Powered parachutes try out desert
In Emery County powered parachute flying is an exciting sport enjoyed by many people from far and near. On Sept. 22 there were six powered parachute aircraft taking off and landing near the Buckhorn Information Kiosk at the intersection of the roads to Buckhorn Wash and the Wedge Overlook.
That is where there is a large flat area without grass or sagebrush by the east side of the Buckhorn Kiosk and makes a perfect place for a short runway. On that large flat area, the owners of six powered parachutes were giving rides to anyone interested in taking a flight out over some of the San Rafael Swell.
The sky was nearly clear with a slight smoky haze. The intermittant breeze occasionally fluttered the bright multi-colored parachute type material lying on the ground behind each aircraft in preparation for a flight.
The power to lift the aircraft off the ground and move forward comes from wind in the parachute generated by a propeller attached to an engine that is mounted in place with aluminum tubing connected to a 3-wheeled frame. The aluminum tubing around the propeller protects it from coming in contact with people. The three-wheeled frame holds the landing gear, a gas tank and a two person seat.
The pilot essentially straps a motor on his back turns on the power to the propeller and the pressure of the wind from the propeller inflates the parachute wing and causes the vehicle to move forward. As the ground speed increases the powered parachute lifts off the ground and becomes airborne. Powered parachutes fly at about 15 to 35 miles per hour and though they can go as high as 18,000 feet most flying is done between 500 and 1,500 feet. The pilots usually like to fly on non-windy days.
One of those powered parachute pilots was Kent Price from Eagle Mountain. He has five acres and a runway on the back of his property. Price said he started flying Ultra light planes in the 1980s. He has had a commercial pilots license since 1965 and has been flying for 45 years. He claims to have flown about 95 different aircraft. He said, "I just love getting up in the air." Price is also an instructor for these powered parachute aircraft. Price said, These powered parachutes are not ultra-light planes. One definition of an ultra-light plane is "anything built out of fabric and tubes is an ultra-light". The Federal Aviation definition of an ultra-light "it has to be less than 254 pounds, have only a single seat, carry no more than five gallons of fuel and have some particular stall and speed requirements" then it is an ultra-light plane and no license is required.
These powered parachutes are light sport aircraft and have to have an "N" number and be registered with the Federal Aviation Agency.
Bruce and Ted Ann Funk were seen taking rides in the powered parachutes along with two of their grand daughters Jewel and Jenny Funk. Price was the pilot.
Emery County Deputy Sheriff Mike Jorgensen was also observing the flying and other activities at the Buckhorn Kiosk.
Joey Anderson from Salt Lake City and a powered parachute pilot was assisting Kent Price to give rides to visitors. Anderson said he has known Mont Swasey, Joanna Brereton and Tom Brereton as long time friends of his from Emery County. Anderson said flying a powered parachute is a fun thing to do and is pretty safe. Each pilot helps the others lay out their parachute and straighten the lines. The pilots communicate with one another through hand held radios. This day one of the powered parachutes and pilot was down in the canyon and did not have enough power to get up over the ridge. So he landed on the Buckhorn Wash road, packed up his parachute in a bag and drove the vehicle back to the Buckhorn Kiosk. More details about powered parachutes can be found on the Internet.
Information about Kent Price and powered parachutes can be found at priceaero.com