Powered Parachute Flying Handbook

Chapter 7 — Takeoffs and Departure Climbs

Centering the Wing

The steering controls can be used to reduce the wing’s side-to-side oscillation, or assist with the centering of the wing during the rolling (takeoff) preflight. For example, if the wing is far left of center, and is beginning to move back to center (from left to right) you can add some left control pressure to slow the wing’s (right moving) inertia and thus keep it from overshooting the center position above the cart. Or, if the wing is far right of center and you want to begin the wing’s motion back to its normal and safe position above the cart, you could help initiate the wing’s motion to the left by applying slight left steering pressure.

Encourage Cell Openings

During the pretakeoff roll (when building and verifying your wing before takeoff—particularly if operating on a soft field) you may find it useful to press the pedals multiple times, and hold it (about half a second) after the wing comes overhead. This has two beneficial uses. First, it assists with opening the outside cells by temporarily increasing internal wing pressure, pushing the air forward and transfering the pressure out to the tips. Second, it helps confirm the steering lines are clear of any impediments, ensuring they are not caught on or wrapped around any outrigger tubing or obstructions.

“Lock-out” Avoidance

Improper canopy layout, wind conditions, or inappropriate throttle movements during the initial building of the wing during your takeoff roll may cause the wing to “lock-out” or stall behind the cart at a 30 to 45 degree angle on its rise. To correct the lock-out, reduce power and push both steering controls simultaneously out in a flaring motion until the wing is pulled back to where the tail is almost touching the ground. Then rapidly release the flare so the wing “sling-shots” up and overhead of the cart. Note: This method is not recommended with elliptical shaped wings, as these wings, with their reduced drag, may over-fly the cart and land ahead of the rolling cart.

Crosswind Takeoff

Powered parachutes have very limited crosswind capability. You should take off directly into the wind. If the wind is slowly changing direction and the powered parachute is positioned to take off into a crosswind, it is better to wait and see if the winds will change back to headwinds before committing to a takeoff. If winds are changing direction very quickly, the flight should be cancelled.

Sometimes there is only one runway and the winds are blowing across it. It is still possible to take off, but it will involve positioning the powered parachute so the initial inflation and roll will be into the wind. If you fly at a field that has only one main runway, you must be familiar with the principles and techniques involved in crosswind takeoffs or not fly when there is a crosswind.

Positioning the Cart

In all but the lightest of crosswinds, it is still a good idea to position the powered parachute into the wind. Lay out the powered parachute wing directly into the wind, as you would for a normal takeoff. [Figure 7-5]

Wing Inflation and Kiting

The initial inflation and kiting should be done as it would be for a normal takeoff. As soon as the wing is overhead and flying, steer the cart into the direction desired for takeoff. This procedure requires practice coordinating the controls for the ground steering and the wing. The wing needs to be producing some lift before the turn can be attempted. This may mean a more aggressive inflation and kiting if the takeoff area is relatively small.

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