Powered Parachute Flying Handbook

Chapter 6 — Basic Flight Maneuvers

Clearing Turns

Pilots should perform clearing turns prior to beginning any maneuver and any turns. Proper clearing procedures combined with proper visual scanning techniques are the most effective strategy for collision avoidance. The essential idea of the clearing turn is to be certain that the next maneuver is not going to proceed into another aircraft’s flightpath. Refer to Chapter 9.

Turning the Powered Parachute

Steering lines run from the foot controls, through a series of pulleys parallel to the risers and suspension lines and are connected to the trailing edge of the corresponding side of the wing. The right steering line at the front end is attached to the right steering control at the cockpit (either foot or hand control), and the other end is directly attached to the trailing edge of the right side of the wing. Hence, when you push a foot steering control, you pull on a steering line and “pulldown” the trailing edge of the corresponding side of the wing, which creates drag on that side of the wing’s trailing edge. The drag from the pulled-down trailing edge slows down and drops that side’s wing, and the opposite side of the wing simultaneously pivots around the vertical and longitudinal axes in a coordinated turn. The PPC is designed to fly straight into the relative wind, which is a key factor in the PPC’s ability to automatically perform a coordinated turn. [Figure 6-2]

While airborne, you will turn in the same direction of the foot steering control that you push: push right foot—go right; push left foot—go left.

Similar to the pendulum effect with throttle, there can also be a swinging pendulum effect during turns. For example, if you are in a stabilized right, mediumbanked turn (approximately 20 to 45 degrees bank), the pendulum is swinging out opposing the lift component of the wing. If an abrupt left turn is initiated, the wing will start to turn but the momentum of the cart cannot respond as quickly. This results in the pilot not coordinating the pendulum effect, and can be avoided with smoother and less abrupt turns so the cart can keep up with the wing.

Feel of the PPC

The ability to sense a flight condition, without relying on cockpit instrumentation, is often called “feel of the PPC,” but senses in addition to “feel” are involved. Sounds inherent to flight are an important sense in developing “feel.” The air rushes past the PPC pilot, who is not typically masked by enclosures. When the level of sound increases, it indicates that speed is increasing. Also, the powerplant emits distinctive sound patterns in different conditions of flight as the RPM is adjusted. The sound of the engine in cruise flight may be different from that in a climb, and different again from that in a descent and can aid the pilot in estimating not only the present airspeed but the airspeed trend.

The sources of actual “feel” are important to the pilot. The pilot’s own body responds to forces of acceleration. These “G” loads imposed on the cart are also felt by the pilot. Increased G loads force the pilot down into the seat or raise the pilot against the seat belt. Radial accelerations produce side loadings, which will shift the pilot from side to side in the seat. These forces need not be strong, only perceptible by the pilot to be useful.

An accomplished pilot who has excellent “feel” for the PPC will be able to understand and coordinate the rate of bank change so as not to overshoot the desired course or bank, and ultimately be able to anticipate the pendulum effect. The wing trailing edge control surfaces move in the airstream and meet resistance proportional to the speed and weight of the cart. When the cart is heavy and flying faster, the steering controls are stiffer and harder to move because the wing internal pressure is higher. When the cart is light and flying slower, there is less force required and controls move easier.

The senses that contribute to “feel” of the airplane are inherent in people. However, “feel” must be developed. The flight instructor should direct the beginning pilot to be attuned to these senses and teach an awareness of their meaning as it relates to various conditions of flight. To do this effectively, the flight instructor must fully understand the difference between perceiving something and merely noticing it. It is a well established fact that the pilot who develops a “feel” for the PPC early in flight training will have little difficulty with advanced flight maneuvers.

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