Powered Parachute Flying Handbook

Chapter 3 — Components and Systems


Also known as “V lines,” the risers are the intermediate link between the suspension lines and the airframe or the attachment point of the wing to the airframe.

The risers are generally constructed of webbing, which takes on the appearance of two straps that incorporate a main cable and a safety cable as one unit. [Figure 3-13] Some of the older designs of wings may have braided wire cables serving as their risers. The risers are connected to the suspension lines and to the aircraft with various connections such as with D-rings and eyebolts.

During flight, as discussed in Chapter 2, propellerdriven aircraft are affected by the rotation of engine components and the propeller. This is commonly referred to as the “left turning tendency,” which includes torque and sometimes P factor. There are several design features that have been incorporated into airplanes to counteract the left turning tendency from a clockwise turning propeller. Powered parachute designers can counteract the turning effect by changing the length of the riser cables on one side of the airframe. By decreasing the length of the right riser cable, the wing is given a slight right turn, just enough to cancel the effects of torque at cruise thrust settings. This design feature of the powered parachute wing risers makes it imperative not to mistakenly attach the different length riser cables on the wrong side of the airframe. Remember: the left main and the left safety cables, from the pilot’s seat, are longer than the right main and the right safety cables. Mixing the right and the left cables will result in a pronounced left turn; especially during takeoff when the engine is at full throttle, which could jeopardize the safety of all concerned.

Engine installations with a counterclockwise rotating propeller require opposite adjustments. It is important to know which direction the propeller turns for your PPC to accurately counter turning tendencies.

Alternately, the wing could have the same length risers, and the cart could have a higher attachment point for the left riser. This is why each wing is designed for each cart and should not be interchanged: the wing and the cart is a complete system.

The Fuel Tank

The powered parachute is usually equipped with fuel tanks ranging in capacity from 5 to 20 gallons. As with any aircraft, knowing how much fuel your fuel tank holds is crucial to flight operations. The lightsport aircraft powered parachute has no limitations as to the size of the fuel tank, unlike its ultralight vehicle predecessor. Most PPC powerplants require auto fuel mid-grade or higher to be burned (see the powerplant operating handbook for specific engine specifications).

Generally, the fuel tank is located close to the center of gravity, so fuel burn does not affect the balance of the aircraft. Some fuel tanks are clear for visual inspection of the amount of fuel on board while others are dark. Dark tanks or hidden tanks generally have a sight tube to assist the pilot in determining the actual amount of fuel. [Figure 3-14] Some powered parachute manufacturers offer optional fuel level probes and instrument panel analog gauges or incorporate this information into the EIS. As fuel is used by the engine, air needs to enter the tank and take its place; otherwise a vacuum will form inside the fuel tank preventing the fuel pump from drawing fuel. This is usually accomplished with a fuel venting system. This can be a vent in the fuel cap or some other means that vents elsewhere, providing the ability for the fuel tank to breathe. Any vent system must be free of debris or it will cause fuel starvation in flight. This is especially true when a small hole is in the fuel cap that can be easily plugged. Check the fuel venting system during each preflight inspection.

The fuel shut-off valve can be located anywhere in the fuel line. It is important to make sure the fuel valve is open and stays open for normal operation. Most designs have a fuel tank sump drain valve to remove water and solid contaminants. Each design is different and the PPC POH will specify how to conduct this check.

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