July 15, 2009
Note: This review was done for version 1. A newer plan, version 2,
is easier to build and requires far fewer special parts. These
version 2 plans will again be available on PPGPLans.com soon.
is the plans-built machine featured in the Powered Paragliding Bible. It is one of 3
viable paramotor kits that I've seen for someone wanting to start from
scratch. It comes with excellent support and there are numerous machines
flying out in the field. These are the reasons are why recommend it here on Footflyer.com. I make
no money on the sale of the
plans and/or hardware kits. But I believe in it.
Whatever you do, skip the "Easy Up"
scam. They advertise heavily to snare unsuspecting marks into buying
obsolete plans. I go to a LOT of events and have never even an Easy Up
built, let alone fly. I have flown and seen numerous (probably 5) SkyBolts
being flown at various fly-ins.
There are other viable
kit-built options on the market but only the Skybolt has a
plans-to-ppg solution that I'm aware of. If there's any doubt, go to the
most active newsgroup on yahoo about paramotoring and type in plans.
How Is It To Build
The beauty of this system is that the primary
skill is bending aluminum tube. For one thing, aluminum tube bends easily.
Another is that the included DVD shows exactly what
you need to do and how to use the few tools required. Full
sized plans help, too.
There appear to be very few
"tricky" parts although making your own connectors will take
some time. I'd definitely buy the hardware kit if able unless you're
pretty well equipped with at least some basic machining tools.
How Much Will It Really Cost
The plans are $95 and come with a detailed
DVD to guide you through the building process. If you buy the hardware
kit, tube (the DVD/plans tell you where and what to buy), netting, tanks,
throttle and other miscellany, it will cost around $1200. Where to buy all
this is given in the plans.
The engine will be your biggest purchase. The
plans show how to adapt the most common current paramotors including the
Black Devil 172, RDM 100, Simonini M2, Solo 210 and several others. A used
Solo 210 can be had for about $500 and a new Black Devil costs about $2300
so there's a lot of variety here.
Assuming you have the hardware kit, expect to
spend probably 80 hours to have a completely flyable machine if you're of
average handiness. That includes time on the phone, internet, and
pondering of the navel that goes on during such projects.
Making the 80 or so connectors/misc will
probably take another 30 hours between setup, learning curve and actual
milling. That is why the connector/hardware kit that includes those parts
is so valuable!
14 pounds for the frame alone, 24 pounds with
fuel tank and harness and 66 pounds with a Cors-Air Black Devil motor
including prop. Enough fuel for an hour of flying will add another 8
pounds. Unlike airplane kits which can easily get heavier depending on
build technique, there's not much room for that here. These are the
weights you can expect if you buy the specified materials..
This may be the single biggest benefit is
that there is a real pilot, actually quite a few, who have built and fly
these machines. The designer himself answers questions, primarily through
email for time's sake, and many others will answer questions on the Skybolt
Builders Yahoo forum. This is incredibly valuable, you can read
about it and ask questions of those who have actually built or fly the