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When I first designed the Flat Top it was after vast experience with almost all
of the major brands on the market at that point. My life had already been saved
by the crumple zone on my Walkerjet numerous times. I had owned and flown
Skycruiser (the one Bob Armond ripped off, copied for the Black Hawk and put out
of business), Fly Products, Paramotor brand and others. I also had vast
experience in paragliding and at that time ALL of the paragliding manufacturers
and already implemented spine protection into their harnesses in the form of
foam padding and airbags. Even before Walkerjet I had developed and tested
extensively a paramotor frame & cage:
Then after doing a side by side comparison with the Walkerjet I determined the
Walkerjet was better at that time and so I bought the distributorship. Over the
next many many many years of selling roughly 600 Walkerjet paramotors and
gaining another vast amount of experience with crashes & outcome with that brand
and many other brands there were still many holes in basic safety designs.
Then Walkerjet decided to make their own engine in CZ and dropped other brands.
I tested 3 of the new engines and all 3 failed in numerous ways. This left me
with absolutely nothing I could honestly recommend as I knew all the other
brands on the market were absolutely horrible even compared to the Walkerjet.
This basically forced me to start from scratch on a paramotor which I really
didn’t want to do but I had to as no honest person could sell ANY of the
paramotors on the market at that time.
So I hired a fabricator and sat down with a huge pile of crashed paramotors and
vast experience. I had skycruisers, tons of Walkerjet and other brands to
inspect. At that time the Walkerjet was the only paramotor that really had any
real crumple zone so I inspected very closely each and ever crashed and damaged
frame to see how it crushed, where it cracked and how far it bent before it
would crack. I inspected the type of aluminum used, how it was put together and
every detail. With all this information and literally a pile of destroyed
frames that had saved people’s lives I built the Flat Top to solve ever single
known issue in the industry. Everything from crumple zone to brake toggles in
the prop to hands getting chopped up. I went through every single injury I had
ever heard of and looked at exactly how I could design a paramotor to help
prevent injury and better protect the pilot in the same scenario.
Then we built frame after frame and crushed them to test the strength, how far
they would bend before cracking and the placement of tubes, the placement of
bends, the angle, length, width and ever detail on how to make it saver and
absorb more energy in a crash to better protect the pilot. Even the type of
material was laboriously inspected. Titanium is too brittle, steel is too
heavy, chromoly doesn’t crush as well as it is brittle, carbon fiber shatters.
6061 T6 aluminum or magnesium has the very best properties for a paramotor as it
crushes the most before breaking with the least weight. Also with a background
in high end bicycle design I changed wall thickness and tubing diameter in
different places where I needed different functions and properties. The
Walkerjet had been made entirely of .058 wall seemed piping in an unusual
thickness. So where I saw damage on the Walkerjet frames or premature cracking
I used thicker tubing. Where I needed more stiffness I used larger diameter.
The strongest part on the Flat Top is the .125 wall 1 inch cross tubing on the
frame. We made numerous frames and I wanted the Flat Top to hold up to hard
core acro. The Walkerjet if you bashed really hard on a comfort bar the comfort
bar would snap right off the frame. With the Flat Top I ensured it would bend.
In fact it would bend all the way to the center and back out 4 times before it
cracked. Plus we added the lateral support tubes to drastically increase the
strength. Another huge design feature was making the frame much wider and the
cage pieces therefore much smaller. That drastically improved the strength to
weight ratio yet again.
Year after year the Flat Top continues to be refined. Since pretty much
everyone will crash at some point I have inspected piles and piles of crashed,
crushed and damaged frames and over the years have made small little updates to
improve the crumple zone effectiveness and safety. One of the latest updates
was to take the upright tubes from .065 wall to .083 and the rear cross tube
behind the gas tank from .035 wall to .049. Each and every tiny little detail
continued to refine how far it would bend and absorb energy before it would
I personally full stalled a Flat Top into the ground on a 17sm paraglider. I death
spiraled one into the ground at close to 50 mph. Enleau death spiraled one in,
Gabor bounced one 6 ft in the air. Countless people have crushed and destroyed
Flat Top frames & cages and all of this experience and knowledge and inspection
has been used to continue refining the safety.
There is no paramotor on earth as safe as a Flat Top or anything that can even
be compared. Just looking at it and using your brain you can see blatantly
obvious logic as to how it will absorb impact in a crash to save your body. The
way the comfort bars cradle your body inside the roll cage and the skids are one
of the only on the market that are not behind the frame but extend in front of
the frame towards the pilot. The cage is also the closest to the pilot of any
paramotor on earth. The whole roll cage is only 4 inches behind the frame
itself. That was another huge safety advancement as so many paramotors put the
hoop well over a foot behind the pilot where they have greatly reduced ability
to protect the pilot. The Flat Top also doesn’t have metal bars right behind
your head to bash you in the back of the heck if you smack the ground at speed.
Instead a huge wide open kevlar net gently catches your head where most
paramotors could literally knock you out cold if you caught the skids and had
the top of the cage whack you in the back of the head.
Nothing compares to the safety of the Flat Top. It is been tested and proven
both in the shop and in real world scenarios with real people and real lives and
all that hard work has warranted and demanded the incredible safety record. It
has taken crumple zone in paramotor design to the highest level on earth.
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