Powered Parachute Flying Handbook

Chapter 1 - Introduction to the Powered Parachute

Use of Checklists

Checklists have been the foundation of pilot standardization and cockpit safety for many years. The checklist is an aid to the fallible human memory and helps to ensure that critical safety items are not overlooked or forgotten. However, checklists are of no value if the pilot is not committed to their use. Without discipline and dedication in using a checklist, the odds favor the possibility of an error.

The importance of consistent use of checklists cannot be overstated in pilot training. A major objective in primary flight training is to establish habitual patterns that will serve the pilot well throughout their entire flying career. The flight instructor must promote a positive attitude toward the use of checklists, and the student pilot must realize its importance. At a minimum, prepared checklists should be referenced for the following phases of flight:

• Preflight Inspection
• Before Engine Start
• Engine Starting
• Before Kiting and Taxiing the Wing
• During the Takeoff Roll
• After Takeoff
• Before Landing
• After Landing
• Engine Shutdown
• Postflight Inspection and Securing

Due to the open nature of the cart, you should secure your checklist to ensure it does not get blown through the prop. It should be attached to something (a kneeboard strapped to your leg, the instrument panel, etc.) to eliminate the possibility of it being blown away, yet remaining visible and easy to use.

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is the accurate perception and understanding of all the factors that affect the powered parachute, pilot, passenger, environment and type of operation comprising a given situation. Maintaining situational awareness requires an understanding of the relative significance of these factors and their future impact on the flight. When situationally aware, the pilot has an overview of the total operation and is not fixated on one perceived significant factor. In addition, an awareness must be maintained of the environmental conditions of the flight, such as spatial orientation of the PPC, and its relationship to terrain, traffic, weather, and airspace.

To maintain situational awareness, all of the skills involved in aeronautical decision making are used. For example, an accurate perception of pilot fitness can be achieved through self-assessment and recognition of hazardous attitudes. Establishing a productive relationship with pattern traffic and traffic control can be accomplished by effective resource use.

Stress Management

Stress is part of the human process. A certain amount of stress can be good as it keeps a person alert and tends to prevent complacency. However, the effects of stress are cumulative. If not coped with adequately, eventually the stress may result in an intolerable burden with negative psychological and perhaps physical consequences. Performance generally increases with the onset of stress, peaks, and then begins to fall off rapidly as stress levels exceed a person’s ability to cope. The ability to make effective decisions during flight is likely to be impaired by stress. Hence, the ability to reduce high levels of cockpit stress will have a direct correlation to aircraft safety.

Stress management in the aircraft begins by making an assessment of stress in all areas of your life. There are several techniques to help manage the accumulation of life stresses and prevent stress overload. For example: set realistic goals; manage time more effectively; include relaxation time in a busy schedule; maintain a weekly program of physical fitness; and maintain flight proficiency. If stress does strike in flight, you should try to relax, take a deep breath, and then calmly begin to think rationally through the resolution and decision process.

Medical Factors Related to the PPC

Medical factors, regardless of their severity, should never be dismissed without at least a cursory consideration. Even a toothache or the common cold can be detrimental to a safe flight, especially when drugs of any sort, even non-prescription, are taken before the flight.

Most medical issues can be easily handled in a PPC, but a few can have severe influences on the safety of the flight. For instance, medical situations might cause the muscles of the limbs to tighten or go into a spasm. These scenarios can be deadly, such as when the legs are pressing against a steering bar during a seizure.

The following medical factors are not listed by importance, but by alphabetical order for easy reference.

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