Efforts to make the engines quieter
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Paramotoring, a motorized form of paragliding, is growing in popularity in central Oregon, but has also raised some concerns.
Paragliding requires a person to take off from high points such as mountains to catch air currents with their glider, while paramotoring uses a powered paraglider that can take off from most flat surfaces.
“I mean, it’s really a feeling of freedom,” said Morgan Jobert, an instructor at Ryze Paramotor, a bend training school, on Friday.
Jobert has been paragliding for over 20 years and now enjoys paragliding too, but noticed a difference in how people viewed the sport.
As a paramotor pilot, he has received many complaints about where they are flying over and at what altitude they are flying.
Kimberly Phinney, lead instructor for White Owl Paragliding in Bend, said, “I think the difference is that you look up at a paraglider and say, ‘Oh, how pretty!’ With a paramotor, as with any motor sport, there is a noise. “
Noise is the main complaint she receives from powered paragliders.
People call them because they think paragliders make the noise in the air. She said she understands how people can confuse the two outdoor sports, but they are regulated differently.
She said the noise issue seems to be addressed.
“You’re trying to calm her down,” said Phinney. “It was one of the biggest things they worked on in research and development: ‘How can we make the paramotor quieter?”
Jobert added that for safety reasons, paramotor riders must fly at lower altitudes when they are in a certain proximity to the airports they are taking off from, in order to avoid close encounters with airplanes.
They need to stay below 150 feet where they can react and move faster if they run into helicopters or other planes.
Jobert said he understands that a lower altitude can sometimes be a nuisance to some, but said paramotor riders try not to fly over an area for long periods of time.
“We are very aware of farm animals and when we fly we have a good view of the next field that we will be flying over,” he said. “And when we see cattle, we deviate from our flight route and try to gain altitude.”
Jobert added that paramotorers can fly over any private or public land as their regulations require them to be in safe airspace, even if it sometimes means they fly lower near homes.
Once they are a safe distance from airports, they can soar to higher airspace where larger planes fly.
“We are viewed like an airplane. We are in the lines of the traffic reserve, so we have to follow certain rules, ”said Jobert.