Powered Parachutes

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A while back, while I was on vacation in Charleston, I asked the readers to provide me subjects they wanted to hear about. I got one response. I will finally make good on it and provide you with as much information as I could find in about 15 minutes on…wait for it…Powered Parachutes. That is right. You all asked, so I will deliver. You can probably imagine who asked. I only know of two powered parachute pilots in the department, Jerry Franks and John Dubose.

Powered Parachutes -

You could start here, for general information and probably the second best domain name. The best domain name for this topic being poweredparachute.com (no link to save you time) is not online, apparently someone is missing out on a very marketable domain name. Buckeye Aviation is a decent site and I believe that is where Jerry and John bought there chutes. Of course you can always rely on the good ole Wikipedia for online information. The wikipedia has plenty of information on Powered Parachutes aka paraplane:

On 1 October 1964, Jalbert applied for patent for his new “Multi-Cell Wing” named “Parafoil“, which was a new parachute design. His ideas finally were registered as US-patent 3,285,546 on 11.15.1966. 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. The flight lasted 25-30 seconds and the paraglider suffered from torque problems. It took 2 years for them to fix these problems, and in 1983 they formed the ParaPlane corporation to produce first commercial paragliders.

In 2004 Don Shaw mounted a standard motor scooter with a parafoil and propeller. The combination can both fly and continue to drive on the road as a ground vehicle. A conversion kit is now commercially available.

This is where it gets interesting though. Some of you might not realize the Jerry Franks started a blog. Jerry’s blog Tree Top Flyers of VA has been online for several months now. I have offered him some assistance in his design, and will be helping him soon. But hey, everyone has to start somewhere. I remember when I began this blog I didn’t have a clue.

Jerry has incorporated pictures of his new baby. Congratulations to you and your wife on your new arrival.

“Jerry, you sure this thing can handle me?”
“Well John, there is only one sure way to find out!”

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