Novice Maneuvers (for Deimos
Novice Rating Course)
* Steering with the D's.
* Weight shift turns.
* Steering with one hand.
* Twist around in harness.
* Big ears.
* Big ears 360 and wing overs
* Big Ears approach to 200 feet
* Small Wing overs.
* Big ears speed bar.
* Small spiral dive (two or three turns, left and right)
* One sided Big Ears and counter steer (left and right)
* Asymmetrical deflation's and recovery (left and right)
* Full Speed bar
* Spiral dive 5 seconds (left and right)
* Small Spiral to 1000 feet
(* Required for Deimos Novice Rating)
Mt. Woodside to Harvest Dyke LZ - Typical
Caught in a venturi and going
down? Donít panic there are still a few things you can do to escape
a forced tree landing.
1. Sit back, go hands up and
get aerodynamic (lift your legs out straight and point your toes).
2. Use full speed (if you
are high enough). Beware: a full frontal while on full speed bar
can result in a huge collapse and likely a huge loss of height,
sometime more than 1000 feet! Use just enough speed bar to regain
a safe glide ratio.
3. If a wind gradient is the
cause of your ďparknessĒ, try big ears with baby wing overs (to
drop back down to the lower wing speeds). If more speed is still
needed, then add speed bar (again, just enough).
4. Change your heading: crabbing
(left or right) will often allow you to find a different wind
pattern and hopefully lesser winds.
5. If your speed system is
maxed, and steps one to four are not working, then try pushing
on the A risers with your hands (very risky but will add an extra
Q. is your speed system working
Ever launch with a radio and discover that
the volume is too low?
A great way to test your volume level is
to use a little rock & roll trick called feedback.
Simply place another (remote) radio, about one foot from your
radio, then key up the remote radio for two seconds. If there
is feedback you are ready to go, otherwise check your radio frequency,
and volume level, and try again.
Here is something you can try if you are
by your self.
Most radios can be placed in an “unsquelched” mode
(speaker always on). If you do this correctly, you’ll hear
lots of white noise (slightly less appealing than feedback, but
a great way to adjust your volume level).
Not as a Christmas gift, but
as a technique for top landing at tight narrow sites like Woodside
and Makenzie Mt.
Set up for a straight, approach (from behind
launch), top landing at a 2:1 glide ratio (beware of strong rotors
if you set up too far behind launch).
1. take a wrap on your brake lines,
2. then pull in your Big Ears (outside
A lines) - this will allow you some steering and sink control.
3. Pull down your hands lower and you slow
down and drop more; raise your hands and you move forward and
4. Flare at one meter or lower. Since you
already have a full brake line wrap your flare will be very quick
There is a big risk of stalling your wing
using this technique, so I recommend that you first try this at
a minimum of 1000' AGL, then at your favorite soaring site, finally
at your narrow mountain site.
Did you ever wonder if it is
too strong to fly? Well I call this trick ďDonít loose an inch!Ē.
This trick works best at soaring
sites like Whidbey or Blanchard, but at sites like Woodside or
Pemberton, the upper winds are too dynamic to measure at launch:
build a wall with your wing, but donít clip in. Hold the wall
as high as possible, through the strongest of wind gusts. If you
get pulled, even as little as an inch, itís probably too windy
to hook in - advance piloting skills required.
How to avoid line tangles and
yawing while launching in the snow – make a wedge and slice
it up the middle! What?
Make sure that no one walks in the layout
area of your wing - this is often over looked when you first arrive
on launch; due to the stunning great views and urge to taste the
wind. When you layout your wing: start from the backside then
walk to the point where your harness is connected. If you need
to approach your wing, do so from the harness point only (never
from the side). It’s usually the side footprints that lead
to line problems and result in a tough take off. Try to walk directly
from the harness point to the wing then back again.
Keeping out of the line area will
create a foot print pattern that looks like a pie shaped wedge
(if done right). If it is windy or snowing then just go –
foot prints won’t matter much!
How fast should you turn, in
no lift, to get the best results?
Based on the Bank Angle graphs
show on pg 317 (Art of Paragliding), I have calculated that around
5.4 seconds would yield the best results (least amount of altitude
lost); or another way to measure this, is try to maintain a sink
rate of -1.5 m/s throughout your turn.
Got a vario?
Why not try some experiments?
Time for 360 (sec)
Ski poles to fly?
Collapsible ski poles are
very useful when hiking to your favorite mountain peak.
Usually going up is not a big problem,
it's going down, after a two hour parahike, where they are best
served. The three part poles are the best type, if you plan
to stuff them into your back pack. There are many arguments
about using one or two poles. I prefer one, so I can switch
hands on the steep traverses. In some case they can even be
used to self arrest your fall (in icy conditions).
Are your boots grounding you
in the winter?
A few years ago, I invented a great product
that uses hot water to dry your boots or shoes called the Boottle.
Simply add boiling water, close the lid, and place one Boottle
in each boot. In the morning your boots are nice and dry!
Only $7.00 each.
Pump it really good!
Are you finding that the LZ is a little
small or the surrounding trees are a little too tall for your
standard landing style? If yes, try using a single pump of the
break lines (evenly of course), to initiate a "quick dive"
of the wing. This quick pump will cause your wing to dive up
to fifty feet within a few seconds. Caution: flying too slow,
then pumping your wing, may cause your wing to spin - very dangerous.
Practice this trick at a safe altitude first.
Do you parahike just one way (upward)?
Always be prepared to hike down: if you
feel too tired to take another step, then you should consider
hiking down. In most cases, pilots keep pushing upward and then
forced them self into the air - this is usually the last mistake
you'll ever make (a very deadly way to parahike). I suggest
that you always carry extra food and water for the hike down,
a head lamp, and proper footwear like light hiking crampons
(for icy conditions).
Do you like to scratch too low then have
problems making goal?
Novice pilots should consider playing
upwind then use the wind to help with your glide ratio. With a
20kph tail wind, most wings can achieve up to a 12:1 glide ratio.
Never "scratch" too low when trying to land at a new
LZ, instead try to arrive at least 500' directly over your landing
point and then start your landing approach.
Your radio goes dead, just when you need
to announce your perfect or not so perfect landing?
Don’t worry; you can probably squeeze
a few more seconds out of your radio. First turn the radio off
and wait five minutes. While you are do this, try to warm up the
battery – this will increase the chemical action of the
battery and add a few extra milliamps and allow one or two more
After this five minutes wait, turn on the radio and quickly change
the power to the lowest setting, then talk quickly and efficiently
(just the facts). If you’re your radio goes dead again,
you can try repeating this process, but you’ll need to increase
the wait time for better results. If you happen to live on a deserted
island with coconuts, copper wire, some limes and a bike cycle
you can completely recharge you battery (unless your name is Gilligan)!
Trust or Bust (a gut)!
I suggest that everyone, even non
pilots, leave an extra key on your vehicle. This will allow
some one to drive your beloved truck down the mountain or back
to the LZ, after your amazing XC flight. Also takes away tones
of stress when your driver looses your only key. Choose a hiding
spot that is not too obvious, but will allow easy access when
need – (don’t pick a spot too far under the vehicle).
No new surprises on launch.
If you plan to launch with winter
gloves or heavy mitts, I suggest that you first try using them
on your favorite training hill - you may discover them to be quite
tricky and cumbersome. One of my French Canadian pilot friends
never wears gloves on take off (even in minus 20 degree weather),
because he does not want to risk a bad inflation. Practice launching
with gloves and there should not be any surprises, and your hands
will stay warm a lot longer.
Wanna keep your student happy – stand
up wind of him.
If you want to help your student,
I suggest that you stand in front of him while he is launching:
this will allow you to check all the lines while the wing is
inflating, talk to him (without yelling) as the wing comes up,
and potentially grab him or the brake lines if the wing has
a problem. Because most inflations move a little downwind, I
usually stand a little more to the upwind side to avoid the
awkward “dance in the hall” scenario.
Even new students can save lives!
It seems like some pilots barely
even think about paragliding safety, never mind practice their
no wind or high wind launch prior to their first big spring
day of flying. If all pilots, even students, help to visually
check each other, maybe we can prevent a launch incident or
accident. Just this weekend my new student Mark spotted an instructor,
about to launch, with his boot lace undone. Other common things
to check over are:
is your radio
volume set high enough,
are your harness
leg straps connected,
is your helmet
are you wearing
is your vario
does your glider
have twisted break lines,
is your speed
bar connect correctly…
In the spring, driving can sometimes be more exciting that
You just had a great
day of flying; you even aced your first top landing, don’t
get too confident, your adventure is not over until you’re
down off the mountain. Often the soft snow on the way up to launch,
has turned to solid ice. Even driving in 4L will not save you
from an out-of-control downhill toboggan ride into the nearest
ditch or tree. I suggest either starting your day with chains
or proper studded snow tires, or else end your day early (almost
never practiced), so that the road is still safe.
Are your top landings a little rough around the edges?
Many pilots wait until the lift is completely
gone before attempting their top landing. By the time they arrive
at take off height, the wind/lift is mostly gone, leaving just
sink and too much forward speed. For a soft and easy touch down,
I suggest using big ears or spiral down about 20 minutes before
the thermals are completely gone: this will allow you to take
a couple of tries at top landing, and because of the remaining
lift and wind, your set up will be ten times easier and a lot
slower. No need to do a side hill, "I hope this won't hurt"
- top crash. (see Tip #3)
skills at the bar?
In the spring conditions, some
pilots may under estimate the upper launch winds, and then need
full speed bar to escape the trees. I suggest practicing getting
on the bar without using your hands. The trick I use is to lean
forward in the harness, then reach your heal back for the bar.
With practice, this maneuver can take less than two seconds
to complete: a local (self taught) pilot needed this maneuver,
this time last year, but instead he just went hands up and landed
in the trees ten seconds after launch.
Don’t let a shadow hurt you!
If you need to force a landing in a small
area, surrounded by tall trees and wind shadows, I suggest using
big ears to the ground (flare and release the ears at about
three feet). This will stabilize the wing and reduce your chances
of a low collapse, however, because of the big ears, you will
loose the ability to turn quickly. Practice this tip many times,
in a safe environment, before attempting this trick during an
emergency landing. Remember not release the ears while turning
or you’ll likely loose the ground effect and land very
Speed bar, I don't need no stink'n speed
I saw a pilot launch, yesterday, without
his speed bar hooked up (actually missing completely), and
I did not say anything (because there was no wind to speak
of). Ten minutes after he landed, a strong gust front arrived,
and speed bar was required for all air bound pilots. Always
fly with a speed bar properly attached (if the lines are not
connected it may tangle up with your reserve handle and cause
a deployment). Next time, I plan to say something.
Is your harness soft and cuddly?
Here’s a trick that could save
your life. Replace some of your harness foam with a light
weight sleeping bag. One of my students, Jonathon, suggested
wetting and freezing the foam before cutting it with a sharp
knife/blade. If a light weight down bag is used, the total
harness weight would be almost the same as the original design.
There are old pilots and bold pilots …
My tip for this week is never go
first unless you have to. The local lemmings are very good at
this game, because it’s a smart thing to do. Your DHV1
wing will not save you if you launch in a strong rotor or windy
conditions. On these days, the most advance pilot/lemming will
eventually emerge when the conditions become flyable. A smart
thing to do is get ready and launch shortly afterwards; my bet
is this pilot will sky out and go XC and all you need to do
Help your fat boys - stay clear!
Keeping a tandem in the air is
not an easy task: flying two hours at min sink is like doing
five push ups ever two minutes for two hours! Also, most student
pilots forget that tandem pilots have the right of way, in the
air and while landing. If you are a solo pilot, with the ridge
on your right, you must turn away and give way to the “fat
boys”. Watch out for our wake. A 500 lbs+ aircraft can
twist up the air pretty good!
Ever try a two-some on launch?
You’ll need to if you want
to do a proper radio check. You’ll need to both transmit
and receive a signal to complete the radio check. This will
allow you to check the volume, very important for pilots that
have a speaker in their helmets; and test if your PTT switch,
on your radio, is working properly. Also,
set your radio for a maximum transmit (key) time of one minute
- this is a great option in case your PTT switch gets stuck
on (blocking all communication until your radio goes dead).
No, after you. No after you – I insist!
If you and another pilot plan to land
in the same LZ, and are at the same elevation, you will likely
be in a landing conflict. There is an illusion that you are
well spaced out (horizontally), but eventually you will only
have a few seconds between each other. This is a very dangerous
situation, especially if there is sudden lift on the base leg.
I suggest that the lower pilot flies with big ears or spirals
to improve the separation while the upper pilot should fly at
minimum sink to stay in the air longer. Some LZ’s are
the size of eight football fields so no problem, but other LZ’s,
like Bridal Falls, can barely manage one pilot at a time - this
tip could save you from a hard landing or collision will another
Note: since all tandem pilots have
the right of way, all skilled solo pilots, while landing, should
make their best efforts to keep an equal spacing between the
LZ and remaining pilots.
Push it real good!
If your local training field allows it:
here is a great way to get a feel for how fast (or slow) your
wing turns. Get a helper to push you, from the back of the harness,
while you executes small turns into the wind. This trick only
works in slightly windy conditions (10-15 mph). If conditions
really pick up (15-20 mph), it’s fun to get a helper to
grab your speed bar and kite you: start with the bar already
in front of your legs, inflate your wing, stabilize it, turn,
stabilize the wing, then ask your helper to pull.
Caution: make sure you and your
help are wearing proper gloves and other safety equipment; tell
your helper to always let go if they find themself at six feet
Don’t frontal my big ears!
A great way to do your first big ears
is on the ground. When the wind is about five or more mph, inflate
your wing, stabilize it, and start running. Locate the big ears
lines and pull them gently - too hard and your wing will frontal,
too slow and you’ll loose your heading – watch
out for hazards (people, trees, bushes…).
Note: in the air the tension on the big
ear lines will be much more.
Twist your handles.
When you launch facing your wing (AKA
reverse launch) you’ll need to hold the wing's brake handles
so that the least amount of brake lines are used – this
will require that you twist each handle towards the wing. When
we teach our students to reverse, we start with the brake handles
over their wrists – this allows the handles to naturally
twist to the proper (least brake pressure) position; however,
launching like this can sometimes result in having your brake
slide up to your elbows causing an uncontrolled take off. Reverse
launches are best done with the handles in the proper hands.
Always check your equipment before,
during and after each flight.
do a radio check TX and RX, and check your wing, harness,
helmet strap, laces, pockets, and reserve handle - to name
but a few.
flying: check your wing, right up to the carabiners,
your reserve handle, leg straps, radio…
While rolling up:
check your lines, reserve pin and glider for any problems.
Wanna be a super hero?
Bring up a big, cold, water melon
to take off. Some pilots may be unprepared for the long hot
parawaits, in 30+ degree weather – this jester will be
long remembered by any heat baked pilot.
Dancing with wings
In moderate winds, I suggest that
all pilots learn to kite their wing, on take off, just before
launching – this will allow you to check your lines, harness
and conditions more effectively. For reverse launch, bring your
wing up as normal, turn and take another step (to keep the wing
loaded), then take a wrap on the brake lines and stop all forward
motion. Balance the wing over your head for at least ten seconds
and wait for the next thermal to lift you up. If it is not strong
enough, progressively start moving down the slope and eventually
launch at full speed (as usual) – or consider killing
the wing. Kiting your wing, with no intentions to fly, is a
great way to discover if the launch is in rotor or not. Practice
on flat ground for many hours (40 plus) before trying this on
your cliff launch.
Just wait a minute or fifteen.
Not sure about the conditions?
Here's what I like to do: after a bad gust or thermal cycle I
like to wait for at least 15 minutes, if no more bad cycles are
noticed then start to get ready. Each time a bad cycle arrives,
reset the clock. After an hour of this it is usually better to
head down to the LZ and practice your launches or drink beer (your
day is done)!
crashing on your new wing?
With Deimos Wing Assurance you can get
a replacement at dealer cost (less a small deductible). Click
here for more details.
Three point brake check
One great way to reduce your chance of
a knotted or tangled brake line is to do a three point check:
First sort the lines and pull the brake
lines outward all the way to the first cascade point
Check that the cascade pt (1) the pulley
(2) and the brake handle (3) are clear of all other lines –
your three point check!
Another brake line tip is to make
sure you have just a minimum amount of brake lines pulled between
the handle and the pulley, if too much line is pulled, it could
tangle up with the pulley and cause some major launch problems.
Do you really care?
I try to keep spare gloves, and
a jacket, around for all my tandem passengers – not so
much for warmth but for protection from my less than perfect
aborts or landings. On bumpy flights, my jacket has been appreciated
by the odd passengers, now and then. Can you imagine how you
would feel driving home with a “soiled” shirt?
How can I help you?
If you have a first aid kit in
the truck, but only one person knows what’s in it and
where it is – this could be a problem. I suggest that
you frequently show your driver/friends/students what’s
in your first aid kit and maybe talk about the ABC’s of
first aid; or maybe place a note on the back seat to remind
students of it's location and basic first aid procedures.
Your helmet is not what it's cracked
up to be.
If you want to prevent your helmet from
being scratched and or cracked: never put your helmet close
to the back door of your truck – it will likely fall out
when the door/lift back is opened. Even putting it in your pack
will not always protect your helmet. I suggest placing it in
the back seat of simply carry it. Using a protective bag will
keep it looking new for many years!
Before you start to inflate your wing, make a prediction on
what direction the wing may move. Most pilots assume that it
will be a perfect inflation: straight, perfect speed, no surge,
but in the real world this is not always the case. I suggest
that you make a guess and visualize the steps you will take
to fix the problem.
Here's a clue: high wind launches usually involves moving back
with the wing and damping the surge with lots of brakes; light
conditions may require a longer inflation and light brake inputs
and the odd abort if the wing turns too much. Draw a mental
line where you plan to kill the wing if it is not inflated the
way you want.
Think negative with positive results!
Eyes wide shut!
I suggest, for your winter flying to always carry glasses or
ski goggles. Trying to see into the snow can really be a big
challenge and painful with just the naked eye. I suggest a ski
goggle with a clear lens – hard to find actually, most
So you wanna play in the snow?
You may be surprised how hard it
is to launch with snow gear on.
I suggest going to your local training hill/field first and
work out the bugs. Actually pack up your harness with your snow
shoes, ski poles or what ever other gear you think you will
need on your hike. Also, replacing your harness foam with a
down sleeping bag could be useful if you are forced to spend
the night out doors.
So you what to try your first deep spiral?
I suggest that you choose to spiral to
the side that has your reserve handle, otherwise the G forces
could easily prevent you from even looking at the handle! While
performing a deep spiral, a pilot may experience between 1-4
G’s: most pilots will start to black out after 20 seconds,
so be ready to throw your reserve if things go wrong.
Spirals and other advance maneuvers must be with proper equipment
(i.e.: ear piece, repacked reserve...) and with proper instructions
(usually over water, with a life vest and rescue boat team).
Don’t whip it out unless you mean
At the start of the season it’s easy to skip some of the
safety steps in order to get airborne quicker – how dumb!
A good pilot will have a routine for checking their leg straps,
chest strap, speed bar….but checking the reserve handle
and pin(s) are often over looked. I suggest that before you
strap on your harness, check the reserve handle and pins –
they should be in their proper position, and the handle should
be bent outward for a easy grab. Also, when your flight is over,
check them again, just before packing up the harness –
this may give you some protection against a premature reserve
So you want to (die young and) stay pretty?
Here is what I suggest you do to
stop a very dangerous/stupid pilot from launching himself and
potentially killing himself or worse.
Offer to help him check his lines.
Then, while wearing protective gloves, stand in front of him;
when he starts to run yell STOP, STOP, STOP and kill the wing
using the glider's D lines; then explain that last year, this
time, you saw the scariest launch, and it looked just like yours,
where the pilot landed in “those trees” and had
to go to the hospital. While he set’s up for launch number
two (or more) you can explain the pros of getting proper lessons
from the local certified schools, but each time yell stop and
offer more scary stories. Usually two launch attempts is enough
to scare most pilots away.
Put a mitt over it!
If you add a mini-carabiner to
an old mitt or glove, then clip it to one or two straps on the
inside of your harness – it makes a perfect radio pouch.
Works on most harnesses.
Do it one handed
If your radio or harness needs adjusting,
but you're too afraid to let go off your brake toggles - try
this: put your brakes in one hand and fly for a minute or more
with your free hand ready to take over. If you have not used
your free hand to correct a wing surge then why not try to fix
Did you ever look at the
specs sheet when you purchased your Paraglider? You probably
noticed the suggested weight range, the size and some other
numbers. The total weight includes everything: glider, harness,
pilot, clothing and of course, your underwear. During the total
time you touch the ground, before you are airborne, you should
try to load the Paraglider by leaning forward (wing loading)
and by resting your belly on the harness's belly strap. By loading
it, you will realize that your running distance is reduced to
a couple of steps, only if you are centered and you are not
accelerating in front of the paraglider. Remember that a paraglider
is controlled by slowing it down but it has to fly first and
before you take-off you should feel pulled up and forward. By
loading the Paraglider you will also be able to keep it stable.
Basically, what you try to do during takeoff is simulate the
conditions you meet in flight ...always centered, with maximum
wing loading, with enough brake to keep good pitch stability.
"Always make sure there is pressure in the wing by feeling
tension in the controls."
It looks easy and it actually is quite easy. You hold on to
2 risers (to inflate the Paraglider), the throttle control,
the Paraglider controls (to steer the Paraglider) while supporting
50 pounds on your back during the run. A good technique is to
use 60% throttle after a few steps to help inflate the Paraglider,
not to push air into the cells, but to create a constant forward
motion that you need when the Paraglider is 20% - 60% up.
Here are some other points to keep in mind:
1. Position your hands behind you and below the belt. Start
running and lift your hand vertically without pulling forward
to prevent deforming the leading edge, which would slow down
the inflation. If you do not use the thrust of the Paramotor
to help you move forward and inflate the Paraglider, the Paraglider
will slow down half way up and will probably yaw because of
the high angle of attack and you might have to abort.
2. If you wait until you
feel tension on the lines, the delay for the air to travel from
the propeller to the Paraglider will give you enough time to
elevate the Paraglider to prevent being pulled back and fall.
3. You can release the throttle,
reducing the RPM to 20%, slowing down the motion of the Paraglider,
preventing it from going in front of you and deflating.
4. During the run after
the glider is inflated, you will have to straighten your back
(like a Russian Cossack dancer) to minimize the running distance.
Every degree off the vertical will result in more running. Every
degree off the center of the Paraglider will also result in
more running and could also make you oscillate. Running
in a jumping manner also disturbs the air above the Paraglider,
resulting in more running. If you follow these rules, you should
be airborne after running less than 10 steps or less than 5
steps even in calm wind!
5. Once the Paraglider is
stable, center it and squeeze the throttle progressively to
maximum RPM for about 10-20 seconds until you reach a comfortable
altitude and are comfortable in your harness.
6. After lifting off the
ground, you could get into a pendulum caused by over controlling
the Paraglider, combined with the torque of the Paramotor My
suggestion: ease-off the Paramotor and turn in one direction
for a few seconds.
Landing it softly and precisely!
The Paraglider is the easiest
aircraft to land! At about 200 hundred feet above the LZ, I
kill the engine, tighten the two shoulder straps, clip the throttle
handle to the cage and align myself into the wind. I then ease
out of the harness to make sure I end up on my feet to prevent
slipping on landing and damaging the safety cage, good
hiking boots will help a lot too. To insure a soft landing,
fly the Paraglider with hands all the way up to build
speed that you will later transfer to a nice pendulum that ends
in an upward motion, not downward, which would happen
if you over control during the last 30 feet of the flight. Hand
motion should be very regular and equal on both sides until
you fly parallel to the ground. Continue pulling if the wind
is light or if you have an old Paraglider that has a glide ratio
less than 5 :1. The effect of carrying which you will notice
as you come closer to the ground. Do not slow down, i.e., flare,
before you are lower than 6 to 8 feet AGL because you will stop
the pendulum that you need at the end to land softly.
Thermals can make landing
a little tricky sometimes because closer to the ground there
is more heat and that could extend your flight. Make sure you
are not heading toward any obstacles. Small landing areas and
slope landing techniques.
You will have to, at some
point, land in a tight area or in a slope, especially if you
like cross-country flying. The problem is to decrease your glide
ratio without stalling. You know that braking more than 50%
will increase your sink but could also cause a stall in turbulent
air. A good way to reduce your glide ratio is to stand up to
create more drag around you, instead of the glider. It will
also increase your chance of landing on your feet instead of
your butt. You will have to fly slower. Otherwise, you will
glide too much. You may also have to create turbulence around
your glider by pumping (80% pull for half a second, 20% for
a second) until you feel you are low enough. You will not stall
if your hand motion is not too rapid. Stay calm!
In flight, you Fly smooth
to get the best glide ratio possible, minimizing the roll and
pitch BUT, If you want to go down, you can increase the roll
by pulling on one side then the other until you get comfortably
low. Do not spiral over the area - you will build too much speed
and you could crash, the last 50 feet of the flight should be
straight or minimal changes that will not increase pitch and
roll. My favorite technique is to come downwind and do a sharp
turn close to the base of the LZ, align myself in the middle
and roll or pump if I need to lose more altitude. Pulling Big
ears is also a good technique, especially for slopes. It stabilizes
your glider and allows you to steer by weight- shifting. You
can be aggressive on the weight-shift; it won't cause any problems.
Your Paraglider will fly
as long as you keep sufficient airflow around the glider. If
the airflow is disturbed to a point where there is no lift,
the glider will stop flying and fall. A stall is caused if the
angle of attack* is too high, caused by applying too much
brake or braking and giving too much throttle. If a stall occurs,
we suggest you release the brake pressure slowly back to your
shoulder level and stop using the power of the engine. You can
also stall it by pulling both "B" risers below shoulder
level or as far as you can possibly pull, the release is done
by accompanying them back up to ear level then you release them.
The Paraglider will surge
but nothing to worry about. This is one of the best development
in the Paraglider construction and one of the best descent technique.
A spin is caused by pulling
too hard or too low on one control. In general, you should be
able to turn without pulling the toggles below the chest level.
For a Paramotor, note that the engine torque rolls the glider
to the right and at the same time makes it turn to the right.
Release the throttle before turning left.
As you get more experienced
you will be able to feel the glider spin when turning fast.
Flying in turbulent air can also cause the glider to spin even
if you are not pulling too much on the toggles, or "brakes".
Spins (to prevent spins, never keep your hand down more that
2 seconds. Pull down gently to execute a turn and bring your
hand back up a few inches then pull again. This will prevent
a spin and will keep your glider nice and flat and at the same
time you get a better sink rate!)
To enter a spiral, pull
on one toggle and slowly increase the pulling to a point where
you will feel the centrifugal force... at that point you will
be losing up to 30 feet/second in altitude! To stop the spiral,
lift the toggle back to your shoulder level, but be aware
that the glider might surge forward, if you lift it too fast.
Deflations may happen when
flying light on the controls and/or using the speed system and/or
flying in turbulence. The airflow usually comes from under the
canopy. This is a positive angle of attack. As the angle reduces
to a point where the air pressure in the cells is minimum, a
pilot feels the effort to pull on the controls is reduced to
zero! Beginner paragliders are designed to make a beginner pilot
feel safe by increasing the drag around the profile, drag will
act as a stabilizer by reducing the pitch action which will
at the same time reduce chances of deflations. Beginner models
will also accept more piloting errors and will not need any
input from the pilot to re-inflate but may result in a turn
up to 90 degrees! It is better to prevent it and pull down on
the controls to reestablish the angle of attack, pulling just
a few inches will not stop it but a foot or two will do it.
Remember to keep you original heading before re-inflating the
deflated side. In a fraction of a second you can prevent a deflation
from happening. This is especially important if you are
just taking off from a hill, scratching along a hill, or are
about to land. Feeling the tension on the controls, flying slower
(between best glide and minimum sink speed, but closer to minimum
sink) or pulling the ears (reducing the surface of the canopy
will also create more drag that will stabilize the pitch)
will keep the angle of attack high enough to fly through turbulence.
Of course, if you fly with too much brake (slow) or if you pump
the brakes, you will not get a good glide ratio.
Generally, if you fly with your hands around shoulder level,
you will stay out of trouble (for paragliders) and around ear
level(for motorheads). Just after the Paraglider deflates on
one side, it will Roll, Pitch and Yaw on the side of the deflation
(Just like if you were doing a dynamic turn). Your body
will be off centered but should have a tendency to return under
the middle of the Paraglider If not (because you fly a competition
model or an older model) you will have to steer to keep your
body from being centrifuged ! If you try to re-inflate before
steering to keep your heading you may enter a spiral and lose
altitude which may result in a CRASH. When your
Paraglider is partially
deflated (close to 50%) the air pressure is pushing toward the
inflated side from the middle of the Paraglider By steering
to recover your original heading you will shift to air pressure
from the inflated tip to the middle and to the deflated side.
The Paraglider being in front of you for a while will increase
its speed and help re-inflate itself! Bonus!
Afternoon thermals can be
strong and cause changes in the angle of attack every time you
go in or out, or partially go out of thermals. You may have
to pull fairly hard for a fraction of a second to prevent a
deflation. You will feel the glider surge forward because of
its light inertia. Pulling hard on the controls when your Paraglider
is surging forward after coming out of a stall, a spin or a
strong thermal is OK. Synchronizing the pulling with the surge
is the best approach. You cannot stall when the canopy is in
front of you. Even if a stall occurs (turbulent airflow around
the canopy) it will have an immediate recovery because of the
pendulum stability of a Paraglider If you bring your controls
above you shoulders when the glider is above your head, you
can avoid a stall. The shape your Paraglider takes when you
pull on the toggles makes it collapse proof, the tips are curved
in, the arch increases and the angle of attack is increased.
The internal air pressure is not a concern for the pilot, it
is something the manufacturer took care of during those hundreds
of test flights. As long as the Paraglider is not fully collapsed
or stalled, the pressure is good.
Remember that when your
Paraglider is 50% deflated, the wing loading doubles, essentially.
To effectively stop a rotation, you have to apply more pull
on the side that is still flying. Pull on that control slowly,
but enough to feel that the rotation is reduced and you are
no longer centrifuged. Newer paragliders recover by themselves
after rotating about 90 degrees, but if you are close to the
ground, you still need to react quickly to stop any rotation.
Evaluating weather conditions
Observing is the key. Before,
during and after driving up to the takeoff site, you should
keep your eyes open to nature's indicators. Windsocks are also
very good indicators. Keep in mind that conditions can change.
Use binoculars to observe the wind at the Landing Zone. A good
way to evaluate the wind is to look at the clouds - their speed,
shape and also, their shadows. From the air or from the ground,
you can always see their shadows. Wind meters are not always
reliable, especially when the air is unstable. A thermal can
generate a 20 mph air flow on the takeoff and then drop to zero
if the wind is calm. Do not confuse wind and thermals. Thermals
come in cycles and between those cycles, you should evaluate
the wind. If it does not calm down between cycles... think twice
about taking off. Of course, if you are a P3 or higher rating,
you should know if you can deal with these conditions. If you're
having difficulties evaluating conditions, do not take off first!
Always bring a good wind dummy!...If you can't find one, observe
birds in flight. They can give you enough information about
the conditions. Another good practice is to be patient ... just
relax for 15 minutes or more and observe the conditions. Generally
after 4 pm thermal conditions start decreasing. Also expect
conditions to change before sunset, remember that air masses
do not mix so when the sun goes down and the hotter air mass
disappear or elevate, at that point one can expect the wind
to increase or decrease, keep an eye on tree motion etc. ...
especially in narrow valleys.
Ridge soaring is safe in
winds up to 30 Km/h, only if you are skilled enough to takeoff
Up you go, in this big and
strong warmer air current ... 3, 4, 6, 9, 12 m/s to the sky!
How will it be today? Turbulent,calm, windy... The question
is, what do I measure with my wind meter before launching? Is
it a thermal or wind or a combination of both? By looking down
toward the LZ, you can see the wind strength on the ground and
also the shadows of the clouds which you can compare with the
speed of people walking or cars on a highway. If the windsock
at the takeoff moves violently at 10:00 in the morning, it is
Dynamic of a thermal: You
can probably visualize the shape of a thermal and you can visualize
that it is increasing in diameter as it goes up. That means
there is a horizontal motion on top of the vertical motion.
Sometimes in flight you suddenly stop moving because you are
close to one of these strong babies and/or you are probably
close to the top of it. Other times, you may drift away from
a ridge or a mountain, thinking the wind has changed direction.
But no, it is thermal activity. Of course if you are pushed
for a long period of time, the force at work is probably wind.
The theory says that as it gets bigger it should slow down but
it is not always the case. When the thermal travels through
a colder air mass like at the snow level in the high mountains,its
strength increase and your gain rate increase sometimes by 3
Turbulence caused by wind
around thermals and clouds. Air masses usually do not mix, because
their characteristics: density, humidity,temperature, speed
etc. Wind will push a light thermal more than a strong one and
also will cause more turbulence around the strong thermal. Turbulence
will be mostly behind or on the leeward side. A cloud deflects
the wind like a mountain would. You will feel lift on the windward
side of the cloud and sink plus turbulence on the leeward side.
The best way to fly a thermal is to extend as long as possible
the upwind part of the spiral until you hear your variometer
decrease substantially, then turn tightly on the downwind part.
Light wind will not affect the thermal much; just try to stay
away from the thermal's edge. If you do fly partially out of
the thermal, you might feel your outside control going soft.
At that point, you pull on the outside brake to increase the
angle of attack and to keep your glider inflated. Then release
it and pull the other brake to reenter the thermal. Try to weight
shift toward the core of the thermal. The position of the core
will also change as the wind increase. The weak part of that
thermal is more affected by the wind and will be shifted back,
this is why you come out of the thermal as soon as you enter
the core in some occasion.
How to climb high?
First you have to understand
how the sun heats up the ground (mountains, lakes,
trees, rocks ...). Ninety degrees is the optimal angle for the
heat transfer from the sun to the ground. It means you could
get some excellent thermal flying in the morning on an east
facing site ... as early as 7:00 am! If you want to go high
through an inversion, you need to stay close to the hill, if
the hill is taller than the inversion's altitude. The sun heats
up the ground with the same strength or better at 2000m as at
1000m. Knowing that the inversion is at 10 degrees Celsius and
the thermal looses 0.7 degrees per 100 meters, approximately,you
will have better success flying closer to the hill to fly over
the highest thermal source (rock face or other dry areas) A
long smooth rock face would also be more efficient than one
shaped like stairs, due to the accumulation of heat along the
surface. In French, this is called "suradiabatic"or
extra adiabatic, meaning the air is hot enough to pierce the
inversion. Many of my flights which resulted in gains of 1000m
to 2000 m where based on this principle. I admit, I had a little
help from the birds, as well ... 100 vultures in the same thermal
in Venezuela, a hawk flying over the small ridge in Pemberton
B.C. I often see pilots flying in a good
thermal, then they lose it and they give up right away without
ever coming back in it. Usually,if you know there is a thermal
somewhere at a certain time, it means it will reappear following
a cycle! Don't give up. Keep your eyes open and you will go
high and get cold!
How to choose the right
The most important thing
to consider is stability, then handling and speed. Some Paraglider
manufacturers set the weight range to get good results at the
time of certification. Some others think of the pleasure of
flying! These days, you can stay up for hours with a beginner
model, so it is not
necessary to buy a competition model to have performance. With
that in mind, you want to fly without having to carry ballast
and be in the top half of the weight range since the speed is
directly proportional to the wing loading. In thermal conditions,
you have better handling and pitch control.
Flight Mechanics and Aerobatics
Maybe some of you like
to show off! Or maybe it is just for fun! Wing-overs are fun
but watch out - pilots lose their lives doing so. It is important
to keep a good distance above the ground to experiment with
your first ones.
Roll, pitch and yaw.
The right combination of
these three will result in some nice aerial figures unless...
Start a wing-over the same way you start a spiral dive but a
soon as your body is swung on one side, steer on the other side
and release the opposite toggle at the same time. You have at
that point two choices, being aggressive or smooth on the toggles
because between the two, you might get a 50% deflation or more!
The roll associated with the maneuver cause the Paraglider to
move beside the pilot and at that point if you do not keep on
pulling to add some yaw to the recipe, you will drop and the
airflow will the circulate from on tip to the other instead
of circulating from the leading edge to the trailing edge. The
yaw will make the glider point toward the ground and you will
obtain lots of speed that you can transfer in another wing-over
or nice penduluming. If by any chance you feel the lower side
of the glider soft, it is possible to save the deflation by
pulling on that same control until you feel a good tension.
Big Ears (descent technique)
You may someday need to
go down! By decreasing the surface of your aircraft you will
still keep control of it by steering with your harness (weight
shift, rolling) and at the same time it increases the angle
of attack and stabilizes it (pitch stability). Pulling the ears
can also help you land in a small LZ or land in a slope. You
can trust this configuration, many pilots go through strong
turbulence without any incident. You may stress some lines if
you do it too often or if you combine it with a spiral, due
the added centrifugal force on a reduced number of lines. You
can also combine it with the speed system, you will go down
a little bit faster. Steering without toggles
It is possible to steer without the toggles. This could be useful
if you have a knot in the line or if the knot that hold the
handle gets loose. Pulling on one of the back risers will result
in a slow turn but you will keep control of you direction.
Flying In The Rain
We suggest not flying in
the rain. Make sure you dry everything, especially your Paraglider,
if you do not fly again, for an extended period of time, MOLD.
Do not be scared of dropping from the sky if you get caught
in the rain, the result is an increase in sink rate but not
noticeable. You might also get cold! Note: Controls, toggles
and brakes are the same. Do not confuse with the throttle control.
(Source: Ojai Paragliding)