Reviews

Paramotor Review: 2010 Air Conception Ultra 130

Flown 11/26/2010, Reviewed 12-08-2010, Photos by Air Conception, Jeff Goin

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 parts.

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 machine.

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 back..

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..

Torque (-): 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 an observation.

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.

Endurance (-): 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..

Construction (-): 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.

Overall: I'm 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.

The Ultra 130 courtesy Paratour.com.

Although I flew it many flights, I was concentrating on shooting video and so have no stills.  I may get some video extracts while labeling video clips.


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