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September 24, 2013
The powered parachute is a type of aircraft invented in 1964 by Domina Jalbert. This unique style of aircraft combines a motor, wheels and a parachute. On average, PPCs reach speeds between 25 to 35 mph (40 to 56 km/h) and average altitudes ranging from 500 to 1,500 feet (152 to 457 m). However, in some instances, the aircraft can safely operate at altitudes exceeding 10,000 feet (3,048 m). Experts deem paraplanes safer than traditional fixed-winged aircrafts for several reasons; these include stall resistance, inherent stability and limited response to control inputs. The creator of the first prototype, Domina Jalbert, named his invention the “Parafoil.” He registered and patented his design in 1966. In 1981, three men, Daniel Thompson, Steve Snyder and Adrian Vandenberg, designed the P-1. This model faced torque issues, limiting flight time to 25 to 30 minutes. After redesigning and fixing these problems, the Paraplane International Corporation was created in 1983. Lead by Steve Snyder, the organization built and distributed the first commercial paragliders.