The Importance of Quality Fuel

By: Will Lidie


Fuel system maladies are some of the most common, and infuriating, issues faced by paramotor pilots. The simple diaphragm carburetors we use originate from power tools, where they were designed for all the same reasons we value them for- they’re simple, lightweight, and can run in any orientation. They use a very simple membrane pump system to draw in fuel and tiny passages to correctly meter fuel, atomize it, and spray it into the crankcase. But this simplicity also makes them more susceptible to failure from lack of proper maintenance- and when you couple all these factors with a high-performance, high-compression engine such as a paramotor, you are left with a system that demands proper tuning- but another aspect is equally important- quality fuel

In the United States, pilots are often immediately challenged when it comes to finding a good source of fuel. At your average gas station, you’re faced with a variety of options at the pump, ranging from economy to premium. You’ll see various numbers printed on the buttons, in most cases ranging from 87 to 93. That’s the fuel’s octane rating. In short, a higher octane number makes the fuel able to compress more before igniting- running a low octane gasoline in a high-compression engine will lead to detonation, where the high temperatures cause the fuel charge to autoignite. The severe pressure from the detonations impacting the still-rising piston can cause severe damage to heads, gaskets, and connecting rods. In our high compression paramotor engines, around 10:1 compression ratio in many cases, you’ll want the higher octane gasoline. 


The other variable, and almost equally as important, is the fuel’s ethanol content. Nearly all gasoline sold in the US contains at least ten percent ethanol. There’s a variety of reasons that ethanol fuel has replaced the pure, leaded fuel our ancestor’s powerplants used. For one, ethanol oxygenates the gas- that helps the gas burn more completely and in turn leads to lower emissions. Ethanol itself is biological in origin- most of it comes from corn. Some modern “flex fuel” vehicles are even tuned to run on E85- that’s 85% ethanol to 15% gasoline. So it’s a cleaner-burning, renewable fuel. What’s not to love about that? 

Well, in short- it’s bad for your paramotor. 

One big issue is that the same factors that make ethanol a great oxygenator also attract water. Water condenses and precipitates out of the fuel when it sits, causing corrosion on sensitive parts. The oxidation of the gasoline over time also causes varnish- a gummy, orange, disgusting substance, which you can imagine is very bad for carburetors with tiny passages the size of a pinhead. This condition can arise in as little time as a month of the fuel sitting. The ethanol also ruins our carburetor diaphragms. There are two diaphragms in the common Walbro carburetor- one actuates the metering needle, causing the right quantity of fuel to enter the engine. The other uses the engine’s vacuum to act like a siphon, drawing up fuel from the gas tank. Both of these are obviously critical functions- if the diaphragms degrade and become stiff or stretch out, the engine will not run right, and will most probably begin running lean, a dangerous condition that causes the engine to run drastically hotter. 



A side-by-side comparison: The metering diaphragm on the left was run with ethanol, causing it to stretch out.

A side-by-side comparison: The metering diaphragm on the left was run with ethanol, causing it to stretch out.

Varnished gasoline plugging up the carburator’s many small passages and fine filter screens will cause a lean condition, too. Cars, of course, have none of these issues because they’re tuned and designed to run on ethanol fuel and their adaptive fuel injection systems and lower-compression multi-cylinder engines laugh at the ethanol-ized gas. There are several additives on the market that claim to solve ethanol’s problems, but these additives also degrade the membranes and cause a loss of performance- only pure gas mixed with quality, full-synthetic oil should be in your tank. 

Your diaphragm should NOT look like this.

Your diaphragm should NOT look like this.


So, you’re a pilot, and you’re struggling to find good gas. What can you do?

Several options exist. First, seek out areas where other high-performing engines hang out. Marinas and Motocross parks can often sell clean gas. Airports are another option, selling 100LL gas- that means 100 octane, Low Lead. The higher octane number makes this gas very attractive, but many motor manufacturers do not recommend running it because it’s lead content leaves crusty yellow deposits on the head, piston, and spark plug after several hours of running. For an everyman who doesn’t have a Marina or similar to source gas from, there are a multitude of everyday gas stations around the country that will sell non-ethanol gas. Directories such as www.pure-gas.org list these locations by state. In most cases, the pure gas pump will be on it’s own island, but in others it’s an option at the standard pump and it all comes out of the same hose- keep in mind that the residue from the last person to fill up will have some ethanol in it. The last ditch effort if no good gas can be found is to buy small engine pre-mix in a can. These are premium 93 octane fuels with absolutely no ethanol, and they use JASO-certified, fully synthetic oil- exactly what we need. They can be found at most stores with a lawn and garden section. The only downside to these is that they’re incredibly expensive- sometimes $8 or $9 a can, and it usually takes 8 cans to fill an average sized tank. 

 

One more important thing- Make sure you use the correct fuel pump diaphragm. Carburetors should be rebuilt at least once annually. The common rebuild kit for the larger walbro carburetors, part number K10-WB, contains a choice of two fuel pump diaphragms. It’s critical that you use the black diaphragm, not the translucent brown one. The brown one is actually designed to be more ethanol resistant but it wears out dramatically quicker and does not offer the same performance.

This is the WRONG diaphragm. Use the opaque Black diaphragm instead. Both are included in the rebuild kit.

This is the WRONG diaphragm. Use the opaque Black diaphragm instead. Both are included in the rebuild kit.

When rebuilding the carb, take care to inspect both of the tiny screen filters- there is one on the fuel pump side and one on the metering lever side. The fuel pump side is larger and will usually clog first, but they should both be inspected at regular intervals. Issues with these screens can be greatly reduced by running a good in-line fuel filter. Take care to use a quality, name brand paper-type filter. The sintered bronze types used in some small engines and dirt bikes are not sufficient and will let too much particulate through. Many paramotors already have a filter in the fuel pickup tube but a quality inline filter will catch whatever it does not, preventing contaminants from reaching the carburetor and plugging the screens- again, causing a dangerous lean condition. 

 

Keeping all of these factors in mind and understanding how different gasoline types affect small engine performance is critical to keeping your paramotor healthy. Remember that we’re asking our engines to be very light and very powerful- that’s no easy task. If you throw another wrench into that works by feeding it inferior gasoline, eventually you’ll have a problem. So seek out the proper gas and you can roam the skies with a big weight off your shoulders. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on fuel for both warranty purposes and to ensure the best performance. 

 





 





On Safety:

By Will Lidie


The sport of Powered Paragliding has enjoyed tremendous growth in the past few years. Social media influence, word-of-mouth, and more visibility among the populace has resulted in a great number of new pilots adding to our ranks and joining us in the skies. It’s a golden age for our sport; with new equipment designs, new innovations, and a blooming population. 

However, this growth comes with a kind of negative aspect, as well. In any group of humanity, as population trends upwards, so does the rate of accidents. Recently, we have been struck with the loss of several fellow pilots, many of whom were pillars of their community, beloved friends, and who will be sorely missed. In these times, it is important for us to reflect on safety so that we may all happily continue to enjoy flight in one of it’s most free and pure forms. 

Firstly, we must be conscious of dangers around us. Low flying, flying around water, and flying in proximity to others offers some of the most exciting and rewarding flights of our lives- but it must be understood that these things carry a heavier risk. Water, in particular, offers us what statistically is our greatest danger. Collisions with low objects, in particular power lines, present massive risk as well. And we must do our due diligence with regards to assessing the conditions we fly in- because even when the air appears to be smooth and calm at first, there is no telling what nastiness lurks just over the horizon. And never underestimate Mother Nature’s ability to reach out and touch you- or swat you out of the sky. Do not give her that chance.

We must not rush things. We are easy prey to complacency; when a person has flown enough that it becomes routine, they can lose some of their fear; lose some of the critical respect for the equipment that keeps them alive. You’ve clipped in the same way a thousand times, but you should still check your lines before each and every take-off. You’ve pull-started your motor a thousand times,and it’s started and idled fine. But you should still check your throttle linkage for free play each and every time you pull the rope. You’ve flown over water a thousand times and nothing has gone wrong, but you should still bring flotation each and every time. It is absolutely imperative that we not fall victim to complacency, and that we instill this value in the next generation of Aviators. 

We must understand that at no time are we obligated to fly. Going aloft with gear knowingly in a less-safe state, or with conditions less-than-ideal, is something that is unfortunately common, even among the best of us. A pilot with maturity is one who arrives to the field, ready for an amazing flight that he’s been planning for days; sees the clouds on the horizon, feels something off about the air- and decides that now is not the time to fly. Almost as gratifying as that amazing flight, is having a nice breakfast while you watch the gust front whip the trees around outside, and knowing that you aren’t in it right now because of your good decision making. Even if the weather and the gear are in good condition; are you? Lack of sleep or a poor mindset can contribute to poor decision making. Health conditions or substances that could affect judgement also may limit your ability to fly safely. 

We must know our limits. Steep maneuvers, low flying, and swoop landings are all things that experienced pilots make look easy... but only by virtue of their experience. We must never exceed our limits or leave our comfort zone until we have attained that requisite experience. The path of progression needed to conduct these types of risky flying with confidence should be walked slowly, carefully, and consciously. And remember that the strongest homes are those with the sturdiest foundations. 

We must know the limits of our equipment, too. Hotter, smaller wings should be earned by mastering their slower, larger counterparts first. The differences between breeds of wing can be rather shocking and can easily take an unsuspecting person by surprise. Before choosing a wing to fly, ensure it’s a good match for you; a powered paraglider needs both a pilot and a wing in equilibrium to fly safely. If you are constantly fighting a wing- or, conversely, pushing it too hard- failure may result.  Our air-cooled two stroke engines should be maintained as well as they can be. However, we must be cognizant and constantly aware of the fact that they can, and do, break; sometimes in spectacular fashion, and sometimes in spite of excellent maintenance procedures by the pilot. On the other hand, we can take comfort in the fact that our aircraft needs no engine to execute a safe, comfortable landing. If we keep a safe “out” in mind at all times, we will never be hurt by engine failure.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we must realize that this sport is as safe as we make it. Our sport carries an unfortunate and unfounded stigma of being reckless and needlessly dangerous. In fact, your average pilot is not an adrenaline junkie, does not take unnecessary risk in the pursuit of his sport, and very much desires to keep living. And, all told, this sport is statistically quite safe. Our ability to fly in smooth air, without needing thermals or updrafts to stay aloft, means we suffer only half the fatalities of free-flight paragliders according to the USHPA. In fact, it is also statistically safer than motorcycle riding, which carries a fatality rate of 1 individual per 1,382 yearly, compared to our 1 in 1,504. If we keep our wits about us, do not rush, do not fall victim to complacency, understand the dangers around us, and understand our personal limits and those of our equipment, then each of us will continue flying well into the future. 


Introducing: The Fly Products Eclipse

By Will Lidie

When Aviator and Fly Products partnered in 2018, one of our most exciting missions was designing a paramotor that stood out from the pack for a specific reason- it had to be truly lightweight while remaining comfortable and rugged.This has been an issue that many industry giants have thrown their resources into solving as the market evolves and modern materials become available. For years the industry standard for a lightweight unit has been a base dry weight of under fifty pounds. We wanted the new unit to push the envelope and be under forty. To combine that kind of featherlight unit with practicality in design and rigidity in structure was no easy endeavour. 

Introducing the Fly Products Eclipse.

Introducing the Fly Products Eclipse.


The Fly Products Eclipse is the end result of that endeavour. The Vittorazi Atom 80-equipped version comes in at a base dry weight of thirty-eight pounds. And the features and functionality packed into that thirty-eight pounds are tremendous. 


To start, the Eclipse needed to not sacrifice it’s structural integrity to achieve it’s light weight. In fact, the design has greatly improved strength over other offerings on the market. The three-piece, mid-hangpoint, gooseneck-style weightshift arms ride atop massive lugs attached to the frame. Longtime Fly Products team pilot and Paradigm Aerobatic Team member Manu Tejeiro Lopez was insistent that the frame be capable of handling his rigorous acro moves- including the awe-inspiring Infinite Tumble, a maneuver that can induce stresses of up to 9g


A tough frame doesn’t have to be unattractive, though: the Eclipse shatters that misconception with gusto. The burnished orange cage hoop coupled with the carbon fiber spars and black main frame create an effect that truly resembles its namesake- a bright, shining corona around a sleek, dark center. That smooth, coppery-orange surface provides a frictionless, effortless forward inflation as glider lines ride against it. 


With the Eclipse’s revolutionary light weight, hikes to the LZ are not a problem anymore.

With the Eclipse’s revolutionary light weight, hikes to the LZ are not a problem anymore.


Equally beautiful is Vittorazi’s Atom 80 powerplant, a marvel of engineering in its own league. The tiny powerhouse produces a whopping one-hundred and twenty pounds of smooth, reliable thrust- an incredible number for it’s tiny displacement. The Atom handles pilots of up to two hundred pounds with ease. And it’ll do so with a smoothness that is simply unheard of in the world of paramotors. Such care and accuracy was put into the precision of the internal component’s balance that the motor can scarcely be felt running at idle. When you throttle up, the power comes on in a steady curve- no hard powerbands here. The smooth clutch and oil-immersed, reverse-turning gearbox ensure minimal parasitic power loss while also providing a massive practical advantage in the propeller not spinning at idle. And of course, there are no slipping belts to adjust with this one. Optionally, for heavier pilots, a tried-and-true Moster 185 Powerplant can be fitted, for a slight increase in weight, that offers simply tremendous power and performance unmatched in it’s weight class- twenty-five horsepower at 7800rpm, and an astonishing 170lbs of thrust. 


Clipping in is easy and intuitive. Control when airborne is amazing.

Clipping in is easy and intuitive. Control when airborne is amazing.

Comfort, too, was not sacrificed- though incredibly lightweight, the Eclipse’s harness is superbly rugged and still comfortable- plenty of padding. The stout liftweb connects securely to the weightshift arms to ensure it’ll stand up to any maneuver you can throw at it. A system of quick-change hangpoints offers on-the-fly compensation for the unit’s center of gravity, to adjust for different pilot weights and payloads and ensure the ideal thrust line and launch characteristics. The two-screw attachment system is strong and convenient, making the Eclipse great for schools who transition from pilot to pilot on the same unit. The harness also offers compatibility for a reserve parachute container in either left or right side-mounted configurations. The minimalist throttle also fits very nicely in the hand and offers a great deal of precision in control. The killswitch is nicely accessible and pilots will not need to hunt for it, especially in the fast-moving environment of a blown launch. A stout velcro strap means it won’t slip off your hands and stays right where you put it, while leaving ample room to comfortably hold brake toggles and A-risers. 


The smooth hoop provides simple, easy wing inflations.

The smooth hoop provides simple, easy wing inflations.

The stunning, thirty-eight pound Atom 80 equipped Fly Products Eclipse starts at $7,499. The more powerful Moster 185 variant starts at $7,999, with the upgraded dual start version capping off the lineup at $8,500. Any of them will yield a paramotor that is “lightweight” dialed to eleven- a unit that offers all the benefits of a minimalist paramotor, while still retaining flagship-unit functionality and a refinement that’s unmistakable. An excellent choice, no matter what breed of pilot you are. 

For those interested in partnering with us and furthering our goal of making flight accessible to all, Aviator PPG is now considering dealer candidates for the Fly Products line. If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact us at info@aviatorppg.com or 1-833-727-2359.


Ozone Spyder 3 Review & Release Information!!

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The Ozone Spyder 3 has been long awaited by our entire paramotor community. Drawing from the success of the original Ozone Spyder, the Spyder 3 takes things to a completely new level of speed, agility, ease of launch, and safety.

When the original Spyder was released, pilots raved about its light weight “it’s like its filled with helium” was the most common response from pilots more accustomed to standard weight gliders. It rode well on the shoulders of its heavier sibling, the Roadster 2. Diminishing the R2’s biggest challenge which was a slight hesitation during the inflation process.

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As the Roadster 3 rolled out last year, we were mesmerized by the radical changes between the two models. Gone was any hesitancy of inflation, gone were the annoying roll oscillations of the Spyder and Roadster 2… And in the vacuum left by removing those challenges? The Roadster 3 gained not just more speed, but it’s handling improved massively as well. Rather than digging into corners and slowly slewing through them, the new design feels much more grippy. As if their retuning of the brake lengths has added a bit more tip steering in from stock. It REALLY rails through every turn.

Somehow they’d managed to make an already delightful design SO MUCH better.

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And then, after blowing our minds with the Roadster 3, they have just released the new SPYDER 3. A lightweight version of the Roadster 3 that makes things even more fun for all.

No wind launches are no longer even a thought. As I launched to record our first review video, I strapped myself into a Parajet Maverick with an Atom 80. Stared at the windsock hanging limply by its pole and smiled. I knew the inflation would be effortless… And it was. Launch after launch, even with just 80cc’s on my 194 lb frame, the 22M snapped overhead and laughed in the face of all the older, heavier gliders I’ve flown before.

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The new Ozone Spyder 3 is an ideal glider for intermediate pilots and for more advanced ones looking for a safer, more reliable wing for cross countries and more. It thermals well trimmed in and has significantly better efficiency than its predecessor.

We’re thrilled with this new release and can’t wait to see the smiles on your faces when you get to take to the skies on the new Spyder 3.

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All sizes and colors are pre-ordered and anticipated arrival is mid-July. Pre-Orders are available here:

https://shop.aviatorppg.com/collections/paragliders/products/ozone-spyder-3?variant=17212170240090

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Join our growing team!

Aviator Paramotor is looking for a ROCKSTAR Accountant / Bookkeeper!

Please read the job description below and reach out to Angelina@aviatorppg.com if it sounds like you!

Accountant/Bookkeeper Job Summary Aviator PPG is at a crucial growth point where we are actively implementing better business practices in order to scale with our team’s goals. Therefore, our new accountant/bookkeeper must believe in our purpose and have an entrepreneurial mind that will take control of and drive our accounting department to be as successful and efficient as possible.

We believe, our purpose on this planet is to radically change lives and make the world a better place through aviation. Our mission is to inspire people to fully embrace their lives, passions, and adventuresome spirit through the sport of paramotoring. We achieve this by offering only the very best training, products, and support through our amazing Aviator team. We believe the best person for this position will offer all of the job summary requirements as well as a passion for aviation and a desire for adventure with a servants heart. To see if you are a good fit, check us out at www.AviatorPPG.com.

Position Description The Aviator PPG Accountant/Bookkeeper position includes bookkeeping, payroll and payroll tax, sales and use tax, financial statement preparation and various other accounting services. Aviator PPG is a parent company with multiple subsidiary companies and/or separate entities underneath. Understanding of parent company/subsidiary and separate entity business structure is a must!

All Aviator PPG team members must lead with Integrity, make sure every word is rooted in Honesty, and always work to Respect your teammates, as well as, your fellow man.

Competency and technical skill sets include (but are not limited to) strong knowledge of accounting principles and standard accounting processes for recording a company’s business transactions into a general ledger, account reconciliations and work paper preparation, prepare and post journal entries and ability to adapt work as required by level of engagement, maintain accounting documents and records, ensure all files are up to date, post customer checks, vendor payments and ACH payments. Candidate must have a working knowledge of Microsoft Office, Google Docs, intermediate understanding of Shopify, and various accounting software (Sage, QuickBooks, Xero, etc.). Personal characteristics include integrity, professional in attitude and appearance, and trustworthiness.

REQUIREMENTS

● Minimum of two years of prior bookkeeping experience using QuickBooks

● Proficiency with Shopify, bill.com, and Gusto

● Accounting degree preferred

● Accounts Payable experience a must

● Demonstrated written and oral communication skills

● Demonstrated ability to work independently and as a team

● Demonstrated knowledge of sales tax filings in multiple states

● High degree of discretion in dealing with confidential information

● Excellent attention to detail

Job Type: Full Time, 40hrs a week with flexible time off policy

Compensation: $35,000-$40,000 depending on experience with a generous built in quarterly bonus structure


Parajet, a superb British company

Parajet, a superb British company

Parajet is well known for its outstanding customer support and their great looking and well-built machines, innovating at the sharp end and helping in a very large way to create the paramotor industry as it does so, so it’s interesting to delve into the background of how these machines are made, the processes involved and why this is good for us, the customer.

NOW HIRING: Instructor Candidates!

Dear Aviator Friends, 

We’re looking for a few dedicated, passionate paramotor pilots with servants hearts to join our cadre of instructors at Aviator in Lake Wales, Florida.  Could this be you? 

Consider that paramotor instruction can involve long days, but is also immensely rewarding through interactions with joyous students with whom would be able to inspire and teach to the highest standards.

You do not need to be an existing paramotor instructor to apply for this position!  You do need at least 75 hours of paramotor flight experience, a joyous attitude,  a strong desire to inspire others, and a willingness to work in a fast paced team environment. 

Serious potential applicants, please send a letter of intent to info@aviatorppg.com that describes your experience, desires, and motivations, and a carefully considered date that you would be available to start.   Selected applicants will be contacted for a joint interview (yes, we believe strongly that it is important you interview us as well to see if our company is a good fit for you and your family) :) 

Sadly, non U.S. Citizens are not eligible unless you have an appropriate work Visa.

We look forward to hearing from many of you!

- Eric, Travis, & The Aviator Team

Air Conception

Thank you and Farewell to Air Conception!

      For over 3 years, we at Aviator worked hard to build the recognition of the Air Conception Paramotor brand, supporting our customer's with our industry leading service, and stocking a large amount of parts for warranty claims, etc.

     However, as the needs of our clients grew, we began to add additional brands that could better scale with our Aviator family.

     After a few months of working with these new brands, it soon became clear that their fit, finish, design mentality, and their dedication to supporting their pilots was truly top-level and exactly what we were looking for.

Parajet

     Parajet's entire philosophy is built around impeccable design. They build their frames at a factory that looks like it should belong to a racing team. Form, functionality, GREAT looks, perfect performance at every level. The customer experience is thought of from beginning to end.

Fly Products

     Fly Products has one of the most incredible pedigrees in the business. Over 30 years of flying, designing, building frames, and developing an incredible team of passionate Aviators all over the world. Their motors perfectly bridge the gap between value and cost, allowing more pilots than ever to take to the skies. Their trikes are in a league of their own. Powerful, comfortable, and designed for maximum efficiency.

 We hope you'll join us in considering these new brands. We believe they're some of the best the industry has to offer and we are so proud to offer them to our clients!!

-Eric Farewell