Powered Parachute Flying Handbook

Chapter 5 — Preflight and Ground Operations

Engine Starting

Prior to starting the engine it is imperative to precisely follow the engine manufacturer’s recommendation for engine warm-up. Follow the before engine starting and engine starting checklist procedures in the POH. Certain precautions apply to all powered parachutes.

Do not start the engine with the back of the cart of the powered parachute pointed toward an open hangar door, parked automobiles, or a group of bystanders. This is not only discourteous, but may result in personal injury and damage to the property of others as propeller blast is surprisingly powerful.

When ready to start the engine, look in all directions to be sure nothing is or will be in the vicinity of the propeller. This includes nearby persons and aircraft that could be struck by the propeller blast or the debris it might pick up from the ground. Turn on the anticollision strobe prior to engine start (if so equipped), even during daylight operations.

First look around, and then shout “CLEAR PROP.” Wait for a response from persons who may be nearby before activating the starter.

When activating the starter, keep one hand on the throttle. The other hand should be on the ignition in case the engine races immediately after start and the throttle has no effect. This allows prompt response if the engine falters during starting, and allows you to rapidly retard the throttle if revolutions per minute (RPM) are excessive after starting. A low RPM setting is recommended immediately following engine start. Do not allow the RPM to race immediately after start, as there will be insufficient lubrication until the oil pressure rises. In freezing temperatures, the engine will also be exposed to potential mechanical distress until it warms and normal internal operating clearances are assumed.

As soon as the engine is operating smoothly, check the oil pressure, if applicable. If it does not rise to the manufacturer’s specified value, the engine may not be receiving proper lubrication and should be shut down immediately to prevent serious damage. Although quite rare, the starter motor may remain on and engaged after the engine starts. This can be detected by a continuous very high current draw on the ammeter. Some powered parachutes also have a starter engaged warning light specifically for this purpose. The engine should be shut down immediately should this occur.

Starters are small electric motors designed to draw large amounts of current for short periods of cranking. Should the engine fail to start readily, avoid continuous starter operation for periods longer than 30 seconds without a cool down period of at least 30 seconds to a minute (some POHs specify even longer). Their service life is drastically shortened from high heat through overuse.

If the engine fails to start at all, it may be necessary to charge the battery or use the back-up pull starter. Hand propping is not a procedure typically used on powered parachutes. Always follow the manufacturers’ recommendations while troubleshooting and follow those specific procedures.

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