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Published by: anon-515844 on Mar 25, 2007
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IntroductionAssumed skill level :It is assumed that the pilot masters the basic techniques of launching, flying towards the landingzone, making an approach and landing.Purpose / Legal note :Gathered since 1989, this list of tips is intended for the paraglider pilot who wishes to improvehis flying skill and better deal with bad situations. Some advice is trivial but can remain unknownto pilots that did not grasp it the first time around. The author does not encourage extrememaneuvers. The author is not responsible for injuries or damage resulting from the advice givenin this document. This document can not be reproduced, in part or as a whole, without theauthorization from Jérôme Daoust ( E-mail ).Level of importance / Revision date / Color :Each tip in this document is rated as :L1 : The most important advice. Something you have to do, or else... This event is likely tooccur.L2 : Important. You should do this. This event may occur.L3 : It will help if you do this. Try to make it a habit. This event does not occur often.L4 : For your information. Try this if you want to.After the level of importance, is the tip's last revision date. Tips that are new or revised sinceJune 1st 2006 are of this color. For example "L2 - 1990/5/18" means that what follows issomething you should do (level L2), and was revised (not discovered) on May 18 1990.About the author :Jérôme Daoust ( E-mail, see My Photo Album ) has been paragliding since 1989. He learned inCanada, and flew mainly at Mt Yamaska near Montréal. He moved to France in 1993 and flew inthe Alps. Living in California since 1996, Jérôme enjoys flying at Marshall within the CrestlineSoaring Society club (see External Links/Flying Site). For each of the 3 countries (seeParagliding Association), he easily passed (well...) a new exam to get a license. Although hewon a few prizes in local competitions, he doesn't enjoy competing, as it stresses him out, andhe has enough of his normal job to do that. His wife Sylvie, has been wonderfully supportivethrough the years.Conversions1 kg = 2.205 lb (pound-mass)1 m = 3.28 ft1 m/s = 197 fpm (feet per minute) = 2.24 mph = 3.6 km/h = 1.94 kt (knot)1 km/h = 0.621 mph (miles per hour) = 0.278 m/s = 54.7 fpm = 0.540 kt1 mph = 1.609 km/h = 0.447 m/s = 0.869 kt1 kt = 1.151 mph = 1.852 km/h = 0.515 m/sMentalL1 - 1999/5/26. Group Effect. Seeing many pilots accomplish something may create a strongtemptation to try to do the same thing. They may be more skilled than you, or they may simplybe taking a higher risk. This is one time where you have to keep your ego under control, and
 judge for yourself of the skill and risk involved.L2 - 2005/4/19. Living in the Moment. When flying, you live for the moment. This is good as amental release from the rest of your life. But this is bad for the same reason, as you ignore riskconsequences. Putting a family picture in sight can help.L3 - 1992/9/1. Maybe your strong ego got you into paragliding. This is also why many peoplequit. They realize at one point that they are taking too many risks (to show off) and then feel thatthey are not really under their own control. It is then a good decision for them to stop. If youthink I am talking about you, I am probably not, but maybe this helped.L3 - 2000/8/4. Fame. What is the maximum reward that paragliding pilots can achieve ? Even if you get to be world champion or the one that went highest/furthest, most people don't evenknow what paragliding is. A few years after your death, the few people who remember you, willnot do so because of your paragliding expertise, they will be your close friends and family.Maybe the greatest benefit of performance is self-esteem (if you don't have it already). ClintEastwood (movie star) said : You're a legend in your own mind !L3 - 2005/4/19. Risk-taking Creates Anxiety. You are on launch and everything seems good(weather, physical) but you have a vague unpleasant emotion. Think back on your recent flights.Do you remember taking higher risk than usual? When taking higher risk than normal, your mindwill pass it on as anxiety later, to remind you of your loss of self-control.L3 - 2006/12/11. Fear Control. An accident (or incident) you lived or have witnessed, has leftyou with fears, which overwhelm your flying pleasure. Knowing that:* People's capacity to visualize a risk is an important part of the attention they give to it. So if you can think of an incident in which a risk has come to fruition, you will exaggerate itslikelihood.* What availability does to you: It plants an image that comes readily to mind, and that imageis associated with an emotion: Fear.To recover, you must believe you have significantly increased your safety level, by doing asmany of the following as necessary:* Following a maneuvers clinic to associate new positive images of control over departuresfrom normal flight. Note that you will have to overcome a temporary spike of fears, before andduring the clinic.* Trading your wing for a more relaxing one.* Choosing milder flying conditions. See also: Risk-taking Creates Anxiety.* Clean-up your entourage to reject those inciting you to take risk.L4 - 1999/2/20. Note to self : Paragliding never promised me good flying conditions on a regular basis. Just as any passion, paragliding will make me very upset at times. When a friend tells methat I missed a great day, I will hurt to the point of thinking : "I will quit this unpredictable hobby".The key is to look back at the year that went by, and ask myself if I am ready to lose whatparagliding has brought me, and the joys waiting ahead, maybe next weekend.L4 - 1999/3/20. Keep other hobbies. After the first years, unless paragliding is your business,flying every day may nullify most of the fun, or put you in search of peer recognition for your invested efforts.
L4 - 1999/4/6. Boldness Bell curve. A pilot's degree of boldness follows a Bell curve over the firstfive years. Pilots start conservatively, due to a low experience level and a high fear level.Midway, the experience level goes up, the fear level goes down, and bolder decisions are made.Boldness generally peaks when a pilot gets his advanced rating. This is the "IntermediateSyndrome". Towards the end, having experienced that bad situations happen to everyone,decisions become more conservative again.Launch - MountainL1 - 2003/12/17. Getting into the harness. Many accidents have happened because pilots arestruggling to get into their harness after take off. The worst are those with their brakes in their hands and grabbing the bottom of their harness. The pilot will unintentionally enter a Stall (Full,Recovery), or if they use only one hand to adjust the seat, the glider will go into a Spin(Recovery). See Image: Repositioning harness with brakes in hand. Another bad idea is to letgo of the brakes to then grab the harness, a Collapse (Asymmetric, Recovery) then takes toomuch take to control (you need to find your brakes again) and they come right back into the hill.A not-so-good idea is to hold both brakes with one hand while using the other to work on theharness, as you can't control a Collapse (Asymmetric, Recovery) as well as if you have a brakein each hand. It is not recommended to press on the accelerator bar to get better seated rightafter launch. If you are not automatically in your harness after launch, wait until you are safelyaway form the mountain, then use the following method. Lean back and lift your knees uptowards your chest while pushing (but don't hold) with your hands (still holding the brakes) on allyour risers at the height that you had your hands for braking, and squirm in the seat, to help"falling" into it. Practicing this maneuver in your garage by attaching your harness to a couple of straps will also help. Do you have harness lower back straps that are too tight ? A commonproblem is to have the leg straps too loose which places the harness higher as you run/launch,making it more difficult to get seated after.L2 - 1990/7/1. Attitude. You don't have to take off. If you don't feel at ease with the flyingconditions or with a new launch area, fly another day or at a better place. Beware of the GroupEffect and those that fly to show off. I heard many times "Well I'm taking off !", and then you seehim parked in the strong wind, sure looks like fun.L2 - 1990/6/1. If the wind varies by more than 10 km/h (6 mph) in less than 3 seconds, you willencounter turbulent air. Don't launch.L2 - 1991/7/1. The following applied to a rounded summit launch. As a general guideline, onecan still launch if the average wind speed is 20 km/h (12 mph) with gusts up to 25 km/h (15mph) not lasting more than 5 seconds, and still have a reasonable margin of safety with respectto the wing's air speed. One must measure the wind a far ahead as he can on the launch toavoid turbulence. Incline the wind meter to find the maximum wind speed direction. Remember that wind is reduced as it gets closer to the ground. Remember that there is more lift (better)and less horizontal wind speed if you can move forward from the launch.L2 - 2000/9/7. Those gray clouds are darkening. Thermals and wide lift zones will becomestrong. Don't launch, and land if you are already flying. Looking around you may see rainshowers (at a distance). See also : Flying in Rain, Landing near/in Rain.L2 - 1990/5/1. Before pulling on your risers to inflate the wing, tell yourself : "This is a trial andwill launch only if all goes well.". Don't think : "I have missed this launch twice, and people will

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