Powered Parachute Ultralights for the Budget-Minded

Airframes Unlimited and Powered Parachute Plans

Airframes Unlimited manufactures both single-seat and 2-seat powered parachutes for budget-minded ultralighters. "Our lowest-priced single-seat powered parachute is $6,995," the company notes. "And our lowest-priced 2-seater (pictured) is $9,595." Both models come completely assembled and ready to fly (or you can buy the plans and do everything yourself).

Ultralighting started at the inexpensive end of aviation, and for some budget-minded ultralight pilots, their ultralighting has stayed there. It's the primary reason they fly ultralights ­ the rest of aviation is just too expensive. And even ultralighting can be costly, if you must have the latest and greatest.

There are, however, still some ultralight companies that see a significant market at the very inexpensive end of aviation. For powered parachute aficionados, Airframes Unlimited and sister company Powered Parachute Plans ­ both owned by Don and Clint Stutts of Athens, Texas (just south of Dallas) ­ are examples of companies targeting budget-minded ultralighters. "Our companies' goal is to make powered parachuting more affordable to the average working man," says Don Stutts. "We are living in an era where $15,000 to $20,000 powered parachutes are common. Powered parachutes in this price range are completely out of reach of an average working man, even with creative financing."

"Our lowest-priced single-seat powered parachute is $6,995," Airframes Unlimited notes. "And our lowest-priced 2-seater is $9,595." Both models come completely assembled and ready to fly, according to the company. Airframes Unlimited offers powered parachute models from a Part 103-compliant single-seater to a 2-seater featuring side-by-side seating and rudder pedals.

Or you can buy the plans from Powered Parachute Plans and build your powered parachute from scratch, obtaining the materials and doing the parts manufacturing and assembly yourself. Constructing an aircraft from plans may save you the most money, but it can require much more time (sometimes hundreds of hours more time) and effort.

Airframes Unlimited claims "hundreds of our powered parachutes are flying around the world, and have been for years."

Note: "Powered Parachute Plans does all business by e-mail, with no phone contact at all," Don Stutts says. "We answer every e-mail received, every day. No one has to wait for a reply from us." Stutts indicates that Airframes Unlimited does use a telephone to assist serious customers. "We learned the hard way that there are a million 'wanna-bes' out there who will keep you on the phone until you go broke, and never spend a dime with you," Don Stutts says. "Our phone time is valuable and reserved for [assisting] serious customers only." Time is money, as the saying goes, and a company efficient with its time may save money and thereby be able to offer lower prices to its customers.

Neither company has a fax number.

- Buzz Chalmers

Airframes Unlimited, 6707 CR 3715, Dept. UF, Athens, TX 75752. * e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Powered Parachute Plans e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .