DEAR SUN SPOTS: On Saturday night, Aug. 21, as we were watching the balloons lift off we noticed that there were two “gliders” with engines flying among the balloons.

What are they called and are there any companies that offer flights or training locally? I can’t go a day without reading Sun Spots. Thanks! — No Name via e-mail

ANSWER: Sun Spots discovered that Sun Journal employee Mike Theriault was one of the two fliers that night. He offered the following information:

“These flying machines are called powered parachutes. I have been flying these things since 1993. As of 2004, they are categorized as experimental light sport aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration and are in fact ‘N’ numbered just like other aircraft.

“Due to the fact that they can carry a passenger and more than five gallons of fuel, they no longer qualify as an ultra light. The pilot must also be sport pilot-rated with a specific category endorsement to fly one legally.

“Depending on weather, a typical flight can last between two to three hours. Altitudes can vary from 10 to 10,000 feet.

“FAA rules restrict general sport pilots from giving rides for hire, but can split the actual cost of the flight if desired. A certified flight instructor is the next best option for getting an introductory ride scheduled. I am only aware of two in Maine and two in New Hampshire.

“As far as sales, there are a few different models to choose from. Dealer representatives are also limited, so I would suggest working with a certified instructor to help make the best decision. The used market is also worth considering, but make sure you know what you are buying or you could be sorry.”

Reporter Dirk Langeveld suggested those interested might want to visit www.mainepowerchutes.org

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have purchased a handgun for protection in the event of an emergency. The problem is that I have never shot a gun and need to learn how to handle it properly and safely.

It seems that there is no public gun range or training facility in my area. Can you find a place where I could obtain this training? — Ellie, [email protected]

ANSWER: Sun Spots talked to Paul Mattson, a National Rifle Association-certified instructor in Harrison. He offers personalized and group instruction in handling weapons. He said you would want to take his “first steps” course, which costs $125 for private instruction. He is offering a 10 percent discount to Sun Spots’ readers.

You can visit Paul’s website at www.mainecwptraining.com, e-mail him at [email protected] or call him at 583-4723. The CWP in the name stands for concealed weapons permit.

Paul has two group courses coming up, one at Crystal Lakes Spa on Oct. 18, another at Cabela’s on Oct. 31. These classes are for those with some experience handling a gun.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I believe I lost a large set of keys while visiting yard sales on Aug. 8. If anyone has found them, please call 576-8797. Thank you so much. — No Name via e-mail

DEAR SUN SPOTS: If the writer who needed 9 1/2 by 11 continuous feed paper is still looking, contact me at 786-2223. — Office Dave, Lewiston

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to [email protected]


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