Preparing for the Icarus Trophy

A mammoth air race like the Icarus Trophy does require a certain amount of forward planning. Read on to find out what bureaucratic hoops you'll need to jump through, as well as what kit you should be packing. To find out how good you need to be at paramotoring, head over to the training page.


Travel visas

Depending on your nationality, you might need a visa to travel to the countries en route. You can check your visa requirements here.


You will need 2 types of insurance.

Firstly 3rd party flying insurance. For those of you with a SAHPA (South African) licence already you will have this as part of your fees. For those of you from countries outside South Africa you need to be getting a temporary licence which includes insurance for a couple of months. Handy.

Secondly medical and repatriation insurance. This is usually travel insurance but could be part of your health insurance if you have some. You need to make sure it is valid in all countries you will be visiting and that you are allowed to paramotor under it. You might need to pay a sports extension to cover it.


There are all sorts of permits and permissions you'll need to fly the Icarus Trophy. Luckily, we give you a hand with these. But we advise need you to have sent us details early so get in touch to ensure there is enough time.

SAHPA Temporary visitors permit

Every pilot who flies in South Africa must hold a license issued by the South African Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (SAHPA)

The good news is that visiting overseas pilots can fairly easily obtain a two month temporary permit.

The process was pretty straight forward and has recently been streamlined with Icarus Trophy pilots in mind.  You basically download and submit this form to us, alongside summary evidence of your training, any certification and experience, together with an admin fee of ZAR200 (about USD$17 but this may change).

For those of you with a licence in your own country we can take that as evidence of your airworthiness. For those of you without a licence give us a call as we have other way to demonstrate your skill.

You’ll then be issued with a two month Temporary Visitors Licence. We are submitting all this at the end of June.

Remember you also need a restricted radio license to fly in South Africa.  This is a bit more involve, but you can read about the special arrangements available to overseas Icarus pilots here.


South African Restricted Radio Licence

It's also a requirement when flying paramotors in South Africa to have an air band radio and a restricted radio license to operate it.

Prior to the Icarus Trophy Recce, our two test pilots did the course and tests.  The whole thing took a little over two hours.

To get the licence you need to attend a two hour course which consists of going over 24 pages of fairly standard but relevant stuff. It does include some very specific South African PPG airspace and frequency peculiarities. Then you complete a short true/false questionnaire, followed by a multi-choice and short answer test.  Nothing too taxing.

Finally there is a practical skills test. Again this is not particularly taxing - things like spelling your name out loud in the phonetic alphabet and making some really simple radio calls.

For Icarus Trophy pilots without a radio licence we have arranged to do this at the start line for a small fee. Don't forget this is then a global certificate. Pretty handy.

Getting your Paramotor on an airline flight

In March 2018 we sent our crack team of Icarus Trophy guinea-pigs out to South Africa to see whether or not this thing is really possible. Their first challenge - getting the kit over there. 

In this article, Mr Simon Walker explains how he got his kit from the UK to South Africa on an airline.

What to bring

Compulsory kit

  • Reserve parachute.
  • Helmet.
  • Radio licence.
  • Airband radio with helmet interface (ptt).
  • USB power supply for tracker, radio and phone.
  • Form of navigation with air maps.
  • Survival foil blanket, whistle and torch.
  • Sleeping bag and mat.
  • Tent, tarp or bivi.
  • Means to carry water inflight.
  • Water purification tablets.

Recommended kit

This is race crew, mechanical legend and all round ace pilot Kester's recommendation for what to bring. Remember he has patched up most of the cock ups that have occurred on the Trophy since the first race. Ignore him at your peril.

Some of this stuff you will want to be putting in the support wagons or your own support trucks if you are bringing some.

Start race with new:

  • Spark plug
  • Exhaust joints and springs inc lock wire (multi strand lock wire) Do not use titanium exhaust (use steel for ease of repair)
  • New carb diaphragm kit depending on age/ hours.
  • New priming bulb fuel pipe and fuel filter
  • New gear oil
  • New Pull start assembly inc rope, take original as spare in spares truck
  • New starter battery

After fitting new parts it is worth test flying with enough time to reorder parts and  adjust things a few weeks before the race start date

Engine checks:

  • Check spark plug cap and Ht cable
  • Check throttle cable inc handcontrol, wires and connections
  • Check drive belt inc tension
  • Check prop hub bearings for play
  • Check clutch friction material and springs
  • Check engine and exhaust mount rubbers
  • Check air box and air box rubber for cracks secure, attachment to frame and filter is clean
  • Check gaskets
  • Check reed valve (over 50 hours)
  • Check auxiliary fuel systems in flight for vacuums, leaking, and attachment/location
  • Check starter motor, ring gear and wiring
  • Check prop for cracks, de lamination and chips
  • Inspect piston and cylinder

Frame and harness checks

  • Check outer ring has equal prop clearance through 360degrees
  • Check netting is secure and zero damage
  • Check frame is ridged when flexed towards the prop in a horizontal position
  • Check harness attachment to the frame/ Chassis
  • Check hinges, Krabs and shackles
  • Check webbing for wear and seat board for cracks
  • Check all buckles for both buttons returning when clicked together
  • Check kit bag / instrument deck inflight and in take off position for attachment and location
  • Check fuel tank and exhaust clearance

Handy Spares/Tools

  • Manufacturers tool kit and leatherman
  • Spark plug, plug spanner
  • Exhaust gasket and spring
  • Prop
  • Loctite
  • Belt
  • Prop screws
  • Engine/exhaust rubber
  • Starter mech
  • Lock nuts
  • Screws
  • Spring washers
  • Fuel pipe plus connector and priming bulb
  • Zip ties
  • Tape
  • Gasket sealant
  • Lockwire
  • Handcontrol strap
  • Button clips
  • Cage spares
  • Net
  • Primary glider lines