SOAR unit powered paraglider Trike
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The S.O.A.R. Unit is also using an aircraft known as a PPG (Powered Paraglider) Trike. This form of aviation is classified as an ultra-light consisting of a compact motor (weighing about 50 lbs.) mated to a three-wheeled lightweight cart and a parachute-type “elliptical wing”. The portability of the unit allows it carried by a patrol car using a standard hitch receiver and deployed in open areas with no surrounding obstructions. The PPG Trike allows the pilot to launch from the seated position with minimal effort instead of the alternate “foot-launch” technique (where the pilot runs several feet until getting airborne). A PPG Trike can fly between 20 to 45 mph with speeds increasing in a tailwind and decreasing in a headwind. Fuel capacity is 3 to 4 gallons of gasoline allowing for a maximum flight time of about 2 to 3 hours. A Powered Paraglider Trike is among the most inexpensive and portable manned aircraft available to date.
The Palm Bay Police Department has teamed up with Parajet, Paramania, and TrikeBuggy to evaluate the use of the PPG Trike in law enforcement. Parajet and Paramania provided the equipment that successfully took Bear Grylls (star of The Discovery Channel’s program “Man Versus Wild”) over Mount Everest on May 14th, 2007, at a height of 29,400 feet.
Parajet has supplied the S.O.A.R. Unit with a Volution Macro model paramotor. Parajet custom designed the paramotor specifically for the Palm Bay Police Department and has graciously provided the unit at no cost to the agency during the evaluation period. The paramotor is powered by a 22 hp, 172cc two-stroke motor. It is also equipped with electric start making it very convenient for the pilot to start and stop the engine in flight if necessary.
Paramania has supplied the S.O.A.R. Unit with its next-generation Reflex glider called the Revo 2. This glider is easier for the pilot launch in no wind conditions while maintaining the speed and stability which Reflex gliders provide. The Revo2 has pitch positive Reflex wing stability on fast trim, and provides a trim setting for super slow flights giving the pilot the options of short landings and thermal flights. The glider was also supplied to the Palm Bay Police Department at no cost during the evaluation period.
TrikeBuggy has supplied the S.O.A.R. Unit with their latest TrikeBuggy Bullet version 3.0 With its sleek stainless steel frame design the Bullet gives the pilot better visibility and a protective cage in case of rollover. The Bullet’s robust yet simple design keeps maintenance costs down while minimizing the potential for injury to the pilot by doing away with the necessity to support the 50 lb. motor on his back during take-off and landings. The use of a trike allows the pilot to easily carry more fuel and also necessary equipment for the mission. The Bullet trike was provided to the Palm Bay Police Department at no cost during the evaluation period.
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The S.O.A.R. Unit plans to utilize these aircraft for incidents such as missing persons who are in danger due to age or heath issues, stolen/discarded vehicles or other property, photographing crime scenes, surveillance and reconnaissance, damage assessment after disasters, and identifying hazardous areas within the City.
The Palm Bay Police Department is evaluating the use of these aircraft with regards to tracking missions, operating costs, and flight safety to determine the feasibility of these aircraft for use in law enforcement.
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