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Powered Paragliding Simulator

The USPPA Simulator Project

Apr 30, 2006

Many accidents, especially for new pilots, can be prevented through intense simulator training on emergencies and other more mundane situations that experienced pilots handle with little thought. We believe it important for every instructor to use a training device that provides their students a sufficiently realistic experience that will allow them to react to situations that may be encountered in their first few flights.

The preliminary plans for a lightweight, portable simulator that incorporates individually moving risers and brake pressures are complete. A prototype is being built and modifications will made as necessary. The idea is for it to be very quick to erect and put away but be strong enough for a 250 lb pilot and 100 lb motor. These will be produced and offered to USPPA instructors for at or below the cost of production.

The top piece, which contains the risers, bungees, and brakes, will be offered separately for those who already have the A-frame part. We have gotten donations, discounts and volunteer help to make these particularly affordable.

Other quality simulators are available immediately for sale (we are not connected with the companies). If you have a simulator that is for sale and meets our requirements, we will happily list it here. It must: 
1) allow displacement of each riser independently, 
2) allow activation of a speed system, 
3) allow activation of the trim system, 
4) allow weight shift to at least 4 inches of riser travel with 70 pounds of differential pull,
5) provide brakes with increasing pressure during pull, 
6) have actual paraglider risers (or a close approximation) with trimmer and speed system connections (speed system using Brummel hooks),
7) Assemble within 1 minute without requiring tools
8) Weigh less than 40 pounds, including support and,
9) Come with everything needed (except support) to use it. 
If your simulator meets these specs (or the vast majority), we will put a link to it here. The following are what we have to date: Zuba 

Download Prototype USPPA Simulator Plans (77k PDF File)

Special Thanks to:

Bill "Bad Bones" Anderson of Rising Air Paragliding who donated a set of risers for the first prototype.

Nick Scholtes of Paradrome PPG for the shop, welding tools, material and expertise in fabricating the A-frame pieces.

Chris & Tammy Bowles of Southern Skies who provided risers at cost and donated speedbars and carabiners for use on the project.

May 5, 2006 Update

While awaiting aluminum legs, work has progressed on the top piece. The first version, shown below, needed upgraded bungee material to handle full rated weight (350 lbs). Prototype B is being tested. It will likely come with extra shock cord materal that can be hooked in place when a heavy load is used. Otherwise, it's either hard to do weight shift for a light pilot or bottoms out for a heavy pilot.

Nick Scholtes trying out the prototype center piece. Weight shift is what we wanted, with about 4 inches of travel against the top bungees. The lower bungees will need to be upgraded, these pulled to their limits. Additional bungees will be added to the top but will only be connected by the user when the load exceeds 200 pounds.

It turned out that cutting the pipes to a peak added significant complexity and effort for both cutting and welding. One was done but the other was done leaving the pipes open ended. When these are fabricated, the easier (read cheaper) method will likely be used. For this application, steel is better than aluminum although aluminum legs will still be used.

Other Ideas

We have gotten many good ideas from others and appreciate the input. It has allowed improvement and refinement. Two prototypes are being built of both the A-Frame and top piece. 

Only testing will tell what the final product will look like. Once complete, a materials list and pricing will be provided for those who want to build their own immediately. One version of the top piece is being built with PVC and is expected to cost less than $50 without risers.

Here are some of the drawings and design elements we have received and have taken ideas from. The efforts are appreciated.

Dana Hague | Wally Hines


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