Powered Parachute Flying Handbook

Night Operations and the Powered Parachute

Flying a powered parachute after sunset requires a private pilot powered parachute certificate. In addition, the powered parachute needs to be equipped for night operations by adding position lights for taxi and flight. Position lights are green on the right, red on the left, and white in the back. Anti-collision strobe lights can also be used in addition to position lights. [Figure 12-1]

The use of lighted runways for night flight imposes several problems for the powered parachute pilot. Setting up on a runway and conducting a preflight on a powered parachute cart and wing in the dark could tie up a designated runway area for a considerable amount of time, not to mention raise issues about being able to see the aircraft and wing components for proper preflight inspection.

A pilot planning to fly a powered parachute at night should ensure adequate illumination is provided for takeoff. The wing needs to be illuminated to ensure the wing cells are all open, the wing is centered, and the lines are not tangled (LOC). The takeoff area needs adequate illumination to ensure hazards are avoided. Typically, lights on poles can present a hazard at an airfield.

A powered parachute flight where the preflight inspection was completed during daylight, just prior to sunset, and then the final landing made after sunset may be a more feasible endeavor. If a powered parachute pilot holding a private pilot certificate or higher were to venture into night flight, Chapter 15 of the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge should be carefully reviewed to understand the parameters that need to be considered prior to conducting a flight in the dark.

Emergency Situations

This section contains information on dealing with unexpected situations that may occur in flight. The key to successful management of an emergency situation, and/or preventing a problem from progressing into a true emergency, is a thorough familiarity with, and adherence to, the procedures developed by the powered parachute (PPC) manufacturer. Hence, the following guidelines are generic and are not meant to replace the manufacturer’s recommended procedures. Rather, they are meant to enhance your general knowledge in the area of emergency operations. If any of the guidance in this chapter conflicts in any way with the manufacturer’s recommended procedures, the manufacturer’s recommended procedures take precedence.

Review the lost procedures and flight diversion techniques in Chapter 14 of the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. You must be able to select an appropriate alternate airport or landing area and route, determine there is sufficient fuel to fly to the alternate airport or landing area, turn to and establish a course to the select alternate destination, and maintain the appropriate altitude and heading while doing so. As a PPC pilot you must be able to select an appropriate course of action if you become lost, including maintaining an appropriate heading and climb if necessary, identify prominent landmarks, and use your navigation system (GPS) or contact an ATC facility for assistance, as appropriate.

Review the POH for the aircraft you fly to be familiar with the necessary pilot actions required for system and equipment malfunctions. You must be prepared to analyze the situation and take action if you experience any of the following system and equipment malfunctions: engine/oil and fuel, electrical, carburetor or induction icing, smoke and/or fire, flight control/trim, pitot static/vacuum and associated flight instruments, propeller, ballistic recovery system malfunction (if applicable), or any other emergency unique to the powered parachute you are flying.

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