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Let’s talk paramotors

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

Tribute to paramotors & paragliders:

With wings spread wide and hearts alight,

Paragliders soar through endless heights,

But to merge with the bigger 'birds',

May seem a task that's too absurd.

Yet fear not, for sharing is caring,

And through SafeSky's watchful caring,

Paragliders can lend a hand,

And aid their fellow pilots' land.

So let us all unite and fly,

With safety as our steadfast guide,

For when we help each other out,

The skies become a safer route.

On our roads, cyclists and mopeds are commonly referred to as "Vulnerable Road Users". This term can also be applied to a group that is often overlooked but omnipresent in the skies we all share: paramotor and paraglider pilots.

If bike paths have been created to protect and separate the flow of fast-moving vehicles from cyclists, what is happening in the sky?

Free mind, free flight.

Paragliding/motor is becoming increasingly popular due to its accessibility, and it's not surprising that more and more people are taking to the skies with motorised gliders. Most paragliders are equipped with small backup parachutes, and the equipment has evolved to enhance the safety of pilots and passengers. This discipline is an excellent example of the harmony between security and the freedom to fly.

However, while the slow speed and close manoeuvres of motorised gliders make safe group flights possible, what about their proximity to fast aircraft (ULM and GA) and potential collision risk? Unlike bike paths and protected zones, G-spaces are entirely free and accessible to everyone. Cyclists wear reflective vests to increase their visibility on public roads, but what about paragliders and paramotor pilots? Wearing a reflective vest is not particularly practical or effective.

SafeSky: your reflective vest in the sky.

That's where SafeSky comes in. The idea behind the app was to provide everyone with the opportunity to be visible to other sky users for free. One should just open the app, hit "Take off," and put the phone in their pocket. It's a straightforward process that enables everyone to be e-Conspicuous. The SafeSky team realised that many paragliders and paramotor pilots already use dedicated apps (e.g. Gaggle, eVario, XCTrack, …) and/or external devices (e.g. SkyTraxx, Air3, …) to monitor their flights. The idea of sharing traffic information with these solutions quickly became a reality.

Today, many paragliders and paramotor pilots share their in-flight positions with SafeSky, and in return receive SafeSky traffic. It's a pretty convincing reflective vest, don't you think?

Thanks to its technology and willingness to make as many existing systems interoperable as possible, SafeSky has become a significant ecosystem that combines traffic sources that were previously invisible to known systems, providing the most comprehensive traffic data available to date.

Our message to paragliders and paramotor pilots.

While flying locally with friends doesn't pose any real collision risks, don't forget that you are in a shared environment. By using a compatible system like SkyTraxx, Air3, or Gaggle, you will become visible to fast aircraft using SafeSky or any other compatible platform. Being visible doesn't mean being tracked, you can always preserve your anonymity while indicating your position in the sky to others.

Our message to airplane and ULM pilots.

Accessing the SafeSky ecosystem's traffic via the app or other compatible systems will increase your safety and that of others during your flights. You will be able to see traffic that was previously invisible to other systems (ADS-B in, Flarm in, etc.). Additionally, SafeSky is compatible and integrates perfectly with your existing detection peripherals, such as SkyEcho, PowerFlarm, or Stratux. So why not take advantage of such a useful tool?

It's essential to ensure safety while sharing the skies. SafeSky is a reliable tool that ensures all users are visible to each other, making the skies safer and more enjoyable for everyone.


Blue Sky over Sedan (France)

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon with clear skies, and I was flying back to my base at an altitude of 3500 feet and an airspeed of 235 km/h. Despite being in Class G airspace, I maintained radio contact with air traffic control for safety. In Class G airspace, traffic information is not mandatory for VFR flights, but the French services are efficient and always inform you of any possible traffic convergence. I greeted and thanked them for their effective work and kindness.

As I was passing by a few cumulus clouds at 230 km/h, I was surprised to see not one, not two, but about ten paramotors flying calmly near my wings. It wasn't an AIRMIS situation, and I was fortunate to see a group of paragliders instead of just one lone pilot. The risk of collision was low, but the surprise was complete. I wish I had seen them on my screen, announcing the presence of a significant group of paramotor pilots. I reported their presence to air traffic control to prevent other aircraft from having a mishap in the same area.

It was possible that those powered parachutes used a dedicated flight application, but unfortunately, they were inaudible to our TCAS, PCAS, etc. detection systems. In 2022, SafeSky gathered all the protocols to make them audible to all and ensure the safety of all pilots by improving the visibility of more vulnerable users.

Sea View - Koksijde (Belgium)

There are some popular flying areas for paramotors and airplanes, the Belgian coast near Koksijde is one of them. The risk of mid-air collision is higher there than in other areas.

The Belgian Paramotor Federation partnered with SafeSky to actively promote the use of the SafeSky app by paramotor pilots in this area. Its use has even become mandatory after some conflicts with planes to ensure visibility of their presence, flight altitudes, and keep a flight record in case of any conflict.

Thanks to the FBPM/BPMF and their collaboration with SafeSky, paramotor pilots understand the importance of being e-Conspicuous and ensuring the safety of others as well as their own. It's a major development in our aviation community for everyone's safety. We owe this significant milestone thanks to the pilots, federations, private and passionate developers. Unfortunately, the administration remains invisible and unenterprising. So, it's up to us to make a difference!


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