Powerfloats – Don’t Fly Without This Safety Device!

Aside from a reserve parachute, if there’s one other safety accessory that we can’t recommend enough it’s the Powerfloat. Just as the name gives away, the Powerfloat is a floatation device specifically crafted for paramotors, ultra lights, hang gliders, and other similar aircraft. Statistically, water presents a paramotor pilot with their deadliest threat. Many might think that ground crashes are higher, but it is actually water-related incidents that are the culprit. It’s important to understand that it is deceptively hard to free yourself from lines, soaking harnesses, and heavy metal components, all in the chaos of an unintended landing.

While you might be thinking, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll never fly over water,’ think again – like moths to a flame, the draw to fly over bodies of water is a natural desire experienced by most pilots. Even if it’s a small winding creek or pond, there’s something about water that entices the senses and almost unnoticeably pulls people in. There’s nothing wrong with it, on the contrary, flying over water is gorgeous and a unique experience in and of itself, but that being said, having this floatation apparatus secured to your paramotor is the safest way to proceed as well as get the most out of those flights.

Powerfloats – don’t fly without this safety device – because it could mean the difference between life and death. It’s a hard truth, but regarding safety, especially in the PPG sport, is the best way to go. Having that added security only enhances flight and lends to enjoyment because you’re actively working to avoid disaster. Being prepared, is undoubtedly, a good thing.

SPECS AND HOW POWERFLOATS WORK

The Powerfloats offered through Aviator come in three different varieties: the Powerfloat 2BeSure (Twin System), 2BeSure XL (Twin System), and in a U-Shape. The 2BeSure models come in a two pack that mount on either side of you and deploy outward, with the XL size having a slightly longer width. The U-Shape comes in the form of a modified u-shaped vest specifically outfitted for a paramotor, making it larger than a normal floatation vest. 

This device is intentionally designed to be lightweight and as unobtrusive as possible, and provides you with a massive element of safety when flying over water.

Powerfloats are additionally crafted to automatically deploy via a Co2 cartridge, as they are triggered upon immersion into water. Because of the auto-activation feature, it allows you crucial time to free yourself from your wing and harness and swim to safety. It’s no underestimation that Powerfloasts are a critical and lifesaving instrument for anyone who goes near water, as many of us do.

Something else to understand about Powerfloats is that these devices also have a five-year working life, and should be replaced within the time frame for safety, along with the Co2 package that activates the inflation. Exposure to moisture in the air affects the package, so it’s also suggested that these pieces be replaced annually if not sooner, depending on the area in which you live and fly.

HOW TO MOUNT POWERFLOATS ONTO YOUR PARAMOTOR

Powerfloats are designed to be mounted to your paramotor in two different ways, so be sure to see our video for more an in-depth tutorial on how to do this properly.

The preferred method at Aviator is attaching a float onto either side of your harness – specifically onto each harness strap that goes over the shoulders. When you mount your floats, the float straps should be looser than the shoulder straps of the harness. If the float straps or too tight, they’ll end up carrying the weight of the paramotor, which could lead to tearing of the float’s holding case. Overall, this does not affect safety, but unnecessary wear and tear should be avoided.

The second option is that you can also mount the floats on either side of the frame, in much the same manner. The downside to this method however, is that it positions the floats slightly lower, meaning they’ll inflate more around your chest area. In attaching the floats onto the harness straps, they’re positioned closer to the head and should better keep your head above water in the event of an accident.

While both methods are proven, definitely take into consideration the different positioning and how it might help you should an emergency ever arise. 

SAFETY ENHANCES FLYING EXPERIENCES

We can’t emphasize this enough, fear not! Again, as our other safety-centric blogs have highlighted, arming yourself with knowledge, skills, and the proper equipment make all the difference – in safety, most certainly, but also in the overall flying experience. Having an awareness of all possible dangers is simply a part of PPG, and for your own edification.

So, on the one hand, being prepared could legitimately mean the difference in life and death, but on the flip side that preparedness also means you have peace of mind. You aren’t weighed down by “what ifs” or fears, but instead you’re perfectly prepared to react should dangers arise. When you have that type of security, flying paramotors becomes that much more enjoyable because you’ve eliminated certain fears. Soar freely knowing you’re safe.

Of course, this is a principle applied to many different areas in life, making it all the more truthful. So, again, fear not, and simply prepare yourself for all circumstance, continue to pursue flight, and love parmotoring all the more.

How to Throw Your Reserve Parachute – A Step By Step Guide

While the idea of even having to throw your reserve parachute isn’t exactly pleasant, being prepared for every situation – even emergencies – is a key part of flying paramotors. Safety in all measures is undoubtedly the wisest way to proceed with just about any “extreme activity,” so of course knowing how to throw your reserve parachute is important (to say the very least) and a part of those pre-flight skills everyone should learn when entering into the sport of PPG. “Keep flying the aircraft” as we like to say at Aviator Paramotor – don’t panic, breath, and equip yourself with the necessary means to correct in-flight accidents. It simply comes with the territory of becoming a pilot, but in doing so you’ll also build confidence and create a better flying atmosphere because you’ve armed yourself with crucial information that could very well save your life.

So, fear not! Grow your skills and love flying paramotors all the more by learning how to throw your reserve parachute. Statistically speaking, you’ll most likely never have to deploy that reserve as accidents and fatalities in general aviation total between 2,000-3,000 annually, with very few PPG related incidents being reported. That being said unforeseeable incidents still happen, so being prepared is beyond important, furthermore that preparedness is likely a large factor in what keeps those PPG related incidents incredibly low on the charts. So, let’s dive in and please reference the instructional video for further clarity.

STEP 1: LOOK, LOCATE YOUR RESERVE, AND PREPARE TO THROW

Typically, your reserve sits inside either a reserve specific pocket or container, which is mounted on the right hand side of your paramotor harness because the throttle is generally held in the left hand. So, first look to see your reserve, and since your right hand is free reach down and locate your reserve handle, firmly gripping it (if inserted correctly it will protrude out of the reserve pocket).

Next, pull the reserve forcefully out of the pocket, keeping that tight grip.

After that, bring the reserve up to to your chest and prepare to throw with as much power as possible (see video).

Aviator Paramotor student pulls reserve chute across chest, ready to throw it.

STEP 2: FIND “CLEAR AIR” AND THROW

We understand that circumstances will most likely be chaotic in the event of this type of emergency, regardless the next step is to locate “clear air” directly in front of you. Scan your immediate space, making sure it’s clear of obstructions such as lines, the glider, or anything else, and prepare to throw the reserve with full force.

Because your arm is, hopefully, at this point still in a drawn up position across your chest, upon locating your “clear air,” next throw your reserve straight out in front of you with as much power as possible. The goal is to get it away from yourself so that it can better deploy.

Aviator student locates clear air and throws reserve straight out in front of him for deployment.

Your chute should successfully deploy once you’ve tossed it and it catches relative wind at its extension.

STEP 3: DISABLE AND CONTAIN YOUR WING

If possible, once you’re sure your chute has deployed then feed your arms through the inside straps of your harness. Begin disabling your wing by reaching up and grabbing its lines, pulling them down to yourself.

Next (see video), after pulling the wing into a big ball, tuck it as close to your body as possible, hugging it to your chest and stomach area. Doing this helps to prevent a downward plane.

STEP 4: ASSUME A PLF POSITION

PLF, or parachute landing fall, is a safety technique used by parachutist to lesson or eliminate injury when falling from massive heights. Ideally, you want to make yourself as limp as possible upon impact.

So, now that you have your reserve tucked away, next you’ll assume the correct position. Your arms should be crossed over your chute and across your chest, next angle your body sideways, crossing your ankles. Then do your best to be as limp and fluid as possible in embracing for impact.

Doing this helps to lessen damage and breaks to the body, which seems crazy, but paratroopers, soldiers, parachutists, and the like have been using this technique for years. 

KEEP FLYING THE AIRCRAFT

Obviously, it’s hard to know how we’ll react should an emergency of this magnitude arise, but the biggest principal to adhere to is “keep flying the aircraft.” You’re arming yourself with knowledge and emergency skills, so should the time come all you need to do is deploy what you know and fly the aircraft until your feet are safely back on the ground. 

As Andrew Solano, Aviator’s Dunnellon Location Manager and PPG expert, emphasized in the instructional video, you never stop working until the problem is resolved. While you may kick into survival mode, in the event of an emergency, remember to keep flying the aircraft because that’s what makes the difference.

Like we said, no one wants to consider the worst possible outcomes of flight, however preparedness, learning all you can, and practicing emergency maneuvers has a much more positive affect than you might think. The better prepared you are, the more calm you are. The better practiced you are, the more confident you become. Again, arm yourself with knowledge and preparedness and your joy of flight will ultimately boost because you know you can handle situations as the come, no matter what they are.

Embrace knowledge, love flight, fly paramotors.

Safety gear should never be underestimated, so check out some of the Angel reserve parachutes that Aviator offers, along with the reserve pockets and containers that we have as well.

If you found this article helpful, see our rundown on The ParaPack, another one of our premium safety gear items.