How Is a Paramotor Powered (Does It Need Gas)?

Paramotoring, also known as powered paragliding, is a form of ultralight aviation where the pilot wears a motor on his back to provide enough thrust to take off. Unlike traditional paragliding, no assistance is necessary. The engine used could be a 2-stroke, 4-stroke, or electric.
How Is a Paramotor Powered

Table of Contents

All paramotors need gas and use regular unleaded fuel. Some engines may require the addition of a quality 2-stroke oil. Your manufacturer will indicate if any fuel and oil mixture is necessary and in what ratio.

What Is a Paramotor Motor?

The motor is a device that combines either a two-stroke or a four-stroke engine with a harness and a large fan which makes it a powered paraglider. Compared to traditional paragliding, you can take off without assistance and have a longer flight time due to the motor’s propeller.

There are different motors, a gas engine which is the most popular, and an electric motor which is typically heavier than the first.

You’ll need enough space and distance to take off when flying a paramotor to gain enough speed to ascent. The equipment you’ll use will depend on your flying style. In tandem paragliding, larger motors are preferable to have enough power to carry multiple people.

How Does a Paramotor Engine Work?

A paramotor engine provides enough thrust to take off from ground level. It also helps you remain airborne considerably longer than traditional paragliding could. Choosing an engine will depend on your overall flying technique. There are three main types:

  • Two-Stroke Engine: This engine is most popular because it is more versatile, lightweight, and has a more efficient power-to-weight ratio.
  • Four-Stroke Engine: This engine is more fuel-efficient than the first one but provides less power. As a result, it best fits paramotor enthusiasts who do cross-country travels.
  • Electric Engine: This engine will give you about 50 minutes of flight time because of the limited amount of battery it can carry, but it is typically lighter than most engines.

These engines have their own pros and cons, but all require frequent maintenance to lessen the chance of your engine going out while you’re airborne. You will want one that best suits your needs, and you have intimate knowledge of and experience using.

How Much Power Does a Paramotor Have?

The power of a paramotor will depend on the motor’s thrust strength. You can identify this by checking your current body weight and how large your desired equipment is. Here’s a further breakdown:

  • Bodyweight: You can estimate how much thrust you’ll gain by checking your body mass and using 15 horsepower for the first 70 kilos (154 lbs). Then, add one additional horsepower for every 5 kilos (11 lbs) after.
  • Equipment Size: Although a heavy motor may have more power, it doesn’t mean it can’t be an inconvenience if you can’t carry the equipment. Go for a less weighty paramotor if you are on the lighter side.
  • Wing Size: There should be proper distribution of weight in all parts of your paramotor. It makes sure that you’ll have a less bumpy ride while airborne.
  • Flying Style: Lighter motors are more fuel-efficient but have less power. It’s perfect for covering long distances. Heavier engines are preferable if you like having more thrust.

The best advice is to choose a motor that’s right for your needs. The factors we’ve shared will affect your rate of climb, and you’ll want at least 200 feet per minute (1 m/s).

How Much Horsepower Does a Paramotor Need?

Most paramotors produce between 14 to 30 horsepower. Anything within this range should give you enough power to climb quickly. As shared previously, your current weight and size of equipment are primary factors that will help with the overall thrust.

Every paramotor in the market indicates its horsepower. When choosing a paramotor, ask for a specialist to guide you and better understand what’s best for you.

What Is the Most Powerful Paramotor Engine?

The paramotor with the higher horsepower available is the Parajet Cyclone Rotron with 294cc and an incredible 40-horsepower engine. It has more power than any other paramotor available as of this writing. It also makes less noise than a 2-stroke engine, perfect for flying.

Vittorazi Moster 185 is also another contender and most popular among paramotor enthusiasts. It has a horsepower of 25 with a thrust of 78 kg (172 lbs) at 8500RPM. Although not as powerful as the Parajet, it is also highly reliable and low maintenance.

How Much Is a Paramotor Engine?

The usual price range of a paramotor, on average, is between $7000 to $9000. It does not include the training, maintenance, the paramotor wing, and other costs. Factors such as how long the paramotor can stay in the air, how much horsepower it has, and the quality of materials affect its price entirely.

You can purchase a secondhand paramotor. However, it’s not recommendable unless you have previous experience and knowledge about a paramotor’s equipment. The price range is typically around $4000 and may depend on how old the model is and how used it has been.

Why Are Paramotor Engines So Expensive?

Paramotor engines are high-quality materials created to launch you from the ground, keep you airborne, and land you safely. Manufacturers use the best technology and construction material to provide an unmatched flying experience. It is no wonder that they cost so much.

Cheaper, less-reliable engines are also available but come with risk factors. For example, you don’t want to experience an engine failure right after taking off.

What Instruments to Buy with Paramotor

You may be wondering if a motor’s price range includes all its equipment, and the answer is no. These are all sold separately. The sport is expensive, but you can’t afford to fly without any of these as it adds a safety wall while airborne.

  • Wings: It won’t be possible to fly without a paramotor’s wings. The usual price range in the market is around $2500 to $5000. Typically, the more advanced your skill level is, the more expensive the wing is.
  • Harness: It is what keeps you secured and safe while flying. The average harness will cost around $250 to $500.
  • Helmet: Depending on the type of helmet you prefer, it varies from $150 to $350. Helmets in the higher price range have an eyeshield with them.
  • Radio: You’ll need a radio to communicate with other pilots. Some may require a license, but it generally costs about $90 for five years.
  • Strobe Light: It is a piece of essential equipment to have to keep your visibility clear, especially when it is almost sunset. You can also use this as a signal to other pilots. The average price is around $180.
  • Altimeter: An altimeter will help you check your current altitude. These are essential when flying near airspace restrictions and following minimum height laws. The usual price is around $150 to $300.
  • Flight Suit: A flight suit can keep your body protected from the wind and cold. The cost is around $50, but you are free to select clothes of your choice.
  • Hour Meter: It helps keep track of how many hours you’re flying to measure your progress and the functionality of your equipment. It is usually available in the market for $50 to $80.
  • Flotation Device: Beginners can usually skip this one, but anyone will need this if you’re flying over a body of water. The usual price range is around $180 to $300.

Flying a paramotor can be expensive, but it’s worth the investment. It’ll keep you protected and help you focus on the experience.

What are the Running Costs of Paramotor?

The usual running costs of a paramotor after purchasing equipment are maintenance, fuel, and training. Maintenance costs typically range from $90 to $1000 based on paramotor needs. On the other hand, fuel costs around $150 for 18 liters depending on the type.

Training is an additional running cost to consider if you wish to obtain licensure and a certificate to fly in advanced areas or become a paramotor expert. Paramotor training will usually cost you around $1500 to $3500, depending on the quality and level of instruction.

How Long Does a Paramotor Engine Last?

A well-maintained paramotor engine can last you up to 5 to 10 years based on usage. An old paramotor has around 400 flying hours, while anything under 200 hours is considered new. Some parts of the engine may also wear faster than others. Here are some pro-tips for maintaining your paramotor engine.

  • Maintenance Checks every 100 hours: Some would say 25, depending on where you flew and how long you used it.
  • Propellers Are Fragile: Put them away from the ground, and clean them from sand and dust.
  • Check the Integrity of the Wing every 100 hours:  The wing’s lifespan is more limited than a paramotor engine, and the material quality declines over time.
  • Replace Harness after about 200 hours of flight time: You can replace the buckles and clips as needed.

A 4-stroke engine will usually last longer than a 2-stroke engine mainly because it uses less power, hence less wear. However, a 2-stroke engine also has a poor lubrication system that causes rattling.

What Happens if a Paramotor Fails?

If a paramotor engine fails while you are in the air, depending on wind conditions, the wing may surge forward, and you’ll start to descend. Again, it’s critical to remain calm. You will still have control of the canopy, and you can attempt to restart the engine. Decide wisely and quickly where to land.

Avoid Paramotor Failure with these tips:

  • Thoroughly Check Equipment before and after flying: It may sound like a lot of hard work, but it helps identify potential problems that lead to engine failure.
  • Plan Several Landing Spots: You must always plan your flight and prepare several landing spots in case of emergency. You want an area without any obstacles.
  • Practice Your Landing with a professional or a friend: It will help you gain skills in spot landings and keep you safer and more prepared.
  • Avoid Flying Low: Don’t fly low on areas you wouldn’t want to land. To put it simply, it’s dangerous. You wouldn’t have enough time to react if you only got a few feet left before hitting the ground.
  • Check Your Fuel: Ensure it’s within the manufacturer’s recommendations and the correct ratio.
  • General Maintenance: A well-maintained paramotor will lengthen its lifespan and keep you safe in the long run.

2-stroke engines are at more risk because of several reported engine failures. 4-stroke engines, on the contrary, are becoming more popular because of their reliability.

What Fuel Does a Paramotor Use?

In a nutshell, all paramotors run on regular unleaded fuel. Some professional paramotor pilots use a special kind of fuel to enhance engine performance, but it’s not necessarily required. Since all engines vary, you’ll have to rely on the user manual to identify the correct ratio. Here’s a quick breakdown of fuel use and mixing for each engine.

  • 2-Stroke Engine: This type doesn’t have its own lubrication system. There is a vital need to mix 100% fully synthetic oil with unleaded fuel.
  • 4-Stroke Engine: It is pretty straightforward, and just like in a car, oil is added to the engine to lubricate. There is no need to mix it with the fuel.
  • Ethanol-Blended Fuel: Using this type of fuel wouldn’t be a problem presuming you use it within a few days. Though, it will affect the overall quality of your motor if it stays for a long time. Because it absorbs water, it starts to create rust.
  • Octane Fuel: Use this only if needed. Basically, high octane fuel burns more efficiently and performs better in engines that require it.
  • Avgas: It is for old-style aircraft engines and may not be apt for modern motors. A common problem with this is the lead deposit which causes excessive wear to the engine.

Overall, focus on following the manufacturer’s recommendation. Just because it’s more popular doesn’t mean it’s better for your engine model.

How Do You Fuel a Paramotor?

Always begin by identifying which fuel to use and if there is any mixture necessary based on the manufacturer’s recommendation. Next, you’ll need a few pieces of equipment to fuel your paramotor.

  • Mixing Bottle: You’ll need a sealed bottle to mix fuel and oil. Avoid using an open container as it will collect dirt much quicker. A clean and pure mixture contributes to the engine’s performance and lifespan.
  • Siphon: It is a tube that allows fuel to get into the paramotor tank and out of it. There is also an additional tube that lets air out to avoid a vacuum forming inside.
  • Fuel Tank: It is recommended to have two fuel tanks, one 5 gallons, the other 2 gallons. Doing this will avoid degrading the lubricating properties of the oil. When not in use, store them in a cool, dark place, and label them to know how old the fuel is and if it needs replacement.

Based on the experience of many paramotor pilots, it is always best to mix small quantities of oil and fuel just before use and not to store it for more than two weeks, no matter what kind of gasoline it is. It could cause the oil to separate from the gas, lessening the lubrication.

How Much Fuel Does a Paramotor Hold?

A paramotor can hold up to 3 gallons (11 liters) of fuel. So, for instance, if you’re flying in perfect weather conditions and only burning fewer than a gallon (1.5 liters) per hour, 4 gallons (15 liters) would keep you in the air for about 9 hours! But of course, that’s never the case.

A paramotor won’t necessarily need a larger fuel tank because it’s contingent on weather conditions. However, it will also add weight, affecting your overall flying experience.

Can You Fly Longer with More Fuel?

More fuel doesn’t necessarily mean longer flying time. Factors such as the air temperature, wind speed and direction, type of wings, choice of engine, and your method of flying all contribute to your overall flying time.

  • Air Temperature: The current air temperature can affect how much fuel you use during your flight.
  • Wind Speed and Direction: You’ll use more fuel if the wind goes against you. To maximize your flight, you can plan your flight path based on the wind pattern.
  • Type of Wings: A good wing glide ration would require less thrust to stay afloat, resulting in low fuel consumption.
  • Choice of Engine: As mentioned before, a 2-stroke engine is more fuel-efficient compared to a 4-stroke engine.
  • Method of Flying: The more turns you do, the more fuel you burn, as simple as that.
  • Overall Weight: Heavy means more power is needed, hence more fuel. You can use this to your advantage by proper weight distribution and getting the right equipment.

It’s always a good idea to plan your flight path before taking off. As you consider all these factors, you are allowing yourself to maximize your flying experience.

How Much Gas Does a Paramotor Use?

The amount of gas a paramotor uses will also depend on the burning rate of the engine. For most, this is 1.5 to 3 liters per hour (0.4–0.8 gal/hr). But, again, it’s highly reliant on your overall weight, wind speed and direction, choice of engine, method of flying, and type of wings.

You’ll have to plan your flight and check the current weather pattern so you can chart your path most productively. By lessening turns, you can reach farther while saving more gas.

How Far Can a Paramotor Fly on a Tank of Gas?

A paramotor can travel about 200 miles (322 kilometers) on one fuel tank. If you plan to do long-distance paramotoring, you’ll prepare yourself by planning your route and looking at different refueling and resting stations. For example, a professional pilot would increase their fuel capacity on a flight with knowledge of the weather and wind direction.

You also have an option to add your tank capacity, but you’ll have to recalculate how efficient your overall weight is to power and fuel use.

You also have an option to increase the paramotor range without giving up power and momentum by switching to a trike paramotor. It can support heavy weight and has a large fuel tank capacity. Generally, a trike paramotor pilot’s standard flight time is about 5 hours.

What Happens if a Paramotor Runs Out of Gas?

If your paramotor runs out of gas while in midair, your engine will stop working, and you will start to glide. Then, your paramotor will begin to descend based on the current wind speed and direction. At this point, plan your landing spot, ensuring there aren’t any obstacles in the way.

To avoid this, here are a few things to observe and check before flying your paramotor:

  • Tighten the head nut when the motor is cold.
  • Check spark plug within the first 5 to 10 hours.
  • Inspect for any oil, grease, or gas leakage.
  • Tighten the screws, bolts, and nuts.
  • Examine the durability of the rubber mounting and belt tension.

Another helpful tip is to have an hour meter with you. An hour meter will help you know how long you are flying. It is a recommended instrument as you begin your paramotor journey as it allows you to measure fuel efficiency and mileage by the hour.

What Oil Does a Paramotor Use?

Many oils are available in the market; some are more premium than others. Cheap oils don’t do good for your engine in the long run, while expensive oils don’t mean it’s fair either. Shared below are the most recommended oils amongst paramotor enthusiasts.

  • Amsoil Dominator: It does an impeccable job protecting high-performance engines and guaranteed safe for racing teams.
  • Motul 800 2T or 710 2T: These are 100% synthetic lubricants and precisely engineered, with excellent oil film resistance to protect against wear.
  • Red Line. It prevents carbon deposits with high-temperature stability and is a favorite among racing enthusiasts.
  • Motorex: It is a fully synthetic high-performance engine oil for 2-stroke motors.
  • Castrol Power: It is also a fully synthetic high-performance 2-cycle mode motor oil with motor-racing technology. It’s perfect for all modern 2-cycle engines with separate and mixed lubrication.

Use 100% fully synthetic oil for your engines as it is more resistant to heat. Overheated oils cannot lubricate and affect the overall quality of the motor. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendation when mixing oils, as it is different for every engine.

Choosing a Paramotor

Choosing a paramotor will depend on various factors, but mainly to help you get the best flying experience possible. You also want a paramotor that can adjust to your skill level progress. To help you with that, check out some pro tips below.

  • Thrust Power: Your first goal is to launch seamlessly. Next, consider your current body weight and engine power to know how much thrust power you’ll need. For instance, allow 15 horsepower for the first 70 kilos (154 lbs) and add one horsepower for every 5 kilos (11 lbs). It will help determine your engine requirement.
  • Select a Motor: An electric motor is suitable when turning on an engine after thermalling as it is easier, but it is heavier than a manual motor.
  • Type of Flying: Paramotor enthusiasts enjoy different forms of staying airborne. For instance, cross country is for long distances. Thermalling is for higher gliding. It is also for those who’d like to perform tricks. Deciding how you’d like to fly will help you choose which paramotor is best for you.
  • Weight of Paramotor: A lighter motor may be fuel-efficient but not provide as much power. Conversely, a heavier engine may have more thrust but may lose fuel fast.
  • Maintenance: You’ll want to choose a paramotor that is low maintenance but offers high functionality.
  • Clutched or Non-Clutched: Non-clutched paramotors are generally safer when landing, but it is harder to turn on the engine when on air. With a clutch, the propeller will not spin when the motor is idle, and you can add more power to help it start after thermalling.
  • Practical: You’ll want to choose a paramotor that you can easily transport. You won’t want a paramotor that’ll take long to set up. It’s time-efficient to select one that is easy to assemble and disassemble.
  • Choose a Quality Paramotor: You’ll want to avoid buying secondhand items unless you have thoroughly checked them and have knowledge of the equipment. Instead, invest in a paramotor from good manufacturers, and never settle for one only because it’s cheap as it may cost you your safety.

It’s always a good idea to join forums and community groups on social media and ask questions about a paramotor of your choice. When selecting a paramotor, you’ll want something that will last many years as you progress in the sport.

Best Paramotor to Buy

There are a lot of good qualifying paramotors in the market, but not all of them will best fit your flying style. You want to choose a paramotor that you can trust, will not need a lot of maintenance, and will get you in the air and to the ground safely.

Best Paramotors

  • EOS 100 Booster: It provides an incredible amount of power for a small engine. Fuel consumption of 4 liters (1 gallon) per hour.
  • Simonini Mini 2+: An ideal all-rounder, great for trike and quad pilots and single-seat microlight pilots.
  • Vittorazi Moster 185: Most popular engine amongst pilots. Low maintenance, highly reliable, and vigorous.
  • Minari F1: A good choice for those looking for a good throttle response with heaps of power.
  • Miniplane Top 80: A light engine and highly fuel-efficient, perfect for cross-country paramotoring.
  • Exomo Electric Paramotor: This engine provides 70 kg (154 lbs) of thrust and allows for short dynamic flights. In addition, it offers the most reliable electric propulsion on the market.

Selecting an engine will depend on your current weight and desired thrust. As a rough guide, paramotor enthusiasts use the 30/70 percent rule. It means using a paramotor not more than 30% of your body weight and a thrust no less than 70% of the same weight.