2013 Scout 185
Flown 05/15/2013 Photos by Jeff Goin
Here is video 1
about the Scout mostly.
Here is video 2, a
romp in FL that's just plain fun. It's mostly showing the scout but
that's not the mission.
Scout is a new entrant on the paramotor market but with great innovation
on several fronts.
It is being imported by Shane Denherder, Jeff Toll, and Byron Leisek under the name
Scout Paramotor USA.
This is a truly innovative machine that has advanced the art beyond just
streamlining a standard cage. Most notably the addition of SafeStart and
aerodynamic torque compensation. Compensation works by shaping the
radial arms as airfoils at an angle that imparts a torque opposite to
prop spin. It is *not* a gimmick, reducing resultant torque by 30 to 50%
at the source. Brilliant. Makes me wonder why I never thought of this.
It also has a ground adjustable prop
which I've flown on other units. The idea being that, if you're doing
maneuvering like competition, decrease the pitch slightly for faster
motor response at the expense of slightly higher fuel burn. If you're
flying cross country, especially on a fast wing, increase the pitch for
The fact that it looks cool doesn't hurt.
Weight: 55 pounds according to the maker with coming mods to pull
another 2 pounds out of that. The unit I tested has
an under-seat mounted reserve that weighed probably 7 pounds including
hardware and I flew it with about 10 pounds of gas.
Harness & Suspension: It's a low hookin system that uses underarm
S-bars with weight shift. Your back rests against a knurled padded piece.
It would benefit from a bit more padding and some may prefer a flat
back. This reminds of those beaded seat add-ons that I've seen in some
cabs so clearly some people like it. I'm told that future harnesses are
coming with more padding although I found it sufficiently padded.
This model did not have an upper chest strap which they are adding
on this machine and all future ones. Easy fix. I added my own strap
since the motor can otherwise fall off your shoulders during the early
part of launch before wing lift takes over.
The frame bottom is adjustable which serves as a sort of Kickstand.
You can use it to get into the machine without bending over but even for
my scrawniness it wasn't hard to get up with at all. I flew it one notch
in from fully extended. If you launch at full extension it may hit your legs while running
but you can retract it while standing. I set the ground handling straps
to hike the motor up high on my back which made it comfortable to ground
handle with and avoid hitting my legs while running for launch.
Starting: The recoil starter is well placed for ground or
inflight starting. The machine was very secure on the ground with no
tendency to tip at all. If you retract the frame bottom too much then it
would likely want to tip over forward. I was able to do an in-flight
restart so, if the motor is warm, you could start it on your back.
Ground Handling & Kiting: Better than average for its weight. Easily hiked up high on back using ground handling
straps. I did a fair amount of ground handling without the motor running
just to make sure I was well familiar before launching. It was not fatiguing
even at my scrawny weight.
Launch: Normal for a low hook-in system. Seat was real easy to get into
after takeoff, mostly scooping me up after liftoff but without impeding
my run, even with the reserve there. I suspect it would be slightly
easier without the reserve since the seat would go back flush against
the frame. A partial power forward was brainless with the lines sliding
up nicely along the smooth cage rim.
The cage frame has an extendable bottom which was extended all the
way. It looks like it might hit your legs but did not on me. Even if it
did, leaving it at a more retracted setting would solve the problem.
Climbout: Excellent. This would be a tandem capable machine.
With its effective torque control, though, even lightweight pilots
should have no problem using full power.
I never go to full power right away when trying a machine for the
first time, but at altitude I did so many times, going from idle to full
power and found it very manageable. If they offset one riser by just one
inch to the right, it would probably all-but cancel torque steer even at
climb power but may induce a slight weight shift turn to the left at
idle power. Always a trade off. VERY well managed as is.
Flight: Comfy with plenty of adjustments to get the hang angle
right. Average throttle response of just over 1 second, no cruise control,
comfortable DK style grip. The starter is positioned for easy inflight restart
which I did. Don't count on that restart if the motor has cooled down
very far, though. For that, you'd want electric start.
Weight Shift: Easy and effective, with about 6 inches of
riser travel. There are alternative bars that make the hang points even
lower but I did not get to try them. That's OK, I generally find that
style to have more fore/aft tilt with power changes than I like.
VERY well managed. This is really the biggest deal and I was a bit skeptical
about how effective air redirection
would be. Others had reported minimal torque but I'm 136 pounds. If it's
gonna twist, it's gonna twist on me. The verdict is clearly in--it
works! reducing torque by 30 to 50 percent. That's huge. I still twisted
(yaw) some but it was less
than every other machine I've flown except for Alex Varv's.
Mind you there is no offset to the risers which is how most makers
(including Alex's machine) do it. I was able to weight shift turn against the
torque with weight shift alone pretty handily even at full power. I'd
love to see them add some riser offset which, I suspect, would nearly eliminate
even what torque steer is present, mostly for lightweights like me. The
FlyHalo guys do acro on it and prefer a centered system but for us more
benign flyers the offset would be no problem.
More On The
Innovative Anti Torque
radial arms redirect thrust to counter between 30 and 50% of the
propeller torque. Aero shapes are far less draggy than tubes so, the
drag of redirecting airflow is almost certainly less than the drag
of standard tubes.
Also, by countering
torque directly, the machine reduces weight shift effect―that means
less weight shift turn to the right. You'll still feel it some,
probably about half as much machines without aero compensation. This
is a test you can easily do on the ground. Sadly I forgot to try.
Another test I'd
love to see done (and I had the smoke bombs but got caught up in
just flying), would be to put a smoke bomb a few feet in front of
the cage and film the results. Later.
Thrust: It's a very powerful unit, probably in the 150+ pound class
and the power is easily usable. Throttle response was, the time from
idle to full power was average to slightly faster and smooth throughout
the range. It would be a great competition machine.
No fuel flow test, the largish tank would probably give 2+ hours
if you don't mind hefting all the weight..
Vibration: Mostly average vibration, at cruise RPM it was
slightly less vibration than my reference machine, a Blackhawk with Black Devil
Sound: Average. There was no tone that stood out even at
full power. As usual, most of the noise is propeller based.
Safety: It comes with SafeStart which, in my opinion,
dramatically reduces the chances for a prop contact injury during start.
The device stays on, monitoring the motor only during start. If it goes
to a dangerous RPM within 4 seconds of start, SafeStart shuts the motor
down. This happened to me when I forgot about it and throttled up right
away. Scout says it is making SafeStart it available for other
manufacturers as well as for retail.
The prop is almost enclosed by the wide outer hoop so it
will be reasonably resistant to getting lines in the prop. It is also
fairly far from the netting but the netting is far too lose to keep a
hand out of the prop. However, SafeStart reduces prop contact risk dramatically.
Te pull starter pulley was well positioned to hold the machine firmly.
The gas tank bottom curves away from the prop giving it over 6" of
clearance. This will hugely reduce the risk of a punctured gas tank and
potential fire (which has happened twice on other machines).
The harness comes with a under-seat mounted reserve so that pilots
can reach it with either hand. The one I flew did have a reserve there
and it did not impeded running enough to be a bother.
Overall this machine meets more safety goals than any other machine
The main frame is well built with aluminum which is harder to weld than
steel but easier than Titanium. The cage is made up by 6 identical radial
arms (they call them spars) and 5 hoop sections. The various Carbon Fiber parts were
extremely well fitted. There were cracks
on the vertical radial arms (spars) where they inserted in the frame and the
makers already have a solution for this unit and others. We made a temporary fix
that worked fine.
There are five identical cage rim pieces
attached to a riveted net. The netting is made of very strong but thin
dyneema (low drag) material. Netting attaches to the rim
via small dyneema loops that are riveted into the carbon fiber so drilling
out the rivets will not damage the netting, just the small replaceable
I asked the manufacturer about replacing a
rim section and he responded: "If netting has to
be replaced, it can be knotted on the loops, but this is however a
boring and long job. The other option is to drill out the rivets and put
new loops + rivets. If ring section has to be replaced: cut the loops
and the netting will remain undamaged. New ring section will come with
empty holes, loops and 2.4mm black rivets. So it is a quick and easy
Reparability (-): The radial arms and hoop sections are carbon fiber so repairs will
be easy if you're well versed on working with that material, impossible
if you're not. The genius
of the machine is in its airfoil radial arms which I would just assume
will need to be replaced instead of repaired although they should be no
harder to work on than props. Being all identical helps with expense if
you want to have some spares on hand.
The frame is steel so it will be easily repairable.
Transport (-): Excellent. It reduces down to a particularly
small size since the frame bottom retracts by about a foot. The four
identical cage rim pieces fit together in a compact manner and the
radial arms pop off pretty easily. I watched the disassembly and, once
you get the first one off (that did take some effort), the rest came off
It comes in a pull-along suitcase with chloroplast interior sides. I
wouldn't dream of shipping in this container myself but apparently it
survived an overseas trip that way.
Overall: Very nice. Experienced pilots will really appreciate
the balance of comfort, power, weight, size and handling. For beginners
who insist on starting with low hookins, this is a good choice given the
well-managed torque compensation. It's great to see this level of
1 & 2) The S-Arms reduce forward tilting relative to other machines but
it still does it some. In this case, he had the risers connected aft on
the arms causing more forward tilt but, just after liftoff he was
scooped into the seat. On my launch we moved the riser connect point one
more hole aft and it was good.