Have you seen these contraptions around your town and wondered what on earth they are?
These are Powered Para-Gliders or PPG for short. I am an Austin Home Inspector that has taken up this hobby to fulfill my lifelong dream of FLYING! All I can say is WOW! It is unbelievable how awesome the view and the feeling is to be up there with the birds. It is a true thrill beyond actual description, but the feelings of freedom, exhiliaration and peacefulness come close! You are in control of your own roller-coaster!
Some folks are true dare-devil types and can really get these things into amazing wing-overs, foot dragging along the ground and even ground touching spirals! Not ME! I like things nice and smooth and safe. I am the sight-seeing old geezer type that understands the CONSEQUENCES with mishaps or failures. The simplicity of these units is part of the beauty. There are essentially 2 types: the PPG is a backpack fan with a gas motor of approx. 20 HP and then there are the PPC which are a larger wheeled unit that usually require a license to fly due to their larger size which puts them outside the "ultralight" category which is unlicensed.
This is the PPG or backpack type unit, no license required.
It has a fold down seat that you pull out after you launch, or RUN, into the wind! You pull or fly your wing or "Kite" over your head and RUN until the lifting of the wing takes over. You always leave plenty of room for your takeoff to allow for any anamolies that might befall you, especially an engine out situation. NO PROBLEM tho, we have the parachute already deployed! You even usually land without the engine running, especially as a beginner when landing on your feet is not always a sure thing. You don't want your $400 propeller running when you stumble to the ground on a non-perfect landing. Landing is the easiest part tho, as you merely glide in and pull both brakes (steers with left and right brakes same as a parachute) and "flare" to a standing or trotting stop! See my videos of this: http://www.youtube.com/user/fireflyer743
This is the PPC or Powered Para-Chute
It uses a larger, more square wing and most require a sport pilot's license. You can carry a passenger if you are licensed as an instructor only. "Safety first" You don't want to trust a new pilot to know how to handle adverse conditions when you join them for a ride! These units are very effected by the winds, so we typically fly in the mornings and evenings when the thermal heating by the sun is not effecting the updrafts or "thermals" too much. Those upgusts of wind are pretty, well as a newbie would say, uplifting! lol
So, if you see these things over the Austin TX area, it could be me! We gather together most weekend evenings or mornings at the Round Rock "Old Settler's Park" at the NW corner in a large field that we have fly from. It is just behind the large water park and you drive or walk around the old fence that is there. There are about 10 or more of us that fly there, so if you come out when the weather is good, you are likely to see some of us there. We are more than glad to give you information about the sport and how to get involved. There are trainers nearby as well as one that will come to you! I bought my unit from "Flightjunkies.com" and all I had to do was pay his airfare and he came here and spent 3 days with me, in a one on one whirlwind of paragliding training! But by day 2, I had left the ground and was on my way to FLYING! Kurt is an amazing flyer and will devote all his time to training you, so I highly recommend him and you can't beat the price! FREE! Check him out at www.flightjunkies.com or call me about any info on this sport: 512-940-3709
I am also an awesome Austin home inspector, so if you need those services in the Austin and surrounding areas, please give me a try, I will take great care of you or your client! Isn't that what this site is all about!