Powered Parachute Flying Handbook

Chapter 7 — Takeoffs and Departure Climbs

Normal Takeoff

A normal takeoff is one in which the powered parachute is headed into the wind and the wind is light to moderate. [Figure 7-4] The takeoff surface should be firm, free of debris, and not have any obstructions along the takeoff path. The takeoff surface should have sufficient length to permit the powered parachute to quickly accelerate to normal flight speed.

There are three reasons for making a takeoff as directly into the wind as possible:

1. A slower ground speed reduces wear and stress on the landing gear;
2. The headwind helps inflate the wing and get it overhead more quickly;
3. A shorter ground roll, and therefore less runway length, is required to lift off.

Takeoff Roll

Once there is a commitment to take off, it takes a minimum airspeed to keep the wing inflated. Inflating the chute, then cutting the power, will usually result in the wing deflating and falling to the ground. This can be difficult to recover from and should only be done if you wish to abort the takeoff.

Otherwise, as the speed of the takeoff roll increases, more and more pressure will be felt on the steering control tubes. It is important during this time to keep the wing going in the same direction as the cart. This means using the ground controls and/or the flight controls to keep the cart and the wing coordinated.

After kiting the wing and performing the LOC preflight check as discussed in Chapter 5, takeoff power is applied and you accelerate to flying speed.


When the wing has enough lift to rotate the cart nose off of the ground, nosewheel steering becomes ineffective. This means that even though the back wheels of the machine are still on the ground, the cart will be steered by the wing. You should not attempt any kind of tight radius turn during this process.


Once the wing is overhead and enough power is added, the powered parachute will lift off the ground.

Initial Climb

Once the cart is off the ground, it is important to maintain at least the same throttle setting that got it off the ground in the first place. When the cart is free from ground friction on the landing gear, it will begin to climb.

Once the powered parachute is off the ground, prop torque may become noticeable. It will typically steer the aircraft to the left (with a clockwise spinning propeller). Wind can also affect the direction of the PPC after liftoff. During initial climb, it is important that the initial climb path remain aligned with the runway to avoid drifting into obstructions, or the path of another aircraft that may be taking off from a parallel runway. Proper scanning techniques are essential to a safe takeoff and climb, not only for maintaining attitude and direction, but also for collision avoidance in the airport area.

The powered parachute’s takeoff performance will be much different when there is less weight with only one person in the PPC. Due to decreased load, the powered parachute will become airborne sooner, climb more rapidly, climb at a much steeper angle, and the flight controls may seem more sensitive.

Common errors in the performance of normal takeoffs and departure climbs are:

• Failure to adequately clear the area prior to taxiing into the staging position.
• Poor selection of a staging position. (Not allowing for enough takeoff area.)
• Failure to set up the powered parachute into the wind.
• Abrupt use of the throttle resulting in additional stress on the wing during inflation.
• Not using enough power to kite the wing.
• Failure to observe the wing during inflation.
• Failure to perform the rolling LOC preflight to clear the wing.
• Abrupt use of the throttle resulting in the aircraft porpoising.
• Failure to anticipate the left turning tendency (as discussed in Chapter 2) on initial acceleration.
• Overcorrecting for left turning tendency.

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