Both foot launching and wheel launching have significant yet different advantages and disadvantages. In choosing to add wheels to your equipment package, keep one very important thing in mind... just because you have wheels doesn't mean you have to use them every time.
Easy to launch
The biggest advantage to wheels is that it makes launching physcially easier. For pilots who are physically challenged, wheels instantly removes that barrier to PPG. Landings are also less demanding with wheels, particullarly in light winds. But the main advantage to wheels is ease of launch.
High altitude launch
Another important use of wheels is for pilots launching and landing at high altitudes, for example in the Rocky Mountain States. At higher elevations, the thin air makes launch and landing difficult for even the most skilled and fit paramotor pilots. Though high altitude foot launching is possible, consult your equipment dealer before trying it without wheels.
Easy to learn
Learning to fly a paramotor on wheels takes a fraction of the time it takes to learn to foot launch. Many instructors use wheels to train foot launch students because they learn more quickly and more safely.
You don't have to choose
Often people think of powered paragliding as either foot launching or using wheels. The fact is that you don't have to limit yourself to one. Experienced foot launch only pilots often decide to learn wheel launching, and vise virsa. These pilots recognize the benefits of both types of launch techniques and how having the capability to do both can broaden their opportunities to fly.
4 wheels or 3 wheels
The biggest problem with wheels is that most 3 wheelers are easy to tip. 4 wheels are far safer and highly recommended. To the left is an example of a wing oscillation causing a 3 wheel trike to almost roll over. In this case, an expert instructor is demonstrating this senario on purpose and recovers a few seconds later.
As with foot launching, proper instruction is the key to enjoying the benefits of wheels. Call today to find out how easy it is to get airborne.
Passengers on wheels: illegal in the USA
New FAA rules that regulate flight in the United States now require at minimum of a Sport Pilot's License to launch a PPG on wheels with a passenger. However, there are many other countries who do not have this restriction.
IMPORTANT! Do you really NEED wheels?
We get a lot of calls from pilots who want to switch from foot launching to wheels. After a more in depth conversation, it is often the case that reason they want to switch is because either the gear they bought is too heavy, the wing is poor quality, the instruction was poor, or some combination of these. Before you switch to wheels, check with us to make sure you are making the best decision. And before you buy foot launching gear, make sure it's the lightest gear you can afford, a certified wing from a leading manufacturer, and get good instruction!