Powered Parachute Flying Handbook

Chapter 5 — Preflight and Ground Operations

Fuel and Oil

Pay particular attention to the fuel quantity, type, grade, and quality. Many fuel tanks are sensitive to attitude when attempting to fuel for maximum capacity. The powered parachute attitude can also be affected laterally by a ramp that slopes. Always confirm the fuel quantity indicated on the fuel gauge(s) by visually inspecting the level of the fuel tank(s).

The engine manufacturer recommends the type of fuel that any given powered parachute engine should burn; this recommendation should be strictly conformed to. Although most PPC engine manufacturers recommend premium grade auto fuel, it is usually acceptable to burn 100LL AVGAS on a limited basis. Most airports will not have auto fuel available on the field.

Ensure the fuel caps have been securely replaced following each fueling and the vents are free and open. Most powered parachutes have an inline fuel filter located somewhere between the tank and the carburetors; check the fuel filter for contaminates. [Figure 5-8]

The fuel tank vent is an important part of all preflight inspections. [Figure 5-9] Be alert for any signs of vent tubing damage, as well as vent blockage. A functional check of the fuel vent system can be done simply by opening the fuel cap. If there is a rush of air when the fuel tank cap is opened, there could be a serious problem with the vent system.

Check the oil reservoir to ensure the proper oil is used. Check the oil level during each preflight and after each refueling. [Figure 5-10] If the consumption of oil steadily increases or suddenly changes, qualified maintenance personnel should investigate. After checking or adding oil to the PPC, ensure that the oil cap has been securely replaced. The oil reservoir on a two-stroke must be checked for adequate venting; if this becomes plugged, it could cause starvation of the oil to the engine.

Two cycle engines without oil injection premix the oil with the fuel. Assure the mixture ratio is correct. Proper mixing techniques is covered in the fuel section.

Powerplant Inspection

Inspect the propeller for any signs of propeller blade chafing, and defects such as cracking. Check the propeller for large nicks in the leading edge, cracks, pitting, corrosion, and security. All propeller tape should be securely attached to the propeller surface, paying special attention to the convex side of the propeller for any delaminating; propeller tape is used primarily for protection on the leading edge of the propeller as well as a supplemental balancing device. Check the propeller hub for security, bolt threads showing and general condition.

Powered parachute engines are set up in a pusher configuration, so it is essential to check the engine area for loose items to ensure nothing is blown through the propeller, possibly injuring the aircraft, observers, or property. Carburetor(s) must be checked to make sure they are secure; check the air filter for condition and secure fit. Check the rubber manifolds for cracks and check spark plugs to make sure all of the spark plug caps are secure. On some two-stroke engines, there is a reservoir that contains the lubricant for the rotary valve; check this level on every preflight. Check gear reduction boxes for leaking seals and make sure there is not play within the gears. Look for signs of fuel dye which may indicate a fuel leak and deterioration of fuel lines. Check for oil leaks, deterioration of oil lines, and make certain that the oil cap, filter, oil cooler and drain plug are secure.

Check the exhaust system for white stains caused by exhaust leaks at the cylinder head or cracks in the stacks. Check exhaust components for freedom of movement; they must be secure with all exhaust springs in place.

On liquid cooled engines, the radiator fluid level, as well as the overflow reservoir, must be checked and filled as necessary.

Check all visible wires and lines for security and condition.

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