BRACEVILLE - Kurt Fister is having a reunion this weekend and also hopes to set a record.
Fister and his group, Flight Junkies, will take to the skies in their power paragliders at the airfield he has at his home on state Route 82 in hopes of breaking the world record for the number of power paragliders in the air in one place at one time.
Fister said the record is 103.
He had commitments from about 70 flyers Friday and was expecting more to flood in Friday evening and this morning.
Fister has been an instructor for more than 17 years and has trained more than 700 flyers in every state in the union.
In a power paraglider, the flyer has the motor strapped to their back and can take off with a motor instead of having to leap off a hill or other high object.
Kurt Fister of Braceville is about to take off Friday as the wing unfurls on his power paraglider at his airfield on state Route 82 in Braceville. Fister is hosting a flying event this weekend and hopes to get more than 103 of the machines in the air at the same time. Photo by Joe Gorman
''It's a fun, safe way to fly,'' Fister said. ''You can fly for three hours on two and a half gallons of gasoline.''
Fister said he got hooked on the machines after a paraglider disrupted a boxing match he was at in Las Vegas.
''That was it for me. I was struck. It is addictive,'' Fister said.
Fister said that around here there are certain times of day where the conditions are ripe for flying the powerglider, such as morning or evening, because the winds are calmer and the air is more stable higher up in the sky.
On a beach, however, paragliders can be flown just about any time of day because the air flow is even over the ocean, Fister said.
Lorran Michaels of Baltimore, was testing out his machine at the airfield Friday.
He said he has been power paragliding for more than three years. He started because he likes to fly, but lessons and aircraft were too expensive.
''The cost of flying airplanes is really too great,'' Michaels said.