Tech Tips
Presented by Riders In The Sky, Inc.
Home Up


MARCH, 2000:

Rotary valve shaft seals have been know to leak either at very low hours or after many hours. Two of the main reasons for this is the silicone in the anti-freeze or a radiator cap that is bad.

To keep your seals in tip top shape, we suggest that you completely drain all the anti-freeze in the system and replace it with a silicone free type anti-freeze. The abrasive material in the silicon type anti-freeze is eating at the seals and can cause them to leak.

The other cause is the radiator cap. Rotax recommends that we use a 13 lb. cap and if the cap goes bad and the pressure relief sticks, the pressure will build up and cause the seals to go bad.

Always include checking the reservoir bottle for a milky look with your pre-flight checks. Also, open the radiator cap and check for a white powder around the opening, which is a good sign that there is a silicone type anti-freeze in the system.

OCTOBER, 1999:

Remember that all those 582s out there are water-cooled.

That means as winter approaches ,CHECK YOUR ANTI-FREEZE!

The last thing you want is to pull out the machine to go flying, and discover the engine has frozen solid!

Also, if you are not going to be doing any flying over the winter, it is best to drain the fuel system completely, especially the carburetors, to keep them clean and free from varnish buildup from evaporated gas.

AUGUST, 1999:

Ed Wilson, of Leading Edge Air Foils, and one of the nationís experts on Rotax engines, stresses the need to get those 582ís truly warmed up prior to flight. They should be brought up to the recommended operating temperature of 150-160 degrees during warmup. In fact, the water temperature should peak at around 165 during warmup, and then drop to the operating range. That means the thermostat in the radiator has opened up and is working properly. If a 582 runs colder than recommended, the parts donít all expand to the correct operating tolerances/sizes, and a "cold seizure" is actually possible. The large radiators on the Buckeyes may need to be partially blocked off to achieve this temperature range. Art Moshinskie and Bob Mahr are working on developing a remote-control louver system to control this.


Seems that there have been too many engine out or engine low RPM situations recently involving both new and very experienced pilots. Maybe it is time to check the fuel filter, change fuel lines, primer bulbs, vacuum hoses from crankcases to fuel pumps, and maybe even clean out some of the fuel cells on older machines. Also be aware that kinked fuel or oil lines donít work well. And remember Ė if air canít get into an oil or gas tank, oil or gas canít come out!

JUNE, 1998:

We have had two recent incidents reported by local flyers of chute lines getting sucked into the prop. In one case, only lines were lost. In the other, there was enough damage to the chute that it was sent back to the factory for repair.

Moving props are deadly to chutes and chute lines! Always be aware of your lines while the prop is moving, and watch how you lay out your chute, especially if you still need to warm up the machine, to ensure that the lines wonít get caught up in the prop. Not flying is not fun.

MAY, 1998:

Now is the beginning of the heavy flying and traveling season.

We all know that pre-flighting our powered parachutes prior to flight is critical. We should also seriously consider "pre-flighting" our trailers before a trip of any length. Having a tire go flat, or wheel bearings seize up, or welds breaking, or lights failing, when you are miles from home and your repair shop is no fun.

So check it over before you take off!


The Virtues of Hangar Flying: During these winter months, when flying (though never stopped) is somewhat less frequent, is a good time to hangar fly. Hangar flying is a form of cheap education - itís a lot cheaper to learn from others what they have done wrong (and how to avoid making their mistakes) than to make them all yourself. Thatís why it is highly recommended that new pilots fly with other experienced pilots to get their first 10-25 hours in. You can learn a lot by listening and watching that could be very costly to learn by personal experience. And the entire powered parachute community is very good about giving new pilots hints and help on technique and weather conditions.

Enjoy your flying, but fly safely!

OCTOBER, 1997:

Some pilots place their chutes in the seats of their airframes for transport by walking the chute bag around the side of the airframe to reach the seat. When you do it that way, the chute lines from one side end up running under the fan guard below the motor to reach to the other side.

We recommend against storing it this way if you have a lead-acid battery mounted anywhere on your unit where the acid could possibly drip onto the chute lines.

Often, the battery is mounted behind the main axle, which is right above where the chute lines end up when you store it this way. Battery acid will eat through chute lines! Watch out for this, if it applies to you.

If you still want to store the chute in your seat, take it over the top. Line sleeves are available which make this option easier. Since the line sleeves leave the lines longer than daisy-chaining them does, you only have to toss the lines over the fan guard, not the chute bag itself.

Gel cell batteries, of course, donít present this problem. But unless you know for sure, be conservative and donít risk it.

Thanks to Sandy Mitchell for alerting us to this problem.

AUGUST, 1997:

Itís a good idea to replace your gas lines once a year. That means all gas lines between tank and engine, the primer bulb, and the fuel filter as well. Gas line may soften over time, and not work as well as it should, and the connections can wear loose.

Replacing your gas line is cheap insurance to ensure that your engine gets the fuel it needs to keep you up and flying.

JUNE, 1997:

Itís easy to get overconfident once youíve flown these machines for a while, and to get to feeling that they are so safe you canít get hurt in them. This is a dangerous attitude. Any time man interfaces with machine - and especially where flight off the ground in involved - there is risk.

In flying powered parachutes, the maneuver that is potentially the most dangerous - for the pilot and for others - is takeoff. If anything - that means anything - is not going right on takeoff, abort! It is far better to stop, push the machine back to the starting point, and try again, than to risk a rollover or a collision. Much better to abort five takeoffs that you might have made than go for the one that it turns out you couldnít. Our egos shouldnít be that sensitive.

Kill switches are your safety valve. Use them!

MAY, 1997:

While we arenít rocket scientists, we do leave the ground in these machines, parts of which (often cables and gas lines) are held together with plastic wire ties. UV light (sunlight) will degrade the nylon of the wire ties, making it prudent to occasionally check their integrity and replace them as needed. If you pull on one, and it comes apart, it is time to replace them all. And if your machine is stored out in the weather, itís a very good idea to replace them all once or twice a year, whether they seem to need it or not. Wire ties are cheap, but a wayward throttle cable or gas line could turn out to be expensive.

APRIL, 1997:

Itís a good idea to occasionally have someone else pre-flight your aircraft for you. Often, new eyes will spot something that familiarity misses.


Home ] Up ]

Copyright © 2005 Riders in the Sky,Inc.
Last modified: April 22, 2006