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The Best Paramotor Training School in the USA

Updated: May 15

In the United States, a pilot's license is not required to fly powered paragliders. However, training is recommended to ensure safety and compliance with all applicable regulations under FAA FAR-103.

The United States Powered Paragliding Associations, or the USPPA, offers instructor ratings and a standardized syllabus to train paramotor students to pilot ratings of PPG1, PPG2, and PPG3. The rating system involves written and practical tests administered by a USPPA rated Instructor. Ratings are separate for foot-launch, trike, and tandem for both pilots and instructors.

The Aero-Sports Connection, or the ASC, offers ultralight pilot ratings for paramotorists, students, and instructors. The ASC also offers ratings for other ultralight vehicles, including trikes and tandems. The ASC is an excellent source for syllabus training for powered paragliding and offers resources for Federal Aviation Administration exemption management and additional ultralight vehicle operation. Both the ASC and the USPPA are a good start to begin evaluating a paramotor school for your training.

You can search for instructors and schools in your area of the country. You can also look for schools in areas that allow for "vacation" training - beaches and areas with predictable, steady, low winds and clear skies area able to condense training into a 7-10 day program. The downside to destination training is that your local weather may be more varied than the destination. For that reason, a school or instructor with extended support, for when you get home, is ideal. Some instructors will travel to you - just be certain you understand the consts you'll be expected to cover for that service.

As of 2024, the average training costs from beginner to a PPG2 equivalent rating area $2500 to $3500 per student, not including your equipment. Some schools offer equipment for you to use while training, but many of the smaller schools and individual instructors do not keep school-use motors or wings on hand. Some schools may offer a school motor and you only need to purchase a wing for training. Wings are based on your individual fly weight, so this is the most cost-effective way to support students in training before you have your own gear.

While instructors enjoy some friendly competition amongst themselves, be wary of an instructor who trash talks other instructors. Similarly, Any persons who needs to declare themselves better than everyone else, or who proclaims to be a "champion," is an instructor who fears allowing their actions to speak for themselves. There is not one paramotor competition to declare a champion definitively - there are races, kiting wars, and acrobatics events that come with bragging rights, but no judges or champions.

When you start looking into instructors, narrow your decisions by the factors that you value. IS the instructor near you? What is the overall time frame of training? Does the school offer ratings at all? USPPA or ASC? Is there support after you graduate training, when you are flying on your own? What equipment do you need to purchase for training?

You also need to understand the instructor and the training program. Call and talk to them over the phone. Ask your questions. Not every instructor is a good match for every student, so see if your mesh well with the instructor.

An instructor should offer ground school, including an airspace review, and some kind of achievement benchmarks, such as the organizational ratings. You should have a training plan, so you can see what topics and skills will be covered and in what order. Most US instructors will refer to the Powered Paragliding Bible by Jeff Goin. While there are more books and options, Goin updates the PPG Bible with industry and regulation changes. Your training program should include a copy of Goin's PPG Bible or a similar publication.

The instructor you choose should push you to learn a new skill, but never pressure you to go beyond your hard limits. The best paramotor training program in the country is the one that suits your needs the best.

Here, I will make the argument for training with Wichita Paramotor in a paragraph of shameless self-promotion. Our USPPA rated instructors have cooperative relationships with other instructors and training programs. We offer school motors for student use, and we have kiting wings for ground-handling practice. Students order a personalized wing before training begins, so once your are comfortable inflating and handling a wing on the ground, you can begin training on the first wing you will fly on your own. We offer discounts if you purchase your equipment through us, and we represent several wing and paramotor brands, or we can help you select the right gear for yourself through other channels. Our instructors are with you from ground school to your PPG 2 ratings, and up to a year after your accomplishment for anything you need - additional training, refreshers, questions, new challenges, and even just reassurance. Additionally, all students are automatically lifetime members of the ICT PPG Flight Club, where you have more pilots and experts to fly with and make friends. The weather in Kansas is varied enough to prepare you for flight in any safe conditions and we fly year-round, including winter vacation training at beach destinations. We would love to be your choice of paramotor training programs, and even if you train with someone else, check out our gear shop!

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