Sunday 2 December 2012

My travel with a paramotor by airline

How to transport paramotor (powered paraglider) in airlines?

First of all I want you to be aware that there are no strict rules saying if you can transport paramotor on the commercial aircraft or not. It all depends on safety officer who is on duty that day day and it is "case by case" issue.

I transported my paramotor from Poland to Sydney (Australia).

The journey started in Kolobrzeg. I traveled by train to Gdansk with one stop (c.a. 350km). Then I had flight from Gdansk to Frankfurt, from Frankfurt to Shanghai and finally from Shanghai to Sydney. To be honest I was worried the most about the german part of the journey.

Paramotor on the train and ready to go to the plane.

I started preparing my paramotor one day before. The paramotor was flown so you could have smell the petrol. I cleaned carefully the whole engine and harness. It is not easy to get rid of the petrol's smell. I cleaned the tank and carburator and finally  made sure that there is no fuel left.

Next I bought huge 'gipsy bag', plenty of bubble wrap and black stretch foil. I put black foil and bubble wrap all around the paramotor to make sure there was no smell anymore.

Packing paramotor and preparing it to go to onboard of the plane.

Detailed description how I prepared the paramotor to travel will be posted soon.
Paramotor fit in the bag. I secured all the vulnerable elements (like air intake filter) with cardboard since the bag is not rigid.

Paramotor packed in the gipsy bag and almost ready to go to the plane

Final step was to put as much foam and paper protection as I could fit inside the bag.
Paramotor's cage was protected with pipe-foams and hold together with zip-ties. The wing fit inside the inner part of the cage's halves. Then this whole 'sandwitch' was wreped with black stretch foil.

In this way I had two pieces of luggage. Two HUGE pieces of luggage. See below:         

Paramotor gear packed sitting on airport's trolley ready to go to the plane.

Did it work?

Yes, it did. Paramotor in a bag was declared as my personal luggage and the cage with wing was as the sport equipment.

The greatest trouble I had in Gdansk. Security officers paid to much attention to my luggage. They called me by speakers and interviewed in security room. I had to destroy the paramotor foil cover from inside the bag and show that there is no petrol. Fortunately there was no fuel smell which could have make them stubborn about the safety.

After this incident there was no further issue with the luggage. It landed safetly in Sydney. No one was interested in it anymore (according to my knowledge).


Sport equipment LOT Polish Airlines GDA->FRA: 37Euro
Sport equipment China Eastern FRA->SYD: 100 Euro

TOTAL 137 Euro
and that is it! No additional fees for oversized luggage (which surely was!).

Good luck with your paramotor journeys!