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PARAMOTOR INSTRUCTION

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WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

After completing training with Houston PPG, you'll be a competent & confident pilot who will be able to safely launch, pilot, and land your paramotor in the appropriate conditions and environment. Head instructor, Fabrizio Vittori, is a bilingual USPPA Certified powered paragliding pilot with years of experience flying and teaching others foot launch and wheel launch. 

 

Students will quickly realize that training for PPG is a life changing experience that requires total commitment. From first introductions, the student will make new friends while also realizing the time and effort to become a successful pilot. The student may also discover their own mental and physical limitations which may make it more difficult to succeed. At Houston PPG, the trainers often have to play the role of counselor, but are committed to encouraging and ensuring the students success.

The training experience is NOT a competition to see who finishes first, or who progresses the fastest. Some students will naturally learn faster than others, while other students may need special accommodations or extra training. No matter the strength or size of the pilot, the student must learn to “dance with the kite” and NOT fight against. It truly takes some finesse to master the skill.

At first glance, it may seem that the sport is dominated by male pilots. This image is furthest from the truth and we encourage everyone to come train, while we maintain a family atmosphere without any bias. The typical student body, at Houston PPG, is mixed with locals as well as people from different countries and cultural backgrounds. It is important to make everyone feel comfortable and encourage participation. We will help you make new friends.

Below is a rough syllabus, highlighting the major milestones to get through the training process. Houston PPG does NOT rush the process, nor promise that the student will be completed in 8 days or less. We teach at the pace each individual student can stand, and progress to the next step when the lead instructor feels the student can safely advance.

 

Every new student will be given a copy of the "Powered Paragliding Bible"
to supplement their training. This book covers everything about PPG including
Airspace, Do's and Don't's, Techniques, etc... The student will find that the
hands-on exercises and theory closely follow what's in the book. The book,
however, goes into greater detail for those wanting more info, or a greater
understanding to "why" somethings are taught the way they are being taught.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 1:
Training starts with kiting. During the introductory class, the student will kite utilizing a training wing (smaller than actual flying wing), to ensure safety and reduced complexity. Note: A training wing can still hurt you. “Riser kiting” is kiting without hooking into a harness. This introductory class will let the student get familiar with the forces, while adding an extra level of safety. If you think the wind will carry you away, simply let go and the wind will collapse.

Kiting the wing (or paraglider) is a crucial skill to master before you get in the air. It's like learning to fly on the ground. An aspiring pilot shall understand the kite and its many behaviors under various wind conditions. Kiting requires a lot of time getting to know the paraglider on the ground to ensure safe handling of it while in the air. Kiting exercises may seem extensive and exhausting to the new student, but is the most critical skill to master, as it directly applies to take-offs and landings. During the course of instruction, the student learns to "dance" with the kite, with a degree of finesse, instead of "fighting" with the kite using brute force. Understanding the dynamics of the kite and it's behaviors can save your life in the event of an emergency.

 

Step 2:
The student will wear a harness and connect directly to the training kite. The student will also learn how to use brake toggles to control the kite in reverse, on the beach under ideal wind conditions.

 

Step 3:
The student will learn the forward launch technique and may perform some inland training in “No wind” conditions. Prepare to do some running, so that you can get the kite to inflate.

 

Step 4:
The student will learn turning, while under the kite, simulating a reverse launch which the student will perform later.

 

Step 5:
Just as the student is feeling confident about their kiting skills, the student will probably be introduced to a full-size kite. The actual size will vary dependent on the body weight of the person. Kiting with a full-size kite can be a humbling experience, while also exhilarating. This introduces a real element of danger, in which the kite may lift the student off the ground. Without correct supervision, it can be a scary and dangerous.

Somewhere around this time, the student may want to think about purchasing their own kite, to take advantage of the training environment, and becoming intimately familiar with the actual kite they can call their own.   

 

Step 6:
The student spends time with a full size kite, repeating what they’ve learned with the smaller kite. The focus will be on turns and stability, keeping centered into the wind, and recovering collapses. These skills are critical to ground handling during take-offs and landings. The student will also most likely work with the instructor on “Tow Ups” to simulate what it’s like to get off the ground 4 or 5 feet and landing (flairing).

 

Step 7:
The student will attach the wing (kite) to a motor apparatus (not running), and become familiar with the extra weight on their back, as well as the different attachment points. The student will practice more turns and keeping the kite stable into the wind. The student may also be introduced to the simulator, so see what it feels like to turn, while in the sky, under a wing. 

 

Step 8:
Throttle Control. No kiting during this stage. The student will wear a live motor, and helmet with hearing protection and communications to feel the throttle response and thrust. The instructor will direct the student to gently let the thrust push them and practice throttle control. We don’t want the new pilot to head directly “to the moon” on their first flight. This takes a bit of finesse.

 

Step 9:
Taxi. This is an exciting day for most students, because this is where it all comes together. The student will attach to the canopy with a live motor and helmet. There’s a lot of things going on here, and the student needs to be in total concentration, and clearly communicating with the instructor through helmet communications. The student will perform a number of taxi maneuvers, under live thrust, WITHOUT taking off. The student will feel the actual lift and get “light on their feet” during this time. It is definitely a rush as we anticipate the very first solo flight.

 

Step 10:

First Flight. The student will perform the first solo flight (instructor lead) ONLY when the instructor also feels that they are ready and the student can safely execute their training. Lots of people are watching, and standing by for safety. We’re rooting on the new pilots as we all anticipate success. During the first flight the instructor will maintain communication with the student and coach them through all the controls, turns and finally the landing sequence. When the student executes the first safe landing… We all celebrate with pictures, high-fives, and maybe a few beers. You’ve earned it!

 

After the first flight, the student will complete subsequent flights under close supervision, so that the new pilot can solidify their skills and become independent. The number of flights varies, but ranges somewhere close to 50 flights. These include touch-and-go landings, and other critical skills to ensure the student has gained a solid foundation, and remain safe. Welcome to the community!

 

Caveat(s):

Training is entirely weather dependent. Houston PPG prefers to train on the beach (San Luis Pass), primarily because of the ideal wind conditions (typically between 4-11 Mph). Other bonuses include: spacious beach, unrestricted airspace, soft sand to minimize injuries, and beautiful scenery.

 

We always watch weather forecasts and monitor conditions, in real time, while on the beach with various instruments. Sometimes the forecast may call for rain in Houston, but the beach will be beautiful. Other times an unexpected storm may pop-up and we have to cancel training for the rest of the afternoon.

 

The commute and the summer heat can be difficult for some people. The Houston PPG staff usually camps on the beach, most weekends, along with other locals who just enjoy the company. Lots of people bring shade tents, folding chairs and cold drinks. Once you’ve been introduced to the community, the new student will make new friends and may also decide to stay a night or two, while training. One important item... There are NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS on the beach. People camping in trailers have very limited water and capacity. NO MOOCHING! For the novice camper… No worries. The community will offer tips, so that you stay comfortable and not leave you stranded.

 

Below are some additional areas we will cover in your training:

  • Aviation Rules

  • Appropriate Environment & Weather Conditions

  • Parts of the paraglider, frame, and engine

  • Preparing Wing

  • Avoiding tangles and getting knots out

  • Verifying clear lines

  • Hooking in

  • Pre-flight check

  • Forward Launch

  • Reverse Launch

  • Inland/Beach Kiting

  • Kiting with motor on but not running

  • Using throttle

  • Securing Equipment

  • Wing folding, stuffing and storage

  • Motor post-flight and storage

  • Emergency Protocols

  • Dangers, risks, and how to avoid them

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CONTACT US

Questions, comments, requests? Feel free to reach out. We’d love to hear from you. Use the email form below or call us at (832) 292- 5620.  Thank you for visiting our Site.

A few notes: Don't leave a voice message. The best way to contact is by calling again later, or sending a text message. The E-mail does go directly to an inbox, that is monitored regularly, but calling may still be the best option. On most weekends, the Houston PPG staff is on the beach training (Thursday - Sunday), so getting back to you may be delayed. Monday thru Weds is mostly back office work and other logistics (ordering equip. shipping, etc...) If you call, and Fabrizio doesn't answer, he may be busy on the beach with students (lots of noise), or something else. Try again later...

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