recent technological developments including ram air
parachute wings, lightweight reliable engines, composite
props, and other light but strong components, a new
dimension in flying has become available. The powered
parachute (PPC) makes it easy to fly safely to 10,000' or weave your way slowly through the trees while
just a few feet off the ground.
The PPC flies along at about 28 mph. at all times. Steering is done with foot peddles and climb/descent is controlled by the throttle (which will stay wherever you set it, like a boat throttle). The pendulum effect of the cart hanging below the wing controls the angle of attack making it virtually impossible to stall. In the event the engine should quit, you simply steer the PPC as it slowly glides down to a landing, which takes only a very small space.
The PPC is not a good choice if you want to use it to travel long distances or fly in strong winds or thermal conditions. It is by far the best choice if your goal is to see the world from a new perspective with minimum effort and expense. Most people keep their PPC in their garage on a small trailer where they can at a moments notice attach it to the family car for a trip to the local airport or pasture. Retired folks can easily tow it behind a motor home, pausing during their travels to fly from new and exciting places.
A typical day of flying actually starts the day before when we check the weather and wind forecasts on the internet. We load the PPC on the trailer if it's not already loaded, fill it with fuel and oil, and give it a quick look-over.
Up before dawn we down a cup of coffee, and head for the airstrip. Once at the airstrip we don our flight suit, start the PPC engine and let it warm up for about 5 minutes. While it's warming up we give the machine a preflight check over.
Once warmed up the PPC is unloaded from the trailer and rolled out to the takeoff point. The wing (chute) is dumped out on the ground and spread out. The lines are checked to make sure none are wrapped around the wing. The wing bag is then stowed under the seat.
Now it's time to get into the PPC, put on your headset, buckle the seat belt, and start the engine. After a few moments of warm up the throttle is advanced and the wing leaps off the ground, moving overhead. As you roll slowly along the ground (at about 15 mph) you examine the wing and lines to make sure everything is where it should be. Then the throttle is opened and you are lifted into the air.
Once in the air you simply fly wherever you want, keeping in mind any airspace restrictions. While flying you always have a safe spot to land within gliding distance in case of an engine problem. Just relax, sit back, and enjoy the freedom of flight.
When it's time to land you simply set the throttle to produce a suitable descent angle. At about
10 feet from the ground you slowly push the steering tubes about 2/3 of the way out, fine tuning them as needed to smooth your landing. Once on the ground you kill the engine and pull the steering lines to drop the wing behind the cart.