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Sacramento Powered Paragliding

Experience the dream of flight powered paragliding in Northern California

Solo Ratings Program

These are primary ratings offered by USUA/USPPA for powered paraglider pilots. Differentiation is provided for wheel launch and foot launch—only the items required for the launch skill sought must be demonstrated. 

Definitions:
Flight: A flight, for the purpose of these requirements, consists of inflation, launch, flying at least 360 degrees of turn, then landing and bringing the wing down. 
WL = Applies to Wheel Launch Only
FL = Applies to Foot Launch Only
What Counts - All required maneuvers must be done in a controlled fashion where the outcome is never in doubt. Any maneuver that results in damaged gear, injury, or falling cannot be counted as successful.

PPG 1 Certification

This first step establishes the skills, knowledge and experience for the pilot who gets to take his first two flights. He is far from ready to venture out on his/her own but has made a significant milestone.

PPG 1 Ground Requirements
1. Proper layout and pre-flight check of canopy and motor (including harness).
2. Has successfully completed a basic ground school.
3. Understanding of proper canopy packing, storage and care.
4. Site analysis including wind direction and velocity, terrain shape, obstructions and engine-out planning.
5. Proper canopy handling and kiting skills.
6. Explains motor, propeller, and fueling safety.
7. Understands basic operation the motor including at least two ways to shut it off and what to look for on preflight runup.
8. Explains effects of Center of Gravity and wing connection location on the harness or cart frame.
9. (wheel launch only) Explains the cause and cure to rollover-type accidents.
10. Has passed the USPPA/USUA PPG 1 written exam.

PPG 1 Flight Requirements (Launch/Landing/Inflation)
1. Two controlled forward inflations with visual canopy check each time.
2. (FL) Two controlled reverse inflations with proper surge dampening.
3. (FL) Half-minute of controlled kiting overhead in a steady wind.
4. (WL) 15 seconds of controlled taxiing without lifting off.
5. Demonstrates a method of establishing proper connection to the wing, with cleared lines and risers, just prior to inflation.
6. Demonstrates two unassisted (other than radio) flights.

PPG 1 Limitations
These recommended limitations are intended to provide a guide for those at this skill level to remain within their ability. Obviously there are other considerations before flying but this is a good starting point. Only exceed these limitations under instructor supervision.
1. All flights must be under the supervision of an instructor.
2. Max wind, including gusts of 8 mph
3. Launch and land directly into the wind
4. Use canopy rated for beginner (DHV 1, 1-2, EN-A, EN-B or equivalent other rating).
5. Takeoff and landing area should allow unimpeded climb and landing approach without maneuvering below 100' AGL.

PPG 2 Certification

This rating signifies that the pilot should be able to fly on his/her own within the limits specified below. It is the beginning of a lengthy learning period.

PPG 2 Ground Requirements
1. Pilot uses good judgment and have a level of maturity commensurate with the rating.
2. Attends a minimum of 8 hours of ground school.
3. Explains correct canopy maintenance.
4. Setup and preflight the glider, harness and reserve. (reserve may be explained if not equipped)
5. Verbal analysis of general site conditions including a flight plan (flight path, avoidance areas, obstacles, wind effects)
6. Demonstrates proper and effective PLF technique.
7. Demonstrate reserve deployment while hanging in a harness in simulated turbulence or malfunction conditions. This may be done without an actual reserve if none is available.
8. Explain the basics of airspace as it pertains to PPG and how to determine legal flight areas from sectional charts including how to obtain a weather briefing.
9. Explains proper strong wind landing procedures and how to keep from being dragged back.
10. Has received training in and understands collapses, stalls, spins, and turbulence-induced collapses, is familiar with the canopy owner's manual and the USPPA incident reports.
11. Explains how to shorten and lengthen flight path with no power.
12. Explains speedbar and trimmers, their use, risks, and limitations, including for reflex wings.
13. Explains the right of way traffic rules.
14. Explains how to maintain directional control during and correct for an asymmetric wing fold of 25% of the wing span.
15. Has passed the USPPA/USUA PPG2 written exam and reviewed incorrect answers.

PPG 2 Flight Requirements (Launch/Landing/Inflation)
1. Consistently succeeds at 2 out of 3 no-wind (0-2 mph) forward inflations.
2. (FL) Consistently succeeds at 2 out of 3 controlled reverse inflations with proper surge dampening.
3. Two minutes of controlled kiting overhead (foot launch only).
4. (Wheel launch only) 30 seconds of controlled taxiing without lifting off.
5. Two cross-wind (> 15º cross to takeoff path) launches in light wind (<= 5 mph).
6. Consistently makes 2 out of 3 smooth, power-on landings within 15' of a target and into the wind.
7. Consistently makes 2 out of 3 power-off (from 300') landings within 40' of a target and into the wind.
8. (WL) Brief and instruct ground crew for assisted launch.
9. Demonstrates smooth variation in airspeed and throttle to maintain level flight from just above min sink to fast flight on a constant heading
10. Alternating 'S' turn (at least 90° heading change) flights along a planned path. Heading change < 45° into wind.
11. Hands off (or up) flying with smooth transition to climb and descent using throttle only.
12. Hands off (or up) flying with turns using weight-shift (if available) and rear riser turns.

PPG 2 Minimum Logged Flight Experience
These are minimums. It is common to need 40 or more flights before attaining PPG 2 skill levels.
1. 25 flights except that, for USHPA P2 or higher rated paraglider pilots, 15 non-powered flights can be used to count towards the 25 flight requirement.
2. 5 flying days.

PPG 2 Limitations
These recommended limitations are intended to provide a guide for those at this skill level to remain within their ability. Obviously there are other things that should be considered before flying but this is a good starting point.
1. Only exceed these limitations after thoroughly mastering all PPG 2 tasks and with full understanding of the potential problems and dangers involved in doing so.
2. Max peak thermal strength 200 fpm.
3. Max gusts of 12 mph.
4. Max gust rate of 5 mph in 5 seconds
5. Should not launch with the wind aligned more than 25 degrees from the takeoff path.
6. Avoid using of brake beyond 2/3 of full travel (stall).
7. Max bank angle of 30 degrees.
8. Avoid flying downwind less than 150' above the ground.
9. Use canopy rated for beginner (DHV 1, 1-2, EN-A, EN-B or equivalent other rating).
10. Takeoff and landing area should allow unimpeded climb and landing approach without maneuvering below 100' AGL.

PPG 3 Certification

This rating builds on the knowledge and skills from the PPG1 & PPG2, only additional areas are included here. These are minimums. It is common to need 200 or more flights before attaining PPG 3 skill levels. The pilot should have a thorough understanding of the knowledge items required of those ratings. He/she should be able to judge and safely fly from any launch site within his skill level. Launches should be consistently successful with the ability to easily steer during the launch run as well as control the flight path immediately from lift off.

PPG 3 Ground/General Requirements
1. Pilot uses good judgment and has a level of Maturity commensurate with the rating.
2. Explains characteristics of impending stall or spin and the recovery technique for each.
3. Explains how to shorten and lengthen flight distance by adjusting speed, height and the relationship of headwind/tailwind in doing so.
4. Explains how to maintain directional control during and correct for an asymmetric wing fold of 50% or more of the wing span.
5. Has passed the USPPA/USUA PPG3 written exam and reviewed incorrect answers.

PPG 3 Flight Requirements (Launch/Landing/Inflation)
1. All landings are safe, smooth, on the feet, in the desired touchdown area and in control.
2. Consistently succeeds at 3 out of the 4 no-wind (0-2 mph) inflations/launches.
3. Good canopy control while doing turns of at least 20 degrees while on ground (FL) running or (WL) rolling with the wing overhead and under power.
4. Consistently makes 2 out of 3 power-on landings within 5' of a target and into the wind.
5. Consistently makes 2 out of 3 power-off (from 300') landings within 15 feet of a target and into the wind without falling.
6. Demonstrates smooth transition from descent to climb in a go-around maneuver while controlling the surge.
7. Demonstrates smooth, single-swing dampening of surges using throttle only.
8. Demonstrates smooth, single-swing dampening of left/right oscillations.
9. Linked 180° turns along a predetermined ground track showing smooth controlled reversals and coordination at various speeds, throttle settings and bank angles.
10. Demonstrates ability to use Trimmers and Speed Bar setup and use. (gives explanation if not installed on wing)
11. Significant asymmetric tip folds and/or big ears (25% each side, 50% total) or other canopy reduction method to increase descent rate.

PPG 3 Logged Flight Experience
1. 90 flights. It is common to need 200 or more flights before attaining PPG 3 skill levels.
2. 30 flying days.
3. Has had USPPA PPG2 rating or equivalent for at least 120 days.
4. 20 solo airtime hours.

PPG 3 Limitations
These recommended limitations are intended to provide a guide for those at this skill level to remain within their ability. Obviously there are other considerations before flying but this is a good starting point. Page 5 Revision 2012-Aug-10 Update format, modify limits, streamline.
1. Only exceed these limitations after thoroughly mastering all Novice tasks and after acquiring a full understanding of the potential problems and dangers involved in exceeding these limitations.
2. Follows safe flying guidelines.
3. Max peak gusts 15 mph without high-wind add-on.
4. Max gust rate of 7 mph in 5 seconds.
5. Limit turns to bank angles recommended my the manufacturer, Smoothly exit any spiral turn that is becoming steeper or accelerating.
6. Should not fly in thermals where peak climb rates exceed 500 fpm or where significant cloud development exists.
7. Avoid using of brake beyond 3/4 of full travel (stall).
8. Avoid steep banks close to ground.
9. Avoid flying downwind less than 100' above the ground.