Powered Paragliding Display Commentary (approx. 5 minutes total)
Powered Paragliding is the easiest, safest and most accessible form of powered aviation. The entire aircraft fits into the boot of a small car and can be readied for flight within a few minutes. An aircraft in the boot of your car? Even James Bond would be jealous...
Powered Paragliders can be safely flown from an area as small as a soccer field. The pilotís legs are the undercarriage, with the pilot running a few steps to launch.
A Powered Paraglider consists of a backpack-style ultralight aircraft-engine called a Paramotor; coupled with a standard Paraglider Wing. These paraglider wings are usually used without motors, flown from hills and mountains, much like hang-gliders, but are easier to fly.
Using a Paramotor as propulsion, the same wing may be launched from level ground, in winds ranging from Zero to around 30 km/h.
Flying speed is typically around 40 km/h depending on the wing, but may be as high as 55 km/h. Stall speed is around 22 km/h. Ten-litres of fuel delivers Three hours flying and flights of over 100km distance are common.
Flying time may be extended by gliding and soaring, using lift from thermals, or from air rising over mountains, known as Ridge-lift. In this manner, altitude may be maintained or gained, without using the motor. The motor may switched off; and re-started in-flight when required.
If the motor happens to quit in flight, the wing, which is essentially a glider, will float the pilot gently and safely back to Earth. In fact, it is normal practice to switch the motor off before starting the landing approach.
These wings can glide at a ratio of Seven to One, with minimum sink rate being around One meter per second. Landing requires less than Three meters of runway.
Most Powered Paragliding flight takes place between 1000 foot and 1500 foot above ground level, though they are allowed to fly up to 9000 foot.Tests have been carried out to over 15000 foot above Sea Level.
The most widely used engine is a 210 cc, single-cylinder, 2-stroke engine; delivering around 12 to 15 horsepower. The complete backpack unit usually weighs less than 25 kilograms.
The better models sport a tuned exhaust system to boost power and performance, delivering around 22 to 25 horsepower, and around 70 kg of static thrust.
South Africa is widely considered to be on the cutting-edge of Paramotor development and design.
South African manufactured models are already being exported to many countries around the world.There are at least TWO established manufacturers in South Africa, with Cape Town hosting Xplorer Ultraflight Products.
South Africa hosted the first World Powered Paragliding Championships in 1996 at Cato Ridge, Durban.
The sport is regulated in South Africa by the South African Hanggliding and Paragliding Association, a section of the Aero Club of South Africa.
Training should take about 3 months part-time, and will you cost around R3500.
A complete paramotor and wing, ready to fly, should cost from R30 000, depending on the brand and model.
Powered Paragliders are being used for recreational aviation, sport competitions, aerial photography and aerial filming, game viewing, livestock management, law enforcement, wildlife research, aerial touring, advertising and promotions, and much more.
Some Powered Paragliding World Records:
Distance flown without landing - 443km in 1997.
Time to climb to a height of 3000m or 10 000 feet - 31mn 20s in 1996.
Longest Tour undertaken -Moscow City to the North Pole
To find out more about Powered Paragliding, contact: Keith Pickersgill at 082-414-8448,