Would you fly in one of these things? Randy Long powerchuting on a sunset flight over the Sonoran Desert in Peoria, Arizona (AP photos)
Would you fly in one of these things?
Lexile

The enormous propeller behind the passenger whirs. Then it begins to howl as the pilot hits the accelerator.

The wheels bump along the desert and a small jolt tugs on the safety belts. A chute billows into the sky. A few seconds later, the strange-looking machine lifts off. It floats away like a dandelion spore catching the wind.

So what's a powerchute?

"It's the closest thing to being a bird that you can imagine," said Randy Long of Arizona Powerchutes.

Powerchutes are a fantastic way to view wildlife. But coyotes don't like the engine noise too much. The aircraft have used powerchutes in search-and-rescue efforts.

What do they look like? Picture a dune buggy with a massive parachute attached to the back. The front end resembles a three-wheeled stroller. The massive propeller looks a little like an oversize house fan.

Yes, it's a little odd-looking. And it provides a flying experience unlike any other. The takeoff is quick and exhilarating. But the actual flight is even better.

The name powerchutes is short for powered parachutes. They are similar to powergliders. Both are small-engine flying machines. Powerchutes have a range of about 50 miles. The top speed is about 28 mph. The machines can fly as high as 10,000 feet.

Unlike most aircraft, powerchutes are allowed to fly down to the surface in uninhabited areas.

Powerchutes allow passengers. They require a sport pilot license to operate. They're considered one of the safest aircraft around. As Long puts it, the safety equipment (the chute) is already deployed before it leaves the ground.

Powerchutes can soar up high for spectacular views. Or they can dart along from just above the treetops.

The machines don't need much space to get airborne. Pilots can take off from backyard strips, small airports or even open fields.

Powerchutes are flown all over the country. But they tend to be more popular in places with warmer climates.

Filed Under:  
Assigned 75 times


COMMENTS (22)
  • ahavlin@mthcs.org
    10/10/2014 - 08:47 a.m.

    I would like to fly a powerchute because it looks scary and fun .

    • noah88113
      10/13/2014 - 12:21 p.m.

      I wonder why do you call the parchute powerchute?Also why do you make that car and make it run because I want to know it.

    • dylant23
      10/13/2014 - 12:29 p.m.

      I would fly-n-one it looks amazing in might have to make one my self and good job keep all the good work going and the ideas flowing :)

    • dylant23
      10/13/2014 - 12:34 p.m.

      I would I might have to make one my self and good job keep the writing going and the ideas flowing and keep up the good work :)

  • Ashley0207-yyca
    10/10/2014 - 09:19 p.m.

    Wow, that is an amazing vehicle made someone I don't know. I think this article is informative because if tells about the power-chutes. I agree that the power chute can be used for researching an animal because the animal can't reach the vehicle and also they don't know we're above them. I learned that power chute can be used for researching animals. I am amazed because power-chutes were invented to research animals.

  • MelissaM-Cal
    10/13/2014 - 09:53 p.m.

    I think that it would be cool,awesome, and interesting to watch in person. What kind of person would go on that aircraft? I guess you can not go on ride on a very windy day!

  • brandi1018
    10/14/2014 - 12:55 p.m.

    This is really cool! A good thing about this is that is safe and easy to operate. A minus about this is that it could have a dysfunction at anytime and people could really get hurt. One thing I found interesting about this is that you actually get to be in the sky like a bird. Over all I think this idea is really amazing!

  • sams-Mit
    10/15/2014 - 11:28 a.m.

    I would NEVER fly in a Powerchute.
    1.I would probably get sick.
    2.I would get thrown back on it.
    3.it is not safe because there is nothing on the front.

  • abbyk-Mit
    10/15/2014 - 11:28 a.m.

    How do they get the parachute up on the airplane. How do you even fly one of those things.I am scared of heights.What if you crash what would you do.

  • donnieh-Mit
    10/15/2014 - 11:29 a.m.

    I will never fly in one of those becaues they are so high up i might crash into the trees or a mountain they are so dangerous. how do you even fly one of those.

  • wyatts502
    10/21/2014 - 02:25 p.m.

    dude that is awesome. That is one of the coolest things ever. I have always wanted to ride in something like that.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT