Powered Parachute Flying Handbook

Chapter 5 — Preflight and Ground Operations

Engine Warm-Up

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 steps:

• 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 propeller.
• Prime the fuel system (as equipped).
• Activate strobe light if switch is independent of magneto switch.
• 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 airplane.

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 the wind.

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 active runway.

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. 5-12 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.

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