Most aircraft require a runway to take off and land, however powered paragliders simply attach to the pilot's back, requiring the pilot to run a few metres to take off. The landing distance is also very short.

Due to this, why would I use an airfield with a runway to take off and land at, considering only the first few metres are needed, and the pilot would be required to walk along an active runway for a long distance. Why not just use an empty field where there is no nearby traffic and you are not causing delays to flights?

Should I land/takeoff from a runway in spite of this, or simply use a suitable field within reasonable distance of the airfield? What are the regulations or best practices for this in the UK?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ These things depend heavily on the jurisdiction and related regulations for anything from rules of the air to local environmental restrictions. Which jurisdiction do you have in mind? $\endgroup$
    – Monolo
    Jul 10 '17 at 16:44
  • $\begingroup$ I would expect a lot of airfields would object to having paragliders around, as they'd mix poorly with regular traffic. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Jul 10 '17 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ This is in the UK. Powered paragliders don't normally have radios, but you could use a handheld one in theory for landing at a controlled airfield. $\endgroup$
    – user60684
    Jul 10 '17 at 17:21
  • $\begingroup$ This is a question you should ask your instructor. Paramotors are known to kill people -- the recipe against getting killed contains learning from an instructor following a syllabus of exercises, among other things. During the instruction period you should try to experience several different kinds of situations, this might include how to interact with other flying objects. $\endgroup$
    – ghellquist
    Jun 13 '18 at 19:05

In the UK a paramotor does not have to take off from an airfield. There is an explanation of the UK regulation of paramotors on the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association website. You do need the landowner's permission to take off, but you don't need any type of pilot's licence. You have to comply with the rules of the air (the ANO), as does any other flyer

Taking off from an airfield that is being used by faster aircraft (anything else with an engine is faster than a paramotor) may be a bad idea!


NOTE: My answer is US specific

Not only is there no need to operate from an airport, it is recommended not to, if there are aircraft operating from the airport. Paramotors operate (in the US) under FAR Part 103.

103.13 Operation near aircraft; right-of-way rules.

(a) Each person operating an ultralight vehicle shall maintain vigilance so as to see and avoid aircraft and shall yield the right-of-way to all aircraft.

(b) No person may operate an ultralight vehicle in a manner that creates a collision hazard with respect to any aircraft.

(c) Powered ultralights shall yield the right-of-way to unpowered ultralights.

In addition to the above,

103.15 Operations over congested areas.

No person may operate an ultralight vehicle over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons.

as well as

103.17 Operations in certain airspace.

No person may operate an ultralight vehicle within Class A, Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless that person has prior authorization from the ATC facility having jurisdiction over that airspace.

It is common to operate a paramotor from (launch from and land on) a park or other cleared field, as long as you don't launch over a large number of people. In my area of Virginia, there are some paramotor pilots who use a public park and launch themselves along an edge, so as not to fly over on-going soccer games.

  • $\begingroup$ you can not just go to a public field and take off. You need prior authorization from the owner (municipality). Remember that public is still a form of property. Should you just go on a municipal field and decide for yourself that is not crowded, then you’re trespassing and endangering. Looks like 5000$ fine. The proper way is to apply in writing. They will ask you how much area are you using. Based on that they will issue a license. You clearly mark the area in use for private event and install the windsock. However, if there are people around you should provide security. It’s complicated $\endgroup$
    – WindSoul
    Dec 30 '19 at 1:36

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