Over the years paragliding wings and technology have improved in leaps and bounds with the innovative design and research that has made this sport safer. However safety starts and ends with the pilot in control and their attitude to flying. It’s similar to someone driving a vehicle, it may be a top-notch model but you still need to drive it on the right side of the road.
Modern paragliders are incredibly sturdy and secure, with advanced designs provided through innovation towards the increased safety of paragliding. To give you some perspective, back in the day, wings started out with 9 to 12 cells that opened the front of the wing for inflation. They were made from a very basic material. However, today, wings have up to 100 cells with sophisticated openings for increased efficiency in flight. The internal structure features cross-bracing panels stitched in, as well as line attachment points placed strategically for safety. Contemporary equipment also now features the use of incredibly strong Dyneema and Kevlar lines, built specifically for enhancing both safety and performance.
At Tandem Paragliding Cape Town, all of our tandem paragliders are certified Tandem Wings. This certification is completed in Europe at one of the recognised test centres. Everything from strength to flying behaviour, and even recovery of the wing during critical situations is tested. When it comes to our actual gliders, these are checked annually at a test centre, where the fabric is verified in terms of strength, stitching and porosity.
Similarly, our glider lines are also checked individually for strength and length to ensure the correct flying of the wing and the ultimate in protection. For added tandem paragliding safety, we do pre and post flight checks on every single launch to make sure the equipment remains in top condition. As a final precaution, we always fly with an emergency tandem parachute.
To give you an idea, Grant van Rooyen has been flying for 25 years and has never required this parachute. A testimonial to our perfect paragliding safety record.
Flying any type of air craft safely is a matter of skill, training, and proficiency. All pilots require a healthy dose of respect for the weather and knowledge about the limitations of whatever equipment or machinery is being used. Having an ego and being a hot-shot has no place in aviation! At the end of the day, you get old pilots and bold pilots – never old bold pilots.
It’s important that pilots always have sufficient knowledge to choose the right equipment for the kind of flight they intend on enjoying. It’s no use using a glider built for solo flying and trying to do a tandem launch. Similarly, anyone who is still learning to fly would really struggle using a competition glider instead of one suitable to a novice.
All of our pilots know that good equipment means inherent paragliding safety. Our pilots all spend a great deal of time in the air and training other people. Their skills extend from flight to understanding weather patterns, particularly the implications of certain conditions on a launch and landing.
If you’ve had a bit of experience with paragliding and would like to increase the efficiency of your safety reflexes, then we highly recommend contacting us regarding our SIV courses. We are the only company in Cape Town with two boats rigged for this kind of training.
Contact us for more information regarding the safety of paragliding, we are always happy to put your mind at ease.