2012 Blackhawk Pro Talon 175

Flown 07/25/2012, Reviewed 09-10-2012

Paratoys has been known mostly for building affordable paramotors and wings since about 2003 and the Pro Series is their highest level line intended for more experienced pilots, especially those interested in acro or competition.

It is best suited for those who appreciate weight shift and prefer low hook-in points. It uses a Miniplane style attachment that raises the pivot point to just above the thrustline making it have less fore-aft tilt during power changes. It also improves thrust slightly with a low resistance (aerodynamic radial arms) cage.

I've flown this machine several times, including a filming session in California, then again at Beach Blast and lastly at the IL fly-in. Conditions ranged from moderately turbulent to fairly calm. Mostly I flew it under my Ozone Viper 18. Elevation ranged from just below sea level up to about 700' ASL. My weight was 135 pounds.

Thanks to Michael Mixer who let me try it out each time.

Weight: Weight was about 65 pounds as flown with about a half gallon of fuel.

Harness & Suspension: The harness is well suited to those who either compete or like to do acro. It comes with a reserve pouch that supports handles reachable from either side. It also has pulleys for a speedbar and a storage method for the speedbar.

Starting (-): Starting is a standard pull start through a pulley so the pilot starts the machine facing it.

Ground Handling & Kiting (-): It was very comfortable walking around and kiting. I had the ground handling straps cinched up fairly tight and had to loosen them once in flight.

Launch (-): It was easy to launch with no unusual behavior or cage snags -- the lines can ride up nicely in calm forwards. Getting into the seat was easy after I dialed it in but did require putting one hand down push the seat into place. The first flight required two hands to get into the seat so I landed, snugged up the leg straps and it became much easier. Different pilots will have to experiment. I was able to do it without letting go of the brakes.

The motor was idling too high when I flew it -- very smooth but it would have been tough on a light wind reverse.

Climbout (-): Strong climb with noticeable but well controlled torque twist. Like all belt drive machines it wants to twist you left which pushes you left causing a right bank. It is very well balanced during thrust changes with minimal fore-aft tilt -- a major plus for low hook-in machines.

Flight (-): Very comfy in flight with several adjustments to suit different pilot sizes. As typical of the attachment style the wider riser positioning makes it a bit harder to handle something with both hands. There's a torque reduction strap that should be loosened for maneuvering. Overall the well padded harness was quite comfy in flight.

It had smooth and rapid throttle response, just below what I'd call "peaky" which I like. I can slow down peaky but can't do anything about sluggish. The throttle could be more comfortable, especially if you prefer holding the brakes with your two big fingers. I did like how the kill switch has a raised metal lip except where your thumb rests to reduce the chance of an accidental kill while still easily allowing an intentional one.

Weight Shift (-) Very good with 6 inches of travel easily achieved once I loosened the chest strap.

Torque (-): Torque was about what you would expect from a 140 pound thrust machine -- noticeable for sure but maneagable. It could be improved by increasing the offset another inch or so but, even as it was, I was able to turn against the torque using weight shift alone.

Thrust (-): Probably in the 140 pound area with very good throttle response. The idle was smooth but adjusted too high so I can't comment on the normal idle.

Endurance (-): Don't know the consumption but it's probably fairly thirsty given the thrust. Even though you may only need 15 pounds of thrust to fly level, a larger motor producing 15 pounds of thrust burns more gas than a smaller one even at the same 15 pounds of thrust.

Vibration (-): Average -- didn't notice my eyeballs vibrating so it's reasonably smooth.

Sound (-): Average to slightly less noise than average at climb power.

Safety (-): Having two hoops improves protection for both limbs and lines but would not likely protect a hand at full power against the netting between radial arms. It would benefit from the safety ring.

I'd love to see more clearance between the prop and gas tank even though the tank is mounted sideways to improve clearance.

It is made to be somewhat minimalistic for weight savings which sacrifices some amount of crashworthiness but it will provide plenty of protection, like most machines, in a leaned-back impact.

Construction (-): Machining is nicely done and the welds are good. The harness was festooned with pockets for cross country pilots who need the kitchen sink on arrival.

Reparability (-): Nearly every piece is proprietary but there is still some commonality among the spokes. The netting is riveted to the cage rim so that a crash will likely require replacing this part or unriveting the bent piece which isn't as bad as it sounds. The machine is optimized for experienced pilots where this is less of a concern. Even with this limitation replacing the entire cage is likely little different than other machines.

Transport (-): I didn't see it taken apart the design looks wonderfully compact since the cage pieces will wind up being quite small. The question to ask is how much needs to come apart to put it in a van.

Overall: Good power, weight shift, and comfy, highly adjustable harness make a good choice, especially for pilots wanting weight shift and thrust. I really like this type of low hook-in suspension system because it affords easy access to the risers but without much fore-aft tilt. Although they say it's for competition pilots that seems like marketing. Anyone who likes to weight shift, use a speedbar and/or carry a reserve will like this motor.


The Paratoys Pro Series Talon 175. Photo Courtesy

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