Most of us think of a parachute as something used to put people safely on the ground after a jump out of a plane. Others, though, think of the parachute as a plane. Baron Taylor for, instance, has for three weeks now been crossing the country using an aircraft that looks like something out of a Mad Max movie—maybe a batting cage crossed with a lawn mower attached to a red canopy (and, yes, he's dubbed himself The Red Baron). It's called, cleverly enough, a powered parachute, and Taylor's trip is meant to promote them for use in quick and dirty rescue and surveillance operations—what the PowerChute Education Foundation misguidedly calls ELLASS (Emergency Low Level Aerial Search & Surveillance). Is it pronounced alas or El Ass? Taylor took off from an aircraft carrier in San Diego and plans on making his way to Charlestown, South Carolina over the next few months. But judging by his May 10th road log entry he may not be proving that powerchutes are entirely safe and reliable.
Powerchute flyers fall in the category of "sport pilots" and the question immediately rises: what's the sport? Could it be coyote hunting?