Chapter 5 — Preflight and Ground Operations
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
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.