Reviews

Paramotor Review: 2010 Paratour SD 2 Black Devil

Flown 05/27/2008, Reviewed 05-30-2008, Photos by Jeff Goin, Tim Kaiser

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 www.USPPA.org.

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 situation.

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 plentiful power.

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.

Torque (-): 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.

Endurance (-): No data.

Vibration (-): 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.

Construction (-): 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 info@paratour.comS.

Overall: 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.

 

Rod and I get ready for a Tandem flgiht during taping for Master PPG 2, Advanced launching. After we did the video-related flights Rod let me fly as the pilot to see how it was. It was good!


© 2016 Jeff Goin & Tim Kaiser   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!