Powered Paraglider Marketers throw ethics to the wind and appeal to the gullible. Beware!

While looking for information on products that are getting reviewed I came across something that made me laugh. A sad laugh, though. It highlights why internet claims are so suspect. I heard one marketer explain that “everybody else does it, if we don’t, we’ll get left behind.”

Many websites, of course, are pretty reliable but you must first determine that on your own. Google is the first place although mostly it tells you how long the site has been on the air, not the validity of its claims.

If a site claims “first this” or “most that,” etc, etc, put up your guard. The bullship light should be lit. Brightly.

The example that I stumbled on was particularly funny when you realize that, for several years, I’ve not seen a SINGLE one of this company’s paramotors during visits all over the country, even in their back yard. In fact, I thought maybe they were out of the PPG business. Way back when I did encounter these folks at a Florida gathering (they’ve never been back), forthright information was scant.

The company is BP, aka Spartan. One of their machines was the subject of an Powered Sport Flying article I wrote called “The Internet Machine.” It was nearly unflyable. The instructor who’s student bought it, sight unseen, from the internet suckered me into flying it—a challenge I regret accepting. It was awful. I never could get in the seat and flew the whole pattern Gumby style.

So now, in March of 2007, I stumble upon their website and find this. At the bottom of their paramotor home page, the company who’s product I haven’t seen at a major fly-in or visit for at least two years, said:

“#1 selling backpack in USA.”

Yup. Number 1!

A few months later, that same website, hawking a Fly Products knockoff, claimed: “The most powerful 28 HP Back Pack Powered Paraglider.” The picture shows a Simonini with a 48″ or less 2-blade prophighly doubtful that it’s as powerful as some of the 3-blade models I’ve flown using the same motor. It may be a fine machine, but such claims bring all their other statements into question. The Fly Products version is a reliable machine backed by a reliable company (Aerolight) whose service I can vouch for.

So browse the internet’s wild west of words. Learn but beware—it’s a jungle out there.