The powered parachute (PPC) light-sport aircraft (LSA) you learn to fly in will always have a special place in your heart. Depending upon your choice of PPC LSA flight school and its fleet, you may have a couple of options from which to choose. You may even select your flight school based in part upon the type of powered parachute LSA that they fly. Some of the powered parachutes most commonly used for flight training are by Powrachute, Six Chuter, and PPCruiser.
Ultralight PPC Verses Light-Sport Aircraft PPC
An Ultralight PPC is a “single place” vehicle (the FAA does not call ultralights Aircraft) that requires no pilots license. These can only weight up to 254 pounds empty. There is very little regulation on the aircraft and the operator except that it is restricted from flying in busier airspace. The Ultralight Trainer two place Ultralight PPC evolved which is a heavier ultralight used for dual training (instructor and student) until 2004 when the ultralight trainers were transitioned to Light-Sport Aircraft. See Ultralight PPC for more information on ultralight PPC.
In 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allowed everyone the freedom to fly for fun with a new category of aircraft that is simple to fly, plus lower in cost to own and operate. These new Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) can carry two people and be flown by a pilot with a new and easier to obtain sport pilot license.
One of the new aircraft type in this category is the powered parachute LSA, also known as a PPC or paraplane. Powered parachutes are the easiest aircraft in the world to learn to fly. They fly at one speed, about 30 MPH. They are made for low and slow operations, not to travel and go somewhere. With only a 30 MPH speed, they can fly over 100 miles in four hours. Imagine flying 500 feet over the ground for 100 miles. What an experience. This is a type of aviation never available until now.
Since they cannot be taxied around and the parachute wing must be set up in a certain position before takeoff, they are typically flown out of fields and not applicable to airports. The PPC cannot takeoff in a cross wind and cannot fly in much wind at all, so it is made for fair weather flying in calm winds during the morning and evening times.
The PPC is the most portable aircraft of them all. The parachute/wing is stuffed into a bag and the propeller driven mini dune buggy can be driven into a trailer or home on a back road. The easiest and least expensive aircraft to transport and store.
Since it is only one axis of control (roll), it is the easiest and least expensive to learn. It takes about half the time and cost than an airplane or trike to learn and get a sport pilot license. It is the least expensive to purchase with a dune buggy carriage and fabric wing. It burns more fuel than the trike and less fuel than the airplane with its large wing and slow speed.