Powered parachute
Overview
 
A powered parachute is a parachute
Parachuting
Parachuting, also known as skydiving, is the action of exiting an aircraft and returning to earth with the aid of a parachute. It may or may not involve a certain amount of free-fall, a time during which the parachute has not been deployed and the body gradually accelerates to terminal...

 with motor and wheels. The aircraft's airspeed
Airspeed
Airspeed is the speed of an aircraft relative to the air. Among the common conventions for qualifying airspeed are: indicated airspeed , calibrated airspeed , true airspeed , equivalent airspeed and density airspeed....

 is typically about 25–35 mph (40–60 km/h). PPCs operate safely at heights ranging from a few feet off the ground (while ground skimming, a popular use of the aircraft) to altitudes as high as 18,000+ feet (5.5 km). But typical operating heights are between 500 and 1500 feet (150–500 meters). Equipped with the standard 5 or 10 gallon fuel tank, PPCs can typically be flown for about three hours.
Encyclopedia
A powered parachute is a parachute
Parachuting
Parachuting, also known as skydiving, is the action of exiting an aircraft and returning to earth with the aid of a parachute. It may or may not involve a certain amount of free-fall, a time during which the parachute has not been deployed and the body gradually accelerates to terminal...

 with motor and wheels. The aircraft's airspeed
Airspeed
Airspeed is the speed of an aircraft relative to the air. Among the common conventions for qualifying airspeed are: indicated airspeed , calibrated airspeed , true airspeed , equivalent airspeed and density airspeed....

 is typically about 25–35 mph (40–60 km/h). PPCs operate safely at heights ranging from a few feet off the ground (while ground skimming, a popular use of the aircraft) to altitudes as high as 18,000+ feet (5.5 km). But typical operating heights are between 500 and 1500 feet (150–500 meters). Equipped with the standard 5 or 10 gallon fuel tank, PPCs can typically be flown for about three hours. They have very short take-off and landing rolls, sometimes less than 100 ft (30 m). PPCs are among the least expensive aerial vehicles. A new one-person powered parachute may cost as little as $5,000, though double seaters more typically cost about $10,000. Top end two seater PPCs usually cost $15,000–25,000. Empty weight is typically around 200–300 lb (90–135 kg) and payload can be upwards of 500 lb (225 kg). In the United States, most single place PPCs are flown under part 103 of the Federal Aviation Regulations
Federal Aviation Regulations
The Federal Aviation Regulations, or FARs, are rules prescribed by the Federal Aviation Administration governing all aviation activities in the United States. The FARs are part of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations...

 and, therefore, may be flown without a license or flight instruction. Flight instruction is, however, highly recommended, and an average student can learn to fly a PPC safely with 5 to 10 hours of flight instruction. Two-place PPCs are light sport aircraft in the United States. The pilot must have at least a sport pilot
Pilot certification in the United States
Pilot certification in the United States is required for an individual to act as a pilot of an aircraft. It is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration , a branch of the Department of Transportation...

 certificate issued by the FAA
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

 to fly them. A minimum of 15 hours of flight instruction, and 5 hours of solo as a student pilot is required to obtain this certificate.

Safety

PPCs are considered by many to be safer than normal fixed-wing aircraft because of their inherent stability, limited response to control inputs, and stall
Stall (flight)
In fluid dynamics, a stall is a reduction in the lift coefficient generated by a foil as angle of attack increases. This occurs when the critical angle of attack of the foil is exceeded...

 resistance. There are two primary means to control a PPC: increasing or decreasing engine power (which controls vertical rate of climb) and deflecting the right or left trailing edge of the parachute—typically by moving the steering bars with the feet—which turns the aircraft right or left. If the trailing edge of the wing is pulled in on both sides at the same time, the aircraft "flares," i.e., slows and temporarily gains additional lift. The flare is generally used to make fine adjustments in altitude when flying close to the ground and, in particular, when landing.

The power-off glide ratio of a powered parachute ranges from 3:1 to 6:1. Glide ratio varies depending on the chute size and shape, and the weight that the chute is carrying, as well as the wind speed and direction during time of flight. Engine-off landings are generally safe, provided that the aircraft is within glide range of a suitable landing zone and the pilot is properly trained in the use of proper "Flare" technique. "Flaring", in terms of Powered Parachuting, refers to the usage of the steering bars pushed out simultaneously, causing the aircraft to "rock" forward. This is caused by the reshaping of the rear of the "Wing" or parachute, which is pulled downwards. This results in the entire aircraft rocking on the lateral axis, thus slowing the aircraft momentarily, allowing an engine-out landing to become less brutal within the last few feet of the ground. Done properly, flaring will allow an engine-out landing to be much smoother than simply relying on the "Lift" of the Ram-Air to cushion the landing. Every tip and technique comes with experience, and differs with every pilot.

Although possible, it is difficult to cause the aircraft to get into a dangerous attitude, stall
Stall (flight)
In fluid dynamics, a stall is a reduction in the lift coefficient generated by a foil as angle of attack increases. This occurs when the critical angle of attack of the foil is exceeded...

, or chute collapse by means of pilot control inputs. Chute collapse is considered by many pilots to be virtually impossible with Square "Wings." The wing is more likely to collapse with the more maneuverable but less inherently stable Elliptical Wing, but such collapses are normally followed by an immediate reflation and often go unnoticed by the pilot. In these rare circumstances where an elliptical wing collapses, the collapse is caused either by some extreme adverse meteorological condition or by pilot error. (The Federal Aviation Administration reports that over 80 percent of all aviation accidents are due to pilot error.) Inflatable Ram-Air elliptical wings can have upward of 30 individual cells whereas square wings typically have fewer than 13 cells.

The main hazards one faces while flying a powered parachute are associated with wind and obstacles. Flight should not be attempted in winds exceeding 10–15 mph or in gusty conditions. Wind hazards include terrain-induced air disturbances called rotors (it is advisable to stay upwind of trees, mountains, and other obstacles that disturb the flow of the wind). Wake turbulence created by the passage of other aircraft (referred to as "Wingtip Vortices") especially aircraft that are heavy, aerodynamically "Dirty", and slow...pose another significant hazard. And since the slow-moving powered parachute (like the helicopter) is particularly well equipped to fly safely near the ground, however, special care must be taken to avoid power lines, trees, and other low-level terrain obstacles.

Operations

PPC pilots typically enjoy flying "low and slow," and the PPC is an excellent platform for sightseeing and photography
Photography
Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film...

. PPCs are also used in agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, and occasionally by law enforcement agencies and flight search organizations such as ELLASS (Emergency Low Level Aerial Search and Surveillance), a search and rescue organization founded by the PowerChute Education Foundation.

PPCs do not need an airport
Airport
An airport is a location where aircraft such as fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and blimps take off and land. Aircraft may be stored or maintained at an airport...

 to take off and land. Many pilots fly from back yard strips, small airports, and mown hay fields.

In the U.S., ultralight PPCs (like other classes of ultralight aircraft) are not allowed to fly at night. See FAR part 103 for regulations governing U.S. ultralights. However the FAA
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

 implemented in 2004 the Sport Pilot rule which expanded the range of venues in which PPCs can legally fly. Indeed, a properly equipped PPC may be flown at night or over metropolitan areas by a private pilot
Private Pilot
A private pilot is the holder of a Private Pilot License. They are able to fly to almost anywhere in the world, but are limited in the type of aircraft that they can fly...

 with a PPC rating.

Archaeology

A PPC has been used by Dr. Tommy Hailey, Director of the Cultural Resource Office at Northwestern State University
Northwestern State University
Northwestern State University, known as NSU, is a four-year public university primarily situated in Natchitoches, Louisiana, with a nursing campus in Shreveport and general campuses in Leesville/Fort Polk and Alexandria. It is a part of the University of Louisiana System.NSU was founded in 1884 as...

, for low altitude aerial reconnaissance and surveying of archaeological sites through a grant from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training is a research, technology, and training center of the U.S. National Park Service located on the campus of Northwestern State University...

.

Law enforcement

A powered parachute operated by the Ripon (Ca.) Police Department has assisted with suspect captures, river rescues, critical infrastructure over-flights, crime scene photos, narcotics enforcement and crime suppression at a small fraction of the cost of a police helicopter. This low cost aviation asset was procured from the US Department of Justice, Aviation Technology Program.

Emergency medical services

The I-Fly Maverick is a street-legal experimental certified aircraft designed to provide Emergency medical services to the Huaorani
Huaorani
The Huaorani, Waorani or Waodani, also known as the Waos, are native Amerindians from the Amazonian Region of Ecuador who have marked differences from other ethnic groups from Ecuador. The alternate name Auca is a pejorative exonym used by the neighboring Quechua Indians, and commonly adopted by...

 indigenous people in the Amazon rainforest
Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest , also known in English as Amazonia or the Amazon Jungle, is a moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America...

 in Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

.

History

On October 1, 1964, Domina Jalbert
Domina Jalbert
Domina Jalbert invented the ram-air inflated flexible wing often called the "Jalbert parafoil".-Life:Settling into Boca Raton, Florida, after arriving from Quebec, Canada, he established his business Aerology....

 applied for patent for his new "Multi-Cell Wing" named "Parafoil
Parafoil
A parafoil is a nonrigid airfoil with an aerodynamic cell structure which is inflated by the wind. Ram-air inflation forces the parafoil into a classic wing cross-section. Parafoils are most commonly constructed out of ripstop nylon....

" (also known as a "Ram-Air" wing), which was a new parachute design. His ideas finally were registered as U.S. patent 3,285,546 on November 15, 1966. However a first motorized version by Nicolaides had already flown in 1964.

Finally in March 1981, the P–1 was created by Steve Snyder, Adrian Vandenberg and Daniel Thompson
Daniel Thompson
Daniel, Dan, or Danny Thompson may refer to:* Daniel Thompson , American poet and activist in Cleveland, Ohio* Danny Thompson , American racing driver...

. The first flight lasted only 25–30 seconds mainly because the paraglider suffered from torque problems. It took 2 years to fix these problems, but in 1983 the ParaPlane corporation was organized under Snyder's leadership to produce the first commercial paragliders.

See also

  • Ultralight aviation
    Ultralight aviation
    The term "ultralight aviation" refers to light-weight, 1- or 2-person airplanes., also called microlight aircraft in the UK, India and New Zealand...

  • Powered paraglider – a foot launched powered paramotor. [Distinguish powered harness or carriage from unlikely engine coupled to the wing itself.]
  • Powered Hang Glider
    Powered Hang Glider
    A foot-launched powered hang glider , also called powered harness, nanolight, or hangmotor, is a powered hang glider harness with a motor and propeller in pusher configuration...

     – a foot launched hang glider. [Distinguish powered harness from engines coupled to the wing's airframe.]
  • Boardsport
    Boardsport
    Boardsports are sports that are played with some sort of board as the primary equipment. These sports take place on a variety of terrain, from paved flat-ground and snow covered hills to water and air. Most boardsports are considered action sports or extreme sports, and thus often appeal to youth...

  • Domina Jalbert
    Domina Jalbert
    Domina Jalbert invented the ram-air inflated flexible wing often called the "Jalbert parafoil".-Life:Settling into Boca Raton, Florida, after arriving from Quebec, Canada, he established his business Aerology....

  • Foil kite
    Foil kite
    Foil kites are soft kites based on the design of the parafoil. They consist of a number of cells running fore to aft, some or all of which are open at the front to allow air to inflate the kite so it takes on an aerofoil section...

  • Francis Rogallo
    Francis Rogallo
    Francis Melvin Rogallo was an American aeronautical engineer inventor born in Sanger, California, U.S.A.; he is credited with the invention of the Rogallo wing, or "flexible wing", a precursor to the modern hang glider and paraglider...

  • Hang glider
  • Parawing

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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