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I've recently begun following a young YouTuber whose thing is paramotors. That is a para-wing with a small two-stroke engine/blade strapped on your back. I'd like to ask some questions (and I will), but thought I'd try and get consensus about topicality.

I know motored planes, gliders and (hot-air) balloons have had questions. Drones as well. What about the other forms of flying? Things like hang-gliders, Para-motors, etc.

What about flying suits (I don't know their correct names, the things that look like sugar-glider suits)?

Then there are the much more likely to not be on-topic forms, yet still a form a 'flying' such as kite surfing, where operators have been pulled up so high as to be severely injured upon landing.

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  • $\begingroup$ We have hang-glider questions too. $\endgroup$ – fooot Jun 30 '17 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ I pride myself with correct usage of spelling and grammar, even though I was not an English major... thank you for that correction Federico, that was a mistake I don't normally make. $\endgroup$ – CGCampbell Jul 2 '17 at 11:54
  • $\begingroup$ All forms of flight? No, since birds are clearly off-topic. :-P $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Jul 10 '17 at 18:36
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Are they on topic? I'd say yes!

  1. They are likely regulated by the same aviation authority that regulates other aspects of flying
  2. They are interesting, it broadens our site to more readers
  3. Some aerodynamic concepts are likely applicable
  4. We do have questions about parachuting already
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If it leaves the ground, under control of a pilot, its on-topic for aviation.
A paramotor certainly qualifies as all that.

The pilot doesn't have to be on/in the craft (so model aircraft and drones are included.)

If the craft is destined for space then its a grey area between this site and https://space.stackexchange.com/ Depends if its related specifically to atmospheric segment of the launch/landing.

If its tethered to the ground then that's another marginally grey area and would be considered off-topic unless there's a specific connection to flying ("kites near an airport" is on topic, but "kites generally" might be off topic.

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    $\begingroup$ "If it leaves the ground, under control of a pilot, its on-topic for aviation" creates the problem you have to solve by "Depends if its related specifically to atmospheric segment of the launch/landing", so I propose another criteria (see my answer): Does it rely on an aerodynamic force? $\endgroup$ – mins Jul 5 '17 at 14:26
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I think of the scope of the site as everything which is related to flying, that is: Gaining altitude, maintaining altitude, or controlling descent by the mean of an aerodynamic force (which to me includes air buoyancy).

Cases:

  • A rocket usually relies on the pure thrust created by its engines. It's not in scope. V2 are not in scope (or perhaps for their attitude control system).

  • An airplane using a rocket engine to move a wing, which in turn creates lift, is in-scope. V1 are in scope.

  • Any wing like a parachute or a steerable fabric wing is in scope.

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