Powered Paraglider Pilot Draws (Unwelcome) Attention

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A powered paraglider pilot who calls himself "Super" Dell Schanze is denying he broke any laws last week when he flew low and slow near a busy Utah freeway. Schanze, who has apparently attracted this kind of attention before, admits he was trying to catch people's eye with the flight as a way to promote sales of paragliders, one of his businesses, but he said he did it within the rules. "I was flying over a wide open field. As far as I know I did everything correctly," he told the Deseret News. "I just happen to be the type of person that attracts more attention than anyone else on earth." However Schanze, who admitted to flying over the freeway at a height of more than 500 feet, may have violated an FAA regulation that prevents flying that kind of aircraft over congested areas. Police said they started getting calls about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday about a low-flying paraglider from motorists on I-15. Highway patrol officers said they didn't see the paraglider directly over the freeway but did see it very low adjacent to the road. There was a minor accident on the freeway as the paraglider was flying in the vicinity but Utah Highway Patrol officials are not linking the two. Regardless of the legality of Schanze's Wednesday flight, sport flying groups appear to be fed up with dealing with these kinds of reports. "He's been talked to by lots of local pilots," Steve Mayer, the regional director of the U.S. Paragliding Association, told the News. "We're concerned he's reflecting poorly on us." Super Dell is a well-known Utah businessman who operates various businesses under the name Totally Awesome. His chain of eight computer stores was recently closed.