These things just don't look like they should fly. A powered parachute is no more than a shopping-cart-sized craft with a big fan on the back, attached to a parachute fluttering above. But somehow, it can glide along at 30 mph, 800 feet above the hard, unforgiving Earth. Larry Littlefield, a retired airline pilot and powered-parachute instructor, promises it's not as precarious as it looks. Littlefield gives lessons at the Lantana Airport and sells the powered-parachute crafts, which cost about $17,000 new and $13,000 used. Lessons cost about $100 an hour and require about 35 hours before students can go off on death-defying -- uh, we mean safe -- trips on their own. Littlefield says the trips are worth the constant questions about whether he's nuts. "Ever seen the movie E.T. ?" he asks. "Remember the kids gliding over the houses on bikes? That's what it's like." The slow, careful glide of the powered parachute allows its pilot and a single passenger to take everything in, he says. "You just watch the world drift by. Slow and low is where it's at." Hopefully, just not too slow or too low.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®