Endurance Flights Blossom...

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Across The Country In A Powered Parachute

Like peonies and petunias, endurance flights blossom in spring and there's always someone (or some group) with a fresh idea. How about launching a cross-country flight from the deck of the retired aircraft carrier Midway? The catapult can stay in mothballs, however, since Brendan Tayler won't need more than a few dozen feet to get airborne on the first leg of his eight-to-twelve week transcontinental flight in a powered parachute. There's a promotional angle to the flight. It's being coordinated through the PowerChute Education Foundation (PCEF) and is, in part, aimed at exposing "the sport of powerchuting to tens of millions of people through the mass media." But, like many such endeavors, there's also a public-service angle. With their slow speed and low-altitude maneuverability, powered parachutes make useful search-and-rescue platforms in many circumstances. For instance, they were used in the search for remnants of the Columbia space shuttle. Tayler's flight will raise money for PCEF's Emergency Low Level Aerial Search and Surveillance project to help ensure law enforcement and rescue agencies have access to this kind of help. You can expect to hear about Tayler's exploits, too. PCEF has hired a PR agency to line up interviews on just about every TV news and talk show as well as with local media contacts.