PARAMOTORING

PARAGLIDING IS A relatively new airsport and flying a canopy with a backpack motor is even newer. It is growing rapidly in popularity because it is cheap, can be carried out from any open space and does not require a pilot licence.

PARAGLIDING IS A relatively new airsport and flying a canopy with a backpack motor is even newer. It is growing rapidly in popularity because it is cheap, can be carried out from any open space and does not require a pilot licence. So what is to stop any cowboy from making a dangerous and noisy nuisance of himself and bringing flying generally into disrepute?

When foot launched powered aircraft (FLPA's), which include powered paragliders, were deregulated a few years ago by the CAA, the BHPA and BMAA jointly introduced training systems and codes of practice to guide the newcomers. Noel Whittall's book now covers just about every aspect of paramotoring from regulated airspace rules to suitable flying weather for such slow aircraft, as well as the whole process of learning to fly, including the need to be taught by a qualified instructor. To deal with so big a subject in 190 pages, even in a large format book, means that some items, like Met, may become oversimplified. This risks losing precision but, usefully, the author recommends Tom Bradbury's Meteorology and Flight in his list of Further Reading.

Paramotoring is a book to be firstly read straight through to get a feel of what is involved. After that the items of immediate importance can be carefully studied, such as take off techniques, inspecting the engine, wake turbulence or whatever. A big advantage of this book is that it has page margins wide enough for written notes, queries, or page references. The reader should use them to emphasise anything found important. This is a valuable instruction book and the reader’s own notes in it can only be useful.

Paramotoring is well laid out, easy to understand, and fully illustrated. There are a few items, such as 'speed bar', which do not appear in the index and one or two minor typo slips. Nevertheless, this is a comprehensive and very useful book which deserves to be kept handy by anyone thinking of flying powered paragliders. Ann Welch.