Paramotor Review: 2010 Air
Conception Ultra 130
Flown 11/26/2010, Reviewed 12-08-2010, Photos by Air Conception,
This is the last one in a batch of reviews, clearing out a backlog that
started at Beach Blast 2010.
When I arrived at Paratour Eric didn't want me to fly my machine, he
wanted me to "pound" on his new super-lightweight Ultra 130--an
electric-start, gear driven, clutched machine weighing in at a grand
total of 46 pounds. Yup, the exact same weight as my Miniplane with
weight shift (the stock Miniplane is 43 reportedly pounds).
This new machine has risen from the ashes of the Ventor engine,
re-engineered to solve some of that model's problems. And it seems like
they've done a good job. Eric continues to put hard hours on his sample
to insure reliability.
The machine promises to be nearly revolutionary due to it's high thrust
to weight ratio -- higher than I've ever flown. Plus it has an electric
start and clutch.
Weight: 45 pounds with the Titanium muffler and 47 pounds with
the steel. Yes, that's with harness, prop, exhaust and all the cage
Harness & Suspension: The harness Eric had was a fixed J-bar
version but other harness and attachment systems are coming, including
one similar to the weight shift Miniplane. That's my favorite
harness/frame system so I can't wait to try it on this far more thrusty
Starting (-): Push the button. I'm not used to an electric start
on cluched machines so this was nice. They plan a version with both
electric and manual but this was electric only. Always have a spare
battery pack with you because, given the clutch, you don't even have a
prop start option if the battery goes dead.
An electric start on a machine of this weight is incredible.
Ground Handling & Kiting (-): Average. Having the wing hook-in
high and aft makes ground handling easy since it doesn't want to tilt you
Launch (-): Straight forward.
Climbout (-): Awesome for the weight. I reached down with one
hand to get into the seat.
Flight (-): Comfortable with good throttle response. Spool up time
from just above idle is between 2 to 3 seconds. That's not bad. On most
paramotors from low to full power is between 1 to 3 seconds
Weight Shift (-) This harness wasn't designed for weight shift
but you could still affect about 3 inches each way..
Prop spin (clockwise as seen from behind) causes a left weight shift and
right yaw. The weight shift is unimportant but the right yaw means that
thrust pushes you into a left bank. It was of average intensity
but I noticed something interesting that probably happens on all
machines, too , in varying degrees. As mentioned, full power causes
right yaw and left bank. But if you weight shift to counter that
bank, it torque twists MORE. It's not a problem in any way, just
I'd love for others to try this on your own machine and if you notice it
and how much. With hands up, go to full power, let it establish the turn
then weight shift away from the turn and see whether the motor
stabilizes more twisted or less.
Thrust (-): It has a surprising amount
of thrust--possibly the highest thrust to weight ratio machine I've yet
flown. Without measuring, it felt between 120 to 130 pounds of thrust
reliably. That's not hugely below a black devill machine. By this
measure the Top 80 has about 90 to 100 pounds of thrust.
I flew it a lot but no flight was longer than about 20 minutes. Most
were climb up, glide down for spot landing, so there was no opportunity
to measure or estimate fuel burn..
Vibration (-): Vibration was average through the midrange and
slightly higher than average at full power at high RPM. Some vibration
was due to a loose silencer on one flight.
Sound (-): About like a Top 80 except a bit louder, as you would
expect, at its highest power. Eric was working on getting the silencer
figured out so future models will probably be better in this regard.
Safety (-): Like the Miniplane, you're trading cage safety for
lightweight construction. Netting is insufficient to pass a hand test
plus the largish holes might allow a hand through. This is a tradeoff
both for weight and reduced drag.
The frame has plenty of support in case of crash where the pilot
lands tilted back..
The air cooled motor is mounted to a titanium frame. It seemed very well
made and put up with abuse.
Reparability (-): Uses a Titaniam frame and cage parts. You'll
need to find a Titanium welder which requires slightly different welding
gear which may not be as widely available.
Transport (-): Packs up to an average size frame and the cage
pieces break down into four pieces. Being lightweight is obviously a
boon for shipping and generally moving around.
Cost: Please visit
www.Paratour.com for cost information.
extremely impressed with the promise and can't wait to see what it's
like with a Miniplane style weight shift. If this pans out it will be a
boon to heavier pilots wanting lightweight power.