Powered Parachute Flying at Sunset

Gary Hamilton takes to the winter sky in his powered parachute in Greenville, IL.

Photograph by Roy Beisswenger

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Easy Flight, Inc.
PO Box 38
Greenville, IL 62246
(618) 664-9706
roy@easyflight.com
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Easy Flight Powered Parachutes, Greenville, IL

? Frequently Asked Questions ?
Do you need any type of license?

If you fly a single seat powered parachute under FAA Part 103 in the United States, there is no requirement for a license.

Part 103 defines powered ultralight vehicles as air vehicles that:      

  1. Weighs less than 254 pounds empty weight, excluding floats and safety devices which are intended for deployment in a potentially catastrophic situation;
  2. Has a fuel capacity not exceeding 5 U5. gallons;
  3. Is not capable of more than 55 knots calibrated airspeed at full power in level flight; and
  4. Has a power-off stall speed which does not exceed 24 knots calibrated airspeed.

With the low speeds that powered parachutes fly, the concern is to get one that weighs less than 254 pounds and carries no more than 5 gallons of fuel.

Requirements increase if you want to fly a two-place machine.

To read all of Part 103, click here

Is there a minimum age requirement? What if my 15 year old son wanted to fly?

There is no minimum age requirement if someone wants to fly a Part 103 compliant ultralight.

If someone 15 years old or younger wants to fly a two place powered parachute, they have to fly with at least an ultralight flight instructor in the ship.

In order to fly a two place machine as the pilot in command, there are some age requirements.

In order to fly solo in a two place powered parachute, you must be at least 16 years old and be endorsed to fly by an ultralight instructor.

And in order to become an ultralight instructor themselves, someone should be at least 18 years old.

Some of this varies from exemption program to exemption program. You should contact a flight instructor in your area to see what program they are involved in.

2000 World Champion pilot, Eddie Johnson, taxis to the edge of the field in his Powrachute after providing a tandem flight at Sun 'n Fun.

How can I get a ride in a powered parachute at Easy Flight?

First, technically, as instructors we can only provide instruction and not just rides. That really makes it better for you if you are considering getting into the sport.

We generally fly on the weekends at the Greenville Airport. The best flying is early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Either way, it is best to call ahead to make sure you are on the list, the weather is right, and that there will be enough pilots on hand.

Walk-ins are welcome, but to be fair we work with folks that have appointments first.

Call us at: (618) 664-9706 or email at roy@easyflight.com. to arrange your flight.

What licensing requirements are necessary when carrying a passenger?

In order to carry a "passenger" you have to become a licensed general aviation pilot, build your powered parachute as an amature built aircraft, get an N number for it, and treat it like a GA airplane.

An alternative to that is to become a powered parachute instructor under one of the exemptions to FAA Part 103. As an instructor, you can not take up a "passenger" but you can take up "students". The paperwork is a little more of a hassle, but it is still an easier program to work under.

All of this will change within a few years as a new FAA rating called Sport Pilot takes effect.

Click here to learn more about becoming a Flight Instructor

Might you please direct me to a website, where I would find the safety record for powered chute flying?

The best source I know is a little dated, but can be found at UltralightAccidents.org. While the material may not have a lot of current information, the types of incidents that happen today are similar to those logged on the site.

In the summer of 2000, Steve Thomas of Dexter, KY flew from Greenville to his home town, which is 155 miles away. He later did a coast to coast flight across America.

What is the approximate range for these powered parachutes (approximately)? I realize there are many variables.

You are right that there are a lot of variables! They include chute designs, fuel capacities, engines, payload, winds, and your bladder capacity.

On a calm day, you can see ranges of 30-60 miles and even more with specially designed parachutes.

 

 

For More Information
Roy Beisswenger
PO Box 38
Greenville, IL 62246

(618) 664-9706

• E-mail Roy •