Now that we are halfway between Oshkosh '97 & '98, I thought this winter month would be a good time to review the many changes, updates and new products in powered parachuting. This was my first visit to Oshkosh, and from what I witnessed, it will not be my last. The convention is nothing short of incredible with every conceivable flying contraption represented. I was in heaven! For seven years, I have been a. regular participant of Sun N' Fun, the super air show every April in Florida. For one reason or another, I was never able to make it to Oshkosh, but now, you will have to tie me down to keep me away. If you have never been to Oshkosh (or Sun N' Fan for that matter) and you love aviation, you owe it to yourself to attend at least once. Powered parachutes were well represented, with only a few companies failing to attend. This industry is growing by leaps and bounds with more than fourteen companies producing same type of powered parachute. Following is an overview of what's new.

You can pedal it as a bicycle by removing the engine assembly with just three bolts. It has twenty-one speeds with Shimano gearing, and an optional electric motor planned for the future that will allow it to reach 30 MPH and climb an 11 degree slope. The frame is TIG welded 4130 chrome-moly aircraft steel tubing. Empty weight is a mere 147 lbs. The rear axle is disc brake equipped.

Bolt on the engine assembly, hook up the chute and turn one of the bike pedals around for in-flight steering and you are ready to fly. The center of gravity is adjustable with a unique floating bar assembly on each side of the craft. The engine is a 2SI 460-F 40HP two cylinder two stroke. Performance Design makes the 400 sq. ft. chute engineered specifically for this aircraft. A two blade Prince Aircraft Co. "P-Tip" prop pushes the craft skyward. Most of the controls are on the handlebar within easy reach.

The Para-Cycle was flown a number of times during the show and looked impressive. The rear wheels are much closer together than most powered parachutes, leading me to expect a possible roll over on takeoff, but the craft is quite stable and showed no indication that rolling over would be a problem. If the Para-Cycle people can keep the price down and meet production needs, I think they have a real winner.

Copyright ULTRAFLIGHT Magazine (c) 1998
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