Paramotor Review: 2010
Paratour SD 2 Black Devil
Flown 05/27/2008, Reviewed 05-30-2008, Photos by Jeff Goin, Tim
Paratour has created a rig designed for foot-launch Tandems using the
Black Devil 172, swinging a 51" prop, with Electric Start. I flew it
solo then again as tandem pilot. This review will cover both. For rules
on Tandem operations please visit
My flights were done in FL at Fernandina Beach Airport. Thanks to USPPA
instructor Rod Ternovsky whose machine I flew. I'm 145 pounds. I flew a
Spice 22 for the solo tests and a Pluto 38 for the tandem tests.
Weight: Not surprisingly it's a bit heavy given a stout build to
handle the extra stresses of attaching a tandem bar and large cage to
allow for a 51" prop. I estimate the weight at about 70 pounds. It was
well balanced provided I hiked it up on my back using the ground
handling straps. When you add the tandem bar and spreader it's probably
over 90 pounds.
Harness & Suspension: The suspension system includes Paratour's
pivoting overhead J Bars with multiple holes to adjust hang angle. I
started off on the same holes used by its owner which left me hanging
back quite a bit. As you would expect, I got quite a bit of torque twist
in that configuration, enough that I couldn't go to full power. After
landing, Leslie Britt moved the hook-in points two holes back and it
dramatically reduced the torque twist since I was now tilted back a more
manageable t to 10 degrees.
Starting (-): Gotta love electric start. It spins the motor so
fast it can't help but start as long as you've got spark, fuel and air.
Ground Handling & Kiting (-): Very standard here. The big cage
is something to work around but it's smooth so the lines ride up it nicely
on forwards. I didn't do any forwards but Rod did some for the Master PPG
video 2 and they worked splendidly.
As with all these J-bar machines it's important to keep the motor
hiked up high so the J-bars don't hit your shoulder. This is true on
most machines. Also, if it's tilted back, the motor hits your legs while
running. After moving the hook-in points back, that problem went away.
It's a good reminder for any machine that if it's extremely
uncomfortable, there's probably an adjustment that can improve the
Launch (-): With everything adjusted properly there was
no issue with launch. On the first few launches, hooked in too far
forward and leaning back, the twist was pretty noticeable. With the wing
attached in the aft holes, the launch was straight forward with very
manageable torque twist.
Climbout (-): I weight 145 pounds flying a tandem unit solo;
you can imagine the climb rate. Scary. I was going over 500 fpm and the
angle was spooky enough that I didn't hold it long enough to let my
vario stabilize. When flying Tandem (pilot+pax=315 Lbs) the climb rate
was probably 150 fpm although I didn't measure it since there was too
much thermal activity by then.
Using the tandem bar was comfortable to me but the bar could be a
couple inches lower to avoid getting in the way of your arms. The owner
has put padding on it which, on my flight, completely solved the issue
and I didn't even notice.
Flight (-): Very straight forward. Good throttle response and
On tandem it was easy to reach the brakes in all configurations.
Weight Shift (-) Flying solo there is some weight shift,
probably about 4 inches with the pivoting J bars. In tandem I didn't try
but it would be minimal.
If you're leaned back expect a lot of torque, but if you're correctly
vertical, with about 5 to 10 degrees of tilt it's very mangeable.
Thrust (-): Probably reliably 140 to 150 pounds.
Didn't notice anything excessive.
Sound (-): Average to a bit quieter than average, probably due
to the larger prop spinning a bit slower.
Safety (-): The prop has good clearance behind the netting and
barely sticks out from the sturdy two-hoop cage. It may be enough to
stop an open human hand but there is an open area above and the
mid-section of each cage piece has the least amount of clearance. The
Netting has large enough openings that they may allow a hand through.
The cage has plenty of structure below the pilot to provide
sufficient crash protection without being too rigid.
Looks extremely well built with very good welds, fit and finish. The
netting has large holes but also has good se?
Reparability (-): Standard aluminum cage pieces would require
aluminum welding if bent or broken.
Transport (-): The cage comes apart in quarters and transports
quite easily in the back of a vehicle. The pieces are held together in
traditional fashion with velcro straps holding them into tube inserts.
Cost: Please visit
www.Paratour.com for cost information or contact
I learned tandem on a nearly identical unit and found it easy to use for
that mission as well as solo. It would also be a great machine for
larger pilots just wanting lots of oomph for their foot launch or wheel
launched flying, especially at high elevation. Ramping up the prop size
on a smaller engine (172 vs 202cc) helps keep the weight down while
keeping the thrust up.