Blog @ Joeonofrio.com
I Love to Fly!
FALCON 4 STROKE PPG
My name is Terry Lutke, and I love to fly!
Some years ago I came into Para flying as an aviation novice. Like many others
I’d always liked the idea of learning to fly, but given the investment of money
and time required for a private pilot license, it just never happened.
One day I was out for a drive with my wife and I came upon some powered
parachute pilots getting ready to launch their machines from a farmer’s field.
In just a few minutes they had their machines unloaded from small trailers, and
were lined up ready to fly. In a flurry of noise and wind the colorful
paragliders fluttered to life, and after a short taxi the flyers were climbing
away in a graceful arc. From that moment I was smitten by Para-flying! Within a
week or two I’d found a place to begin my training, and after my instructional
first flight knew I had made the right choice.
use the term ‘Para-flying’ because there are several types of powered flying
machines that share nylon ram air parachute technology as wings. All ram air
parachutes have upper and lower nylon sheets which are sewn tightly together
along the rear
seam. However, the front of the parachute has openings allowing
air to ‘ram’ between upper and lower nylon sheets to create the shape of a
lifting airfoil. The top and bottom nylon sheets are connect internally by nylon
strips running front to back sewn to both upper and lower sheets. These strips
create a series of cells; these cells hold the upper and lower sheets in a
constant position to each other as forward motion literally ‘rams’ air into the
front of the parachute. Since the back end of the ram air parachute is sealed,
the canopy becomes slightly pressurized internally as it is moved forward; once
pressurized the canopy assumes a designed airfoil shape and begins to create
substantial lift. Now it has become a real wing and it’s ready to fly!
As these things go, Para-flying has become big business over the years; the once
simple Para-flying machines have become gas guzzling, expensive behemoths
costing 10’s of thousands to buy and maintain. Drive line repair parts for these
machines come from overseas and can cost many times what you would expect to pay
(try $400-500 for a muffler!) The price of most Para-flying gear and maintenance
is now far out of reach of the average guys flying budget
In 2008 I decided to develop the Falcon PPG line as a compact 3 wheel Para-flyer
that uses a safe efficient ram air wing, and employs a very common economical 4
stroke engine for propulsion. Everything about the Falcon is geared toward
reliability, safety, ease of repair, very low fuel consumption, and
affordability. All Falcon airframes are fabricated of welded steel tubing, and
each frame design is weight stressed tested to over 5 times flying weight!
The 4 stroke industrial engine was selected for low maintenance, highest
possible reliability, and very low fuel use. The 4 stroke power plant is an
un-modified industrial V-2 engine (The motor is a popular American brand), that
can be repaired at any good lawn and garden store in most any town in world.
The 4 sheave belt reduction drive is custom built just for the Falcon. This long
belt re-drive allows the motor to be placed very low in the frame for optimal