I’ve been to the flyability website many times now and thought I’d share my experience with you. I’m a T3 paraplegic and I too wanted to get into the air paragliding solo.
I used to skydive so I’m familiar with flying. I saw the wheelchair design on the flyability website. It’s a good design but I wanted something smaller, more maneuverable in the air (easy to weight shift), and a bit more stylish.
This is what I’ve come up with. The frame is actually built into the harness and the harness is a standard PG harness. I didn’t want to strap my chair to a wing for several reasons. I only have one chair and if I were to land hard and bend it I would be stuck without a chair. Also I have a small chair with a low back and truthfully wouldn’t want to fly in that same position for any extended period of time.
I live in a city called Claremont and fly mostly at a place called Marshall Peak. Both are located just outside of Los Angeles California. There is no disability group like yours around here. In fact I’m the only disabled person that even flies Marshall (at least that I know of). There is a club for the place I fly at called Crestline Soaring Society, www.crestlinesoaring.org
The frame I built puts me in a laid back position. Here are some pictures, I just wanted to share.
Russel. Visit my website at: http://www.zerop.net
Whilst Flyability applauds and encourages the sharing of information and techniques regarding free flying for people with disabilities….
PLEASE NOTE: that the buggy construction description below is intended to be used as a reference by interested parties, suitably qualified pilots, instructors and student pilots under instruction. IT IS NOT A FLYABILITY APPROVED BUILD YOURSELF BUGGY OR A TEACH YOURSELF TO FLY FROM SCRATCH GUIDE.
As far as the harness design…here goes.
The bent/formed piece of aluminum sheet is slipped into the harness and gives me support. It is also how the frame is made to attach to the harness. The frame is bolted to the bent aluminum sheet with the harness material in between. I made a cut in the harness material in the very front (underside). Right where the back on your knees would be if you were sitting/hanging in the harness. The cut made it possible to get the whole sheet of aluminum into the harness.
I had to make one or two other cuts like that inside the harness as well to get the whole sheet to slide in properly. These cuts were the reason I took the harness to someone to get sewn. I had someone sew binding tape on the edges of the cuts I made to prevent them from fraying. He also added some Velcro along the cut to keep the harness in position on the sheet of aluminum.
I also took out all the padding that the harness came with and inserted my own padding that I cut into the proper shape I wanted. I put in padding that was a little thicker than what came with the harness but the big thing was that I took out the wooden board that was in the harness that it came with. To my understanding most harnesses have a piece of wood under the seat of the harness to give it some support in flight. I took this out to prevent pressure soars. The aluminum sheet gives enough support in flight that I didn’t need the wooden board in there.
Back to the aluminum sheet… The sheet of aluminum slips in the harness but goes OVER all of the important webbing that runs inside the harness. The webbing/harness material that forms the wing connection points is actually one piece that runs in the shape of the letter “U”. Each end of the “U” attaches to the wing. I ran the aluminum sheet in and over that “U” of webbing. This means that when I’m in the air the wing and webbing of the harness is supporting the weight of the aluminum sheet with me sitting on top of it. And since the aluminum sheet is bolted to the frame that means the wing and harness is also supporting the weight of the frame as well.
If I didn’t do this then the wing would be supporting my weight but he weight of the frame would just be supported by the harness material which would tear quite easily. I hope that all made sense. Since the sheet of aluminum is inside the harness I just made little holes for the bolts to go through all the material to bolt the frame on the outside of the harness. I hope all that made sense.
There is the problem that I’m not able to self propel my buggy. So when I land I need help from someone to get me out of the middle of the LZ. But there is always someone around that’s willing to lend me a hand so it’s not a huge deal.