by Tom Scott
I've flown Adventure paramotors for three years and have found it a frustrating process to make them handle correctly. I'm writing this to assist other Adventure owners overcome difficulties inherent with this units. Adventure stubbornly refuses to make any design changes so here are some ideas to help.
Elsewhere on the Inventions Page, you will find an article written by Walter Hines titled “Improvements on an Adventure paramotor”. I highly suggest removing the lower portion of the harness padding as he describes. His suggestion on relocating the fuel line pickup from the cap to the side of the tank works very well. I have another article on stock Solo 210 muffler modifications in this publication that's worth trying. There is a picture of it submitted with this article.
I have discovered some other improvements that improve launching and handling characteristics. The Adventure units have long been plagued with launching difficulties that require the pilot to perform the “Adventure Run” to get airborne. Because the motor has a tendency to aim the thrust up instead of parallel to the ground, the pilot had to lean backwards as he ran. This odd position came to be known as the “Adventure Run.”
Removing the padding from the lower portion of the harness helps the situation, but it's not the cure. The engine thrust line needs to be changed. To do this, remove the upper motor mount--that cheap piece of aluminum bracket supplied by Adventure--and give it a toss into the trash. I replaced mine with a piece of angle iron from the local machine shop, which cost two bucks. I drilled the upper motor-mount holes using the old bracket as a guide. Then I moved the lower holes out about one-inch further than the original. The motor thrust line is now more parallel to the ground.
Since Adventure offers no instructions on how to set up their harness, it's a trial and error affair. I found one set of strap adjustments that effect the ground handling characteristics. To assist in launching, be sure the straps that go under the arms are pulled up snug and not left loose (see picture). These same straps can be adjusted to offset the torque effect. This adjustment, coupled with the new upper motor mount, make a huge difference in how the motor will launch. But there's still one more issue to address.
I could never get my motor to hang test correctly. It always had too much downward angle. This will cause the motor to pull your feet out in front of you during launch, which makes it impossible to keep your feet down if you needed to take a few more steps. I don't know how many broken props that led to before I found the solution. Leg strap adjustment was also very critical. Too loose, and you can't get into the harness after launch. Too tight, and you aggravate the condition of getting your feet pulled out in front at launch.
Adventure had two hang points on their harness. One for free flight and one for powered. After examining the hang points on my Black Hawk unit, I saw the problem. I took my harness to the local leather shop along with a length of heavy-duty nylon strap. I had him sew in another hang point as close to the shoulder pad as possible. This is about four inches above the original motor hang point. If you're over 185 lbs, the original hang point might work, but the stock Solo 210 doesn't have enough power for a pilot over about 190 lbs. unless the conditions are ideal.
With the new hang points and the other improvements, I can achieve the correct “angle of dangle.” No more “Adventure Run”, and I don't get my feet pulled out from under me on takeoff. It's also more comfortable fly with the correct upright seating position. Landings are much smoother. Before the harness modification, it was a challenge to keep my feet under me while landing; especially on wet grass. With the backward angle, I would almost always loose my footing and end up on my butt; a landing technique that creates a lot of wear on your harness. With the new hang points, it lands as good as my Black Hawk, and that's saying a lot.
I've switched to a Tillitson Carburetor with an in-flight mixture control for more power and a smoother midrange. I used an Adventure primer bulb because the new carb was not equipped with a choke. The foam air cleaner came from the local saw shop. It works much better than the Adventure unit and only cost a few bucks.
I have the newer Adventure unit with the digital ignition, in-flight recharge, and no manual start. I replaced the stock starter relay with a Jeep unit; cost was $12 and it's indestructible. As you can see in the picture, I changed the battery style and location. The new battery is the type used in emergency lighting and can be mounted in any location except upside down. It was too big to fit the original location without a lot of modification so I moved it to the lower leg of the cage. This battery sells for $25 instead of $110, and it has more power.
You will also note the original cage has been replaced. This one is made of chrome molly steel that was chrome plated. If you want one of these, you will have to build it yourself because there's no after-market supplier.