Aerial Two- Stroke

For decades, two-strokes have enabled many of us to fly, albeit without actually leaving the tarmac for long. Now, for the first time, we had a chance to soar skywards with a two-stroke on our backs. For more, read on…
Words: Gasha Aeri  Photography: Sanjay Raikar

For decades, two-strokes have enabled many of us to fly, albeit without actually leaving the tarmac for long. Now, for the first time, we had a chance to soar skywards with a two-stroke on our backs. For more, read on…
Words: Gasha Aeri  Photography: Sanjay Raikar

Steve McGraw, if given a Jaguar and chiselled looks, might not be able to make for a good on-screen investigator and neither will Steve McQueen be able to make a guitar sound good with some penned lyrics of his. But then these mechanics don’t fit very well in the world of two-wheeled autobots. Here, if a two-stroke heart pumps life into a roaring 100-cc bike, it can also make you touch the horizon with a powerchute up your back. Welcome to the world where an engine is the solution to all major riddles and this time the task is paramotoring.

Sounds quaint, but not much of a rocket science it is. An easy and equal fragmentation resolves all the mysteries relating to the term ‘paramotor’, a paraglider with a motor.

With more and more cubic capacities hovering over us, bore and stroke fighting for more power, aerodynamics escaping from every atom of air and every single km/h unit standing triumphant against rivals, I thought looking at the crab fight from a little above the ground level would be a nice idea.

Being friends with the right people always pays. A bunch of flying enthusiasts and the right equipment was all that was needed to accomplish the task. The paramotor with us was
a single cylinder, two-stroke, 160-cc engine with a powerchute big enough to support the weight
of my flier friend. Explaining the paramotor a bit more in detail, the one with us with fine carbon fibre blades was worth a sigh. The blades stand in a cage, attached to which is the harness where the flier sits and the powerchute comes handy just in time for flight.

So this is what happens, the flier (still in the harness) holds the motor on his back, takes a little run before the launch and then the motor propels the powerchute for a flight. Once airborne, the chute gains greater height as the engine powers it, the direction and speed can be controlled by the flier manually. For an easy descent or to decelerate, the paramotorist has just to cut the throttle. Sounds very simple, but paramotoring sure does require formal training and guidance. A paramotor can fly for as much as three hours (approximately a distance of 100 km) in 10 litres of fuel and the top speed achieved goes no more than 40-55 km/h. Sounds a fraction for the high-fliers of tarmac, but, trust me, the feeling to look at the world as God sees it is a different high.

When asked, I was told that the single-cylinder unit in the paramotor we used delivered an impressive 14 PS. The conversation, enveloped with the excited cries of how heavenly it felt up there, revealed that many have also used two-stroke production engines from bikes to make a paramotor of their own. Another fine example to prove that energy never dies, but just gets transformed from one form to another and, in this case, one purpose to another.  Why paramotor and not old-school paragliding? With an engine-propelled chute, one need not sit with a fixed gaze at the anemometer waiting for suitable wind velocity.

The day which passed by with powerchutes flying over my head and roaring engines killing the silence of those open fields still made me wonder what mechanical surprise awaits me next. Maybe,
a two-stroke submarine! With such curious minds around, you never know.

m.salvi@nextgenpublishing.net'

Bike India Team – who has written posts on Bike India.


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