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Flying 'Parajet' takes off

By Jessica Le Masurier

Giles Cardoses hopes to reach an altitude of 6,000 meters in his Parajet this summer.
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Technology (general)

(CNN) -- Imagine an engine that you can carry on your back, which will make you fly almost 2,500 meters in the air and at a speed of 75kph.

It might sound far-fetched but young English inventor Giles Cardoso has already made it a reality.

"Most people don't even know about this sport yet," the 25-year-old told CNN.

Cardoso builds the flying machines, called the Parajet, in his barn in Dorset, southwest England.

The Parajet consists of a large fan, which is strapped on to the "flyer's" back, a bit like a backpack. This, along with a paraglider wing, gets the flyer off the ground.

Cardoso told CNN he had always dreamed of being able to fly and decided to invent something that would enable him to do just that.

"When I was 16, I saw a tiny little photo of a man with a propeller on his back and I thought, I want to build one of those."

He has made several models since then, each one lighter, faster, quieter and more efficient than the previous.

He has turned his dream into a business, and has already sold 120 jets. He will soon open a small factory in Dorset and a flying club in Cyprus. Eventually, he hopes to produce about 1,000 Parajets a year.

"You run through a field and the paraglider wing catches the wind, it fills with air, blows you off the ground, you switch on the motor and off you go, you're flying," he said.

With a Parajet on your back, you can fly up to 2,500 meters (8,000 feet), traveling a distance of 160km (100 miles) at a speed of up to 75kph (46mph).

Cardoso said learning how to control a Parajet took a few days and he believed it was the easiest way for flying enthusiasts to fulfil their dream.

"Of all the aircraft I've ever seen, it's the easiest one to fly."

The Parajet has flown at an altitude of almost 2,500 meters (8,000 feet), and this summer Cardoso hopes to get to 6,000 meters (20,000 feet).

"It's the ultimate feeling of freedom. It's like riding a three-dimensional motorbike. There's nothing like being up there in the fresh air, unrestricted by roads or the ground. It's a rail-less roller coaster that you're in charge of," Cardoso said.

He is also developing a remote-controlled Parajet, which will allow skydivers to dive out of a para-motor, leave it flying by itself and then remote control it back to the ground. And when that project is finished, Cardoso wants to build flying car.

Rachael Church, managing director of UK-based independent strategic sports consulting and research company Arksports, told CNN she thought the Parajet was a great idea.

"If he put some investment into promoting and marketing the sport then he could sell more, get more people interested and make more money," she said.

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