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Paramotoring, a growing outdoor sport, brings noise issues for some Central Oregonians

Efforts underway to quiet the motors

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Paramotoring, a motorized form of paragliding has become increasingly popular in Central Oregon, but also has sparked concerns among some.

Paragliding requires a person to launch from high points like mountains to catch air currents with their canopy, while paramotoring use a propelled paraglider that can launch from most flat surfaces.

“I mean, it's really a feeling of freedom,” Morgan Jobert, an instructor for Ryze Paramotor, a Bend training school, said Friday.

Jobert has been paragliding for over 20 years and now enjoys paramotoring as well, but noticed a difference in the way people view the sports.

As a paramotorist, he’s received a lot of complaints about where they fly over and the altitude they fly at.

Kimberly Phinney, lead instructor for White Owl Paragliding in Bend, said, “I believe the difference is with a paraglider you look up and go, ‘Oh, how pretty!’ With a paramotor, just like any motor sport, there is a noise to it.”

Noise is the main complaint she receives about the propelled paragliders.

People call her, thinking paragliders are the ones in the air making the noise. She said she understands how people may confuse the two outdoor sports, but they are regulated differently.

She said the noise issue appears to be getting addressed.

“They are looking on quieting them," Phinney said. " It’s been one of the largest things they’ve been trying to work on in the research and development is, 'How do we get the paramotor to be more quiet?”.

Jobert added that for safety reasons, paramotorists have to fly at lower altitudes when within a certain proximity of the airports they launched from, in order to avoid any close encounters with aircraft.

They need to stay below 500 feet, where they can react quicker and move if they come across helicopters or other aircrafts.

Jobert said he understands being lower in elevation at times can create a nuisance for some, but said paramotorists try not to fly over one area for a long period.

“We’re really aware about livestock, and when we fly, we have a good view on the next field we are going to fly above," he said. "And if we see livestock, we deviate from our flight path and try to gain altitude.”

Jobert added that paramotors can fly above any land, private or public, because their regulations require them to be in a safe airspace, even if it means flying lower near homes at times.

Once they are a safe distance away from airports, they can ascend into higher airspace, where larger planes fly.

“We’re somewhat considered like an airplane. We’re in the traffic reserve lines, so we do have to follow certain rules,” Jobert said.

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Leslie Cano

Leslie Cano is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Leslie here.

Comments

27 Comments

  1. They dont make half as much noise as the insufferable bass systems in cars, loud parties, or fighting druggies that the cops all turn a blind eye too.

    1. to continue your decidedly one sided list:
      off grid generators;
      coyote roundups & shoots;
      Honker blasting;
      and fireworks;
      and ****** supremacist riots.
      and shopping at walmart while anti-maskers are punching the cart attendants.

  2. so we see 1 ParaM flying around a week and cry to the news that it’s too loud, but a few thousand lifted diesel pickup trucks with 8″ exhaust rolling coal all over the county is a non-issue. NIMBYS abound!

  3. I am see who doesn’t live where the flying lawnmowers like to operate. As long as they don’t hang out too long it’s pretty mild. When they hang out for long it gets old quick

      1. The point is why is the focus on paramotor noise when there are other louder, more consistent issues of noise with other things? For example, the noises of construction that begins before 7 AM. I don’t care about airport sounds. It was just an example. Trains are also very loud and some engineers will hold down the horn for extended times, then continue to blow the whistle repeatedly. It’s a safety thing, yet there’s no reason to do it in extreme excess when no intersection is present. In other words, this battle over noise is just stupid and seemingly a problem for those who feel they can’t be disturbed in the manner the rest of us are. Most of us hate the noises and understand it’s just part of everyday frustrations. We don’t complain, we just deal with it.

  4. The air is loud. We moved here expecting complete silence and now the air is loud honey. Oh geez golly my hearing aids are picking up a hum can you hear that? It must be those darned flying chutists from the skies ohhhh geee! What else shall we outlaw hun?

  5. Talk about a waste of time. Paramotors are like hearing a lawn mower or motorcycle in the distance. I know you need stories to write, but are you this desperate? “Kids reportedly put a playing card in the spokes on their bikes in neighborhood, karen says they are a nuisance.” People see these things in the air and think those crazy whippersnappers should get in trouble for having that much fun! Lets go FULL KAREN, and call the popo so they waste their time too. Paleeeez. Go smoke some more pot and relax. Pretend the paramotors are beautiful dandelions. You’ll be alright.

  6. Make it a crime if people enjoy anything that makes them smile. Birds chirp when they fly, bikes make noise when they roll, the river makes all of that awful whitewater noise. Damn it – life should be as quiet as a southern CA museum at all times!!!

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