Powered Parachute Flying Handbook

Chapter 6 — Basic Flight Maneuvers

Level Turns

A turn is made by banking the wing in the direction of the desired turn. A specific angle of bank is selected by the pilot, control pressures applied to achieve the desired bank angle, and appropriate control pressures exerted to maintain the desired bank angle once it is established.

Both primary controls are used in close coordination when making level turns. Their functions are as follows.

• The steering bars bank the wings and so determine the rate of turn.
• The throttle determines vertical speed and must be increased during a turn for the PPC to remain level. The greater the degree of turn, the greater the throttle/thrust required to remain level; this is similar to an airplane and weight-shift control aircraft.

For purposes of this discussion, turns are divided into three types: shallow, medium, and steep.

• Shallow turns are those in which the bank is less than approximately 20°.
• Medium turns are those resulting from approximately 20° to 45° of bank.
• Steep turns are those resulting from 45° or more of bank. Steep turns are generally not recommended in a PPC.

Bank angle is measured in a PPC from angle of the horizon and any level component on the PPC, typically the instrument panel, steering bars, cart frame, or any other cart component that can provide a horizontal reference. Each design will have its own unique reference.

Exceeding the limitations specified in the regulations or in the aircraft pilot operating handbook is considered aerobatics and not authorized by the manufacturer limitations.

To initiate a turn, drag is created on the side of the wing you want to turn via the steering control bar, slowing and dropping that wing into the desired bank. The side without the drag is flying faster and hence pivots around the slower side. As discussed in Chapter 2, the PPC is designed to track directly into the relative air stream, similar to a weight-shift control aircraft. Therefore, no rudder is needed to coordinate a turn.

A shallow bank produces a noticeable turn but you likely will not notice an increase in load or airspeed. A constant pressure is required on the steering bar to maintain the bank angle for the turn. Abruptly releasing the pressure on the foot bar would typically bring the PPC back to straight flight because the pendulum effect is so minor.

A medium bank turn requires more PPC performance than a shallow bank. Higher and noticeable loads, plus noticeable airspeed increases are the result of a medium bank turn. After the bank has been established in a medium banked turn, pressure on the steering control must be maintained to continue the bank. If the control pressure is released, the PPC will return to the level position because of the pendulum stability discussed in Chapter 2. If it is a medium bank angle, such as 40 degrees, and the pressure is released abruptly, there will be some dampening oscillations until the PPC returns to level flight. Slower responses are required so the bank angle is reduced gradually to maintain “coordinated pendulum effect.” All PPCs have unique flying characteristics, but generally, lower performance “rectangular” wings would dampen quicker than higher performance “elliptical” wings.

To maintain altitude during a turn, you must directly coordinate the amount of steering input with the amount of throttle increase because of the loss in vertical lift, as covered in Chapter 2. To make a shallow turn, only a modest amount of steering control input and throttle increase is required. As the steering input is applied, you will also simultaneously apply the corresponding amount of throttle increase to maintain level flight throughout the turn.

The greater the bank angle, the greater the throttle required to remain in level flight. Also, with increased bank, greater skill is required to reduce the pendulum effect when coming out of the turn or reversing the direction of the turn. [Figure 6-5]

To stop the turn and return to straight-and-level flight, you need to smoothly release the steering control input to achieve pendulum effect coordination. The pendulum stability of the PPC will do the rest to return to the straight flightpath.

All PPC controls should be manipulated with a smooth and slow motion. This will prevent pilot induced oscillation (PIO). Whether you are pushing the throttle forward to increase the pitch angle, or pushing the steering control to induce a turn, both controls should be operated smoothly and slowly—whether applying input or removing it. [Figure 6-6]

The rate at which a PPC turns is directly related to the amount of steering control input. The more input, the quicker the rate of turn. Be advised, however, if full steering input is used and adequate throttle is not used to compensate, the vertical component of lift is reduced significantly and a rapid descent will ensue as the turn progresses.

Common Errors for Level Turns

• Failure to adequately clear the area before beginning the turn.
• Attempting to sit up straight, in relation to the ground, during a turn, rather than maintaining posture with the cart.
• Insufficient feel for the PPC.
• Gaining proficiency in turning in only one direction; not practicing turns in both directions.
• Failure to coordinate the throttle with the steering controls.
• Altitude gain/loss during the turn.
• Too great of a bank angle.

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