Many people find that after their first flight with a pilot, the addiction takes hold. It’s so incredibly fun, that people become avid enthusiasts – right off the bat!
The next step usually comes in the form of wanting to learn how to fly solo. And along with this, comes the need for courses and intensive training to become acquainted with – and proficient at – several paragliding flying techniques. For more information on our line-up of courses for beginners to advanced pilots, click here.
Many top pilots from around the world have excellent ground handling technique. This is because they practice this skillset over and over to ensure that it is 100% accurate. This improves your reactions and your understanding of the wings. Usually practicing these techniques involves finding an empty space, such as a field or beach, where you spend hours just kiting and perfecting forward and reverse launch techniques. Ground handling is how many people learn to experiment, play and more importantly, how to recover your wing from almost any kind of situation. Knowing what to pull and when is critical for any pilot, from novice to expert.
The very first thing any pilot does, in regards to a launch, is assess the weather conditions. This is a critical part of launch techniques as it will determine how – or even if – you decide to take off. The next thing is ensuring that all equipment and safety checks are conducted. It’s considered good form to lay out your glider and do line checks before getting to prime launch location, as you don’t want to clog up the launch area while other pilots wait. No matter which technique you choose for launching, you’ll need to keep the wing straight and level on the pull up.
“Landings are mandatory” as many instructors are known to say. It’s important to learn how to come back down to earth after an exhilarating flight. Being trained on precision landing is an art form, especially when the area is limited. It’s all about practice, doing that sled run over and over until you’ve got the perfect spot landing down.
Paragliders are remarkable flying machines and are one of the only that can glide with half of the wing folded in. They can fly straight and level with slight input from the pilot in this type of situation. Of course it can be reopened fast and safely. We can even collapse both outer parts of the wing and reduce the flying area to increase stability! By reducing the area of wing you are increasing the wing loading, thus increasing stability. We call this technique “Big Ears”. Generally you will switch between launch techniques depending on the terrain and weather conditions.
Many pilots end up making paragliding their entire lifestyle, including competitive flying and travelling vast distances in pursuit of the perfect flying site. There are a number of gliders that are made specifically for precision and durability, and the ability to perform flying techniques to increase endurance and speed during a competition. This requires advanced training and certification, as well as hundreds of hours in the sky. It’s a way of life that consists of chasing the wind and noticing small things – like birds soaring on thermals. You’re guaranteed to see the world completely differently!
Contact us for more information on paragliding flying techniques and training. We’re always eager to show new people what it’s like soaring the skies.