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P2 Test – Study Guide

The following is a study guide that can help you prepare for the USHPA P2 / Novice examination. The best way to use the following suggestions is to review and look up each concept in your resources (manuals, internet articles or other sources) and go over the material mentioned until you have a solid understanding of such.

Concepts to Study and be familiar with:

  • Flying Speeds – Trim, Min Sink, Best Glide, Best L/D …

  • Speed to Fly concept (adjusting airspeed to manage glide with regard to headwinds, tailwinds, lift and sink)

  • Airspeed, Groundspeed and the importance of recognizing the difference between the two

  • Upwind, Downwind, Crabbing

  • Rotors and Mechanical Turbulence

  • Full Stalls and Constant Stalls/Parachutal Stalls
    • Know that Full Stalls have no true warning signs prior to the onset. Know wether the cause of a full stall is a result of angle of attack or lack of speed (look this up) .
    • Know what happens when a full stall does begin.
    • Know what the worst thing to do when a full stall begins. The worst thing to do once a full stall has begun, is to let the brakes up quickly. This can result in a giant surge of the wing where it can dive viciously in front of the pilot. When this occurs, the pilot can fall into it (this is called getting “gift wrapped” and it is no joking matter – avoid this at all costs!). The better reaction is to hold / lock the brakes down (perhaps under the thighs) and wait until the wing is back above or in front of the pilot. Then you can let the brakes up smoothly all the way to trim.
  • Porosity and its relationship to a wing’s life
    • Know that there is no specific number of hours of UV that can be specified for the life of a glider, it depends on original fabric and intensity of radiation etc. People generalize about this, but nothing is set in reality.
  • Right of Way Rules
    • Ridge, who has right of way when approaching in opposite directions.
    • Give Way to the Right
    • Low Man has right of way
    • Thermal rules, first to enter thermal sets direction, all circle in same direction
  • Know what Glider certification says about a glider

  • What causes collapses
    • Collapses occur when the angle of attack is too low, not when too high
  • Know the following terms and related concepts:
    • Wind Gradient
    • Lapse Rate
    • Dew Point
    • Rotor
  • Know what Object Fixation is
    • Know why it is important to look where you want to fly rather than to fly toward what you fear.
  • Critical Flying Situations (Know what to do when any of the following occur
    • Collapses, Spins, Spirals etc.
  • Glide Estimations
    • Learn the below to be able to estimate how far you will go with regard to a headwind or tailwind.
    • Gliders generally get their best glide near trim speed. With most A or B class gliders, trim is near 20 MPH. So, if a glider gets a Best Glide rate of 8 to 1, then if it flies from a 500 ft. hill in 0 wind with no lift or sink, it should glide 8 times 500 ft., so 4,000 ft.
      • The math is to simply multiply the height by the glide ratio number (8 in this case). So:
      • Distance traveled “DT” in 0 wind will be 
DT = Height x Glide   or    DT = 500 x 8
      • If you are told that a glider gets an 8 to 1 glide at 20 mph and there is a 5 MPH headwind. The loss of 5 MPH  is 25% of your ground speed.   Since you descend at the same rate, you lose 25% of the distance and go 75% as far.
      • DT = Height x Glide x .75 — So, 75% of 4,000 = 3,000 ft.

        If we turn this around, to calculate how far you will travel with a 5 mph tailwind, you would gain 5 MPH and therefore gain 25%. So, with a tailwind, instead multiply by 1.25.

      • DT = Height x Glide x 1.25 — So, 125% of 4,000 = 5,000 ft.
      • In all cases, your sink rate does not change, so the time you will be in the air is constant. What changes is simply your groundspeed and that is in direct correlation to the distance you will travel.
  • FAR Part 103:

    • Class A, B, C, D, E and G airspace and what each is for.  Know how each is designated on a sectional chart (colors and type of boundary)

    • Know what Controlled vs Uncontrolled airspace is
    • Know what a Military Operations Area / MOA is and if you can or cannot fly in such
    • Know what Restricted and Prohibited Airspace are

    • Know where Ultralight crafts can and cannot fly (specifically what zones on a Sectional we cannot fly in).

  • USHPA Part 104 / Pilot Proficiency Program:
    • Study over all Criteria for P2 Skills and Recommended Operating Limitations, know them and know what and be able to recognize what is not recommended. There are many questions about these in the exam, make sure you know what the below list contains.
    • For example, note that no stall or spins are required.

C. Recommended Operating Limitations for Novice Paragliding Pilots

(Please Note: the below recommendations are suggestions with the following note)

“Novice Pilots” -   Should exceed these limitations only after thoroughly mastering all required tasks, and after acquiring a full understanding of the potential problems and dangers involved in exceeding these limitations.

Also, note that USHPA does not require any stalls, spins, or SIV clinics for P2 or any other rating.  Doing so would add potential liability to the organization.

    • Maximum base wind of 12 MPH
    • Maximum peak gusts to 15 MPH
    • Maximum gust rate of 5 MPH in 5 seconds
    • Should not fly in thermal lift where peak climb rates exceed 200 fpm
    • If foot launching, should launch only on slopes steeper than 4:1, where the wind is within 25º of being straight up the slope
    • Visual contact with the landing zone.
    • Avoid application of either brake beyond 2/3 of the way from slack to stall position
    • Limit turns to 30º of bank, limit speed in turns to 1.5 times the straight line, brakes off, cruise speed, and smoothly exit any spiral turn which shows a tendency to steepen or accelerate.
    • Should fly a canopy recommended by the manufacturer as suitable for Beginner to Intermediate pilots.

Below are quizzes from sections in this online manual. Not all of these will help you with the official P2 exam, but it certainly won’t hurt to try them.

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