Do you want a tiny aircraft that can fit in your garage and take off from most anyplace? If so the powered parachute (PPC) may be just what you are looking for.
This small aircraft has a motor and propeller at your back and a parachute overhead. They fly rather slow at just about 26 to 32 (40-60km) miles an hour.
Flying the powered parachute is easy to master and safer than most aircraft. The PPC can fly low just over the tree tops or just above the fence line, so exploring your surroundings is better than what you could get by flying really fast in your typical airplane. Of course, you won’t go anywhere fast in this tiny aircraft, but if your desire is to fly around the area you live in and just enjoy the view then the PPC is the way to go.
The advantages of the powered parachute over other aircraft are many. They are easy to store and you can keep it on your property. Also very simple to fly with just a short amount of training. And if the engine quits you can safely glide to the ground with your parachute holding you up.
You don’t need a lot of maintenance and can just take off on your own without any help from others on the ground.
The PPC is easy to haul. You just need a small trailer or extend the back of your pickup for easy transport.
Tips for Buying a Powered Parachute
- Before you buy and fly your PPC be sure to get the suitable training with an experienced instructor. You only need between five and ten hours of instruction and this will give you the experience you need to avoid becoming a statistic.
- Powered Parachutes are one of the less expensive aircraft that you can find. They typically start out at around $5,000 for a new one to up to $25,000 if you want all the bells and whistles.
- Your parachute should be made out of the best material that won’t rip and is less sensitive to heat. Examples to look for are terylene and nylon.
- Do you have someone that would like to go flying with you? If so a two seater would be best. These are more expensive but worth it if you love company.
- Choose the type of Parachute wing that is safe. The shape determines your speed. The rectangular shape is safer but slow while the elliptical shape wing is faster but more dangerous and should be used by experienced pilots only.
- A cheaper wood propeller is heavier but can be repairable. So this is a good one to start out with in case you have to replace it often.
- The more expensive lightweight composite propeller is quieter and well balanced and can be purchased once you get more experience.
- Ask around before you buy. Interview instructors and other PPC pilots for their recommendations. They can give you the best advice.
- Renting is a good way to save money if you don’t fly much. Once you get your training you can check around and see if there is a rental place close to your home.
- Consider taking a 16-hour class to become a FAA certified inspector and repairman. You would be able to do your own yearly inspection instead of paying someone else. Also, people would be paying you to inspect and repair their PPC. Might be a good part time job.
Two Seat Trike Powered Parachute
Powered Parachutes for Sale
There are other things to consider before buying your powered parachute.
Once you decide to purchase make sure your family is happy with your decision. Are you flying alone? Does your family want to fly with you? This will determine if you should invest in a more costly two seater.
What is the weather like in your area? A PPC can be flown throughout the year, but you have to stay out of windy and stormy conditions. If you live in the south you would probably have more flying days than in the northeast.
There is an advantage in training on the same type of PPC that you plan to buy. This way once you get your own you can just take off and won’t have to learn how a different Powered Parachute operates.
Foot Launch, Quad or Trike
Foot Launch. The pilot launches into the air with his feet. He runs a little and then lifts off. This is less expensive than the quad or trike since you don’t need as much gear, and you can launch from anywhere. You will need to be in good physical shape.
Quad or Trike. Has 3 or 4 wheels. You will need more gear but it is not as physically demanding and you can get to your launch place easier. You don’t have to carry everything.
The video below explains all this in great detail, so if you are interested in learning more about the differences and want to see these options in action, take a look.
Powered Parachute Flying Handbook
I like this book for answering most of all your questions that you might have on Powered Parachutes. Even experienced pilots will learn something new.