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Paramotor Review: 2007 FlyOhio Free Spirit

Flown 02/13/2007, Reviewed 11-06-2007 | Ratings: 1 is bad, 10 is good | About the Testing

See the 2010 Free Spirit.

Bruce Brown 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.

The 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 prop.

Flight (-): Flying the machine was comfortable. At my light weight, the risers.

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.

Endurance (-): Did not test.

Vibration (-): I didn't notice anything excessive.

Sound (-): Sound level was average for a Black Devil powered machine.

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, visit www.FlyOhio.com

 

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.

 

These pictures show the Free Spirit being flown in the High Hook-in configuration. The version I flew had low attachments which the seller favors.

 

The Free Spirit attaches readily to its trike although other paramotors can be used as well. I flew this trike in the low hook-in configuration. It's busier in both pitch (nose up/down) and yaw (left/right swing) but otherwise is well built, compact and well behaved.

 

I first saw the kick start system on a PAP paramotor. The Free Spirit can be bought with the option and it can be safer. I don't know if most pilots still wind up hand-pulling start since it would be difficult to make adjustments if you have to get in and out of the harness each time.


Remember, If there's air there, it should be flown in!