Originally Posted by Dean
I'm in Texas so big open areas are guaranteed.
I'm going to look into this.
Did you ever crash? What I've read is pretty bad when it comes to crashing.
Never crashed, got spooky a couple of times trying to land when winds came up suddenly and unexpected. I several of times had to make 6 to 10 (I think 10 was the max times I ever had to do that) low altitude (about 9 or so feet off the ground) passes on my strip watching the wind sock and feeling the aircraft, then with about a second or two of near calm land it hard and fast, but never damaged anything. But crashing can be an issue, that's why I opted for the ballistic parachute system instead of the cheaper far less reliable toss out by hand version. In the 7 or 8 years of flying those things I only knew one person who crashed, and her aircraft for some reason broke up mid flight while I was watching about a 1/4 a mile away and she plummeted out of the sky at about 3,000 feet and disappeared behind a hill and I never saw the parachute get deployed. I raced over to her in my vehicle (I wasn't in the air at the time) to find her alive with a broken ankle, she kept pulling the chute lever (ballistic kind) and the first couple of tries she didn't yank hard enough, then adrenalin took over and the chute deployed which I never saw due to the hill. She hit hard because the chute deployed with about a second left to impact! But that amount of time was just enough to slow it down to a acceptable outcome.
Overall flying an ultralight is safe. When it becomes unsafe is when people try to fly doing stunts like rolls and dives and flips. Don't do that stuff. You have to be spot on with equal air pressure on the top and bottom of the wings, if you're off just a tad the frame can and will collapse. So stay away from being radical. Do an intensive pre-flight check of everything from cables to frame to fuel etc, don't lapse on one item because you think it's ok because it was ok the last time you flew. Also do a post flight, most don't do a post flight, I did, but you may catch something you might have missed with just one look. And only use a ballistic parachute system, don't go cheap with the throw out kind. Also wear a helmet. Let me repeat, don't take unnecessary risks in these crafts.
Ultralights though fragile are also forgiving, if the craft's engine fails for some reason you have an extremily good glide ratio and can go quite a ways before needing to land. So there's no need to panic, just look for a clearing and bring it down.
If you buy a used unit make sure you take someone with you that knows about those things and do a close inspection of it to make sure there's no issues that could cause a serious problem. Make sure of the engine hours too. I bought mine used, but I had a friend who was into it big time and he came along, he also knew the guy which helped to know the guy was on the up and up. My ultralight had a brand new engine put in just before he sold it, so my engine had 15 minutes on it when I bought it that the seller put on for engine testing. I had to replace the sail cloth on the craft due to UV damage but that was factored into the price, and my friend did it for free labor...for a pizza and beer really. Also make sure you get flight training, there are guys licensed to train ultralight pilots, they use a tandem seat ultralight with dual flight controls. If you've never flown any type of aircraft make sure you get training...that should be obvious.
There's also powered paragliding, see this for details: Powered paragliding - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia