instructor helping every step of the way via private head set communication.

The most important requirement for this phase of training is that you're thoroughly practiced at kiting the wing. You'll spend the entirety of this portion of training working with the engine on, and then actually flying. The time consuming preliminary work should already have been completed fully, at your own pace, at your location and/or ours, according to your own schedule. You need to come to the engine-on stage of training largely ready to launch, confident in your kiting skills, and fully ready to practice with the engine, and then fly. You can choose to come for as short or as long a period as needed. Come for a weekend at a time, as many times as you want, or have an instructor come visit you. There's no need to schedule one or more extended vacation trips, but you're welcome to come and receive your first instruction for as many days, or even weeks, as you choose. Schedule short or long trips according to the weather, your schedule, your budget, and your instructor's availability.

5.4 Ongoing Support

When you're done with the full course, you'll receive ongoing help and support from a teacher you know and trust. Help evaluating launch sites, weather conditions, equipment choices, etc., is invaluable as you begin your journey flying alone. Throughout the course, you'll learn from a certified instructor with many years of flying experience. You'll learn to fly safely and comfortably, at your own pace, without any rushed pressure to get through the most time consuming and critically important phases of the learning process.

5.5 Advanced Training

Once you've completed the basic course, and have some hours flying in the sky, you can continue to learn more advanced maneuvers and more about how to fly in difficult conditions, if that's where your journey takes you. Learning to perform higher G-force aerobatic moves, how to free-fly from hills without a motor, how fly in mid-day thermals, how to prepare for long distance journeys, etc., can add tremendously to your ability and the joy which comes from flying a paramotor. As with every other phase of training, you can choose to perform the training at your location, or at an instructor's site, and receive a personalized program which is right for your needs.

6. Can Paramotor Flight be Self-Taught?

Please don't try to train yourself.

7. Contact US

For more info, please see:     Clinic Details/Pricing     Clinic Prep    

If you have any questions, you can call or text any time: 215-630-6759. You'll speak with a friendly and patient instructor who's willing to spend lots of time answering every question you want to ask, before you begin any of the process. If you don't get a human answer immediately, please leave a voice or text message. Except on rare occasions, you'll get a call back the same day.

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