Paragliding for Everyone
June 1, 2010
KSL – People who don’t have the ability to walk can now discover what it feels like to fly.
ABLE Pilot, a chapter of the U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, along with the University of Utah Department of Mechanical Engineering, have developed adaptive paragliding equipment that allows people with spinal cord injuries and paralysis to fly with minimal assistance.
The group unveiled the Phoenix One harness at the Utah AAA Sprints competition Saturday at the Point of the Mountain State Park.
“This allows us to do regular instruction with persons with paralysis,” says Mark Gaskill, vice president of the U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association. “It also allows us to take people who may be quadriplegic, who might not be able to fly completely independently up on tandems.”
Phoenix One has wheels that act as landing gear, just like a pair of legs would. The engineering marvel took its maiden flight Sunday.
Along with the launch of the new equipment, ABLE Pilot also introduced a new training program designed for people in wheelchairs.
Already, six people with spinal cord injuries have signed up to fly next week.