Taking in the sunset on a powered paraglider

July 15, 2014, 1 p.m.
flying at sunset

Photo: Erin Fulton Redding/MNN Flickr Group

Paramotor gliding over the desert Southwest

"In my flying machine, I go up, I go down, I go round and round and round and round." Enjoying the sunset from a seat in the sky is pretty magical, so it’s understandable why this pilot is taking a paramotor for a spin. A paramotor, or powered paraglider, is an ultralight flying machine that a single pilot can launch, fly and land all by oneself. Amazingly, in the United States, a person doesn’t even need a license to fly one of these machines, even though they are capable of flying up to about 18,000 feet — though most pilots stick closer to the ground at under 500 feet. The world record for highest flight by a paramotor is 24, 898 feet while the longest distance covered in a single flight is recorded at 687 miles. Despite the fact that no license is required in the U.S. and many other countries, it still takes training to be able to fly one of these, which can indeed be a risky recreational activity.

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Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.