The Original Enterprise
What started it all—Tim
Kaiser and Jeff Goin pictured | Her the new
In December of 2001, while talking to Nick Scholtes, I got an idea. It
was winter and I hate the cold. So Chicagoland's windy chill spawned the appeal for a small RV.
My plan: keep it the motorhome a warm destination and equip it with a complete PPG unit. That's how it earned the aircraft carrier name Enterprise.
Of course the "Star Trek" theme wasn't far behind the name and, in fact, it sports William Shatner's signature on the side (he rode in it on the way to some PPG training).
The vehicle was a 1995 Winnebago Rialto. Very compact and equally underpowered (which is endemic of the breed)...it is, however, sufficient and even comfortable at 70 mph on level road.
It sleeps three in relative comfort but they better be friendly! The pull-out shower and Pullman-style sink is minimal but functional although the various tanks don't lend themselves to long showers.
It has a refrigerator that works most of the time, a stove that's great
for melting the ends of nylon rope and a generator so it can operate autonomously.
That's good because few PPG launch sites have hook-ups.
year later, a rack was added that dramatically improved my carrying
capacity. Then a bigger rack was employed when Tim Kaiser starting
traveling with me and needed a place for his paramotor. While the
enterprise is being stored, the paramotor fits inside mostly assembled with only the re-drive having to be removed and
its arms slid inwards. While on the road the paramotor lives on the cargo carrier in
back allowing full use of the limited living space.
This is the best looking of the two but alas, you spend more time on
the inside enjoying the room than on the outside admiring its looks.
paramotor lives inside when I'm away but reluctantly rides outside in back
when we're aboard. Of course I'm sure it's happy to get some airtime so
that makes up for the primitive accommodations.
Before graphics: the Original Enterprise
with Brad Weiss on the right and me on the left. This was its first voyage
around the country and before graphics were added. In fact, it hadn't even
left the state of Florida yet.
Enterprise "A" Moves
1) It's small enough to park in just about any lot. Here it is about the
same length as a full-sized pickup truck in Orlando's employee parking
2) William Shatner autographed it just after shooting his part of Lite
Touch/USPPA's video Risk
3) Somewhere near Reno, Nevada, I got a
flight in. The small stand on back was good for one motor, later I added
the big one so that traveling with two was easier. It comes off with the
pull of a pin.
1) The rains ceased, sky opened up and I went
flying from this rest stop in NY state. But before heading out for the
night, I got this shot of the setting sun.
The expressions were priceless. As I worked on my various computer
projects, I was amused by the befuddled stares as passerby pondered this
strange contraption. If not for the emblem, they may have no idea.
3) y parents and their friends wanted to go out with friends. I got them
there in style!
After 35,000 miles, hundreds of flights, dozens of flying events and
sites throughout North America, the paramotorhome "Enterprise"
has been sold. Enterprise B has been commissioned, outfitted, and is
It was sad, in many ways, to see the original go away. William Shatner
had ridden in it it and even autographed the
entrance during video production and PPG instruction.
It has shown up in three paragliding magazines (Powered Sport Flying, Hang
Gliding & Paragliding, and Paraglider) and is featured in PPG's
best-selling video "Risk
has served as a "launch and landing" deck for quite a few
experienced pilots while parked at various beach sites. Much of the PPG
Bible contents were done while riding in the back thanks to those who so
graciously took the helm (Tim Kaiser, Steve Tustison and others) whilst
shuttling about the countryside.
The original mission, to let me travel around the country for two years
has completed and now I'll be moving to the "Enterprise II," a
larger, less nimble but more comfortable BT Cruiser.
It is incredibly maneuverable, gets great gas mileage (unless you're
sucking paramotor fuel out of it), is quite comfortable for one or two and
can park almost anywhere a car can. It spent a spell parallel parked in
downtown Niagara falls while I roller bladed across the Friendship bridge
In 2003 it got some cosmetic hail damage while returning from the
Albuquerque PPG Camping trip. That was quite a story on its own.
Here were the particulars:
Winnebago Rialta with 5-cylinder VW Motor.
Miles. Transmission rebuilt by Aamco in 2003 with 1.7 years left on
extended warranty. Motor runs great and burns no oil.
Control maintains 70 MPH on level terrain and eeks out 40 MPH climbing
the steep slopes out west. It knows them well.
bathroom with pull-out shower, wash basin, cabinet and flush toilet.
works great on 110v AC but not on propane.
with thermostat. No more cold nights in the tent.
(Generac) just professionally tuned up. Starts quickly and works
- Built-in inverter. All the AC outlets
are powered all the time, either from the coach battery or external
power. Even the engine's charging system will keep you 110 powered.
This was added by me to keep my various electronics plugged in even
while driving. Its 300 watts is enough to run a big computer and
charge all your small devices.
- Overhead coach A/C runs on 110v shore
power or generator power. Car A/C is very powerful, good enough to
cool the back too - it pipes the cold air from overhead vents located
above driver/passenger seats. Just did $2000 worth of work (7/2005) to
have the blower and evaporator core replaced.
- Microwave, two-burner propane stove.
- 2" trailer receiver, perfect for
- Battery Master Switch. This was added
by me so the coach battery wouldn't go dead.