Australian Powered Parachute Association FAQ
Site of the Australian Powered Parachute Association



This page is presented for visitors to the site with little or no previous knowledge about flying a powered parachute. Frequently asked questions have been categorised:

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to ContactUs and if required we can put you in contact with members in your area.

Passenger FAQ's

Where do I sit?

In the Summit or Steele Breeze you have the luxury of your own comfy seat right behind the pilot. The Aerochute dual carries two people somewhat cosily side by side. Individual safety harnesses keep you strapped in safely.

What happens if the motor stops?

The pilot simply parachutes the craft back down to the ground. Motor-out landings are practised frequently by the pilot and he/she had to demonstrate his ability to land without power to obtain his licence.

What do I wear ?

Well, if you're really lucky on a hot day you could get by with shorts and a T-shirt, but most of the time it's pretty chilly. Wear good warm clothes. Your flight crew will provide a thermal suit to wear over your clothes. Gloves, eye protection and helmets are also provided.

Is it noisy?

In spite of a beefy Rotax 582 whirring away behind you, flight in a Summit PPC is surprisingly quiet. Your pilot will provide you with noise cancelling headsets which kill much of the noise anyway and enable crystal clear in-flight communications. If the pilot has a radio you will be able to listen in on air communications too. Some comms setups even allow for in-flight entertainment! Smaller craft such as the Aerochute are notoriously noisy, as you are seated a bit closer to the motor.

How do I get to fly?

Contact any of the listed members and, providing you meet certain height/weight/fitness criteria, most will be only too happy to take you on a tour of the skies next time they go flying. It is also possible to book a TIF (Trial Instructional Flight) but presently these can only be arranged through Hawkesbury Powered parachute Centre, or Aerochute Industries (see links)

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Pilot FAQ's

How do I fly?

Start by discussing the sport with any of the listed members. You might then arrange a TIF which counts towards your flight training time of 20 hours to become licensed.

How do I become licenced?

3-5 hrs of dual instruction then you're off solo. A total of at least 20 hours instructed flight time will see you qualified. Some study of weather and rules of the air and some exams along the way and you will be able to call yourself a pilot of a group D ultra light, registered with the RAA (Recreation Aviation Australia).

Can I take passengers?

After 30 hours flight time and after passing a passenger endorsement exam your licence may be upgraded to allow flying with a passenger.

How high can I fly?

The maximum legal limit is 5000 ft above sea level. Minimum is 500ft, lower with landholder's permission. Maps should be checked to determine flight restricions in the area.

Can I fly over a town?

Provided you are not in restricted airspace, Yes, at a minimum of 1000ft AND within safe gliding distance of a safe landing place.

Where can I fly?

APPC members have access to a number of "Powered Parachute Friendly" airfields. See our Resources page for a field near you along with member contact details.

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About the aircraft

What is this aircraft?

The Summit and the Aerochute are powered parachutes, class D ultralight aircraft, CASA approved and registered with the RAA. The Summit has been fully certified under CASA's Light Sport Aircraft airworthiness certification system.

What powers the craft?

A rotax 582 DCDI engine. Some smaller craft have a 503.

What keeps it in the sky?

A combination of wing and propellor!

Where is the wing?

When the craft is on the trailer, the wing is stuffed into a parachute bag. The pilot will set the chute out behind the craft. Before takeoff, the wing is "inflated" and it rises above the craft.

How do you steer?

The Summit has foot controls. Push left pedal - turn left. Push right pedal - turn right! The Aerochute is controlled by hand toggles similar to parachute controls.

What fuel does it use?

Ordinary unleaded with 2-stroke additive.

What regular maintenance is required?

Replace spark plugs every 50 hours.

Retrim parachute every 100 hours.

Major engine maintenance at 300 hours.

Air filter, fuel filter and other minor maintenance is required from time to time.

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Note: Prices given here are very much ballpark figures. Contact your preferred Flight School to obtain a quote.

How much is an aircraft?

Around $20,000, new.

How much is flight training?

Up to $4500 - cheaper if training packaged with aircraft purchase.

Are second hand machines available?

Yes. However, we would strongly recommend talking with other club members before purchasing a second-hand craft.

Are there extra costs?

You will probably want to consider the cost of flight suits, helmets, goggles, gloves, trailer, windsock, radio-communications and aircraft extras.

How much is maintenance?

Routine maintenance costs the price of four spark plugs every 50 hours. Very little extra maintenance expenditure is required routinely.

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Is this sport safe?


Are you sure?

All sports carry an element of risk, even golf! It's safer than horse-riding, maybe even safer than driving to work!

Has anyone died in a powered parachute?

In Australia, no.

What's the worst that can happen?

The most vulnerable time is take-off when a wind gust could potentially upset the craft resulting in a rollover. Your Pilot has been trained to minimise this risk.

Could we crash into another plane?

When you get up in the air, look down and see how many cars are on the roads. Then look around and see how many other aircraft you can see in the sky! Your Pilot has been fully trained in the rules of the air and what to do should you encounter another aircraft.

Is the aircraft safe?

The Summit has been fully certified by CASA under the LSA System. Your Pilot has been trained to do a full pre-flight inspection of the aircraft before every flight.

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