Paramotor is a generic name for the propulsive portion of a powered paraglider ("PPG"). It consists of a frame that combines the motor, propeller, harness (with integrated seat) and cage. It provides two attachment points for the risers of a paraglider wing that allows for powered flight.
The term was first used by Englishman Mike Byrne in 1980 and popularized in France around 1986 when La Mouette began adapting power to the then-new paraglider wings.
Pilots who fly these engage in paramotoring, also known as powered paragliding.
The engines used are almost exclusively small two-stroke internal combustion types, between 80cc and 350cc, that burn mixed gasoline and oil. These engines are favored for their high output power and light weight and use approximately 3.7 litres (1 US Gal.) of fuel per hour depending on paraglider efficiency, weight of motor plus pilot and conditions. At least one manufacturer is producing a 4-stroke model. Electrically powered units are on the horizon. Csaba Lemak created the first electric PPG, flying it first on June 13, 2006. Flight duration for electrics is considerably shorter. Wankel rotary enginedparamotors are also available, but rare.
The pilot controls thrust via a hand-held throttle and steers using the paraglider's brake toggles similar to sport parachutists. Paramotor wings have evolved specifically for use with power, as compared with free flight 'paraglider' wings. Such wings are typically designed for a higher speed, and may incorporate a "reflex" profile to aid stability in pitch, an idea taken from hang gliders of the 1980s. The Parabatix Sky Racers is an air racing event using paramotors to race round pylons in front of spectators.