Ever since I was a little kid, I dreamed of flying. My first attempt around age 8, resembled an oversized kite made of tree branches and black plastic. Needless to say It was an unsuccessful attempt at flight, and fortunately for me, the hills near where I grew up weren’t very steep. Since then my desire to fly has only grown stronger, and I have gained the knowledge and saved up enough money to enter the world of powered paragliding (ppg).
To me there is no other feeling like flying. It is the most natural and mind freeing sensation there is. I do enjoy flying in planes (both large and small), but the openness and simplicity of flying a paramotor is second to none. I look forward to new and future forms of flying that allow for even greater freedom, but for now, ppg is pretty darn good.
If nothing else, I think you will enjoy watching the video - even if you have no desire to fly, build a "flying machine", or read an instructable about building a flying machine.
Whats the Point?
Paramotoring is primarily done for recreation, however there are a number of practical uses for paramotors. Search and rescue teams have used paramotors for getting into remote areas and flying low to the ground in searches, the Florida Police department utilizes paramotors for beach patrol, they are used for aerial photography, and videography, they are used for advertising, and for entertaining spectators among others things.
How much and How difficult?
Since buying a rather expensive paramotor and taking a number of lessons, I have come to realize how simple paramotors really are. They may appear complicated at first glance, but they are really just a combination of multiple simple pieces that work together.
I built the Frame, Harness, Throttle, Reserve Parachute deployment bag, and Fuel system in under two weeks of evenings and weekends while working a full-time job.
Excluding the engine, propellor, reserve parachute, and parglider (the stuff most people cant make themselves), the project cost under $200 USD. The things I didn't build range broadly based on new/used from $2000 - $5000+ USD
This instructable is meant to be an overview of how I went about making my own paramotor, and to hopefully give others some ideas and inspiration for creating their own (or even just to get people interested in and aware of the sport). A good deal of experience with similar construction techniques is highly recommended as is a good deal of time and patience. Cost is highly variable, however, for this demonstration, I am attempting to do everything for the least possible cost.
I constantly find myself printing out templates from my computer, spray mounting them to plastic, pressboard, foam, and other materials and cutting everything out by hand. I would also love to have something that would cut fabrics for some of the composite and textile projects that I work on. Beyond that, I enjoy making stencils for spraying t-shirts, and graphics onto the stuff I build. Because of this, I would like to be entered into the 4th Epilog laser contest. I am hopeful that this project is viewed by others with as much enthusiasm as I have for making stuff, and for personal flight.
Step 1: Safety and Training
The first and most important thing when considering getting involved in the sport is training. It doesn't matter how safe your equipment is, proper training makes all the difference in the world.
That being said, paramotoring is arguably the safest current form of recreational aviation out there.
Nevertheless, I do not recommend attempting to enter this sport without training. If you can find an instructor who offers training by the lesson vs. a lump fee – Training can be quite inexpensive for those who are dedicated and willing to rehearse what is taught between lessons. Aside from the obvious safety risks associated with not getting proper training – people have scared themselves out of wanting to fly because of bad attempts to “self train.”
Some people never go back to it as a result of bad experiences.
So, bottom line: GET PROPER TRAINING!
My best attempt at a legal disclaimer:
The reader of this instructable should be aware that flying of any type can be very dangerous to the pilot and anyone else nearby. They should also be aware that the material published here is by no means a substitute for proper training or paramotor safety education. Before attempting to replicate any portion of the following project, a thorough understanding of the sport, its fundamental principles, and the equipment necessary to participate in such a sport should be properly obtained and exercised. The author of this article is in no way responsible for the use or interpretation of the following information. The information is intended only as documentation of the authors work, and in no way suggests that others will have similar outcomes by attempting to replicate said work.