Powered Parachute Flying Handbook

Most powered parachute incidents occur during the takeoff. This is because unlike most other types of aircraft, a powered parachute needs to create the airfoil before flight can be attempted. This critical process happens during the takeoff roll. The importance of thorough knowledge, faultless technique, and judgment cannot be overemphasized.

Terms and Definitions

Although the takeoff and climb is one continuous maneuver, it will be divided into four separate steps for purposes of explanation:

• Equipment staging — the portion of the takeoff procedure during which the powered parachute is positioned and the chute is set up for takeoff.
• Takeoff roll (ground roll) — the portion of the takeoff procedure during which the powered parachute is accelerated from a standstill to an airspeed that provides sufficient lift for it to become airborne.
• Rotation and liftoff — enough lift is on the wing to rotate the nose wheel and lift the powered parachute off the ground.
• Initial climb — begins when the powered parachute leaves the ground and a rate of climb is established.

Normally, the process is considered complete when the powered parachute has reached a safe maneuvering altitude, or an enroute climb has been established.

Laying Out the Wing

Refer to Chapter 5 to understand wing inspection, a separate procedure from wing layout. There are several ways to successfully lay out a powered parachute wing. What an instructor teaches is usually determined by the terrain, wind conditions, wing shape, and personal preference. There are two major layout methods: the inverted method and the stacked method.

The Inverted Method

The inverted method of laying out a wing involves spreading it out with the bottom surface of the wing facing up like a blanket on the beach. [Figure 7-1] The trailing edge of the wing is positioned closest to the cart and the leading edge is pulled out as far behind the cart as it will lay without pulling the cart backwards.

This method allows for a clear inspection of the wing and the attachment points of the suspension lines. It also allows the propeller blast on most carts to go over the wing, keeping it from inflating too early.

The main advantage to the inverted method is that when the cart rolls forward on the takeoff roll, it pulls the leading edge (A-lines) before it pulls the other suspension lines. This allows for a quick inflation of the wing. However, the inverted method is prone to lifting at the edges of the wing when there is wind. The wind can get under the corners of the wing and blow it up and back before you are ready to take off which can delay the proper inflation of the wing during the takeoff roll. Keep in mind that if the wind is blowing hard enough to lift the wing from its layout position, the flight conditions should be reviewed before continuing with the flight.

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