Chapter 5 — Preflight and Ground Operations
Engine warm-up, or run-up, not only brings the engine
up to proper operating temperatures but also allows
you to determine that the engine and its components
are operating properly.
Generally, the engine start-up will follow these
• Walk-around is complete.
• Safety check to include: front wheels properly
braced, engine and propeller area clear of loose
and foreign objects, area behind the cart is
clear of debris, wing lines are away from the
• Prime the fuel system (as equipped).
• Activate strobe light if switch is independent of
• Shout “CLEAR PROP” and wait for “CLEAR”
response from bystanders.
• Turn magnetos on.
• Engine gauge switch on.
• Check throttle – at idle.
• Start engine.
The warm-up procedure should never be skipped, as
the result can be costly in engine repairs and detrimental
to the physical well-being of the pilot and passenger.
Pilots should know their engine temperature
parameters from the markings on the panel and the
POH limitations. Once the engine has been brought
up to normal operating temperatures, check that the
engine will produce sufficient RPM. Once again, refer
to the engine manufacturer’s manuals for recommended
procedures and parameters.
Continually monitor all the engine’s temperature
gauges and know the engine operational minimum,
normal, and maximum temperature ranges. The engine
manual will also specify “difference” temperatures
between cylinders. Excessive split differences
between cylinders should not be overlooked, even if
both temperature readings are within the acceptable
ranges for the engine. Do not fly the powered parachute
if the temperature readings are not normal! Figure out
what the problem is before it results in a dangerous
situation or costly engine repair. Finally, test the ignition
switches if the engine has dual ignition systems
installed. By turning one switch off and checking the
RPM and then alternating the check with the other
switch, you can assure that both ignition switches are
operational. An engine with a dual ignition system is
intended to be run with both systems operating.
You taxi the aircraft to get the cart from one place to
another. The wing bag is typically hung from the cart
or placed on the rear seat unless there are extra bars
installed specifically to accommodate the wing bag
while taxiing; check with your manufacturer for the
recommended procedure. [Figure 5-11] You can taxi
with the wing packed or with the wing inflated above
you; it is called “kiting” if it is inflated. During all
ground operations it is important to keep your hand on
the throttle and your feet on the steering bars. Do not
dangle your feet off of the steering bars as this could
result in a broken ankle, foot, or leg. Do not use your
feet to stop the PPC, even from low speeds. Wind is
not a factor when taxiing with the wing in the bag;
follow the procedures for initial takeoff if taxiing with
the wing inflated, or “kiting,” in any wind.
Be aware of other aircraft that are taking off, landing
or taxiing and provide consideration for the right-ofway
of others. Keep a lookout in front of you and
on both sides. Be aware of the entire area around the
powered parachute to ensure the PPC will clear all
obstructions and other aircraft. If at any time there is
doubt about the clearance from an object, you should
stop the powered parachute and verify clearance.
Even though you may not be using a standard runway,
you may need to cross active runways or taxiways
to get to the area designated for powered parachute
operations. That means understanding radio communications
and keeping your eyes and ears open. You
probably have better visibility than a pilot in a typical
The primary requirements for safe taxiing are positive
control of the aircraft at all times, the ability to recognize
potential hazards in time to avoid them, and the
ability to stop or turn where and when desired. While
on the ground, the throttle directly controls your
groundspeed. It is important not to taxi too fast, and
be careful no one is in your prop blast. Going too fast
can damage the frame or the suspension. The grass
you taxi on could have holes and ditches, and damage
the suspension. When taxiway centerline stripes are
provided, they should be observed unless necessary
to clear airplanes or obstructions.
Ground steering is accomplished by controlling the
ground steering bar. The ground steering bar may in
fact be a bar, handle, wheel, or lever; ground steering
controls are as varied as the powered parachutes
themselves. Operate the ground steering in a slow
and deliberate manner, never jerky or erratic. Some
ground steering bars are pushed forward to turn right
and pulled back to turn left. Others are just the opposite.
Consult the POH for each make and model
of aircraft you fly to determine the safe and proper
operation of the ground steering.
When taxiing, it is best to slow down before attempting
a turn. Sharp, high-speed turns place undesirable
side loads on the landing gear and may result in an
uncontrollable swerve. If the wing is inflated, the cart
will not follow the direction of the wing due to the
friction (via the wheels) with the ground. If the cart
and the wing are not going in the same direction, you
must prevent the wing from gaining enough lift (via
cart groundspeed) to pull the cart over on its side.
(See Chapter 12 for more details on pull-overs.) Adjust
power or apply braking as necessary to control
the taxi speed. More engine power may be required
to start the powered parachute moving forward, or to
start a turn, than is required to keep it moving in any
given direction. When using additional power, retard
the throttle immediately once the powered parachute
begins moving, to prevent excessive acceleration.
When first beginning to taxi the PPC cart, if equipped
with brakes, test them for proper operation as soon as
the powered parachute is put in motion (typically with
a hand control). Apply power to start the powered
parachute moving forward slowly, and then retard the
throttle and simultaneously apply pressure smoothly
to the brakes.
To avoid overheating the brakes when taxiing, keep
engine power to a minimum. Rather than continuously
riding the brakes to control speed, it is better to
apply brakes only occasionally. Other than sharp turns
at low speed, the throttle should be at idle before the
brakes are applied. It is a common error to taxi with a
power setting that requires controlling taxi speed with
the brakes. This is the aeronautical equivalent of driving
an automobile with both the accelerator and brake
pedals depressed at the same time.
When taxiing with an inflated wing (kiting), the ramair
wing will try to weathervane. The wing is designed
to be self-centering; its strongest desire is to point into
Stop the powered parachute with the nosewheel
straight ahead to relieve any side load on the nosewheel
and to make it easier to start moving ahead.
At nontowered airports, you should announce your
intentions on the common traffic advisory frequency
(CTAF) assigned to that airport. When operating from
an airport with an operating control tower, you must
contact the appropriate controller for a clearance to
taxi, and a takeoff clearance before taxiing onto the
After landing, taxiing with the parachute inflated requires
you to coordinate movements between the rolling
cart on the ground and the flying wing in the air.
Cross-controlling by steering the cart one way while
failing to steer the wing in the same direction creates
Figure 5-11. Follow manufacturer recommendations for
bag placement when taxiing.
a dangerous situation that may end in a rollover. Common
errors in taxiing with the wing inflated are:
• Failing to maintain enough forward speed to
keep the wing inflated and flying overhead.
• Maintaining too much speed over the ground
and thereby lifting the nosewheel off the
ground; preventing the nosewheel from being
able to control the direction of the cart.
• Not steering the wing along with the cart.
• Attempting to turn the cart too tight for the
wing to be able to keep up.
• Failing to take wind into account.
• Attempting to taxi when winds are too high,
change in direction, or are gusty.