Powered Parachute Flying Handbook

Chapter 11 — Approaches and Landings

Turbulent Air Approach and Landing

Powered parachute flying is a low-wind sport. It is important PPC pilots evaluate the upper-air winds to ensure the wind is within the limitations for that aircraft, accounting for wind shear and wind gust possibilities at pattern altitude.

For flying in more turbulent air on final approach, maintain power throughout the approach to reduce your descent rate in case you do experience a down gust. This will alleviate the possibility of an excessive descent rate.

Emergency Approaches and Landings (Simulated)

From time to time on dual flights, the instructor should give simulated emergency landings by retarding the throttle and calling “simulated emergency landing.”

The objective of these simulated emergency landings is to develop the pilot’s accuracy, judgment, planning, procedures, and confidence when little or no power is available.

A simulated emergency landing may be given at any time. When the instructor calls “simulated emergency landing,” the pilot should consider the many variables, such as altitude, obstruction, wind direction, landing direction, landing surface and gradient, and landing distance requirements. Risk management must be exercised to determine the best outcome for the given set of circumstances. The higher the altitude, the more time the pilot has to make the decision of where to land.

Using any combination of normal gliding maneuvers, from wing level to turns, the pilot should eventually arrive at the normal key position at a normal traffic pattern altitude for the selected landing area. From this point on, the approach will be as nearly as possible a normal power-off approach. [Figure 11-9]

All pilots should learn to determine the wind direction and estimate its speed. This can be done by observing the windsock at the airport, smoke from factories or houses, dust, brush fires, and windmills.

Once a field has been selected, the student pilot should always be required to indicate it to the instructor. Normally, the student should be required to plan and fly a pattern for landing on the field elected until the instructor terminates the simulated emergency landing. This will give the instructor an opportunity to explain and correct any errors; it will also give the student an opportunity to see the results of the errors.

However, if the student realizes during the approach that a poor field has been selected—one that would obviously result in disaster if a landing were to be made—and there is a more advantageous field within gliding distance, a change to the better field should be permitted. The hazards involved in these last-minute decisions, such as excessive maneuvering at very low altitudes, should be thoroughly explained by the instructor.

During all simulated emergency landings, the engine should be kept warm and cleared. During a simulated emergency landing, either the instructor or the student should have complete control of the throttle. There should be no doubt as to who has control since many near accidents have occurred from such misunderstandings.

Every simulated emergency landing approach should be terminated as soon as it can be determined whether a safe landing could have been made. In no circumstances should you violate the altitude restrictions detailed in 14 CFR part 91 or any local nonaviation regulations in force. It is also important to be courteous to anyone on the ground. In no case should it be continued to a point where it creates a hazard or an annoyance to persons or property on the ground.

In addition to flying the powered parachute from the point of simulated engine failure to where a reasonable safe landing could be made, the pilot should also learn certain emergency cockpit procedures. The habit of performing these cockpit procedures should be developed to such an extent that, when an engine failure actually occurs, the pilot will check the critical items that would be necessary to get the engine operating again after selecting a field and planning an approach. Accomplishing emergency procedures and executing the approach may be difficult for the pilot during the early training in emergency landings.

There are definite steps and procedures to follow in a simulated emergency landing. They should be learned thoroughly by the student, and each step called out to the instructor. The use of a checklist is strongly recommended. Most powered parachute manufacturers provide a checklist of the appropriate items. [Figure 11-10]

Critical items to be checked should include the quantity of fuel in the tank and the position of the ignition switches. Many actual emergency landings could have been prevented if the pilots had developed the habit of checking these critical items during flight training to the extent that it carried over into later flying.

Instruction in emergency procedures should not be limited to simulated emergency landings caused by power failures. Other emergencies associated with the operation of the powered parachute should be ex-plained, demonstrated, and practiced if practicable. Among these emergencies are such occurrences as fire in flight, electrical system malfunctions, unexpected severe weather conditions, engine overheating, imminent fuel exhaustion, and the emergency operation of powered parachute systems and equipment.

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