|Joe Albanese from Propulsion powered parachutes
arrived two days late to the show due to a transmission failure on
the way down. He arrived after driving 31 hours leaving Canada late
on Tuesday night, and only had time to shower, but not shave, before
customers started showing up at his door.
Joe had on display the latest version of the Star Flex, the flagship
of the Propulsion line of powered parachutes. The Star Flex features
a series of WINGLETS on all four arms of the suspension system, that
provide lift and control, above that supplied by the parachute.
According to Joe the Star Flex with a 400 lbs.
chute would not get two people comfortably off the ground and into
With the addition of the 4 winglets and their over
55 square feet of lifting surface it does it easily!
The front of the winglets are lexan which allows
for the installation of navigation lights, strobe lights, or running
lights. The winglets which are also part of the suspension system.
On the ground they act as a regular suspension system would, and in
the air the parachute risers connect to them which absorbs the
turbulence associated with of rough air.
The Star Flex also has lateral stabilizers at the
rear which have been increased in size, and a rudder which
substantially increases pilot control input in turns. Another
unique feature that has been added is a flame resistant fuel cell,
which is located directly behind and below the rear passenger seat.
The craft is powered by the Hirth 3503, 70 hp twin
cylinder, liquid cooled engine, which Joe reports is "very smooth,
The Star Flex is a "modular design." Which means
that a you can purchase a basic 3 wheel kit and at any time in the
future can add any of additional components that are available for
the craft to make it the full Star Flex.
While all the numbers are not yet dialed in on the
Star Flex, Joe feels that with the, winglets, the adjustable angle
of attack system installed, a small 400 lbs chute, and the Hirth
engine, that the craft will have a cruise speed similar to that of a