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Archaeological Prospection Archaeol. Prospect.

12, 6978 (2005)

Published online 25 April 2005 in Wiley InterScience ( DOI: 10.1002/arp.247

The Powered Parachute as an Archaeological Aerial ReconnaissanceVehicle

Cultural Resource Office, School of Social Sciences, Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, Louisiana 71497, USA


The need for a cost-effective method of aerial archaeology that could combine the ability to acquire large-scale, low-altitude photographs of archaeological sites with the capacity for surveying large geographical areas led to an evaluation of the powered parachute (PPC), a type of ultralight aircraft, as an archaeological aerial reconnaissance vehicle. The suitable performance of the aircraft during flight was the first consideration, and an assessment of drift, in-flight stability and altitude stability of the PPC proved satisfactory.Next, characteristics required of an aerial camera platform, such as slow speed, low vibration, the ability to capture images at low altitudes, portability, low cost, safety and others were considered. The PPC easily fulfilled each of the requirements. Limitations on the use of the PPC include obscuring vegetation, inclement weather and government regulations. Despite the limitations, the PPC servesasaninvaluableadditiontothe choiceofoptionsavailableforaerialarchaeologists.The PPC has experienced success in acquiring digital still images, digital video and thermal images at sites in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Dakota, and these promising results have led to an increased interest in this approach from archaeologists, land managers and others working in the USA andin Europe.Copyright 2005 JohnWiley & Sons,Ltd. Key words: USA; remote sensing; aerialarchaeology; low-altitude photography; ultralight aircraft

Aerial photography has proven to be an invaluable tool in the examination of archaeological sites from the pioneering work of O.G.S. Crawford in the 1920s to the present (e.g. Crawford, 1924; Schmidt, 1940; Harp, 1974; Avery and Lyons, 1981; Featherstone et al., 1999; Fowler, 2002). The view from above, whether oblique or vertical in orientation, provides a perspective that cannot be reproduced on

* Correspondence to: T. I. Hailey, Cultural Resource Ofce, School of Social Sciences, Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, Louisiana 71497, USA. E-mail:

the ground, a perspective that has aided, and continues to aid, archaeologists in the investigation of known sites and in the discovery of new sites. This has been recognized by European archaeologists for some time, but many archaeologists in other parts of the world have yet to develop a full appreciation of the value of this approach to archaeological investigation. When archaeologists in the USA have used aerial reconnaissance, they have done so most frequently in the investigation of known sites. The primary goal of this type of study has been the examination of site extent and layout, in recognition that the size of a site, and the cultural signicance of its layout at times can be fully appreciated only from an aerial perspective (Neuman and Byrd, 1980; Creamer et al., 1997).
Received March 2004 Accepted 9 December 2004

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70 For example, Poverty Point, a Late Archaic mound complex in northeastern Louisiana, had been studied by scholars for some 80 years before archaeologist James Ford discovered the geometric arrangement of the mounds and other earthworks at the site by examining aerial photographs produced by the U. S. Geological Survey (Ford, 1954). Less often recognized is the potential of aerial reconnaissance for surveying large geographical areas in the search for previously unknown sites, although it is practiced extensively in Europe (Bradford, 1980; Muir, 1983; Palmer, 1995; Stanjek and Fabbinder, 1995; Kuzma et al., 1996; Riley, 1996; Featherstone et al., 1999). There may be several reasons behind this apparent neglect on the part of the archaeological community outside of Europe to exploit aerial reconnaissance to its fullest extent, including the limitations of data acquisition methods that have been utilized in the past and the expense involved in using aerial survey.

T. I. Hailey sites utilizing one of these approaches would be difcult at best, and, at the very least, implausible in terms of the time and effort this type of survey would require. Conventional aircraft and satellites have the benet of practically unrestricted geographical coverage of large areas, but many of the aerial images available are taken at high altitudes (here dened as greater than 6 km) and may possess insufcient detail for certain types of archaeological study. For example, Harrower et al. (2002) made use of satellite imagery with resolutions from 30 to 120 m to produce 1:25 000 scale maps for the study of cultural landscapes and to guide archaeological survey efforts in Yemen, and Fowler (1996) demonstrated the value of Russian satellite images with 2 m resolution in a regional survey of the area surrounding Stonehenge. As these studies make clear, the value of satellite or other high-altitude images to archaeologists cannot be denied, but many features of archaeological interest may be smaller in size than the resolution of these images, and therefore would not be detected. Aerial images of the Whittington site, near Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana taken at 6 km (Plate 1) and at 300 m (Plate 2) illustrate this point. The image taken at higher altitude would be useful to examine the landscape surrounding the site, including property lines, structures and vegetation, but the second image, taken at a lower altitude, is superior in site detail (for an even lower altitude image of this site, also compare Plate 7). Conventional xed-wing aircraft are also inadequate for acquiring detailed images of individual sites at low altitudes (here dened as lower than 900 m) owing to the relatively rapid forward movement of the aircraft. We experienced this in our rst attempts at aerial archaeology in 1999, when the Northwestern State University of Louisiana Cultural Resource Ofce (NSU CRO) began initial experiments in capturing low-altitude digital still images, digital video and thermal images of sites in west-central Louisiana from a Cessna 172. Promising, but not completely satisfactory results were achieved, owing to the difculty in acquiring clear images at altitudes lower than 300 m due to the speed of the aircraft (in this case, about 125 kph).

Prior solutions to aerial archaeology

Archaeologists have been successful in applying a variety of methods to acquire aerial images, including bipods, tripods, tethered blimps or weather balloons, radio-controlled airplanes, conventional xed-wing aircraft, helicopters and satellites (Lyons and Avery, 1977; Limp, 1989; Myers and Myers, 1995; Walker and De Vore, 1995; Eddy et al., 1996; Poulter and Kerslake, 1997; Fowler, 2002). Each of these has its advantages and limitations. Bipods, tripods, tethered balloons or blimps and radio-controlled aircraft can be used successfully to capture detailed images of archaeological resources, but they are limited spatially by the length of the bipod/tripod legs, the length of the rope tethers on inatable craft (up to 800 m in a survey by Myers and Myers (1995)), or the range of the radio-control device (or, more accurately, the line of sight of the operator (Walker and De Vore, 1995)). Thus, these techniques allow only the gathering of data at relatively low altitudes and in a geographically restricted area. The acquisition of images beyond the altitude limitations of these techniques is impossible, and surveying large areas in search of archaeological
Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Archaeol. Prospect. 12, 6978 (2005)

Archaeological Reconnaissance by Powered Parachute The expense of renting aircraft and paying a trained pilot or hiring professional aerial photographers could be considered a limiting factor in the use of aerial reconnaissance as well. An internet survey of companies in various parts of the USA that could provide an aircraft for aerial photography was conducted in January 2004, and rates for hiring a piloted conventional xed-wing aircraft, such as a Cessna 172, ranged from US $130 to US $150 per hour. Helicopters can overcome the forward movement problem, but the rental rates are even higher than those for conventional aircraft. The internet survey produced an even wider range of rates for helicopter rental, from US $225 to US $1150 per hour. If there is no rm that can provide these services near the area the archaeologist wishes to survey, an additional expense will be incurred in transporting the aircraft to the study area. Should the archaeologist consider hiring a professional aerial survey company to acquire the images, the costs can climb even higher. For example, Creamer et al. (1997) spent US $2500 for a professional aerial survey of site of Pueblo Blanco in New Mexico. For these reasons, there is a real need within the eld of archaeology for a cost-effective method of acquiring aerial images that will provide for the acquisition of low-altitude, detailed images while also permitting the survey of large areas. In attempting to identify a technique that would meet these requirements, we rst considered the solutions previously used by archaeologists. Bipods, tripods, tethered inatables and radio-controlled airplanes were rejected owing to their altitude limitations and lack of geographical mobility. Of the geographically mobile options, xed-wing aircraft were deemed unsuitable owing to their forward velocity and cost, helicopters were considered too expensive, and satellites could not produce images with sufcient detail. After nding the previous solutions used by archaeologists to be lacking in one or more respects, we continued our search and soon recognized that one vehicle, not yet tested by archaeologists, had the design and performance capabilities to overcome the limitations of the other techniques and provide a cost-effective, variable-altitude, geographically mobile aerial reconnaissance vehicle for archaeologists: the powered parachute.
Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


The powered parachute (PPC)

In the summer of 2001, the NSU CRO received a grant from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) to conduct experimentation into the utility of the PPC as an aerial platform for the photographic documentation of archaeological sites. There are a number of companies that manufacture PPCs, and a wide variety of makes and models are available, but the PPC chosen was the Destiny 2000, from the Destiny Aircraft Corporation of Three Rivers, Michigan (Plate 3). The Destiny 2000 consists of an airframe constructed of steel and aircraftgrade aluminum, seating for the occupant(s), a specially designed gasoline engine, and a large rectangular parachute. Different congurations are available, but in order to afford ourselves the greatest payload capacity for personnel and camera equipment, we opted for a 65 hp Rotax 582 liquid-cooled, two-cycle engine and a 550 ft2 rectangular parachute, the most powerful engine and largest parachute offered by Destiny at that time. Our PPC features seating for two persons, so that one person, as the pilot, can concentrate on ying the aircraft while a second, in the rear seat, can act as the camera operator. The simplicity of ying the PPC also affords the option of single-occupant operation, with one person acting as pilot and camera operator, if necessary. We also had our machine equipped with an optional roll cage for added safety and a cargo pod for storing the bags for the parachute and the helmets during ight operations. The Destiny 2000 comes standard with a 10 gallon fuel tank, providing a ight time from about 1.5 to 2 h, depending on the weight of the ight crew and equipment, and an electronic engine information system which permits the pilot to monitor altitude, rate of climb or descent, rpm setting, ight duration, and engine operation conditions such as exhaust gas temperatures and cylinder head temperatures. The PPC is very simple to operate. After laying out the parachute behind the aircraft and ensuring that all of the lines are free of tangles, the crew members take their seats, fasten their seatbelts, and the engine is started. As the pilot increases the throttle, the aircraft begins to move forward, taking the slack out of the lines,

Archaeol. Prospect. 12, 6978 (2005)

72 and the parachute begins to ll. The pilot continues to increase throttle, the parachute pops up over the aircraft and within a short distance the PPC is airborne, with the parachute serving as the wing to provide lift (Plate 4). Once airborne, the pilot and camera operator are able to converse via a headset intercom system installed in their helmets. The intercom system is patched into a two-way radio to allow the ight crew to communicate with eld crew on the ground and with air trafc control towers when operating within controlled airspace near an airport. For in-ight navigation, our PPC is equipped with two GPS receiversa Garmin GPS II Plus for basic navigational information, such as bearing, ground speed, wind direction and altitude, while a Trimble ProXRS is used for more precise recording of ight lines and points of interest noted during the course of aerial surveys.

T. I. Hailey axis) and roll (movement around the longitudinal axis) are, to a large degree, affected by the pendulum effect of the PPC. The airframe, carrying the pilot and photographer, acts as the weight of the pendulum. When a gust of wind strikes the PPC, the parachute initially will be pushed in the direction the wind is blowing, and the airframe will no longer be suspended immediately below the parachute. Owing to the pendulum effect, however, the airframe subsequently will swing back under the parachute, and the PPC will again be stable. All three of these factors can be controlled sufciently to permit safe, stable ight for general usage of the PPC. Pitch, yaw and roll also can be affected by convective turbulence, especially at low altitudes. Convective turbulence can be caused by differences in temperatures of surface features such as cleared elds, areas with vegetation, bodies of water and roads. Darker areas absorb larger amounts of ultraviolet radiation from the sun, resulting in warmer surface temperatures. Conversely, lighter areas are more reective than dark areas and are cooler relative to dark areas. These differences in temperature affect the ow of air immediately above the different surface features. Air rises more rapidly over darker areas, causing turbulence in the air above the interface between darker and lighter areas (Pagen, 1992). The effect of wind gusts and convective turbulence on data acquisition is a vital consideration. With excessive wind gusts and/or thermal turbulence, the quality of the acquired images, and especially video footage, may not be suitable for the purposes of project research goals. Thus, constant awareness of wind and weather patterns has proven essential for effective data acquisition. Experience has shown that the optimal time for ights is early in the morning, prior to the heating of Earths surface by the sun, and late in the afternoon, when winds typically begin to die down. Altitude stability is the third performance consideration. When the PPC is airborne, the pilots rst task upon achieving the desired altitude is to determine the throttle setting necessary to maintain level ight. The required throttle level is affected by the weight of the aircraft, passengers and equipment, with heavier payloads necessitating a higher setting. In theory, once the

Flight characteristics of the PPC

The suitability of any aircraft as an archaeological aerial reconnaissance vehicle depends on the performance of the aircraft in ight, as this has a direct bearing on its utility as a camera platform. In assessing the PPC, a number of factors that affect the performance of any aircraft were taken into consideration, including drift, in-ight stability and altitude stability. Drift is dened as the tendency of an aircraft to deviate from a straight ight path. Drift can be caused by the design characteristics of an aircraft or by weather conditions such as wind or turbulence. The ability of the aircraft to maintain straight-line survey transects over the project area is essential for systematically recording aerial images. During our ights, any tendency to drift experienced by the PPC is monitored and corrected visually by observing the groundtracking of the aircraft and through the use of the two onboard GPS receivers. In-ight stability is assessed by noting the movement of an aircraft around its vertical, lateral and longitudinal axes. Yaw (movement around the vertical axis) is controlled by left and right rudder pedals, which allow the pilot to turn the PPC. Pitch (movement around the lateral
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Archaeol. Prospect. 12, 6978 (2005)

Plate1. Color-infrared,1m resolution image taken at an altitude of 6 km of the area surrounding the Whittington site,Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. (Source: U.S. Geological Survey Digital Orthophoto Quarter Quadrangle (DOQQ.)

Plate 2. The Whittington site from an altitude of 300 m.

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Archaeol. Prospect. 12, (2005)

Plate 3. The NSU CRO Destiny 2000 powered parachute.

Plate 4. The NSU CRO powered parachute in flight.

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Archaeol. Prospect. 12, (2005)

Plate 5. Approaching Double Ditch, North Dakota at an altitude of 525 m.

Plate 6. Detail of Double Ditch, North Dakota from an altitude of 330 m. A series of images taken at this altitude was used to produce a photomosaic of the site by Kenneth Kvamme of the University of Arkansas.

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Archaeol. Prospect. 12, (2005)

Plate 7. Photograph taken at an altitude of 60 m of the archaeological field crew excavating at the Whittington site, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana.

Plate 8. Preparing to transport the powered parachute.

Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Archaeol. Prospect. 12, (2005)

Archaeological Reconnaissance by Powered Parachute optimum throttle setting is determined, the PPC will maintain the same altitude as long as the throttle stays in that position, but wind, turbulence and simply turning the aircraft can have an effect on altitude stability, and altitude must be monitored during ight using the altimeter incorporated into the electronic engine information system and the Garmin GPS receiver. When undesired changes in altitude are noted, the throttle is adjusted accordingly to stabilize the aircraft.


Low vibration
Excessive vibration of the image recording equipment will have an adverse effect on the quality of the images. Low velocity reduces the effects of vibration caused by the aircraft moving forward through the air, but the source of the greatest amount of vibration, the aircraft engine, must also be taken into account. The engine on our PPC, a Rotax 582, operates between 4800 and 5400 rpm when the PPC is in level ight. The lower end of this range is utilized with a single occupant, while adding a second occupant requires a higher throttle setting. The relatively high cyclic rate required for operating the aircraft with either one occupant or two has the effect of reducing engine vibration substantially during data acquisition and minimizing the effect of vibration on the images.

The PPC as an aerial camera platform

The promise of the PPC as an aerial camera platform can best be explored by taking into account several key factors identied by James Walker and Steven De Vore as they developed their programme of low-altitude photography from radio-controlled aircraft (Walker and De Vore, 1995). For an effective programme of lowaltitude, large-scale archaeological aerial reconnaissance, several characteristics were considered to be of crucial importance, including low velocity of the aircraft, low vibration, the ability to y at low altitudes, the capacity for large-scale image acquisition, small take-off and landing space, portability, low cost, safety and low impact on archaeological resources. The PPC meets all of these requirements:

Low altitude
For the acquisition of detailed images, the ability to y at low altitudes is of great benet, both for increasing the resolution of the image and for decreasing atmospheric haze. The PPC can y at altitudes from 1 to 3000 m, providing ample ability for operation of the vehicle within Walker and De Vores (1995) recommended range of 60 to 180 m, as well as affording the opportunity to acquire images at much higher altitudes, as needed. For site documentation, we have own as high as 525 m when working with Kenneth and Jo Ann Kvamme of the University of Arkansas at the Double Ditch site, a Late Prehistoric fortied village north of Bismarck, North Dakota. Typically, we acquire data at altitudes between 60 and 330 m, utilizing a number of different altitudes at each site to ensure thorough coverage at various scales, and recording both vertical and oblique perspectives (Plates 5 and 6).

Low velocity
The forward velocity of the powered parachute is limited by the principles of physics that govern its design characteristics. With no wind, in level ight, the PPC ies at about 50 kph. The throttle cannot be used to increase speedit serves only to increase or decrease altitude. If the aircraft is own with the wind, the airspeed will increase in proportion to the wind speed, and conversely, ying into a headwind will decrease the airspeed a proportional amount. For example, when working with Jay Johnson and Bryan Haley of the University of Mississippi at the site of Parchman Place Mounds near Clarksdale, Mississippi in June 2002, we ew with the wind at 80 kph, but when we turned into the wind to photograph the site, our speed was reduced to a much more suitable 20 kph.
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Large-scale image acquisition

With the use of a 35 mm SLR camera, Walker and De Vore (1995) achieved a resolution of less than 2.5 cm using their radio-controlled aircraft. With the PPC and a digital still camera, we have achieved approximately the same resolution from an altitude of 60 m, as evidenced by a

Archaeol. Prospect. 12, 6978 (2005)

74 photograph taken at the NSU CRO/ University College London excavations at the Whittington site, an eighteenth century plantation near Natchitoches, Louisiana (Plate 7).

T. I. Hailey and spark plugs are approximately US $5.75 per hour, based on an estimated 120 h of ight time per year. Even considering the acquisition cost of the PPC, the long-term benets become obvious when compared with the expense of contracting with professional surveying companies for aerial site survey from conventional aircraft, or to the cost of renting a conventional aircraft or a helicopter.

Small takeoff and landing space

The PPC can take off and land in an extremely small area. A straight-line distance of about 50 to 100 m is needed for takeoff, depending on the weight of the crew and equipment, and typically less space, about 30 to 60 m, is needed for landing. A prepared runway is not required, only a relatively at area free of obstructions, making the PPC even more exible in terms of geographical areas in which it can be used. At Double Ditch, North Dakota, we utilized a large grassy area adjacent to the site as a project aireld.

The PPC is an extremely safe mode of air travel, provided that the pilot performs careful preight and postight examinations of the equipment, ensures that the parachute is fully deployed prior to takeoff, ies only under optimum weather conditions, and avoids ying too low over or too near ight hazards such as trees, towers and power lines. Unlike xed-wing ultralights, a PPC is virtually impossible to stall and if the engine should stop during ight, the parachute will allow the vehicle and passengers to descend safely.

The PPC is a relatively small, lightweight vehicle. The wing of the vehicle is the parachute, which folds compactly. The airframe of the Destiny 2000 is 2.0 m wide, 2.1 m in height and 3.1 m long. The entire weight of the vehicle is 858 kg. The unit is easily transportable in a specially designed enclosed trailer (Plate 8), which is equipped with a ramp rear door for easy loading and unloading of the PPC. Within 15 to 20 minutes, the pilot can unload the aircraft from the trailer, conduct preight checks, warm up the engine, deploy the parachute and be airborne. Upon landing, the vehicle can be ready for transport, following postight checks and folding the parachute, in about the same amount of time. To date, we have taken advantage of this extreme degree of portability to conduct surveys in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Dakota, with plans to continue our efforts in these areas and to expand into others as additional research opportunities arise.

Low impact
Walker and De Vore (1995) considered one of the greatest advantages of aerial photography of archaeological sites to be the amount of data acquired with no damage to the site. The PPC meets this requirement fully, as the data acquisition equipment (still and video cameras) and the camera platform (the PPC) are own above the study area, causing no impact to the archaeological resources. To Walker and De Vores (1995) criteria should be added the following advantages.

Ease of operation
As noted previously, the design of the PPC is such that operation is effected by only a few controls. If the pilot wishes to ascend, engine speed is increased. To descend, the speed of the engine is decreased. The vehicle is turned by means of horizontal bars attached by cords to the outside edges of the parachute. By pressing on this bar with the right or left foot, the corresponding edge of the parachute is pulled downward and a turn is effected.

Low cost
After the relatively moderate initial expense of equipment acquisition (US $15 000 for the NSU CRO PPC), the costs of operation and maintenance of the PPC are extremely low. Operation expenses, including fuel, oil, air lters, fuel lters
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Archaeol. Prospect. 12, 6978 (2005)

Archaeological Reconnaissance by Powered Parachute

75 Natchitoches to Cloutierville, in central Louisiana, during which antebellum plantation sites along Cane River were photographed.

Ease of training
Owing to the ease of operation, only a few hours of training are required prior to a pilot being certied for solo ight by a Basic Flight Instructor. In order to increase familiarity with the equipment and operations, and thereby increase safety, a pilot planning to use the PPC as an archaeological aerial reconnaissance vehicle should undergo more intensive training that includes carrying a passenger for operation of camera equipment and maneuvering the vehicle in a manner suitable for data acquisition.

Vehicle payload
With the Rotax 582 engine and the 550 ft2 parachute, the Destiny 2000 is capable of carrying a payload of 1210 kg. This is sufcient to carry two adults, the GPS receivers, and our data recording equipmenta digital still camera, a digital video camera and a thermal imaging camera. In this way, data can be gathered in several formats on the same ight, and even simultaneously if desired.

Greater control
The PPC offers the archaeologist the ability to physically place the image-recording equipment over the area of interest. With tethered blimps, bipods/tripods, or radio-controlled aircraft, there is often no guarantee that the desired image has been captured. After the camera is retrieved, the archaeologist may discover that the process must be repeated before satisfactory results are achieved. By increasing control over the placement of the camera equipment, the archaeologist can be more condent that the desired images have been obtained, saving time and money.

Limitations of the PPC

Limitations on the use of the PPC as an archaeological aerial reconnaissance vehicle include inclement weather, vegetation and, in the USA, Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

Weather limitations
The parachute, which serves as the wing of the aircraft and provides for its slow-ight capability, can be a liability in the presence of moderate to high surface winds. The manufacturer recommends that the PPC not be operated with surface winds equal to or greater than 20 kph. With excessive winds, the parachute can inate prematurely, causing the aircraft to tip over, perhaps with the ight crew strapped into their seats. When the PPC is brought in for landing, unfavourable surface wind velocities can be dangerous as well, making it difcult to land the aircraft safely and, as with high surface winds before takeoff, placing it in danger of tipping over. Variable surface winds, which change direction unpredictably, must be avoided also, as they can lead to undesirable uctuations in the lift acting on the parachute, causing the aircraft to hop uncomfortably, and at times alarmingly, during takeoff or landing. As noted previously, winds aloft are not typically a problem, as they tend to aid in slowing the aircraft for optimal data acquisition when the PPC is turned into the wind.

Geographical mobility
Tethered blimps or balloons and radio-controlled aircraft are limited in their geographical mobility. With tethered blimps and balloons, movement of the camera platform will be impeded by the location of fences, trees, power lines, streams or other obstacles. Radio-controlled aircraft can y above such obstructions, but geographical mobility is still limited by the line of sight between the aircraft and the transmitter. The PPC affords the ability to y over obstructions, and adds to that the opportunity for long-range reconnaissance of areas of archaeological interest in the search for previously undiscovered sites or as a component of landscape studies. With a full fuel tank, reconnaissance ights of 1.5 to 2 h in duration can be undertaken, allowing the archaeologist to survey relatively large areas with ease. The greatest distance we have covered to date was a ight of approximately 60 km, round-trip, from
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Archaeol. Prospect. 12, 6978 (2005)

76 The occurrence of precipitation will also preclude the use of the PPC. The parachute is made up of a number of cells that are open at the front, or leading edge of the parachute, and closed at the rear, or trailing edge. If the PPC were to be operated in the presence of precipitation, water would accumulate in the cells and could cause the collapse of the parachute, followed by the rapid and uncontrolled descent of the airframe, quite possibly leading to serious injury or death for the occupants. For this reason, operation of the PPC in the presence of precipitation, or when there is a likelihood that precipitation could occur, should be avoided.

T. I. Hailey for ofcial functions, but by the time this modication took place, Walker had shifted his emphasis to radio-controlled aircraft. It is under AC 103-7 that we are permitted to operate the PPC as a government aircraft for use in scientic research. The FAA regulations do not permit the use of the PPC for commercial enterprises in the USA at this time. As can be seen, some of the limitations discussed above can affect any aircraft or method of acquiring aerial imagery, whereas others are specic to the PPC. Those that cause universal problems for aerial archaeology cannot lead the researcher to discount the PPC in favour of other methods, whereas those that are directly related to the design characteristics of the PPC must be weighed against its obvious advantages.

Vegetation limitations
The presence of vegetation that obscures the site will prevent an archaeologist ying a PPC from acquiring images that are as useful as those acquired at a site free of such obscurations. This limitation, of course, will affect any method of aerial reconnaissance, and should not be considered a shortcoming specic to the PPC. Pastures, agricultural elds, grasslands or other open areas obviously will provide a setting better suited to aerial image acquisition with the PPC, or any other aerial reconnaissance technique.

The value of aerial reconnaissance to archaeologists cannot be denied, but it has been overlooked for the most part as a research tool outside of Europe, quite possibly due to the limitations and/or the expense of some traditional techniques. There has been a real need for a means of acquiring aerial images of archaeological interest that is effective, affordable and has widespread application. Powered parachute aerial archaeology meets all of these requirements, and the impact on the archaeological community could be substantial. Any archaeologist involved in eldwork should seriously consider the PPC as a means of acquiring data for the investigation of known sites, for the survey of larger areas for unknown sites, and for studies of settlement patterning and changing cultural landscapes. In addition, the PPC can be used by agencies responsible for the management of cultural resources for planning site development, monitoring site threats and producing aerial images that will appeal to the public. The relatively modest acquisition cost of the PPC, especially when long-term use is anticipated, and the extremely low cost of operation will enable researchers to take advantage of this new technology in virtually any geographical area where aerial photography and/or aerial survey is possible and desirable.

Federal Aviation Administration regulations concerning PPC operation

Aerial archaeology using a PPC is a technique that had not been applied systematically to archaeological research prior to our project, although James Walker (1980, 1985; cited in Walker and De Vore, 1995) briey experimented with photography of archaeological sites from a xed-wing ultralight aircraft in 1980 and 1984, and more recently, Palmer (2003a, b) and his colleagues have used a paramotor for aerial archaeology in Armenia. Walker and DeVores early efforts were discontinued when Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 103 was issued, restricting ultralights to recreational and sport use in the USA. Federal Aviation Regulation 103 was later modied by FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 103-7 to permit an ultralight aircraft to be own by a local, state or federal government entity as a public aircraft
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Archaeol. Prospect. 12, 6978 (2005)

Archaeological Reconnaissance by Powered Parachute Although of obvious importance to the archaeological community, the value of powered parachute aerial archaeology transcends archaeological applications, to include almost any area of research that requires aerial reconnaissance. Foresters, geomorphologists, geographers, cultural anthropologists, geologists, agricultural scientists, and others have and do make use of remote sensing data. All of these disciplines could benet from this technology, and any scientist planning to incorporate remote sensing into his or her research design should consider the benets of a programme of aerial reconnaissance utilizing a powered parachute.

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The NSU Powered Parachute Aerial Archaeology was funded by The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, a Division of the National Park Service, US Department of Interior, and I thank Kirk Cordell, Executive Director of the NCPTT and Andy Ferrell, NCPTT Research Associate, for constant encouragement and moral support, as well as the funding for the project. I also thank the administration at Northwestern State University, and especially our department head, Kathleen Byrd, who supported the project from the outset. And nally, thanks to my colleagues who believed in this project enough to invite us to try the PPC at their sites, including Jay Johnson and Bryan Haley of the University of Mississippi, Kenneth Kvamme and JoAnn Kvamme of the University of Arkansas, Fern Swensen of the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and Stan Ahler of the PaleoCultural Research Group, Flagstaff, Arizona.

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Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Archaeol. Prospect. 12, 6978 (2005)