Review 2016 Air Conception
Flown 2016-Mar-22, Reviewed 2016-Mar-31, Photos by Jeff Goin, Tim
French Paramotor maker Air Conception specializes in making lightweight
paramotors of which the Nitro, at 200 cc's, is their biggest yet.
The machine I flew was Eric Dufour's trainer at Valkaria Airport in
light turbulence on a 24 meter Axis. I was about 145 pounds, temperature
80 degrees. It had about a 48 inch prop.
Weight: 43 pounds plus 7 pounds of gas.
Harness & Suspension: Low hook-in system with thin harness.
There appeared to be backups for gross failures but an arm failure at
the hinge point would be dramatic. Like most low hook-in machines, there
is a pivoting arm and we've learned that having a safety strap to hold
that arm in place in case the pivot bolt fails would be helpful. No
production machine that I'm aware of comes with this strap nor does the
Starting: It had belt drive with no clutch (apologies for
earlier confusion with a 130 that was on the field). It was
positioned in a way to reach over my head but I didn't try. Eric
started it for me.
A flash starter is apparently in the works but, with many models, I frequently struggle
because I don't get enough pull. People tell me that it takes short
pulls and sometimes that works but sometimes it doesn't.
Ground Handling & Kiting: When I went to stand up it was
remarkable how lightweight the thing was. My first thought was "they forgot
to put an engine on it."
Thrust: Throttle response was very sensitive in the low range. From
idle, an inch of trigger throw would go to half power so it was a bit
hard to meter low-to mid power settings. Max thrust was between a
typical 125 cc sized machine and 185 cc Moster.
Launch: It was windy enough to do a reverse and, being so
lightweight, that was sweet. You could do a low power forward but the
single hoop cage suggests being careful. Lines would slide up easily
with nothing to snag on the smooth titanium hoop. Getting into the seat
was intuitive and required no special actions.
Climbout & Torque: This is the best managed torque of any
Air Conception units. It's slightly better than average. Climb rate was
good, it felt like about 130-140 pounds of thrust at full power but
that's give or take probably 15 pounds.
Flight & Weight Shift: Flying the machine was natural without
me hitting anything on the frame with my arms. Throttle response was
very sensitive in the low end but I was still able to do a foot drag in
mildly bumpy conditions with no problem. It will just take some getting
used to. Weight shift is exquisite, among the best I've flown. Loose and
There is a pronounced fore/aft tilt with power application, reminiscent of
early Pap units.
Vibration (-): Vibration was average -- not enough to blur my
vision at any point. The thin harness allowed more vibration to reach my
Sound (-): It was average to slightly above average loudness
for the power.
Safety: Like most minimalist lightweight machines there are
sacrifices. A single hoop means the prop sticks out the back, and hand
protection between radial arms is minimal--the safety ring would do it a
world of good here.
important safety feature is prop clearance from the fuel tank. Titanium
seems to be more likely to create sparks with a carbon fibre prop so a
tank rupture in a minor crash could cause a fire. As you see from the
picture at left they have done a nice job of creating a large gap from
the prop, making such a rupture way less likely.
Titanium and carbon fibre are used
extensively for weight savings so repairs will depend on how well you
work with these materials. It looked well built and was being used in a
school environment which is pretty rough on machines. Shaving weight
usually means strength is sacrificed SOMEWHERE but they seem to have a
pretty good grasp on where.
Transport: For one thing, you'll love lifting it! I didn't see
it disassembled so don't know how it compares there.
Overall & More Info: What a great machine for anyone
wanting super lightweight. It's probably good for pilots up to about 220
pounds, less for launching from high elevations, of course.