Grow out of it, not into it!
Which aircraft should you buy?
When you first obtain your pilot certificate, whether Paraglider, Hang Glider, Powered Paraglider, or Weight shift microlight you may be considering purchasing your first aircraft.
Things to consider:
- It is prudent to NOT purchase any wing or aircraft BEFORE you have completed your training.
- Seek the advice of an instructor, and opinion of other owners of your preferred aircraft.
- Always test fly the aircraft type. Ensure it satisfies your intended purpose.
- Does your skillset suit the aircraft?
- Be conservative.
- In a new, or unusual situation, your abilities to operate the aircraft may not be as good as you think!
- If buying second hand, ensure it is airworthy. Seek advice if you are unsure. Do you understand how aircraft deteriorate? Does the aircraft need a Bettsometer or Porosity test? Is there likely to be corrosion? Does it need trimming or tuning? How has it been stored/hangared? Has it mainly been used in inland or coastal areas?
- Ensure the aircraft comes with all documentation; flight/owners/maintenance manuals and maintenance histories. Some aircraft (>70kg) should also have registration papers, certificates of airworthiness and aircraft inspection reports.
As your abilities, skills and knowledge increase during your flying career, you may attain a higher level of certification. Does this mean you should, or must have a higher performing, more technically demanding wing? Not at all.
Your pilot certificate level does not prohibit you from purchasing the ‘latest hot product’ if you choose, nor does it mean you should. (NB: High wing loading; aka mini/speed/freestyle PG wings require a specific authorisation endorsement to operate)
Your Australian Pilot Certificate level is not related to any manufactured product descriptors. You should understand aircraft certification standards (eg EN, LSA, DHV/LTF). Aircraft certifications indicate an aircraft’s flight characteristics under certain test situations. A pilot certification level or rating is not equivalent to that of an aircraft. A manufacturer or seller may describe an aircraft to suit a particular market, you must be sure it is safe and suitable for you.
In terms of aircraft, most PG, HG, PPG or WM on the market are manufactured and certified to international industry standards, however if buying on-line or from an overseas supplier, this is not guaranteed. The same applies for harnesses, reserve parachutes and other equipment.
Thoroughly research the item you intend to purchase. We highly recommend seeking purchasing advice from your Chief Flying Instructor and other owners.
When buying and operating aircraft or equipment, you are the Pilot in Command and are ultimately responsible for the purchase, and safe conduct of flight. Caveat Emptor.