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Wheel launchable paramotors into the SPHG definition?

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  • Wheel launchable paramotors into the SPHG definition?

    Please note - I am just the messenger. If you have opinions, please direct them to the address in the message. The message comes from Francis Rich.

    2. We have formed a steering group to try to include wheel launchable paramotors into the SPHG definition. This would mean sub 70kg paramotor "trikes" would become flyable under existing paramotor rules.
    What we want to know is how many pilots would vote in favour of such a change and how many would be against it. What their reasons would be either way.
    We need people to collect this information in your local groups and send it to me so I can collate it and present it.

    Can anyone take that up in their local flying circles? email me trikes at jfdiuk dot com

  • #2
    Wheel launchable paramotors into the SPHG definition?

    BMAA proposed as part of the ANO consultation that Paramotors with removeable wheel adaptions should be deregulated for training / licensing.

    This definition ensures that they are essentially the same handling and speed as the footlaunched paramotor.

    It is possible to make much heavier faster types - some very small speed skiing wings are appearing with 60MPH plus capability which could be fitted onto trikes with high power motors and have similar performance to other regulated microlights. These we don't feel should be deregulated for training and licensing - for the same reasons we have training and licensing on other microlight types.

    Paul

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    • #3
      Wheel launchable paramotors into the SPHG definition?

      Yes, I'm all for this. I would be happy to see a limit on wing loading to avoid the issues Paul mentions. Mind you I think we almost need that now for foot launch with the crazy attempts to fly pocket hankerchiefs on ludicrously powerful motors.

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      • #4
        Wheel launchable paramotors into the SPHG definition?

        All for it.
        Reason I renewed my licence and went Microlight 10 years ago, was that my back objected to my Paramotor and the CAA decree was that whilst one could land on wheels even using a roller skate for take off meant it was classed as a microlight and thus regulated.
        Never could understand that discrepancy

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        • #5
          Wheel launchable paramotors into the SPHG definition?

          I am trying to do the maths to see what the smallest wing you could attach to a craft whose maximum weight, fully fuelled without the pilot, is less than 70kg and whose slow flight speed is less than 35kts.

          Using the standard lift equation I am getting a figure of around 10 to 12 sq metres. Is that about right? If so the maximum speed of such a craft must also be calculable? Current fastest footlaunch paramotors are achieving 50mph top speed.

          With a paraglider the thrust line is so far below the chord line that however much power you apply the craft will not travel faster only climb faster, or power stall?

          It seems to me (as a layman not an aero-engineer) that the existing limits in the SPHG definition make the "is footlaunched" clause redundant in limiting the performance of a sub 70kg sub 35kts stall speed craft?

          Would love some help in firming up the physics to make a strong argument. Or be shown that the "is footlaunched" clause does have some limiting effect over the other clauses.

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          • #6
            Wheel launchable paramotors into the SPHG definition?

            Not sure I understand the 35 knots thing in relavence to this. In order to petition for no training requirement you need to be miles away from that or you have no argument to be treated any differently to any other microlight.

            The arguments for being treated differently should revolve around very low energy and potential speeds so that it is difficult to kill yourself. This is the funamental concept around foot launched powered being deregulated for licensing. Low speeds also reassure the authorities that you will be flying predominantly local flights and be low risk of airspace infringement.

            Hence a definition of a foot launched device with attachments that allow it to be wheel launched ticks most of those boxes. Intrinsically.

            With a flexwing a wing loading of up to 40kg/ can meet the 35 knot stall speed limit, and I can't see any reason why a para wing should have a lower lift coefficient? - so at 70kg as in your example and allowing for pilot and fuel being 180kg that would be only 4.5 sq M - such a wing would be very fast and twitchy - the small speed para wings at present ca barrel roll at will with a modest tug on the brake lines so not really the sort of craft to convince CAA that they should be flyable without training..

            Paul

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            • #7
              Wheel launchable paramotors into the SPHG definition?

              Do we not just need the words "must be foot launched" removed from the definition in the Ano?

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              • #8
                Wheel launchable paramotors into the SPHG definition?

                Paul the 35 knots is the current ANO definition of an SPHG an aircraft comprising
                aerofoil wing and a mechanical propulsion device which
                a) is footlaunched
                b) has a stall speed or minimum steady state speed of less than 35kts calibrated airspeed and
                c) has a maximum unladen mass, including full fuel, of less than 70 kg

                My questions is what difference does removing the clause a) make to what is possible to create under that (remaining) definition

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                • #9
                  Wheel launchable paramotors into the SPHG definition?

                  John, sorry if this appears pedantic but the SPHG definition does not say "must be footlaunched" it says "is footlaunched" and the semantics are important for enforcement. At present, provided the aircraft can be footlaunched and is footlaunched (passive infinitive tense) on some ongoing basis then it is, semantically, within a legitimate (in English) interpretation of the letter of that law. Whether that was the intended spirit could only be determined by a judge if there were a prosecution. Some are absolutely adamant that such a defence would fail, others are sufficiently sure it would succeed that they regularly fly a footlaunchable paramotor from wheels, quite openly, without any expectation or hint of enforcement action.

                  Many more are seeing this and asking "so what, if anything, does the clause 'is footlaunched' bring to the party?"

                  The result is that there are now many places selling and training on the use of these craft and this training is without any oversight or standardisation. If the clause "is footlaunched" were removed or interpreted by CAA enforcement as meaning "is able to be footlaunched" then there are at least 10 BHPA regulated training establishments who could offer standaradised training virtually overnight.

                  Other legal problems with the ANO definition include the fact that the term "foot-launched" or even "launched" hos no specific definition in the ANO so can only be interpreted as having the meaning in "general usage" and, in paragliding, the term "launch" often is applied to a wing being inflated it prior to take-off. i.e. we teach forward and reverse launch without actually taking off.
                  Enforcement is rather problematic until precedent is set by a case and a judgement.

                  From a common sense perspective a paramotor flies excatly the same performance whether it takes off from wheels or on foot (or a combination as with powered hang gliders) so why have the distinction and the resulting loss of training opportunities to regulated schools whilst unregulated ones take all the growing market share?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wheel launchable paramotors into the SPHG definition?

                    Ian what limit of wing loading would you set? I have approached that from the other end of the lift equation and, if my calcs are correct, the existing definition already limits this to 10 or 12 square metres (assuming a pilot of 100kg that would be 170kg per 10 sq metres or 17kg per sq metre, is that any where near your ball park?)

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                    • #11
                      Wheel launchable paramotors into the SPHG definition?

                      Sorry Paul I didnt read your response carefully enough. You calculate less than half the wing size I do. I need to look at my numbers again.

                      Although even a 10 metre wing takes some "flying" but is footlaunchable.

                      Looking at it the other way if a 4.5 metre wing was proved to be footlaunchable then the same logic would apply, if it can be foot launched why preclude its launch from wheels.

                      But I do not think, in your example of a 4.5 metre wing, you would find enough power to supply that tiny wing with a 70kg power plant limit (including wing, frame harness and fuel) (not with anything currently available).

                      We are currently flying 20 to 25 metre wings at up to 50mph top speed from foot launch. The development of smaller faster but with footlaunchable slow speeds is very rapid at present.

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                      • #12
                        Wheel launchable paramotors into the SPHG definition?

                        Sorry Francis. I remember about the "is footlaunched" part now. Surely everything else works. Let's just try and get that removed and keep it simple. That said, what are your views on 2 seaters?

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                        • #13
                          Wheel launchable paramotors into the SPHG definition?

                          2 place foot launched is invaluable for training. Just like tandem PG is for teaching soaring.
                          2 place paramotor from wheels makes the launch much safer than on foot. However I feel that a higher level of training should be imposed (both powered and unpowered tandem) even for sub 70kg craft. Possibly restricting use for genuine training of solo pilots?

                          I acknowledge it is problematic when it comes to non pilots in the P2 place but no more so than tandem PG and probably safer.

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                          • #14
                            Wheel launchable paramotors into the SPHG definition?

                            I wish you every success. It's always seemed a silly rule to me.

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                            • #15
                              Wheel launchable paramotors into the SPHG definition?

                              It's all about energy and that's a consistent approach throughout aviation - and is used to determine level of oversight and regulation.

                              Foot launched is a very neat way of ensuring low wing loading and hence low energy, which inherently makes it harder to kill yourself, and makes it the lowest tier in aviation risk hierarchy and hence why it is unregulated ( in UK at least).

                              Add wheels and flight is capable at significantly higher wing loadings, speed and energy. And having wheels it's much easier fir someone without any training to open the throttle and get airborne in a craft that can kill them much more easily.

                              Hence such craft generally attract regulation in the form of mandatory training and licensing - all pretty logical.

                              So in order to petition to remove the requirement for training / licensing this basic problem needs addressing - how do you safeguard against this potential risk?

                              What is being offered to cover this seems to be a 70kg max empty weight? - but does it really cover it? Wing weights for small wings are only 3kg or so, and a trike can be made for 20kg leaving 45kg or so for motor - a small rotary or tuned two stroker of well over 50hp is more than feasible at this sort of figure. Would make an exciting craft. But where is the argument that it is so much easier or inherently safer than other microlights that it warrants deregulating from training?

                              So this is why theBMAA's thinking was to define something that intrinsically has no more energy than a paramotor - by it being a foot launch able paramotor with a wheeled attachment, that then can be argued as needing no more regulation for training than in paramotor guise.

                              There may be other ways to achieve the same thing - but it needs to effectively rule out development of fast high energy and difficult to handle craft.

                              And it's set against a tough background - CAA were only recently considering mandating training and testing for paramotor pilots after an air prox incident that raised a few eyebrows. BMAA beat that one back, but the concern about unlicensed pilots could resurface and make expansion arguments tough.

                              Paul

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