Powered Parachute Flying Handbook

Chapter 3 — Components and Systems

Multiple Attachment Points Bracket

The attachment point bracket on the cart is one method to select the fore and aft wing attachment position for proper CG adjustments. [Figure 3-4] Always refer to the POH for weight and balance information specific to the powered parachute you are flying.

Center of Gravity Adjuster Tubes

The term “CG tubes” sometimes refers to the three tubes that meet at the point of rigging for the wing (upper CG tube, lower CG tube and center CG tube). [Figure 3-5] Sometimes the term “CG tube” refers only to the tube that is adjustable, and the other tubes that meet at the rigging points are called outrigger arms.

Instrument Panel

The instrument panel is in front of the pilot and provides engine and flight information. The pilot is responsible for maintaining collision avoidance with a proper and continuous scan surrounding the powered parachute, as well as monitoring the information available from the instrument panel. The pilot must process the outside cues along with the instrumentation throughout the flight for a sound decision-making process.

The ignition switches are usually located on the instrument panel and have two positions: ON, which allows power to make contact with the spark plugs,

or OFF, which is a closed switch to GROUND and removes the power source from the spark plugs. Typically, PPC engines have two spark plugs per cylinder, two switches and two completely separate ignition systems. Some single place PPCs with smaller engines have only a single spark plug per cylinder, one ignition switch, and a single ignition system.

The FAA defines the required minimum instrumentation for PPCs; engine manufacturers may recommend certain instruments be installed on the aircraft to monitor the performance of their particular engine. For example, on a liquid-cooled engine, the manufacturer may recommend instrumentation to monitor engine gas temperatures (EGT), water temperatures and RPM. On an air-cooled engine, the manufacturer’s recommendation may be EGT, cylinder head temperature (CHT) and RPM. Additional instruments can be added as desired by the individual aircraft owner.

Some PPCs may only have a few analog gauges. [Figure 3-6] Some makes and models may be equipped with an engine information system (EIS). [Figure 3-7] The EIS is a flight computer and screen that receives input signals from sending units connected to engine and flight probes or sensors. The computers are pre-programmed for different makes and models of engines. Engine information may include: RPM, EGT, CHT, water temperature, fuel quantity, an hour meter and a voltmeter. Flight instruments may include altimeter, vertical speed indicator and a GPS.


This engine and flight information is viewed on the LCD screen and has function keys, allowing the pilot to move between display screens that contain the computer’s input. When the display button is pressed, each individual screen will clearly identify the information being displayed.

The information systems are also capable of alerting the pilot when any engine or flight parameters are exceeded, usually via a warning light mounted on the instrument panel. Although the EIS is a valuable tool, the ability to interpret the information is equally important.

For the interperetation of any engine and flight instrument, you need to completely understand the engine limitations, parameters, and the messages the instrument provides you. Sensing the proper operation of the aircraft and engine is a key factor to the safe operation of any aircraft. Being able to interpret engine sounds and unusual vibrations is essential for any pilot.

As with any aircraft or instrument operation, see the POH for each individual make and model operating instructions.

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