Chapter 3 — Components and Systems
A GPS can sometimes be used to determine ground
speed while flying. A GPS is also a useful tool to enhance
navigation for cross-country flying. Review
Chapter 14 of the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical
Knowledge for information on the calculations associated
with determining wind speed, ground speed,
fuel consumption, and time enroute.
Communication and navigation radios, transponders,
GPS and LORAN receivers are not required to fly
a powered parachute in Class G airspace. You must have the required equipment on board to operate in
Class B, C, D or E airspace.
Equipment requirements can be found in the regulations.
Powered parachutes must meet these requirements.
Even though many powered parachutes have
strobe lighting to aid in the visual sighting of the
aircraft, additional positional lighting is required for
night operations. See Chapter 12 for more information.
Powered parachutes are typically equipped with a 12
volt direct-current electrical system. A basic powered
parachute electrical system consists of a magneto,
alternator or generator, battery, master/battery switch,
voltage regulator, and associated electrical wiring.
Electrical energy stored in a battery provides a source
of electrical power for starting the engine and a limited
supply of electrical power for use in the event the
alternator or generator fails.
The electrical system is turned on or off with a master
switch. Turning the master switch to the ON position
provides electrical energy to all the electrical
equipment circuits with the exception of the ignition
system. Equipment that commonly uses the electrical
system for its source of energy includes:
• Position lights.
• Anticollision lights.
• Instrument lights.
• Radio equipment.
• Electronic instrumentation.
• Electric fuel pump.
• Starting motor.
Fuses or circuit breakers are used in the electrical system
to protect the circuits and equipment from electrical
overload. Spare fuses of the proper amperage limit
should be carried in the powered parachute to replace
defective or blown fuses. Circuit breakers have the
same function as a fuse but can be manually reset,
rather than replaced, if an overload condition occurs
in the electrical system. Placards at the fuse or circuit
breaker panel identify the circuit by name and show
the amperage limit.
An ammeter is used to monitor the performance of
the electrical system. The ammeter shows if the alternator/
generator is producing an adequate supply of
electrical power. It also indicates whether or not the
battery is receiving an electrical charge.
A voltage meter also provides electrical information
as to the battery voltage, an additional status of your
A voltage regulator changes the variable output of the
magneto or generator to the 12-volt DC level for the
battery and the electric system. The voltage output is
typically higher than the battery voltage. For example,
a 12-volt battery would be fed from the magneto/generator/
alternator system through the voltage regulator
which produces approximately 13 to 14 volts. This
higher voltage keeps the battery charged.