See the 2010 Free Spirit.
of FlyOhio is offering a paramotor design that offers eitherhigh hook-in
or low hook-in points. This unique machine is based largely on the Pap/Airfer
design but offers differences that pilots may like. Structure comes from
ParamotorKits.com machines who does the frame welding for FlyOhio.
unit tested had a 48" inch
prop. I did not get to weigh it but the weight was probably close to 75
pounds with fuel, plus my 140 pounds. The flight was on my Spice 22 wing
at 1100' elevation, 75°F and light winds.
This write up is 8 months after the February, 2007 flight test so
some details have escaped me. Hopefully I'll get another chance to try
one and will update this review. Number ratings aren't included due to
that elapsed time.
Harness & Suspension: Low hook-in, moving underarm bar as tested.
Starting (-): This unit had a pull start with a unique twist.
The cord was rigged for foot starting. When done properly, it's easy.
The trick is to never stand on one foot. You wear a special little
shoe harness and kick start the motor. Raise the foot and kick down—one
quick movement. That keeps you from hopping around while wearing a
paramotor. Leg muscles get much more zing which so it should start a lot
easier. The machine was warm when I flew it and started right up.
Ground Handling & Kiting (-): The main harness is used for ground handling straps
since the primary hook-in points are on the frame. Standing and walking
around were comfortable but I do prefer the ground handling straps found on
high hook-in machines which let you to hike up the motor a bit higher.
If you'll cinch up the harness
straps for walking around, launching and landing then loosen them in
flight, it's darn close. If the harness is loose on the ground it will be very uncomfortable and
tend to pull you over backwards. A forward lean of about 15° to
20° kept me upright without exertion.
Ingress is easy and traditional. You sit on the seat which is elevated
by about 10" making it comfortable to strap in. Standing up was easy
by leaning forward onto a knee then standing up.
Kiting took more effort because the hook-in points are held forward of
the pilot which means that lift from the wing tries to tilt you back—typical
for this suspension style. You'll not want to stand around kiting for long
with it on your back.
Launch (-): The reverse launch was standard with no difficulties
noted. I did not try a forward inflation but there is nothing to catch
on the cage so the lines should slide up easily.
Climbout (-): Plenty powerful with not unusual observed. As with
all low hook-in machines, be careful not to get a brake toggle into the
Flight (-): Flying the machine was comfortable. At my light weight,
Weight Shift (-) Weight shift, which uses a pivoting arm, is
quite effected. I remember thinking it more effective than the Airfer
but it would likely be very close.
Torque (-): I did
only one flight and don't remember torque being excessive.
Thrust (-): Being equipped with the 172cc Black Devil engine means
it had plenty of thrust. Throttle response was good throughout.
Did not test.
I didn't notice anything excessive.
Sound (-): Sound level was average for a Black Devil powered
Safety (-): normal protections exist and the machine sits up
nicely on its frame. As with most low hook-in machines there is an
elevated risk of getting a brake toggle into the prop right after
launch. I don't believe it would prevent an open human hand from hitting
the prop at full rated thrust.
Construction (-): The unit seems very well built with no
obvious weak points.
The harness is made with a reserve mount in mind, concealing the
D-rings for a finished appearance.
Reparability (-): Damage resistance is high but it will
probably take an aluminum welder to repair bent pieces or they must be
ordered from the dealer/distributor.
Transport (-): Partial disassembly would be very convenient. It
would be of average effort to box it. Once the cage pieces are removed
you're left with an average sized frame as the largest piece.
Overall: For pilots wanting low hook-in points with weight
shift, this machine should be very satisfying. For more information,
1) The fuel is a bit close to the prop and, in a
crash, may let the prop hit the gas can. 2) Balance is quite good with
the motor properly hiked up on the pilot's back. 3) This is the only
machine I know that lets the pilot choose high or low hook-ins. Weight
shift is a bit better with low hook-ins. 4) Thos netting straps look
like they might catch during a forward but did not do so in practice.