Foot-rest comfort

Most PPG pilots do not use a foot-rest - I would not fly without one - It does not bring any negatives but adds a couple benefits:
1 / Immediately upon takeoff, I backpedal and grab the self retractable foot-rest with one foot to push myself inside my harness without having to let go the toggles or wiggle myself to get in, or grab the risers, etc… one push and I am in for the flight.


2 / It increases onboard comfort level a great deal, at least in my case. I have to say that I added and secured as I always did on my previous machines, a 4" thick hard foam cushion encased in a soft housing with the width of the harness, near the coccyx area. It is there permanently. It pushes the harness forth while the machine is kept with the correct angle under power and with the top of the hoop away from the trailing edge lines. The only tiny drawback is that the PPG is tilted a bit forward on my back while walking around but I do not even think about it anymore. It has become part of the routine to arch back a bit for a couple seconds during acceleration to keep the thrust as parallel to the ground as possible. Pretty simple and easy actually.
The cushion can be seen between the harness and the frame and is kept in place by two 2 velcro straps - 1 vertical and 1 horizontal). I do not need to remove the padding and can fold the OpenPPG with it in it. By pushing the harness forward a bit, it gives it a better supporting ergonomic curve to increase inflight comfort. The most important part of a PG or PPG harness is to have good support behind the knees to prevent cutting the blood flow behind the thighs. Not enough seat plate length will also lead the pilot to fly with tight abdominal muscles (not fun) which usually happens with beginner PG students on the bunny hill because they do not yet know how to get inside the harness after takeoff. In other words, the thighs will be slightly slanted downward. The kneecaps should be slightly higher than the hipbone axis while flying - basically the same posture as when driving your car. You will see many PPG pilots flying with a straight spine at a 90º angle in relation to a horizontal seat-plate which is fine but not the most comfortable.

I used a footrest to help me get into my harness when I had the miniplane PSF. I just could not get into it easilly without it. I think my harness may have been too small in hindsight.

But now, with the parajet zenith, that harness is designed so well that the seat just pops into position naturally, and easy to pop out of too…I would suggest you spend some time hang testing and practicing getting in and out. and be sure to adjust the harness well. getting those leg straps just right makes a huge difference…I never moved the foot rest to the new machine because it was not needed, the harness has a front “recliner” flap that you can adjust in flight…probably not as comfort as the foot rest, but a step up in comfort anyway.

Toby

Hi Toby,

Thank you for your comments.

You always want to be tight in your harness PG or PPG. Sliding in the harness playing catch is not a good thing for it induces all kinds of unwanted side sliding movements. Always think Spandex ;-). We used to actually cut the sides of the seat plate 1cm at the time (PG) until the side skirts of the harness were really pressed against the hips which is not so much an issue with PPG because of the way the harness is connected to the side bars.

The seat extension helps comfort-wise and was invented by SUPAIR for the early PG harnesses (early 90’s).

I am familiar with Parajet, I sold a few to my students long ago. Parajet’s early PPG design was taken after the Japanese company called DK ( I was their US. distributor when they were still in business) and when they closed shop. The owner of Parajet purchased the leftover DK part surplus to start Parajet in the UK.

Parajet’s original PPG designs were almost a carbon copy of the DK. Whisper.

You will see me taking off with the first “Whisper” in the US. at the time in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wWFflIt3p4 Notice the harness with a seat extension. I beat the altitude Florida PPG record a year or so later with the small DK “Beat” motor (Boxer engine). It was not near as powerful as today’s machines but did the job just as well. Those flights were made in the mid 90’s. The first one was in Florida, the second one in New jersey, USA., the third in Mexico for a PPG Guinness World. The 4th video was in New Jersey. The last sequence is an interesting one because it was a prototype I had designed was the lightest PPG in the world at 17.9lbs. I was flying a higher performance NOVA wing. The harness was a true PG harness with a full seat extension, a dorsal reserve parachute container (nobody has that feature today and never did), side hip protectors with fiberglass cups + medium density foam, foot-rest, which you will see me using (by hand, because it was not heavy enough :smirk:, full speed-bar, side storage pocket. It was a PG harness, and because of it I was able to weigh-shift as well as with any paragliding harness which was impossible to do and still is not with today’s PPG designs because of the frame configuration preventing it. You will only get a partial weigh-shift.

I came up with a different system with the motor connected to the harness without a frame.

The risers attachment points were exactly the same as with paragliding. The motor was attached with industrial velcro and could be removed in 30 seconds from the harness. Having true PG connections allowed me to pull massive “Ears” the way we used to do it before the “Split “A" risers" came along, by reaching high up into the outer “A” lines. But then, PPG pilots could not reach high enough to grab them because of the higher carabiners connection points compensating for the motor weight tilting the pilot backward. At the time most PPG machines were equipped with “J” bars ( inverted bars riding over the pilot’s shoulders ). Eventually harnesses with an “A” frame design for better load distribution (more stable than the side bars and good for beginners - see 1st, 2nd and 3rd flight in the video) were invented with built-in webbings sewn into the harness - the carabiners were connected at the top of the “A” shaped tandem riser-like design. Then someone came out with the side bars/Swan-Neck bar/Weight-shift bars we know today as an option for more active flying.

You are correct, harnesses have a sliding seat-plate system nowadays enabling the pilot to get into the harness more easily, but there are still folks out there regardless of the brand who need a bit of help getting inside the seat, and a foot-rest is good for that. When not used to it during takeoff, new pilots will sometimes have a hard time backpedaling to grab the bar because of the relative windspeed pushing it back a bit. Taking off trying the find the foot-rest with the motor blasting behind one’s back can become a bit overwhelming.

You should not have to adjust your seat extension in flight. Once the harness is correctly adjusted during a hang-test on the ground, it can stay that way for good. I have flown PG with the same Split-leg harness for the last 7 or 8 years and never had to adjust it. Same deal with my OpenPPG and other machines I flew or designed.

PPG harness seat extension:

Phil
USHPA Advanced Paragliding Tandem Instructor
USPPA Certified Powered Paragliding Instructor
GMI Paragliding - Powered Paragliding School
www.supair-usa.com

On Aug 16, 2019, at 5:17 PM, Toby Obermeit via OpenPPG Community discuss@openppg.com wrote:

\ 45x45 Primalflight
August 16

I used a footrest to help me get into my harness when I had the miniplane PSF. I just could not get into it easilly without it. I think my harness may have been too small in hindsight.

But now, with the parajet zenith, that harness is designed so well that the seat just pops into position naturally, and easy to pop out of too…I would suggest you spend some time hang testing and practicing getting in and out. and be sure to adjust the harness well. getting those leg straps just right makes a huge difference…I never moved the foot rest to the new machine because it was not needed, the harness has a front “recliner” flap that you can adjust in flight…probably not as comfort as the foot rest, but a step up in comfort anyway.

Toby

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wow, you certainly have more harness experience than I do. I am rather loose in the zenith harness, but it allows me to shift over to adjust for the motor torque in level flight. are you saying it should be tighter? I kind of like it a little loose.

I may try the footrest again though…can you show pictures of where you attached the footrest?

Hey Primalflight :),
A PPG harness is a bit different than a PG model because it is attached/suspended from the frame side bars and weight shifting can not be done as successfully for that reason. Only compromises have been made over the last few years. The company ADVENTURE even pushed it a bit further by inserting a ball joint rotating inside the arm connection to the frame. That way not only there is an up/down motion of the side arms but a twisting effect of the arms - kind of a warping rotation in addition to the vertical one. They have two settings: without it for beginners and relaxed flights, and one for active flying pilots who want to push the envelope.
As far as the width of the harness goes, regardless, you will always be better off with a tighter fit just in case (@$!% - bleep! ):face_with_hand_over_mouth: hits the fan. More play on the three axis under a seasick wing will be more difficult to manages. You could talk about it to Parajet-USA and see what they have to say. On our local cliff site, 90% of the pilots use a Split-Leg harness because it is lighter, easier to use, and snug at the hips which will buffer turbulence better in strong air. Sitting on a flat hard surface area (seat plate) will give more jolts to the harness if I can describe it that way, when the wing is hit by turbulence. The wave will travel through the lines to the risers and finally the harness with you in it. When paragliding, if your right wing tip gets hit by an updraft (thermal gust for example), the right risers will lift the harness on that side and since gravity always talks, your will slide toward the left of the harness. If you are loose in your seat, it will not be the best feeling. Pilots with loosely fitting harness feel as if sitting on ball bearings and will often grab whatever(risers or carabiners) to stabilize the harness. In the early days, to prevent the problem and keep the seat plate flat in turbulence, someone invented the “Cross-Brace” which is basically two straps crossing each other like an “X” and connecting the upper right to the lower left and the upper left to the lower right to prevent the harness from tilting widely from one side to the other in trashy air. You could tighten or loosen the straps with trimmers to adjust them to your liking. The idea was good in theory, but pilots quickly realized the down side of that contraption… it was almost impossible to counter-weight shift in case of a collapse to bring the wing back to the default configuration. This is when the company SUPAIR (Pierre Bouilloux) invented the ABS (Anti Balancing System) used today on all PG harnesses. It is a compromise between the “cross-straps” and none. You still can weight shift pretty well with the ABS and managing a collapse.
To get back to you situation, and this only my personal opinion from experience, you would be better off flying with a tighter fit. The harness and you as one, and the wing as the second entity - not you, the harness and the wing. SUPAIR was even explaining PG pilots how to shorten the width of the seat plate 1cm at the time, rounding the edges after the cuts, taping them against abrasion, etc… because a pilot with a M size harness could be taller than average and the shoulder straps would become too short and force him to buy a size L with a taller backrest, but the seat plate would then be too wide. This is the reason why they were suggesting people to cut the plate because they knew that it was better to be tight in a harness to steer and manage the wing in all aspects of the fight. I would again, suggest you contacting the place you purchased your Zenith from and hear what they have to say. Don’t take my words for it and be an educated consumer. I worked at the Coupe Icare for 15 years at the SUPAIR booth as one of the public tech support guys.
Ask me any questions and I will be more than happy to help if I can.
One of my students weight-shifting


Cheers!
Phil