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Preface to pocket aviation by Dennis Pagen
I first met Panayiotis Kaniamos in 1998 on one of my numerous trips to Greece. I was immediately struck by his love of paragliding and his determination to share his extensive knowledge of the sport with his fellow pilots. He soon showed the Greek version of Pocket Aviation to me. Even with my limited knowledge of the Greek language, I immediately could see the quality of the book and the professionalism of the layout and illustrations. It appeared that Panayiotis had come up with a good book that his countrymen could use as a learning (and teaching) tool. When Panayiotis introduced the idea of an English translation of his book and a companion CD, I was happy to see that he wished to expand on the reach of this product through a different language
and the widespread CD media. We jumped at the chance to publish it and bring it to a wider audience. Panayiotis’unique perspective and his extensive research combine to render this book one of the best introduction book to the beautiful sport of paragliding. I wish you all the best in your quest for adventure in the air. With safety in mind and this book-CD set as a guide, you are sure to expand your horizons. Dennis Pagen
Dennis Pagen has been writing about sport aviation hang gliding, paragliding, ultralights and weather since 1975. He has written 15 books and over 400 magazine articles, all related to flying for fun. There doesn't seem to be an end to this activity, for as the sports continue to evolve, new techniques and experiences demand definition. His various training manuals are used widely all over the world. Within his involvement the United States Hang Gliding Association (which also includes paragliding) Dennis wrote the USHGA Instructor's Manual and helped develop many of the training and rating programs. After expanding his interest to ultralights in 1979, Dennis chose to take up the lightest and newest aviation sport in 1989. Paragliding was a great addition to his flying experience. Dennis strives for any new aerial experience today. His further activity in flying consists of designing light aircraft, instructing and running meets as well as competing himself. Today, he lives with his wife, Claire, in
Central Pennsylvania where he flies paragliders, hang gliders or ultralights every chance he gets.
The author: Panayiotis Kaniamos Pocket Aviation™ c/o Panayiotis Kaniamos Chorikon 4 16675 Athens Greece Tel:0030 2109680620 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Book Updates, corrections can be found on www.paragliding.org/book Publication and cdrom created in 2006 ISBN 960-90460-1-0 Pocket Aviation™ - A Guide to Paragliding International copyright © 1997-2006 by Panayiotis Kaniamos and Pocket Aviation™ All rights reserved: No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated into any other language or transmitted in any form or by any means in any part of the world without the prior permission of the author/publisher.
Click on the chapters to see more . . . Introduction About this book A Word to the novice Warning by the Author Getting Acquainted With the Sport Frequently Asked Questions Inception and Growth Associated Mythology Design, Materials and Equipment Materials Wing Lines Risers Speed System Trimmers Carabiners Harness Flying Equipment Altimeter Variometer
Airspeed Indicator Radios GPS Compass Water Ballast Bag Reserve Parachute Attire Aerodymanics Basic Principles Angle of Attack Stalls Flying Speeds Glide Ratio in Relation to the Ground Steady State Speed and Speed in Equilibrium The Polar Curve Aerodynamics Conclusion Transitional Phases/Stages Rotation Axes Launching and Landing Preparing for Launching Launching Procedure Alpine Launch Reverse Launching Reverse Launch First Method Reverse Launch Second Method Launching Difficulties Preparing for Landing Approach Final Phase of Landing Difficulties in Landing Landing with Tail Wind Top Landing Landing Across a Slope Landing on Inclination Landing Emergencies Packing the Canopy Meteorology Micrometeorology Basic Meteorological Concepts Stability and Instability Inversion All About Winds Beaufort Scale Chart Geostrophic Wind Gradient Wind Surface Wind Wind - Gradient Local Winds Sea Breeze
Land Breeze Breeze Front Anabatic and Catabatic WindValley Breezes Valley Wind Foehn Wind Atmospheric Waves Wind Shadow Fronts Frontal Passage Clouds Vertical Cloud Formation Cumulus Cumulonimbus El Nino - La Nina Flying Like Birds Ridge Soaring Thermaling Convergence Sources of Thermals How a Thermal is formed Estimating a Thermal Lift How to Work a Thermal In Search of Your First Thermal When to Launch Approaching cloud base Thermals in Strong Wind Dust Devils Blue Thermals Cloud Streets Hands on Thermal Forecasting Cross-Country Flying Cross-Country Team Events Observation and Judgment Problems in Flight Turbulence Leeside Flying and Landing Cloud Suck Crabbing Alternative Flying Tandem Flights Powered Paraglider Towing Training Training Schedule FAI/CIVL Parapro Stages 1+2 Stage 3 Stage 4
Stage 5 Informative Guide to Novices Right of Way Rules Maneuvers and Tests Tip Fold or Big Ears One-Side Collapse or Asymmetrical Front Deflation Front Collapse Horseshoe B-Line Stall Parachutal Stall or Deep Stall Spiral Dive Wingover Spin Full Stall Aerobatics Looping Asymmetrical Spiral Sat Helicopter Wagga Reserve Parachute Deploying a Reserve Parachute PLF Landing Reserve Parachute Packing Competition Typical Meet Rules Method of launch Differend Tasks Competition Jargon Deciding for the Appropriate Paraglider Pilot and Paragliding Classes Technical Specification Table Certification Agencies The Afnor System of Testing Paragliders Afnor vs DHV New Class Descriptions by DHV as of 1999 Buying a New or Used Paraglider Human Factor Fear of Flying Decisions Difficult Moments What to do in the Event of an Accident Information Notebook Calculations and Conversions Glossary Tips as a Quick guide Results from Competitions World Paragliding records Associations on the Web
Last pages The Author and Contributors Acknowledgements Bibliography A Poem Addicted with Paragliding They said Articles By Others Conclusion
One of the highlights of the 20th century has been the invention of flying. Since antiquity man has been fascinated with flying and longed to soar with the birds. Flying, particularly with the aid of ascending air currents, was achieved in the early 1900s by Otto Lillienthall and fully-fledged flights were carried out soon after. Hang gliders made their initial tentative flights in the early seventies and paragliding appeared on the scene in the late eighties. The compact, convenient paraglider configuration has made aviation accessible to the general public. In short, portable pocket-sized aviation was born. Growth in the sport has been rapid, and sometimes enthusiasm outpaced the development of safe equipment and techniques. Even though no other sport has proved equal to paragliding in terms of sheer exhilaration and pleasure, a considerable lack of infrastructure and expertise was evident.
The Author Panayiotis Kaniamos at Placivel Venezuela
With the passage of time, pioneers of the sport endeavored to resolve difficulties which emerged. Without their contribution it would not have been possible to see the sport progress, since infrastructure and written learning materials are the principle conditions for any progress. Indeed, a great command of theory is what provides a pilot a solid foundation. Therefore, such problems simply had to be resolved and authors, such as Hubert Aupetit, Dennis Pagen and a host of others, were compelled to do something about it.
Subsequent instruction manuals provided all of us with essential background knowledge to the stunning experience of paragliding. The sport's continuous development has encouraged contemporaries to proceed with the task of informing the public.
About this book
Throughout this new manual, I have tried to fill in the gaps of pilot's personal knowledge whether beginner, intermediate or advanced. I have attended flying events all over the world as well as in my home country, Greece, and have amassed a great deal of material via instruction seminars and publications before venturing to produce this handbook. Any similarity between the works of other prominent authors has been avoided on my part. I would like to take this opportunity to present my personal opinion of what a handbook should be like, bearing in mind the truly magical experience of paragliding. I have made no attempt to separate topics into beginner or advanced levels, since I do not believe the boundaries of a pilot's knowledge should be restrained in any way. This manual is intended for anyone looking for concise yet integral information on a particular aspect of free-flight paragliding. The need for thoroughness in subject matter has left little margin for literary expression, which in any case would not be appropriate for an instructional handbook such as this. My future plans include publishing it in other languages. The most important factor in the success of any book, apart from the quality of its text, is its layout and design. Graphic designer Vangelis Tzanis, provided his services in the publication. Tonia Kouzou did the final project in English. Gregory Cooper performed the translation into English and Paraskevas Kyriakopoulos contributed to the final proof reading. It was a great honor to have Dennis Pagen look at my work and suggest corrections.
A Word to the Novice
Do not concern yourselves too much with the volume of analysis that follows in the chapters ahead. Concentrate on your initial flights where smooth conditions will allow you to fly as long as you are adhering to what you have been taught. This handbook covers all aspects of the sport, no matter how advanced. Should you have any queries, you will probably be able to find the answers here. Keep in mind, however, that this manual cannot replace a qualified instructor. It is meant simply to assist the instructor in his task. Throughout your training your instructor may alter some small or important part of your training program. Learn about your instructor's work before you begin a course with him. Once you have established his credentials, trust your instructor and follow his instructions during and after the course. It is your responsibility to find a good instructor. Remember that you should fly always with safety as your first priority. "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." Leonardo da Vinci In conclusion, I hope you will come to be as fond of this publication as its contributors are. All I can wish is for everyone to enjoy flying further and higher and, of course, to have a safe landing at the flight's conclusion. See you in the sky. Panayiotis Kaniamos
Warning by the Author
Flying, even when practiced by experienced pilots, is potentially dangerous. Paragliding, a relatively recent form of aviation, is no exception. It cannot be over-emphasized therefore that any one wishing to take up paragliding must be willing to take on the potential risk of life or limb. All mountain or tow-initiated flying involves risk that the student pilot should fully comprehend.
GeorgeX At Mount Parnassos [The center of Earth according to Greek mythology] This manual is in no way intended as a self-study course of instruction on its own. It is intended as a complementary reference or course aid to personal instruction given by a qualified instructor. All risks involved in this sport can be minimized if the student pilot follows the safety rules of the sport. The author of this book describes and shares his personal experience in a manner that emphasizes safety first. Remember, most accidents occur due to foolish mistakes. In other words when theory, practice and precaution are not exercised.
Getting Acquainted with the Sport
Paragliding is the newest form of flying. It is so simple that it could be described as pocket-sized aviation. All you need is your lightweight glider, a mountain slope with an incline for launching and a few courses to become airborne and fulfill the dream of Icarus. No matter how long it requires you to become proficient, the sport provides enormous satisfaction at every stage of learning. Our volant counterparts, the hang gliders, saw their own pastime emulated: Paragliding's appeal lies in its ease of handling and portability, not to mention its low cost. Paragliding can claim to
provide a sense of direct involvement with the air, something that no other form of human flying can claim to the same degree, and it enjoys an overwhelming large number of followers. Literally hundrends of thousands of people have taken up the sport and slopes are beginning to be dotted with paragliders. A host of colorful gliders and their pilots is a sight to behold. It is a sport for all seasons, for both men and women of all ages. Although manufacturers produce among their range of products gliders for youngsters paragliding is very much considered an adult sport. However, it would be more accurate to say that it is for sensible, thinking individuals, regardless of age. A good paragliding pilot can be defined as one who can look far in advance, anticipate situations and act accordingly provided that he has a good command of theory, he practices frequantly and he excercises precaution.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do you start the sport?
All you need to do is join a club or find a nearby paragliding school that has a qualified instructor. Never entrust someone with instructing you unless they are qualified, and certainly do not attempt to learn on your own. Novices must have appropriate clothing for particular weather conditions along with climbing boots and lightweight gloves. The club or flying school supplies the equipment. The pack or bag containing the helmet, the harness and the paraglider weighs 14 to 18 kg (30 to 40 lbs). If you have a medical condition, discuss it first with your instructor, but in any case no more than a normal level of fitness is required. A physician would be useful and essential especially for those who have a medical condition. One other useful asset would be to have a car, since while you are on a hillside, you can always pick people up who have strayed from the launching site. Your first experience in the air may well take place with a tandem paraglider, alongside an experienced pilot instructor, and will provide a transition towards your first solo flight. Tandem flights are popular among novices and often determine if they want to pursue the sport. If you decide to take up paragliding your lifestyle may be altered forever. But even if you decide not to, you will have experienced something incredible. Try it and see!
What kind of people take up paragliding?
Georgia Mandelou and famous paradog Peri There is no standard profile. Love of the wind and freedom to roam in natural surroundings, as well as a need to get the adrenaline going provide common denominators. I remember trying to impress a group of pilots by telling them I had once been a marathon runner. It turned out that the one person in the group who had no athletic background was the one turning in the best performance. While this is an exception to the rule, it just shows that you don't need to be an athlete to learn paragliding as long as you are reasonably healthy. In addition, paragliding pilots individuals are quite stimulating as company. You'll find this out through the course of time.
What are the dangers?
This is the most commonly asked question and for a very good reason; people want to know about the risk factors of a new endeavor. The best way to answer this question is to note that, as with any activity that involves motion and heights, dangers exist. However, as with driving a car or skiing, for example, your skill, attention and judgement can greatly reduce the potential danger. Obviously we need to receive accurate instructions and develop the appropriate attitude so as to leave nothing to chance. Like a child has to be taught to climb stairs properly, the same principle applies to this sport. In an unfamiliar environment we need to reduce the risks to a bare minimum, thus creating the conditions for the sport to be one of recreation and enjoyment. Only then can we claim it to be simply an ordinary mountain sport, which does entail risk if negligent people perform it. Safety should be a priority and the risk involved is comparable to other mountain sports. Once a pilot is experienced he or she is capable of judging safe conditions through knowledge of weather factors and the limitations of his or her equipment and skill. Novices should fly with their instructor who will compensate for their lack of experience. It must be stressed here that almost all accidents are attributed more to the human factor and less to the
nature of the sport itself. There are pilots who continually search in improving performance by testing the boundaries of safety. In addition there are pilots who do not follow the simplest of safety rules. But fortunately, there are plenty of us who are content flying gently and safely through the air without pushing the safety limits.
What are the rewards for devoting time to the sport ?
Words cannot really describe it. The feeling of freedom of, flying like a bird through the air and the scenery one views from above are simply sensational. You cannot help but be in awe at how easy it is to view human beings and nature itself from a different dimension. What's more, you are bound to meet new people and form a new social circle with similar interests. Like everyone else, you will always remember your first flight forever. So then, what are you waiting for? Give it a whirl! Learn and you'll never regret it. Be patient while learning and you will be rewarded with a lot of happy airtime.
A paraglider is an aerodynamic wing, which allows you to glide through the air. It bears no relation to parachuting, which is all about restraining a fall. Paragliding is about flying, not falling from a great height. Adrenaline seekers will be disappointed, unless they have reached a very advanced stage and they want to do things which are considered extreme. The word "Parapente" is a grouping of the words para-chute and pente from the French, meaning slope. Similarly, the Italians call it "parapendio" and the Germans "gleitschirm". The French are considered the pioneers of this sport, the use of this word is an honor to them. I have dedicated this book to the aviation and paragliding pioneers who gave us the means to live a dream.
Is it a sport for women?
Though paragliding is accessible to both sexes, there are fewer female paragliders than male. The large number of men compared to women may act as a deterrent. But paragliding is physically easy and may well suit women's thought process since they excel at seeing the big picture. The sense of freedom coupled with the exhilaration derived from the sport should provide ample motivation for either sex. Paragliding's brief history is dotted with the presence of women. I'd like to mention that female pilots for some reason yet unknown to us possess a markedly superior capacity to spot thermals compared to men. This is apparent during flights where variometers are not used. They have even set world long distance records. The passing of time makes this sport a normal mountain activity and I believe more women will be present in the near future. The presence of women then can contribute to the prevalence of the sport's popularity at all levels and in reality everyone stands to benefit from it. So then ladies, the challenge is yours. Why not ask those already involved? You and your partners in life will not regret it!
Kari Castle www.karicastle.com 2002 U.S. Women's National Hang Gliding Champion 2001 World Record Holder Femine Open Distance/ Declared Goal 2001 U.S. Women's National Paragliding Champion 2000 Women's World Hang Gliding Champion 1996 Women's World Hang Gliding Champion 1995 Canadian National Champion overall 1995 U.S. Women's National Paragliding Champion 1993 and 1995 Silver Medalist / World Championships 1994 U.S. Women's Open Distance Paragliding Record Holder 1991 First Women in the world to fly a hang glider over the 200 mile mark
Inception and Growth
Since early antiquity legends concerning human attempts to fly have abounded. In Ancient Greece there were Icarus and Daedalus. There are vague stories of magic carpets in Arabia, and Chinamen flying man-carrying kites. Things started to get a little more scientific during the renaissance with Leonardo da Vinci, yet it was not until 1620 that Fausto Venanzio introduced the first parachute prototype. In 1783 the Montgolfier brothers accomplished the first ever balloon flights, and 14 years later Andre Jacques Garnerin made his first parachute jump from a balloon. In 1809 Sir George Cayley published his book "On aerial navigation" which was a study on machines heavier than air.
Otto Lilliental The modern age of aviation began in 1891 with Otto Lillienthal, the world's first genuine aviator. He managed to accomplish two thousand flights using a home-made glider resembling that of a bat wing. His contribution to the Wright brothers through his publication, "The Flight of Birds and the Fundamentals of Aviation" was considerable. Many years later, during World War 2, the Normandy Landings provided the backdrop for the growth, an American, of free-fall parachuting.
Left: Francis Rogallo with his wife. Xavier Remond
Center: Otto Lilienthal
In 1945 Francis Melvin Rogallo began to develop a wing which was tested as a kite and had a hang glider shape. In 1948, he started making a wing that was capable of supporting the weight of a pilot. In 1962, the English free-fall parachutist Walter Neumark made the first successful footlaunched towing. Soon after, a Canadian Domina Jalbert presented a new type of parachute with vertical cloth webs to hold its shape like an airplane wing. He called his invention "the parafoil". [See on the bottom of this page all about this invention] . This provided the opportunity for German engineer Dr. D. Strassila to make a hillside launch. However, it was in 1978 in Mieussy, France that regular flights of over a thousand meters in height began to take place, and subsequently this site swiftly became the Mecca of Paragliding. Promising pilots such as Andre Bohn, Serge Tuaz, Xavier Remond, Hubert Aupetit, Laurent de Kalbermatten and Gerard Bosson made names for themselves. Indeed, Gerard Bosson was
responsible for the sport's official introduction at the World Hang Gliding Meet in 1979. In 1982, Roger Fillion, a postman, accomplished the world's first high altitude flight from Mont Blanc, and subsequently paragliding became established in France with the opening of a number of paragliding schools.
From blow up to a modern wing. In 1983, organized races began to be organized and two years later at Mieussy, Richard Trinquier achieved the Worlds' first five-and-a-half hour paragliding flight using thermals and a variometer. In 1986, the first book on the sport was written by Hubert Aupetit, an accomplished pilot. Today, the sport has spread its popularity to the far corners of the globe and pilots are constantly improving techniques and equipment, and paragliding schools are present nearly everywhere. Moreover, paragliding equipment are in great demand and distances of over three hundred kilometers have become a fact of life. As the sport grows in appeal, competition has become the center of focus. With this impetus, let's hope that we'll soon see our sport included on the list of events of Olympic games. In fact, paragliding has already been featured as a candidate for future recognition as a full-fledged Olympic sport.
MULTI-CELL WING TYPE AERIAL DEVICE By Domina C. Jalbert
Inventor: Domina C. Jalbert, Boca Raton, Fla., assignor to Space Recovery Research Center, Inc., Palm Beach, Fla. United States Patent # 3,285,546 Patented Nov. 15, 1966 Filing Information: Patent # 3,285,546 Patented Nov. 15, 1966 Filed Oct. 1, 1964 Ser. No. 400,734 MILTON BUCHLER, Primary Examiner ALFRED E. CORRIGAN, Examiner.
Abstract This invention relates to an aerial device based upon the principal of an airfoil or wing that can be utilized to suspend payloads in the atmosphere in captive flight or to recover payloads either manned or unmanned from space especially where controllability in flight is a requirement. It can also be used to stabilize objects in flight such as towed aerial targets, etc.
Background It is an object of the invention to provide a wing having a flexible canopy constituting an upper skin and with a plurality of longitudinally extending ribs forming in effect 3 wing corresponding to an airplane wing airfoil and with the ribs providing longitudinal channels for the now of air from a relatively large opening on the front of the wing and a restricted opening upon the rear of the wing for the escape of air and with connecting means upon the lower skin to which shroud lines are connected and with the wing being generally rectangular or possibly a delta-shape or a T-shape in accordance with the particular use of the device. More particularly the invention contemplates the provision of a wins of rectangular or other shape having a canopy or top skin and a lower spaced apart bottom skin and with the skins being disposed in equidistantly spaced relation to each other by ribs of a flexible nature that are fixed to the top and bottom skins and so shaped as to constitute an air foil and with the ribs constituting air channels having a relatively large opening upon the leading edge of the wine and a reduced opening at the rear edge of the wing for the escape of air passing through the channels and with wedge-shaped members connected to the bottom skin at spaced apart points and along the chords of the ribs to maintain stability in the wing and with the wedges at their lower points being connected to the several shroud lines normally employed in parachute construction and with the upper skin having marginal connection with the lower skin and with the wedges providing for even distribution of suspension pressure to permit the bottom sheet to retain a flat surface like an airplane wing.
The invention further contemplates a wing type device having the upper and lower skins and with the top and bottom skins or sheets covering the evenly spaced ribs to provide air flow channels and with the wing having a relatively large air opening at its leading edge and a reduced air escape opening at its trailing edge and with the lower skin along the chords of the ribs being connected to a plurality of flexible wedges that provide for even distribution of suspension pressure and with the wing, when employed as a free falling wing, the opening in the lending edge will be angled downwardly to more effectively cause the air to now through the channels and with the now of the nit through the channels supplying rigidity to the wing whether the wing is to he used for captive flight or free drop. For a free drop, electronics devices can be installed to provide for remote control in the recovery of space items whatever they may be. The suspension lines can be attached to battens that are fixed to the underside of the lower skin and running along the same direction :n the chord of the wing and by manipulating the rigid batten member. the attitude of the wine can he controlled. With these and other objects to be hereinafter set forth in view, I have devised the arrangement of parts to be described and more particularly pointed out in the claims appended hereto.
Description of Invention Referring specifically to the drawings, there has been illustrated a flexible canopy top 5 and a bottom skin 6 that is spaced from the canopy 5 to constitute an air flow chamber 7. The marginal ends of the canopy 5 are stitched or otherwise connected to the skin 6, as indicated at 8. The chamber 7 is divided into a plurality of air flow channels 9, by a plurality of equally spaced and preferably textile ribs 10, forming the air flow channels 9 and the ribs are shaped in accordance with the usual airfoil of an aircraft. The leading edge of the wing is provided for its full length with a relatively large air inlet 11 and a relatively small or restricted air outlet opening 12 is provided for the full width of the wing. The marginal edges of the ribs 10 are stitched or otherwise connected to the canopy 5 and to the lower skin 6 and with the skin 6 being substantially flat and with air pressure entering the opening 11, the wing assumes a shape similar to that illustrated in FIGURE 2 . Fixed to the underside of the skin 6, as by stitching or the like 12, are a plurality of depending preferably textile wedges 13. The wedges are preferably triangular in shape and their lower points 14 are connected to the well known shroud lines 15. The wedges are disposed along the chords of the ribs 10 and provide for even distribution of suspension pressure upon the wing to allow the bottom sheet or skin 6 to retain a flat surface like an airplane wing, while air pressure flowing through the channels 9 maintain the canopy 5 in extended direction to correspond to the airfoil of an aircraft wing for the wedges 13 are spaced in a manner to correspond with the ribs 10 and whereby an equal pressure is maintained upon the wing. The several wedges being illustrated in FIGURE 1 and in FIGURE 4 . In the use of the wing. as shown in FIGURES 1-5 , air will flow through the slightly angled opening 11 to flow through the channels 9 and to have a retarded or limited escape through the opening 12, maintaining the canopy 5 in the predetermined shape illustrated. In the form of the wing shown in FIGURE 6, the opening 11 is downwardly angled so that, as a free falling parachute, the opening 11 will scoop the air during the downward fall of the wing and also
maintain the canopy and supply rigidity to the device. For a free drop. electronics devices may be installed in the wing to provide for remote control in the recovery of space items, whatever they may be. With respect to FIGURES 7 and 8, there has been provided a modified connecting means for the shroud lines 15, here comprising a relatively rigid batten 16 which may he a strip of relatively rigid wood, plastic or the like that extends through a preferably textile sleeve 17, having its marginal edges stitched at 18 to the underside of the skin 6. The battens are also disposed for the full width of the wing and along the chords of the ribs 10. The shroud lines 15 are connected to the battens through a plurality of angled lines 19 and connected to the battens in any desirable manner. It will appear from the foregoing that a multi-cell wing has been provided that is basically a series of airfoil shaped wind-socks placed side by side. The openings shown in the leading edge of the wing allows the wind to enter and supply rigidity and will vary depending upon whether the wing is to be used for captive flight or a free drop. The desired angle of suspension is predetermined and the suspension system is thusly adjusted. The suspension or shroud lines can be attached to a bar or other rigid member running along the same direction as the chord of the wing ribs and by manipulating the rigid member the attitude of the wing can be effectively controlled. The wing can be fabricated of any material or joined by any method to insure safety of operation. The wing can be used to provide for dependable suspension of scientific instruments when it is inconvenient to have helium or hydrogen for balloon inflation, and not practical to use a balloon and especially when winds are too high for captive balloons plus the cumbersome problem of carrying bottle gas with also added storage problems and other numerous hazards that a balloon offers. The wing basically has no rigid member whatsoever and is an ideal vehicle for carrying antennas aboard ships and various parts of the world whenever a wind of ten miles per hour is blowing. The trailing opening 12 is provided to increase the efficiency of aerodynamics. It will be apparent from the foregoing that a very novel multi-cell wing type aerial device has been provided. The device is simple in construction, is cheap to manufacture, is strong, durable and most effective for the purposes indicated. It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the precise construction shown, but that changes an contemplated as readily fall within the spirit of the invention as shall be determined by the scope of the subjoined claims.
Claims I claim: 1. An aerial wing of airfoil shape, the wing having a canopy and a bottom closure for the wing, the wing being generally rectangular in shape, having a leading edge and a trailing edge, ribs disposed within the wing and conforming to the shape of the wing and with the ribs being equidistantly spaced and connected to the canopy and the bottom, the leading edge of the wing having an opening for its full length and the wing at its trailing edge being provided with a restricted opening for its full length, the ribs forming air flow channels whereby air flowing through the opening of a leading edge will pressurize the canopy and a plurality of wedge-shaped members attached to the bottom
and along the chord lines of the ribs for connection to weight supporting shroud lines. 2. A wing type aerial device as provided for in claim 1 wherein the canopy, the bottom and the ribs are formed of flexible material. 3. A wing type aerial device as provided for in claim 2 wherein the opening upon the leading edge of the wing is relatively wide and the opening upon the trailing edge of the wing is relatively narrow and whereby air entering the opening of the leading edge will pressurize the wing to maintain the airfoil shape, the wedges being disposed upon the bottom of the wing along the chord lines of each of the ribs. 4. A wing type comprising a wing of generally rectangular shape and with the wing embodying a canopy and a bottom closure, a plurality of equidistantly spaced flexible ribs that are co-extensive in length with the canopy and the bottom, the ribs at their upper and lower edges being stitched to the canopy and the bottom, the wing at its leading edge being provided with a relatively wide opening for its full length and the wing at its trailing edge being provided with a restricted air escape opening for the full length of the wing, the several ribs forming a plurality of air flow channels and whereby air entering the opening of the leading edge will maintain the wing in an airfoil shape and with the bottom being flat, a plurality of wedges of textile material being stitched to the bottom along the chords of the several wedges, the wedges being depending from the bottom and connected at their points with shroud lines. 5. The structure according to claim 4 wherein the ends of the canopy are folded downwardly and stitched to the bottom to form the end channels for the wing. 6. The structure according to claim 1 wherein the opening for the leading edge of the wing is downwardly angled to provide an air inlet when the wing is used as a free drop and to collect the air into the wing during the descent of the wing. 7. A wing type aerial device of generally rectangular shape and with the wing being shaped longitudinally to conform to an airfoil, the wing having an upper canopy of airfoil shape and a lower closure sheet, all of flexible material, the wing being provided with a plurality of flexible wedge-shaped ribs that are equidistantly spaced and co-extensive with the width of the parachute, the ribs at their upper and lower marginal edges being fixedly connected to the canopy and the bottom sheet, the several ribs forming a plurality of air flow channels, the bottom sheet having a plurality of battens of relatively rigid form that are connected to the bottom sheet along the several chord lines of the ribs and a plurality of shroud lines connected to the battens at spaced apart points. 8. The structure according to claim 7 wherein the battens are disposed within textile tubing and with the marginal edges of the tubing being stitched to the bottom sheet.
Drawings With Brief Descriptions
FIGURE 1 is a front elevational view of the wing.
FIGURE 2 is a longitudinal section taken substantially on line 2--2 of figure 1,
FIGURE 3 is a horizontal section taken substantially on line 3--3 of FIGURE 2,
FIGURE 4 is a transverse section taken substantially on line 4--4 of FIGURE 2,
FIGURE 5 is a rear elevational view of the wing.
FIGURE 6 is a longitudinal section similar to FIGURE 2 but illustrating a different angled air inlet opening at the leading edge of the wing,
FIGURE 7 is a view similar to FIGURE 2 but illustrating a rigid batten upon the underside of the lower skin, and
FIGURE 8 is a fragmentary enlarged section taken substantially on line 8--8 of FIGURE 7.
Daedalus on the way to Athens In antiquity, Daedalus, the son of Metion (himself a descendant of the patron God of Craftsmen, Hephaestos), lived with his wife Nausicrates and son Icarus. Daedalus was a great architect, artist and inventor. As a sculptor he gained fame for being the first person to feature statues with the left leg projected slightly forward, thus creating an artistic sense of movement. In brief, he was the da Vinci of his age, so versatile was he. Such was his reputation that King Minos of Crete commissioned him to build a palace in the city of Knossos where he could safely hide his wealth of treasures from marauding enemies. There Daedalus constructed an elaborate complex of chambers and corridors known as "The Labyrinth". Were an enemy to enter, he would never re-emerge. For additional security a Minotaur (half man-half bull) was given quarters there. Though grateful to Daedalus, King Minos, wary that Daedalus would divulge the system's secret, refused to authorize his departure from the island.
Minotaur Vs Theseus The secret being merely that whoever entered the labyrinth should lay a trail of thread in their wake so as to retrace their steps. Daedalus then told Ariadne, the King's daughter, who subsequently told Theseus, son of King Aegean of Athens, after falling in love with him.
Ariadne Theseus promptly entered the Labyrinth whereupon he enslaved the Minotaur. Meanwhile, Daedalus had resolved to escape from Crete. He constructed two pairs of wings, one for himself and one for his son Icarus, by pasting feathers on a frame with wax. The King got wind of Daedalus' plans so the two pioneering pilots made a swift getaway by air. Icarus ignored his father's warnings not to fly too high and he soared upward too close to the sun. His wings melted and he plummeted into the Icarian sea off the island of Icaria, both of which are named after him. Deadallus arrived safe in Athens and then traveled a lot running away from King Minos who was chasing him .He built a temple to Apollo at the city of Kyme and dedicated his wings to God. He finally went to Sicily at the services of King Cocallus. A trick was inverted by King Minos to locate Deadallus. He put a puzzle to people, giving anonymously a great award,if anyone could pass a thread through a shell twisted round and round. Deadallus said to King Cocallus how to solve the puzzle, by tiding a thread to an ant and then let the ant go round and round in a spiral shell and finally come out from the other side. Although King Minos knew that he was close to Deadallus, did not succeed to find him because he was killed by the three daughters of King Cocallus. Icarus was worshiped as a hero for his sacrifice, among the very few of the Greek mythology and still in our days keeps the most of the family's reputation.
Icarus launch Materials and Equipment
A paraglider is made up of the wing, rigging (lines), small rings, and risers. It is attached to the harness via a large carabiner. A carabiner is a metal loop originally used in rock climbing that can open and lock closed. A reserve parachute, speed system and flight instruments are positioned on the harness. Together with the helmet, gloves etc., placed in the carrying bag, the total weight amounts to approximately 15-18 kg (33 to 40 lbs).
A wing consists of two sheets of material, one over the other with a gap in between. Around the edges and rear they are sewn together and only the front is open. How wide the gap is depends on the design of the paraglider. Competition wings are relatively thin while intermediate and beginner wings are thicker. Between the two sheets of cloth are reinforcements called ribs, which maintain the paraglider's shape. The gaps produced among the ribs are called cells. Ribs have certain openings to allow air pressure to equalize among the cells. The more ribs and cells there are, the more solid the wing is, but also the heavier it is. The ribs are positioned perpendicular or crosswise in relation to the surface of the wing. The front edge of the wing is called the leading edge and the rear rim is called the trailing edge. We often refer to a paraglider wing as a canopy.
Vertical cells - Inside the wing A few manufacturers such as FreeX and Advance use winglets at the edges of the wing in order to deal with tip losses, as we shall see in the section on aerodynamics.
Here are some useful terms describing a wing :
Chord: Front to rear measurement of a wing
Span: Width of the wing Total weight: The weight of the pilot carrying all his flying equipment including the wing Pilot weight: Body weight Actual Wing area: Span X average chord Projected area: Projected span X average chord Aspect ratio: Span X span/actual wing area Projected aspect ratio: Projected span X projected span/projected area Wing loading: Total weight/actual wing area Projected wing's area is the area the wing covers in flight. Since the wing is quite curved in the air, the projected area is smaller than the actual area. The projected figures is what matters for performance purposes. The wing is constructed with two identical parts: The left side and the right side. It is necessary to think of having two sides of a wing complimenting each other, rather than one joint wing. The wing is made of special lightweight, wear-resistant material such as Dacron polyester, Nylon, Mylar, or others, tested and selected by each individual constructor. Cloth manufacturers such as Dimension, Carrington or Teijin are common sources of paraglider cloth. The material is chosen based on criteria such as cost per square meter, weight, wear and tear, resistance to the harmful effect of the sun's rays and so on. Every constructor determines his own specifications and life expectancy for the consumer to peruse. What deteriorates with use is material strength and canopy porosity. A porosity meter can be used to inspect how porous the materials are. Remember, prior to every flying season your paraglider, canopy and lines should be checked for normal wear and tear. Generally, whenever material comes into contact with water, especially salt water, as well as dust, sun, excessive humidity and certain species of insects wear is experienced. Apco was the first company to offer a 3-year warranty on its wing material, followed by FreeX and then others.
The shape of the wing has changed A consensus amongst paragliding professional is that a wing is good for 300 hours of direct
sunlight exposure. So if you want to keep your wing for a long time, protect it while it is not in use. The best way to protect a paraglider is to store it away in its bag in a cool and dry place after flying. A properly safeguarded wing will fly and launch more effectively than one that isn't. Make sure not to leave it in the vicinity of car or motorcycle exhaust fumes or pack it up in the middle of a road in summer when the asphalt surface is hot. Some manufacturers are using Mylar in the leading edge which requires specific packing to avoid creasing of this material. Carefully read the owner's manual of your wing. You should also consider, the practicality of your choice of color for the wing. White easily gets dirty and some colors enjoy greater resistance to ultraviolet light.
Here is a brief guide:
High resistance to UV light: White, light grey, pale green, light blue Medium resistance to UV light: Dark green, deep blue, yellow, violet, orange Low resistance to UV light: Fluorescent pink, fluorescent yellow, purple, fluorescent orange, black. You can also be assisted in selecting a color if u see the Ultra Violet degradation, after 720 hours of sun exposure: For Light grey the quality left is 24% , for White 16%, for Green 15%, for Sky Blue 13%, for Medium Blue 13%, for Violet 11%, for Yellow 7%, for Purple Blue 7%, for Orange 7%, for Purple 3%, for Pink 1%. Hence the lighter a color is, the more resistance it is to UV light and therefore is very important when considering appearance and longevity.
Cleaning the Wing
Use only water and only mild a non-alkaline detergent for isolated stains or marks. Washing is not good for the wing. Do not scrub or abrade the material when cleaning. Lines must not become wet or they might shrink. Leave a wet paraglider out to dry in a shaded area. Do not pack it up wet. Deploy your paraglider at the earliest opportunity after it gets wet.
If you experience a tear longer than 5 cm (2 inches), take it to a qualified repair specialist. Slight tears can be mended with transparent self-adhesive tape applied on the inside. Do not use colored tapes because they look unsightly. Larger tears of over 5 cm can be mended as above, but with the tape applied both on the inside and outside. A repair specialist using a special needle and thread must repair large tear on seams and stitches for lines.
Pilot's view The rigging which connects the canopy to the harness is commonly known as lines. These lines usually measure between 0.4 and 1.7 mm (.016 to .07 in), and occasionally reach up to 2.2 mm (.09 in) in diameter. Their level of strength depends on their thickness and the properties of material used in their construction. They are usually covered with a protective sheath to guard against ground friction and are made from Dyneema, Kevlar, Spectra, Superaramid and so on. The lines extend from the wing's lower surface and cascade in thickness and number via a series of quick links. The lines are attached at one end to small loops sewn to the wing and at the other end to the risers via small carabiners, which in turn are attached to the pilot's harness via the large carabiners. Modern paragliders have a smaller number of lines than in the past. Less rigging provides less resistance to the wing's forward motion and a paraglider can gain up to 4 km/h (2.5 mph) if thinner lines are used. The material that goes into lines has special anti-wear and tear features and a minimum amount of elasticity. It is essential to be aware of the lines' special properties with regards to maintenance and eventual replacement. As an example we should mention that Kevlar lines used before 1992 were very sensitive to bending. Most lines undergo shrinkage when they come into contact with water and you should consult your local dealer if your glider gets wet. Every manufacturer determines the specific properties of the lines they employ. Generally, the thickest lines on a paraglider should be replaced every year or after a hundred hours of flying time, as they tend to stretch. This stretch results in deterioration of the wing's aerodynamic efficiency. This effect is especially the experienced by the lines up front (A lines) due to the greater load borne by them. Partial replacement of individual lines is simple, either of the same make or alternatively of the same material and thickness (to test length, tighten line with a weightload of 5 to 8 kg11 to 18 lbs). For a complete overhaul, make sure you use the original manufacturer's official set of lines. Finally, you need to carry out an inflation test and inspection afterwards.
Turning Left Right
These are two sets of lines extending from the left and right trailing edge of the wing. Each one leads to the brake handle of the left and right side. If you pull the right brake you turn right. To turn smoothly, apply the brake while simultaneously shifting your body weight. Put simply, proper application of the brakes is essential for safe flying and efficient wing performance. Remember that a paraglider requires some time to respond so you will have to learn to use your body to assist the turn. Pulling on the brakes too much can cause the braked side to fly very slowly and enter a stall. At this stage the brake handle has no resistance. Paragliders designed for student pilots usually have longer brake lines to prevent the pilot from pulling them too much. Later we will discuss stalls and asymmetric collapses. A maiden trial flight in a new paraglider should not be carried out before the brake trim position is checked through ground handling. While the wing is inflated in flight mode with hands off the brakes, the brake lines should be adjusted to be at most 5 cm (2 in.) away from the grommet which is sewn on the riser. If he brake line is adjusted too short, the resistance that the set of brake lines creates during flight mode can cause a slight force and drag on the rear edge of the wing.
Brake handle knot
1. To help untangle your lines, stretch them out, lift up the "A" lines and pull out the brake lines, one side at a time. They often untangle all the others. Give the lines a shake to loosen snarls. If your harness is unhooked and your risers are in a knot, start from the canopy and work back down the "A" lines. 2. If a brake gets fouled in the air, carefully use the rear risers to control braking and steering.
Risers Risers are linked at their upper end through small links or rings onto lines arranged into groups. There are usually 3 or 4 risers each left and right. They are called A, B, C and D risers, depending on where the lines extend from the wing. The A riser is the forward most riser during flight mode with B following, and so forth. The risers on each side are linked to the harness with large
carabiners. Many wings are designed to allow varying the rider lengths. Reducing A and B risers' length can achieve greater speed whereas by reversing the action the opposite can be accomplished. Such alterations are determined by a paraglider's design and can drastically change the way a wing handles. A pilot should never attempt to alter the designer's tested configuration. In particular, risers lengths are changed when the speed bar and trim are used. More will be said about this below.
Speed system bars A speed bar is a simple system consisting of lines attached to the A risers (and sometimes to others) that thread through two pulleys attached to the harness and a bar which the pilot can press with his feet. A return to normal flight mode is achieved automatically by letting up on the bar. The aim of the system is to shorten the length of the A risers and a bit less the length of B and sometimes C risers. As we shall see in the section on aerodynamics, such operations will alter the wing's angle of attack and the canopy will fly faster. Ten kilometers per hour (6 mph) is the extra speed attained. While faster speeds can be achieved, the wing is more susceptible to collapses. Thus, though simple to use, the speed bar system is not always safe unless a few points are borne in mind: 1. Simultaneously using speed bar and brakes means performing two opposing commands. Therefore, it simply will not work safely. Some test pilots use full acceleration and braking to minimize the speed. The result from this action is that the wing's aerodynamic shape is dramatically changed and the paraglider moves vertically downwards. Such practices prove dangerous. Attempt this only over water. 2. Speed can be adjusted by applying pressure on the speed bar but the foldability of the wing should concern us when we are close to the ground, in turbulence and in thermal conditions. Appropriate use of the speed bar here is imperative. During beginner instruction, the gliders used are not vulnerable to collapses and speed bars are not used. In contrast, the issue is an important one in competition, though pilots are experienced enouph to be able to deal with it. Make sure your harness is set up properly.Your speed line should run from your riser down through a pulley stitched to the harness, and then out via another pulley to your feet. To be able to use the full speed range of your glider you may have to shorten your speed bar cords or add a ladder system. Many ladder systems can be set up so that `legs straight' on the lowest bar is around half speed in the accelerated speed range thus good for cruising into gentle winds. The second bar is only used to get you up to maximum speed on the rare occasions where it's both practical and safe to do so. Arrange your speed system so you can access it without taking your hands off. Try pulling the top bar almost tight to the base of your seat and then leaving a loop hanging down to hook your heel in.
Richard Gallon uses full brakes and speed bar to land vertically. Do not attempt this ...
With the speed bar almost every glider is more susceptible to deflations during accelerated flight due to the decrease in angle of attack. In addition, the extra speed you are carrying into the collapse means the wing reacts far more violently. During DHV testing almost every glider pulls its highest grades during the accelerated tests, and even very safe wings react faster when collapsed on the speed bar. For these reasons you should only consider using the speed bar when you have enough height to recover from a major collapse.
Many paragliders contain trim systems which allow progressive length modification of the rear risers. Thus the angle of attack of the wing can be altered to modify speed, hence the terms "slow" and "fast" trim. Trim systems or "trimmers" are usually positioned on the rear risers (D) when the paraglider has four risers, or on the (C) risers when the paraglider has three risers. The trimmers modify the riser where they are attached as well as the next one forward. The reasoning behind trim is identical to that of the speed bar, except that operations are done manually and on a more frequent basis. A wing flying on fast trim (with trimmers set for maximum speed) is more vulnerable to collapses, and even more so when the trimmers are asymmetrically open.
Slow trim = Trimmers set for normal speed. Fast trim = Trimmers set for maximum speed. V min = Minimum speed before the wing loses its capacity to stay airborne. Achieved via brakes
without the use of a speed bar or trimmers. V max = Maximum speed via speed bar and trim provided the specific paraglider has been thoroughly tested with them. V trim = Flying speed without the use of brakes, speed bar or trimmers. I personally feel that trimmers are not always safe, either through the pilot's negligence at not having them symmetrically applied, or because of self-opening due to turbulence. Their numerous advantages nevertheless mean they cannot be dismissed.
Carabiners are rings or loops usually made from steel or aluminum alloy and very resistant. They allow attachment and detachment of lines or webbing through a springing gate. Due to ease of handling and stylish look, aluminum carabiners are preferred though they are more vulnerable on impact than steel. Strength should always be stamped on the carabiner. Very rarely do pilots make use of dual carabiner for the sake of safetypractically not necessary. Avoid using chrome plated carabiners. The carabiners should be turned inward and secured by tightened screws or auto lock. Special carabiners can swiftly release the risers, the speed system and consequently the wing as well in the event of an emergency when a steerable reserve parachute is thrown. If you lose one carabiner you will partially fly without control, because you will fly with the half of your wing. Immediately deploy your reserve parachute.
Small Carabiner attached to risers and Bigger carabiner attached to harness.
A harness is linked to the wing by the large carabiners at the lower end of the risers. Like canopies, harnesses also receive stamps of approval from certification agencies to ensure consumers. All certified harnesses are considered safe as tested. Having said that, there are occasions where problems, large and small, have occurred. Choose an approved harness. A wide range of harnesses exists on the market, which vary in comfort, stability and wind resistance. Three types of harness have managed to dominate the market: 1. Standard with three webbing belts, one for the chest and one for each leg. 2. Cross-braced with two chest webs fastened crosswise and two for the legs. 3. The single-point restraint (ABS) harness introduced by Supair. On the cross-braced, there are two chest webs fastened crosswise while the ABS features a single chest web with crosswise supports on both sides, and subsequently it is the most popular. Every manufacturer makes recommendations for its own harness and determines the spacing between the carabiners. This distance is roughly 40 cm (16 in.) from the center of the left carabiner to the center of the right one. Designers often use different distances between carabiners depending on the performance of the canopy: for normal paragliders this distance measures 38 cm whereas for competition paragliders it measures 42cm (16,5 in.). The nature of the harness also has to do with the carabiners' height above the seat. The smaller this distance is the more the canopy is activated by pilot's commands bringing at the same time the movements of the canopy more sharply to the pilots body. Harnesses typically have storage and carrying capability for necessary or useful in-flight equipment. Back protectors, side protector devices, reserve parachute, speed bar, waterbag, VHF, camera, transit bag, compass, GPS, and camelback (portable water bag) can all be fitted onto the harness.
Description of harness and Back protector
In More Detail:
A back protector is made from soft foam of 10-20 cm (4 to 8 in.) and has polyester or kevlar support in addition to an airbag. Side protectors are similarly built. Systems like the Cygnus that offer air intake while the paraglider is flying are also gaining a share of the market. The new concept from Freex and Supair using harder material for the back protector has received the DHV approval and is followed by the Charly protector.
A reserve parachute can be positioned behind, in front or at the side of the pilot's body. Freex and Supair have, in fact, established the frontal position as the safest solution, the advantage being
quicker access. Thus the new harnesses are no longer placing the reserve parachute on the lower back part of the harness, but on the top.
1. One rule of safety is to secure the leg straps first as soon as you have put on the harness and release them last, when you have taken off your harness at the end of a flight. This procedure is designed to prevent the danger of launching without the leg straps. 2. Keep the leg straps quite tight and this will assist you in entering the harness after launching. 3. Pre-flight inspection and adjustment of the harness is essential. Look it over and adjust the harness straps so that it fits and is comfortable, keeping safety in mind at all times. With experience you will be able to make minor adjustments in the air, if necessary. Wing handling is somewhat a matter of harness adjustment as well. Competition harnesses are unsuitable for recreational flights and should be used only by experienced pilots. 4. If you have a larger or shorter spacing in the chest webbing than the tested setting (about 40 cm) you will alter the wing's behavior. When the distance is larger, the wing reacts easier to the pilot's commands and shakes the pilot in turbulence more. In the event of a side collapse, recovery needs more input by the pilot. When the chest strap is fasted with shorter distance than the tested one the wing has the tendency to move left and right on the vertical axis. The control is more difficult but the pilot feels more stable. Practice by changing the chest strap distance by 2 to 4 cm (1 to 2 inches) but no more. 5. If one of your carabiners brake during a flight, your halt wing will still be flyable but without control. The sink rate will increase to 8m/sec and your reserve parachute has to be deployed.
An altimeter measures the changes in atmospheric pressure as you move up or down, thus giving you your altitude. This information is very useful when flying so you know your general position and how far you can reach. Most altimeters can be set to read altitudes above a desired level such as landing field, launch point or sea level. While separate altimeters are available, usually they are combined with a variometer and often with an airspeed indicator.
A variometer takes the same pressure signal that the altimeter uses and measures the rate of change. Thus it provides an indication of your rate of descent or ascent. Most "varios" provide a visual and audio lift signal. This information is useful since it lets you know if you are in lift or sink. Then you can linger in lift to stay up or climb as well as avoid sink unless you want to descend. Some instruments record your vertical position over time which can later be viewed on screen or stored on a PC and printed out. This feature is called a barograph. Types of instruments containing barographs have seals on the opening screws which should not be removed. These seals render the instrument tamper-proof and therefore legal for setting official records.
An airspeed indicator measures the pilot's speed through the air as well as the wind speed on the ground. There are compact electronic airspeed indicators, which are propellers attached to variometers and others which can be tied separately to one's harness. Older types of airspeed indicators consist of a probe which measures air force which varies with airspeed. On certain days the use of a wind indicator is essential to check wind strength at launch.
Radios (Very and Ultra High Frequencies)
This is a communication device essential for independent instruction, cross-country and competition
flights. Today pilots use portable VHF or UHF transmitters/receivers. VHF performs better via air stations white VHF perform better via ground stations. Another name for these devices is 2 meters for VHF and 70 centimeters for UHF (which is a description specifying the length of the antenna). Generally speaking, there are certain restrictions concerning radio communication and the use of frequencies, which range from country to country. In Germany and in most countries UHF is allowed under some conditions. In the U.S. special business channels are provided for paragliding (contact the national organization) and ham channels are legal for licensed users. The ham license is easy to obtain in the U.S. and is being made more available in Britain. In Australia, special channels and receivers are required. Contact the national organization for more information. It is essential to follow the strict rules followed by all radio users. For example: code words are not allowed on 2 meter radio, don't tie up a channel, foul language is illegal etc. The radio is not a toy and is not supposed to be used for fun. During the time that you have tied up the channel someone may be calling for help and may find the frequency occupied.
Marine Channels 1 1A 2 2A 3 3A 4 4A 5 5A 6 7 7A 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 18A 19 19A 20 20A 25 26 27 28 60 70
Frequencies (MHZ) TRANSMIT RECEIVE 156.050 160.650 156.050 156.050 156.100 160.700 156.100 156.100 156150 160.750 156.150 156.150 156.200 160.800 156.200 156.200 156.250 160.850 156.250 156.250 156.300 156.300 156.350 160.950 156.350 156.350 156.400 156.400 156.450 156.450 156.500 156.500 156.550 156.550 156.600 156.600 156.650 156.650 156.700 156.700 156.750 156.750 156.800 156.800 156.850 156.850 156.900 161.500 156.900 156.900 156.950 161.550 156.950 156.950 157.000 161.600 157.000 157.000 157.250 161.850 157.300 161.900 157.350 161.950 157.400 162.000 156.025 156.025 156.525 156.525
80 157.025 161.625 88 157.425 162.025 88A 157.425 157.425 WX01 162.550 WX02 162.400 WX03 162.475 WX04 162.425 WX05 162.450 WX06 162.500 WX07 162.525 WX08 161.650 WX09 161.775 WX10 163.275 Do not use above frequencies unless authorized. Channel 16 is the Emergency marine channel.
GPS Global Positioning System by Satellite
Flying equipment A GPS instrument is a special precision device which receives signals from satellites and enables us to pinpoint an exact position. If the coverage of the area is rich and four satellites are locked by GPS then the altitude can also be given. Originally designed by the U.S. military, it provides an accuracy within 100 m (300 ft) with 95% reliability. In paragliding it is used for assessing ground speed, orientation along cross-country routes and for finding turn points in competitive races. Flying speed calculated by airspeed indicators differ from GPS ground speed even in the absence of wind. This difference is because GPS measures horizontal speed whereas a wind indicator measures angular speed (see polar curve). Some manufacturers offer a combined GPS and vario/altimeter instrument, which will eventually be ideal when battery problems are resolved. All competition flights are recorded via GPS instead of the usual taking of photographs at various turn points.
A compass can be useful for finding your bearings and navigating to a point, but now this instrument is largely replaced by GPS units. A compass can still be a useful backup if your GPS fails due to low batteries. Compasses tend to be of little use if you inadvertently enter a cloud because once you start turning they lag or lead your turn and may swing wildly. There are various
types of compasses available. The best compass for your purposes is the floating ball type which allows the housing to be tipped which is what will happen when you bank into a turn.
Water Ballast Bag
This item is a plastic bag which can be filled with about 10 kg (22 lbs) of water. Adding weight can compensate for a lighter weight pilot flying a glider designed for a heavier pilot, thus achieving greater flying speed and better control. In contrast to solid loads such as metal weights, a waterbag can be emptied to lighten the load during flight. It has the added advantage of being able to transport drinking water, which may be consumed via a tube.
Emergency parachutes are compulsory devices for all flights. They come in various forms: round, round with stabilizer holes, pulled down apex and annular. The pilot effects its release by hand throwing, though there exists an ejectable system via rocket or spring. An ejected rocket can possibly entangle the wing and in any case adds excess weight to the whole configuration. Several guided reserve designs (rectangular shaped) are capable of forward motion with a glide ratio of 2 or 3 to 1. However, I believe it is best to keep things simple. Thus, a good quality, swiftly refoldable manual reserve is all that is needed. More will be said of reserve parachutes in the section on SIV courses where you will learn how to use a reserve and how specialists pack it.
The pilot is pulling the B Lines in order to stop the wing flying
Anyone inappropriately dressed for mountain conditions will soon realize their mistake. Light running shoes, heeled shoes, thin socks and tights, non-wind proof jackets and so on do not stand up to rough terrain and biting winds. Take care to wrap up in proper gear, but avoid overdressing. The layered approach is wisest since it allows you to adjust your body's heat loss. Be cautious of wearing jewelry which can catch lines.
What to Wear:
1. Climbing boots with a low heel and thick woolen winter socks. A good quality pair of boots will have the Vibram (yellow logo) soles. 2. A full-length windsuit. In the absence of a gliding suit, wear wind proof jacket.
3. A sweatshirt with long sleeves in summer and a fleece jacket in winter. 4. A "balaclava" is a necessity in winter but can also be useful in summer at high altitude. Balaclava is a city in Russia where they first used this head protection in the Second World War.
5. Helmet covering the entire face and ears, but not a totally enclosed motorcycle type, so that your ability to judge space and movement in the air is not impaired. A more or open-style helmet not made from polystyrene is suitable. Every helmet should have passed your country's standard such as DIN 33954. Make sure it fits properly and that you know beforehand how to unfasten it readily. 6. Gloves should be worn at all times, no matter what the season to avoid cutting your hands with the lines during ground control or attempting "big ears".
7. Finally, lip balm and sunblock are necessary accessories on certain days of the year. Also UV blocking sunglasses, preferably with lenses that block blue light help to distinguish the formation of thermal cumulus.
Get dressed appropriately Paragliding is a way of life. Its equipment should not be considered an expense but a necessity in terms of protection.
Why do we Feel Cold and in Which Way do Clothes Shield us From it?
Our body produces heat in order to keep us warm. When we are in a cold environment, heat is lost from our body to the outside. As a result, body temperature falls and we feel cold. This phenomenon appears more intensive when we perspire, which means that heat is also spent to evaporate water. This problem can be solved with clothes which prevent heat movement to the outside. \
We will better comprehend the properties of the fibers we will examine below if we first apprehend two fundamental ideas: a. The regain of a fiber sample, which is equal to the quotient of the water mass to its dry mass. b. Heat, which is produced from a textile material during moisture absorption, is called heat of absorption (or differential heat of sorption). This is a positive characteristic of textiles, as they can make us feel warm. Unfortunately, when there is saturation of moisture in a textile material (it is absolutely soaked) then the heat of absorption decreases rapidly to zero. • Polyester: Organic compounds category. In our case they are used for fiber production. Polyester presents very low regain. It absorbs very little water from the air, and as a result it is very easy to dry. At the same time it doesn't absorb heat from our body to evaporate water, so we don't feel cold. Even if snow sticks to this textile or if it has absorbed a large amount of water, both can be easily removed by simply shaking the cloth. This is due to its low absorption. The draw back of polyester at least in comparison to wool is that it has a low rate of absorption. Polyester is very light in relation to the thermal insulation it provides. In addition, synthetic fibers are ideal for velour or the bulky form of Fleece or Pile because of their long length and their resistance to moisture. Polyester is the best synthetic material for these applications. Finally, the
water repellent treatment, which is nothing more than a chemical treatment, although not permanent, increases the efficiency of water repellence, yet maintains breathability. • Pile: Fabrics made from knitted fibers with a special refinement to provide bulk and thus warmth. • Wool: First of all, wool has a very high rate of absorption and provides more warmth than polyester, even when wet. Its resistance to flexibility makes it different from other fibers. Wool fibers can flex 20,000 times without breaking, while cotton fibers can stand only 3,000 times. These are the reasons why wool fibers have been used for centuries as thermal insulation. It would be wrong to say that we shouldn't use wool, because not only is it aesthetically pleasing but it has many beneficial properties. However, wool has two great disadvantages for paragliding: a. Wool fabrics take a long time to dry because of the fiber construction and the enormous quantity of water they can absorb. This absorption will significantly increase the fabric's weight. b. They are considered heavy, even when dry, in relation to polyester. • Cotton and silk have a low rate of absorption. The only advantages of cotton are its increased resistance to friction up to 30% when wet and it has good breathability. On the other hand, it takes a long time to dry. Silk is a very good thermal insulator, but its resistance to friction decreases up to 30% when it is wet. In addition, it is very expensive. • Fleece: Fabrics of a special knit and brushing process, that they provide warmth. First appeared in the 70s. Berber Fleece - A polyester blend with a soft, drapey feel and natural look. Its lightweight characteristics and open weave make it a full-season fabric that is highly breathable. E.C.O. Sport Fleece - (Environmentally Correct Origins) A warm, breathable blend of 87% recycled soda bottles (melted down and spun into yarn) and 13% virgin polyester. Maintains its insulation properties even when it's completely soaked. The latest generation of fleece retains all the performance characteristics of non-recycled fleece while being kind to the environment. Micro Fleece - An incredibly soft yet technically advanced material that offers superior warmth without bulk and weight. Dries quickly, does not hold odor-causing bacteria and is pill-resistant. This material will become your best friend and is great for layering. WindJammer Fleece - Double faced, no pill polyester fleece. Blocks up to 80% of the wind without lamination. • Nylon is undesirable as it doesn't breathe enough to avoid soaking, although it has the lowest water absorption after polyester (4%). Polyvinyl - Also known as Vinyl coated polyester, this is the same material used on truck tarps and climbing haul bags. We use a lighter version that is said to last 7-8 years outside. This is the most UV resistant fabric known and is manufactured by Critter. Spectra Cordura - An unmistakable material with white Spectra ripstop reinforcements on black Cordura. Marathon Cordura - A rugged, air-textured nylon that's highly abrasion resistant and able to withstand the toughest conditions mnufactured by DuPont. Coated with urethane on the inside. Packcloth - An Oxford weave material that is tough, lightweight and easy to pack. Urethane and DWR (Durable Water Repellant) coating. Cyclone Microfiber Nylon - A lightweight and durable nylon that offers a balance of waterrepellency and breathability. Microfiber nylon achieves a superior performance due to the construction of the material without additional coatings or laminates. Milestone Supplex - A 3-ply 100% Supplex nylon that is not only strong but still supple, with a cotton-like hand and DWR finish. It dries fast and resists abrasion. Ripstop - A woven fabric with small squares produced by extra threads. This will prevent tears from spreading. Care Instructions For All Materials: Cold or lukewarm wash use powdered detergent only. Do not use bleach or softeners. Tumble dry low. Do not dry clean or iron. For best results with fleece garments, turn inside out.
The popularity and accessibility of paragliding has compelled theoreticians to simplify the fundamentals of aerodynamics so that it can be more comprehensible to everyone. In my attempt to follow this spirit in my book, I will explain Bernoulli's general law or principle, along with the concepts of glide ratio and polar curve, all of which will be outlined shortly. It is thanks to its aerodynamic wing that a paraglider is able to fly, and flying speed depends on the shape of the wing, which is specially designed and manufactured. During the launching procedure, as the wing is pulled overhead, air entering from the front fills the wing and internal pressure is built up, thus enabling it to take on its intended shape. The air enters the central part of the wing and circulates to build up pressure in the closed wing tips making a semi-rigid, more or less solid, wing.
At this point, the wing is inflated and aloft. While the wing is flying the air that meets the leading edge (front edge) is forced to separate into two airflows. Due to its design, the wing is almost flat underneath whereas it is curved above.
The lower portion of the separated airflow continues its course smoothly below, while the upper
flow follows a larger course over the curved upper surface. The two flows meet simultaneously at the rear of the wing. According to Bernoulli's law of physics, accelerated air reduces the pressure the air exerts on a surface, thus there is less pressure on the upper wing side and more pressure on the lower side. Thus due to this difference in pressure the wing acquires lift, an upward force that enables the wing to fly. If we take the analysis a little further, we can distinguish an other force. The opposite force to lift, which is gravity. According to Newton's law, all objects fall to Earth at a rate of acceleration of 9.8 meter per sec2 (32 ft/sec2), which in the case of our wing, is opposed or slowed down by the aerodynamic forces.
The aerodynamic forces can be separated into those that work to offset gravity and those that impede forward progress. These latter forces are called drag. Added to this drag is friction, which also impedes the glider.
There are 3 sources of friction and drag:
1. Friction on the wing surface from air passage. 2. Resistance of the wing, lines and pilot as solid bodies blocking the airflow. 3. Vortices or swirls on the tips of the wing. The result of all the forces balancing on the wing is the capacity of the paraglider to fly steadily in a gradual downward sloping direction. The only way we may gain altitude is if the surrounding air current is ascending enough to offset our gradual sinking. As we fly along, our forward motion creates an airflow called the relative wind, which is the wind we feel blowing in our face. Our forward motion through the air and relative wind have the same speed. In practice, the wing starts to move through the air when we begin loading it and aerodynamic forces build up. Paraglider designers have been trying to achieve greater lift and lower drag, thus improving performance. This is, however, a balancing act since wings enjoying large spans and little chord
(depth) produce better performance but are more susceptible to collapse and require greater piloting skills. In other words, designers can create the perfect wing in terms of performance but safety may be compromised. The important factor is always safety and this is where experienced test pilots assist in development. Theory and practice have improved the gliders to a high level compared to the older gliders. Let us now analyze forces and the angles that result from them:
Description of Terms
R: Attitude angle is the angle between the chord of the wing and the horizon. It is positive above and negative below the said horizon. A: The angle of attack is the angle between the chord line of a wing and the relative wind (which is exactly opposite to the flight direction). Angle of attack typically ranges from 3º to 12º for a paraglider. Below 0º a negative lift is produced, and above 15º or so a stall occurs. F: The flight angle is the angle between the horizon and the flight direction or path. RW: Relative wind is produced by our wing during forward motion in the air. It has the same axis but opposite direction to the flight path. Glide Ratio: Horizontal distance traveled divided by height loss. Glide Ratio = Distance/Height. The angle of descent is the angle your path makes with the horizon and is the same as flight angle. The mean camber line is the line from the leading edge to the rear edge of the wing, each point of which is of equal distance below and above the wing. The shape of this line determines a wing's aerodynamic features.
Angle of attack
The angle of attack changes the aerodynamic balance of a wing. At higher angles of attack the airflow must alter its path more to move past the wing. Thus lift and drag increase and the wing slows down. If we reduce our angle of attack, lift and drag will drop and the weight will accelerate the wing downwards and forwards. Acceleration will cease eventually because lift and drag build back up since they depend on the speed of the airflow over the wing. Thus, at a lower angle of attack, constant speed is attained which is greater than that at a higher angle of attack. We can conclude that adjusting the angle of attack will result in our wing speed being altered. Pulling on the brakes or applying the speed bar is what modifies the angle of attack on a paraglider. By the same logic, a constant angle of attack is equivalent to a constant flying speed. A wing does not necessarily have the same angle of attack in the middle and at its tips, due to the way it is designed. This is the wing's washout, meaning the wing tips have a progressively different angle of attack from the center of the wing. Usually the wingtips have a lower angle of attack due to the towing's shape, and when we change the angle of attack by pushing the speed bar the edges are affected more. In flight, the angle of attack can only be adjusted to a small degree, as the wing is highly pliable and subject to collapse. If we try to fly at too high an angle of attack the wing proceeds too slowly and a stall will result. If we lower the angle of attack beyond a certain limit the wing flies much faster, but will be subject to collapse.
A paraglider has a very limited speed range. Below the minimum speed the wing enters a stall. This happens if the angle of attack is increased too much so the airflow over the upper of the wing is unsteady and the forward motion of the wing is stopped. A stall is a result of an error performed by the pilot. In SIV Maneuvers we describe how a stall can be produced by the pilot and the procedure to recover from it. In flight a stall can occur if the pilot is flying at low speed and encounters a sudden ascending air mass. This upward moving air will momentarily increase the wing's angle of attack possibly beyond the stall angle of attack. The stall speed is the specific speed point where the wing stops flying. This occurs at one angle of attack for the same wing loading of a paraglider (or any aircraft). When the wing enters a stall the pilot maintains the control and altitude is lost. The recovery from a stall depends on the reaction of the pilot. He should gradually release the brakes to normal position (about shoulder height). Most of the training wings will recover in 2-3 seconds. Stalling close to the ground can lead to an accident if sufficient recovery altitude is not available. Flying at low speeds near the ground is dangerous.
Manufacturers usually quote minimum and maximum flying speed for a design. Speed will be affected by altitude, but for now let's not concern ourselves with that since comparisons must be made under similar conditions. When we talk of flying speed called "V trim", we mean the wing's speed without applying any pressure on the brakes or speed bar. This speed relates to the trim angle of attack and it is the flying condition a wing will return to when the pilot releases the controls in smooth air.
Glide Ratio in Relation to the Ground
This factor is the ratio between the ground distance covered divided by height loss. See the drawings below. For example, when a manufacturer refers to a glide ratio as say, 8:1 (read eight to one), this means that for every distance of 800 m covered, there will be a loss of a height of 100 m at a constant speed in the absence of wind. However, if at 30 km/h airspeed and in no wind the glide ratio is 8:1, with a headwind of 15 km/h a distance of 400 m over the ground will be covered, thus the glide ratio over the ground will be reduced to 4:1. On the other hand, in a tail wind of 15 km/h 1200 m will be covered and glide ratio will be 12:1.
So you see, that while our glide ratio through the air only depends on our angle of attack, our glide ratio over the ground also depends on the wind speed and dire-ction. More about glide ratio will be discussed in the section on polar curve.
Steady State Speed and Speed in Equilibrium
This is an appropriate moment to discuss a paraglider's steady state speed in the air. This speed is the speed given (by an earnest manufacturer) for a particular angle of attack and altitude. It can be read from an accurate airspeed indicator while in the air. Remember that in flight we can feel relative wind only, not the actual wind moving in relation to the ground. Only through such measurements can we laculate accurate airspeeds. Thus, there are two important and distinctive speeds: 1. Airspeed (our relative motion through the air) and 2. Groundspeed (our speed relative to the ground). When flying speed is 30 km/h in a 30 km/h head wind, then our groundspeed is zero. As a result, the paraglider has no forward motion and will descend vertically. If a 10 km/h tail wind exists, flying speed will be 30 km/h as measured by an airspeed indicator, while groundspeed will be 30+10 = 40 km/h. To clarify, imagine that we are walking along an escalator in a direction opposite its movement. If both speeds are the same (our walking and the escalator motion) we make no progress forward unless we increase our walking speed; then we progress at the rate of the difference in speed. When both motions go in the same direction, the speeds are added together. (See drawings on page 114.) On a paraglider, wind strong enough to give us a backward ground motion would be a serious matter. In the vicinity of a hill side or mountain slope the problem is more severe if we end up
moving backwards over the peak and then on the leeward side of the hill, where we will be confronted with turbulence. High wind speed is a complicated and dangerous factor in flying. We must learn to evaluate the conditions carefully and remain within the limits of our glider's capabilities and our flying skill level. In the chapter on cross-country flying we will see that long distance flights are sometimes performed with the aid of high-speed winds at great height. Your instructor will provide valuable information to help you build an evaluation of wind conditions (also see the section on meteorology).
The Polar Curve
On a graph or diagram where descent rate and flying speed are recorded, we can create a curve which will define the glide ratio for the entire range of speeds a paraglider can achieve. Measurements should be done in the absence of wind, lifting air or sinking air. The descent rate in vertical speed is measured in meters per second (m/s) or feet per minute (FPM). We can read the descent rate as displayed on our variometer. An airspeed indicator measures our paraglider's speed. By flying at a constant rate we can get a descent rate related to each distinct airspeed. Then we divide airspeed by descent rate to get the glide ratio at that airspeed. Alternatively, we can carry out a number of flights with each one being different in speed but held constant during the flight. Then, we count the distance covered and divide by height loss (takeoff to landing) and come up with the glide ratio.
The minimum sink rate is not achieved at the same speed as the speed for best glide.
We can record these data and then place them onto the graph. Example (note the same process yields the same results if you use English units): 20 km/h 1.8 m/sec. descent rate = Glide ratio of 3.08 29 km/h 1.1 m/sec. descent rate = Glide ratio of 7.3 34 km/h 1.3 m/sec. descent rate = Glide ratio of 7.26 42 km/h 1.6 m/sec. descent rate = Glide ratio of 7.29 51 km/h 2.9 m/sec. descent rate = Glide ratio of 4.88 From the chart we see that the minimum sink rate is 1.1 m/sec (216 FPM) at 29 km/h (18 mph) and the optimum glide ratio 8.1 at a sink rate of 1.3 m/sec (255 FPM) at 34 km/h (21 mph). (Drawing on page 56.) From the same polar curve we can observe that by flying at a speed that produces the smallest descent ratio we cover a shorter distance than when flying at a higher speed and a slightly greater descent rate. The optimum glide ratio over the ground changes with the prevailing conditions
An optimum glide ratio is one that allows us to cover the greatest distance. If however, on carrying out the very same measurements in either descending or ascending air current conditions or head wind, tail wind or any combination of these factors, then we will discover that the optimum glide ratio will no longer occur at the speed we arrived at above. The speed will have to be adjusted to
attain the optimum glide ratio over the ground for the prevailing conditions. An optimum glide ratio over the ground is attained: • At a higher flying speed in headwind or descending current. • At a lower speed in a tail wind or ascending air current. An alteration in wing loading or weight (e.g. waterbag, personal dimensions) will alter the polar curve. The greater the wing loading, the greater the vertical speed, forward speed, Vmax and Vmin and of course, the faster the running start on launch. Furthermore, on landing, heavier pilots will have greater momentum and more tension will have to be applied to the brakes. But note the: glide ratio doesn't change. Although the descent rate and flying speed do differ, they increase by the same factor so their comparison remains the same producing the same glide ratio.
The optimum glide ratio is the same for two pilots of different weights but is attained at different speeds
Manufacturers invariably quote an optimum glide ratio with an angle of attack of 14 degrees and no, or very little, pull on the brakes. But this is in still air. In head winds or descending air current brakes should not be applied, but perhaps we'll need to use
the speed-bar system depending on the wind's strength. Conversely, tail winds and ascending air currents require reduced speed to achieve optimum glide over the ground. Thus, some brake input is warranted.
Aerodynamics - Conclusion
As it was referred to at the beginning of this chapter, the aim of simplifying the matter of aerodynamics is to provide pilots with a greater understanding of it. We discussed the principle behind Bernoulli's law, the meaning of glide ratio and, last but not least, the polar curve. However there still remains a number of questions to be answered: A. Does Bernoulli's law explain how an aerodynamic wing produces lift? It does so in mathematical terms, but does not intuitively describe what happens on the level of physics. B. How exactly do aerodynamic symmetrical wings fly and produce lift? Also, how do aerodynamic asymmetrical wings, such as those that several gliders have, fly upside down and produce lift? The answer is easy to understand if we remember Newton's principle of action and reaction. By deflecting the air downward with the wing we create an upward force of equal magnitude on the wing. The upper surface of the wing does the most deflecting because it is curved more than the lower surface in a typical airfoil. Thus, the upper surface develops the most lift. However, with a symmetrical airfoil or one flying upside down, the lift is more balanced between the upper and lower surfaces. Even so, with a positive angle of attack the upper surface deflects more air and creates more lift. C. What exactly does glide ratio mean? Glide ratio is essentially an aerodynamic constant that depends on an angle of attack; a constant angle of attack produces a constant glide ratio. To clarify, glide ratio is the ratio of horizontal speed divided by vertical speed, or horizontal distance divided by vertical distance since over a given period of time the two (speed and distance) are proportional. But glide ratio can also be given by the ratio of lift divided by drag, which is known as L over D (written L/D). The reason for this equality is that lift is always proportional to horizontal speed and drag is always proportional to vertical speed in a glider in steady flight. So we use glide ratio and L/D to mean the same thing: glide efficiency through the air. On the other hand, in moving air (horizontal or vertical) our glide ratio in the air is not the same as that over the ground. As a consequence, we use the terms "angle of descent" or "glide ratio over the ground" to describe our glide path in relation to the ground. Only in zero air movement the angle of descent is the same as L/D or glide ratio in the air. For reasons of simplicity we use the term "glide ratio" to mean glide ratio over the ground as described in this book.
When confronted momentarily with an ascending air current, the paraglider climbs since the angle of attack has increased. A pilot shouldn't exacerbate the situation by applying brakes thus increasing it further; if he does, the wing may stall. Such a momentary situation constitutes a transitional phase resulting in the wing leaning slightly back from the overhead perpendicular position. Likewise, during the opposite situation of entering descending air, the paraglider will lean forward since the attack angle lowers for a short length of time. In such a case, momentary pressure on the
brakes is enough to increase the angle and thus avoid the propability of a collapse (either frontal or asymmetric).
In More Practical Terms:
1. On entering a thermal current, we should fly at V trim, then reduce flying speed for enhanced sink rate plus extra time in the lift. The opposite action is appropriate when entering a descending air current. Here, we simply reduce speed on initial impact. Then we increase speed to reduce our time spent in this adverse situation. 2. When gliding between thermals, our concern is to obtain optimum glide ratio and induce our paraglider to fly steadily, without jerking or oscillating. This active flying involves perfecting controls that anticipate proper reactions. Of course a little experience will help matters. Flying while letting up slightly on the brakes will allow us to have speed in reserve and to be ready for acceleration or braking where appropriate. 3. In mild conditions, shifting your body to the outside of the turn will aid the wing in turning horizontally, the turn circle grows and loss of altitude is kept to a bare minimum. Experienced pilots who know where the minimum speed of their glider appears should be able to perform this special maneuver. 4. Use smooth movement when controlling your paraglider. Don't be aggressive with this sensitive flying machine. Think of your wing as a friend and be gentle.
Every system suspended in the air or moving in the atmosphere may rotate about 3 axes. Here we'll define these axes. These terms are important since they let us talk about controls. Roll: Rotation about the longitudinal axis, which is an axis going forward and back. Example: Turning right, the right tip of the wing goes down and the left side is goes up, thus we rotate about an axis through the center of the wing. Pitch: Rotation about the lateral axis, which is an axis from side to side. Example: When we apply brakes, the angle of attack increases and the paraglider noses up, thus we rotate about an axis drawn from wingtip to wingtip. Yaw: Rotation about the vertical axis, which is an axis going up or down. Example: The left wing moves forward and the right wing backwards. We have yawed right and rotated about an axis passing vertically through the wing. We call such rotation a change of heading. These three axes meet on the Center of Gravity (C.G.) of the wing. A stable flight in straight and level direction is achieved when there's no rotation about any of these three axes. This chapter ends here. Let's forget theory for a while and let's go flying!
Launching and Landing
Preparing for Launching
In practice, launching constitutes the initial phase of flying, and perhaps the most important stage in terms of adhering to safety. Any decision to go up is affected by a number of factors and everything to do with that flight has to be scrutinized and examined meticulously before we launch ourselves off the ground. When weather conditions are unfamiliar it is better to hold back during a launch to get a feel for the prevailing conditions. Through experience this process will become second nature and you will feel safer. On certain occasions when pilots do feel nervous or apprehensive when flying. This is quite normal. Take competition flying for example. Everyone is always nervous just before a race and the nervous anticipation felt just before the wind dummy pilots launch is characteristic. Despite this, this feeling should not allow us to become over-inhibited on all occasions. There is no doubt that an instructor's or experienced pilot's presence can be a comforting factor that provides a sense of safety. What we do is study the weather conditions, track down the landing site, inspect the launching site and form a flight plan. All flights have alternatives and choices. If we are unfamiliar with a site, we will need the help of a local pilot to find out about any particularities the area might entail. There is nothing more reckless a pilot can do than go off the beaten track and attempt to fly over an area without studying the terrain and conditions. Through experience, you will learn to practice data collecting and observe prevailing conditions while you're around the launching area.
Building a "wall"
Here are a few rules concerning when not to attempt a launch:
1. In winds of more than 25 km/h (15 mph) and maximum gusts of more than 2/3 your wing speed. 2. In winds that are sudden and that vary by 10 km/h (6 mph) or more. 3. In crosswinds of more than a 45o angle. 4. When storm clouds are approaching or in unfavorable weather forecasts. 5. With strong winds blowing at landing or which have a direction opposite that at launching. 6. Sense of insecurity, fear, lack of morale or well-being felt by the pilot. It goes without saying that quick thinking and decisiveness are a great asset. In addition, flying requires confidence after a series of decision-making routines, which lead the pilot to fly with total awareness.
Lay out the paraglider perpendicular to the direction of the wind. A pilot must be aligned within the wind's axis and at the center of the wing. This is a fundamental point, which leads to the most frequent error among beginner pilots. It is so simple yet it is not applied in practice, especially when the wind direction changes and no appropriate position adjustment is carried out for the wing, body and running direction. Consider the wind speed and terrain. In light winds the wing's center should be drawn a little further away from us on most gliders. On rough ground, bunch and secure lines into two sets, left and right, rather than have them spread out normally to minimize snagging. Check lines meticulously and, if possible, inflate the wing before taking off so as to tension the lines without tangling.
Da dealer in Alpine launch
Launching procedures must be carried out in such a way that will ensure that nothing will be omitted from the very beginning. By acquiring the right habits we are able to reduce the odds of making an error in the future. In short, an "aviator conscience", leaving nothing to chance. Before preparing for launch, strap yourself into the paraglider, preflight your harness (all straps) and put on your protective helmet. Then: 1. Check harness risers, speed bar, the lines for any tangling, reserve parachute handle and whether carabiners are secured. 2. Turn on your instruments and radio. 3. Tighten the strap of your helmet and wear gloves at all times. 4. Check whether the landing site is unoccupied and whether anyone is flying around it. 5. Check wind direction. Don't laugh: It's surprising how many pilots forget to give their friends their car keys to drive down for retrieve!
Choose when to launch and with your hands outstretched down behind your hips or flexed at shoulder height, grasp the brakes and A risers. When the wind is suitable, start your forward run while tugging at the wing. In a light wind pull harder, in a stronger wind tug lightly. It is also correct, something which German paragliding schools also recommend, to position your hands over your shoulders.
At this point our run will slow a bit due to the tug of the wing, but maintain the pull and wait for the wing to come up. The wing will follow an arcing course until it comes overhead. At this point, verify that the wing is in a well-inflated condition, while still running, then produce a stronger run with decisive, long strides and sprint with the chest or body thrust forward. Keep your knees bent, enabling your pulling force to be effective. As the wing attains minimum flying speed you will begin to feel lighter, then you should apply smooth, gradual pressure on the brakes. If by mistake you over-brake, release the brakes smoothly and gradually. Your paraglider is very sensitive at this stage. You are now airborne but wait a little and then assume a harnessed position. The wing is still at a low speed and vulnerable. Do not apply heavy controls and never remove your hands from the brakes. You can use one hand to get comfortable while grasping both brakes with the other. If you have your leg straps quite tight, the entrance into the harness is easier.
Reverse launching involves turning around to face the wing and pulling it up, then turning back around to run for takeoff. This launch technique allows optimum wing control during pull up and tangling of lines can be spotted more easily. It's an essential technique in areas where launching sites are dotted with shrubs and rocks. In practical terms it is common sense to perform numerous ground control reverse inflations before trying to reverse launch. Reverse launching is not recommended in light winds of 0 to 5 km/ h (below 3 mph), but it is ideal in all other conditions. I will describe below two methods of grasping the front risers for reverse inflation launching. For both techniques the brakes are in their correct position when the pilot turns to the front. The left hand will always be holding the left-hand brake and the right the right-hand one. No other position for the brakes should be considered. Hands are merely placed onto the brakes, similar to an alpine launch, and the pilot turns to the left (or right if preferred) and swings the right risers over his head so that he is facing towards the wing. You should acquire the habit of turning in the same direction every time.
Reverse Launch - First Method
In the reverse position grasp the left-hand A riser with your right hand and grasp the right-hand A riser with your left hand. (Remember to hold the brakes in the correct hand). Make sure the risers are not tangled in any way. The brake lines, the risers and the lines are threaded in a fairly complex fashion, but as long as they aren't tangled everything will fall into place. Back up to take the slack out of the lines then raise your arms evenly and lean your body back to tension the wing's lines and allow the wing to inflate with air. Continue backward pressure until the canopy follows an upward arc over your head. It is necessary to carry out these actions with proper coordination: push upwards with your hands and pull with your body erect. Initially the force you must apply must be equivalent to the strength of the wind. Just before the wing rises into the overhead position, let go of the front risers smoothly and gradually while continuing to move backwards briskly and steadily. Maintain a steady pull on the wing while striding backwards then turn around to face the flying direction. Rotate forward when the canopy is slightly back from an overhead position. If you wait you may be pulled off backwards. Apply
brakes if necessary to halt the canopy's course and do not let it overrun you before you rotate forward. When you start feeling lighter continue running, apply slight pressure on the brakes and lift off. This technique may cause some confusion in brake handling prior to rotating to the forward direction since the brakes make matters worse, when you have already lifted off.
Reverse Launch First Method
Reverse Launch - Second Method
This method is recommended in strong winds. Here we are given the opportunity to control the wing's ascent using C or D risers (on gliders with four risers). Swing round to face the wing with the brakes firmly held in the correct hand while at the same time holding both A risers with one hand, at the small carabiners. With the other hand grasp the C or D risers (not necessarily at the small carabiner) and pull on them with a twisting motion with the palm of that hand turned downwards. A frequent error that many beginners fall in to is that they pull on the rear risers too hard. You should pull on these risers when you want to hold the wing back or when you prepare for a launch. Another point that you must comprehend is that the body, not the hands, should pull the risers. The hands are supposed to lift up the risers while your body pulls the canopy. That means that you should hold the A risers in tension. Now you are ready. Tug the front risers upwards, lean back and tension the wing lines, then pause as the wing flies overhead, all the while controlling the speed of rise with the D risers. I stress controlling, not pulling, the D risers. If on pull-up the wing leans over to one side, correct this misalignment by displacing the left hand towards the leaning side and vice-versa evenly and smoothly so that the wing is steered in the right direction. Do not fight the wing's force if it pulls you rearward, but follow through by tugging the A risers forward. In this case do not use the rear (D) risers as they reduce the wing's speed. All maneuvers are meant to bring the wing overhead and slightly behind in vertical align- ment and are meant to keep it there as you turn around forward and efficiently lift off. In higher winds, no initial sprint is necessary and brakes are hardly applied. If a wind is stronger, A and B, or C and D risers can be grasped. Launching in strong winds is a matter of technique, not brute strength. Every wing has its own features and performance behavior during launch. Thus, the answer to any problem is ground control. Whether you are a beginner or advanced pilot, you will always need to practice ground handling. Having said that, ground
sequences during launch often vary. This is because of the difference in the incline and of the conditions at different sites.
Reverse Launch - 2nd method
In all likelihood we will be seeing pilots lift off using different reverse launch techniques, such as holding the front risers crosswise and rotating forward very swiftly. This technique is very good but requires practice. You should avoid letting go of the brakes, turning forward and then trying to grab them again to lift off because you run the risk of losing control. Let's not acquire such a bad habit as it's difficult, if not impossible, to shake off.
VIDEO A launch [Source DHV] Some common errors made by student pilots: 1. Pulling down on the brakes too abruptly, then letting them go abruptly. 2. Trying to position themselves in the harness using both hands while holding the brakes. 3. Relying on the brakes when the canopy has not reached flying speed and is unstable during
launch. 4. Hanging on to the risers to get into the harness. 5. Trying to sit in the harness before the paraglider reaches flying speed. 6. Wrong position of the paraglider or body to the wind direction.
1. A launch is accomplished by building up speed and not so much by braking. 2. During launch, hands should move more freely and liberally as opposed to the rest of the body, since they are controlling the brakes. 3. Launching should be a smooth maneuver. Do not move abruptly. A gradual, even motion and lots of ground control are sufficient to produce consistent, smooth launching.
Additional Problems on Launching
1. Overflying wing: The canopy may pass too far over your head because brakes are not applied in a timely fashion or you do not accelerate your run. If the wing doesn't pull up when you are running, do not rush into things; hold back and let the wing enter the flying phase before starting to sprint. A tug on the brakes could be a subconscious error here too. 2. Wing pulls up at an angle: The causes of this problem could be that you have assumed a wrong position in relation to the wind or you have applied too much pressure to one brake at the expense of the other. Resolve this problem by carefully aligning your wing to the wind and applying brakes evenly. Practice! The paraglider is the only free flight configuration that enables the pilot to abort a launch.
When to Abort a Launch:
1. When the wing is entangled or the lines are twisted. 2. Suspicion of a broken line or of the rigging or the wing has caught on to something. 3. One side of the wing pulls up unopened and cannot be corrected. 4. Wing steers in a different direction to that intended. 5. Wing inflation does not feel quite right. 6. The wind's strength carries you up the hill. 7. Another pilot is launching close to you. 8. A glider passes in front of the launch area
How to Abort a Launch:
This process cannot be outlined with any great precision because it depends on a number of factors. The procedure involves arresting forward motion so that the paraglider ends up on the ground. The best technique is to pull the C and D risers towards the ground, thus actively interrupting the flight. Many of us commonly use both brakes, which is often a good idea in light wind conditions. In strong winds, however, there is the risk that by pulling on the brakes you will be lifted off the ground inadvertently. This can be dangerous because you may be carried backwards rapidly. Think about what is safest for you as you practice. Pulling on one brake while at the same time moving in the same direction parallel to the slope can help you abort a launch. However, when I tried this I found my face in close contact with the ground. Some pilots use this technique with success. Whatever method you use, don't be hesitant about it and practice a lot. A large number of experienced pilots go through a trial inflation launch just to experience the prevailing conditions. This is where the wing is provides us with important feedback. Through experience we learn to pinpoint any problems that may occur during the initial phase of launching. Provided conditions are appropriate, we can lift off; otherwise we should abort the launch and sit it out. A reference was made earlier to the difference in the two conditions: Light winds and Strong winds. For the former, you may choose to step back a meter and slacken the lines so as to take full benefit of your initial acceleration. Upon feeling the pull of the wing diminish and seeing the wing overhead, you will need to move more briskly without applying the brakes until you experience the gradual feeling of weightlessness, which signals that the launch is well under way. In strong winds a different approach needs to be applied. Such a launch can present danger. You should never attempt anything without first going through the procedure of ground control. A large number of pilots request assistance from other pilots to avoid getting swept backwards in the strong wind. This assistance is called anchoring and is especially common in tandem flights. Whoever offers to assist you must be considered an extra weight load. The assistant must follow the pilot's movements and release him when he says so. Personally, I find this procedure a little hazardous.
Launch with strong wind. Observe the pilot's position.
If you cannot launch alone, then it is better not to fly at all. During the stand-by period at the launch area it is advisable to have someone hold down the wing middle section so that it doesn't inflate uncontrollably. Do not pull on the A risers otherwise you may find yourself grasping and pulling on the D risers to come back to earth. An experienced pilot in attendance and the availability of a wind indicator is imperative here. Enjoy your flight.
Preparing for Landing
While flying, you should always have in mind how you are going to land, so you will need to know the direction and speed of the wind at ground level. This can be done by simple observation with the naked eye: look for clues such as wind streamers, direction of fumes or smoke, flags, rustling of leaves, litter being blown about, birds flocking or ask another pilot via radio and last but not least, note how other pilots are landing (but do not assume every pilot can judge and land properly). If all else fails, we can always do a 360º turn and detect the drift direction with respect to the ground. Invariably, when preparing to land you should already have selected the safest landing path: this is the one with the fewest obstacles, both on the approach to and beyond the landing area. A safe landing path is our safety. In free flight we must learn to foresee possible problems before they actually occur. This is the only way of thinking which leads to safe flying without unpleasant surprises. A paraglider can allow precision landing performance. Experience is the key to landing in intended places with accuracy. Beware of getting caught behind trees, power lines, rocky terrain, and so on. During flight, due to the height, obstacles can appear tiny and insignificant but they can become insourmountable as we approach the ground. Therefore be very observant and think well in advance. Approach There are basically two ways of approaching the landing area:
1. First and foremost, the Classic Aircraft Approach.
With this approach you form a U-shape by flying downwind, crosswind then head wind in succession. This method allows for corrections by extending the approach legs, as you can see by the dotted lines in the diagram. Alternatively, an L-shape may be used with a crosswind leg and head wind leg respectively. I personally believe, this method provides complete precision for landing, provided the terrain is suitable. 2. The figure-8 Approach
This approach has become very popular, whereby the landing area is reached by making figure 8 turns with the turn spacing in direct proportion to the height above the field. The turns are then halted and the final leg is entered when the proper height has been lost. This approach is adaptable to the strength of the wind. If the wind at ground level is equal to the glider's speed, then the approach figure is executed right over your intended target.
Final Phase of Landing
Let's assume you are above the landing area in a head wind of 0 to 5 km/h (0 to 3 mph) and you are sitting upright in the harness. You are ready to land and are flying above ground level at a steady speed while at the same time you have applied the usual 2 kg (4lbs) worth of pressure on the brakes. You should be in a safe landing path. The process of pulling on the brakes during the final phase of landing is described by the word "flare". Two meters before touching down you should perform half a flare (apply brakes halfway). At 1 meter, perform a full flare (push the brakes down past your hips). In a wind of 5 to 10 km/h (3 to 6 mph) the same motions should be applied in a gradual and smooth manner. In higher wind speeds, use less and less amount of brakes up to winds of 20 to 25 km/h (12 to 15 mph), where no brakes should be appliedsimply control the canopy and descend. Do not assume that the process has finished as soon as you touch down. You must also land or drop the wing by pulling on the brakes or C or D risers. Make sure that you are not dragged or jerked backwards, which can occur in higher winds. The flight ends only when the wing touches down. Our aim is always to have the wing fall to the ground behind us. If, however, there is a light wind, we simply walk forward pulling ever so slightly on the brakes. In extreme conditions (wind faster than our flying speed) some pilots have jumped off their harness at a height of one meter from the ground, in order not to be dragged by the canopy. Personally, I performed B line stall one meter off the ground when I was going backwards at Piedrahita's (Spain) launch area. Another time I intentionally landed near a tree which caught the canopy and prevented it from dragging me over the ground. Usually trees are good fellows, but they cause turbulence in high winds and great care must be taken when trying to land.
Difficulties in Landing
A pilot must be prepared and cautious during landing in all conditions. The wing must be flying forward and stabilized. If you can see the sky, the canopy is too far behind and you should correct this by easing up on the brakes to speed up the canopy. If the canopy is in front of you, apply more brakes to center it above you. Perform cool confident maneuvers. I should point out here that such flight problems mainly concern more experienced pilots who fly under unstable conditions. On the other hand, a beginner has an instructor present and this should be well-shielded from most problems. Reference to these landing problems is necessary due to the structure of this book, but also because it is certain that you will have to deal with them in the future. So dear co-pilots: 1. Do not turn too close to the ground and always touch down in direct forward motion. If you make the error of being in a turn when touchdown occurs, do not touch down using the soles of the shoes, but merely the balls of the feet so that the body is able to rotate with ease. 2. Should the brake line snap or break, the rear risers need to be implemented to land the paraglider provided that practice has been done and your controls are made smoother than when pulling on brakes. On landing, problems are likely to occur which will be dealt with in later chapters such as: 1. The phenomenon of wind-gradient, which is when the wind velocity drops near the ground due to friction. This feature allows us to have a greater groundspeed at ground level but can also cause a stall. 2. Ascending air currents due to a releasing thermal bubble which causes turbulence and gain of height. 3. Descending air thermal currents which cause turbulence and sudden height loss.
4. Change in wind direction or strength at ground level. 5. General turbulence on the lee (downwind) side of obstacles causing an unstable wing.
Landing With Tail Wind
In tail wind landings you should allow the wing to fly fast over the ground with good airspeed and pull hard on the brakes one meter (3 feet) over the ground. You may feel more inclined to apply the brakes gradually, but this is a mistake for flare will not be sufficient to bring the canopy to zero airspeed. The perfect technique is to stall the wing when our feet touch the ground. The speed of the wing is converted to lift more efficiently if the wing has trimmers set to maximum. If you see that your ground speed is high, do not stand up and run because you will fall down. It is more wises to stay seated, bend your knees, land first on your feet and rotate into a PLF (see description later). Be prepared to B-line the wing because it will overpass you and drag you to the ground after landing. Landing with tail wind is a technique that is not safe and should be performed only to avoid a worse situation.
Top Landing This is a landing on the flat top surface of a mountain. You should approach this area by flying gradually to the desired flat landing area. When the incline flattens out, the lift from the wind diminishes because it is no longer deflected upward. However, there can be stronger horizontal wind due to the "Venturi effect" (wind increases velocity due to constricted flow.). Moreover, be cautious of turbulence or rotors behind the edge of the slope. A gently rounding edge is best for top landing unless your field is at least 100 m (300 feet) preferably more away from the edge. When you approach the landing area, do not get too far back because of the horizontal winds, and either perform figure 8s near your chosen spot, or in stronger winds lose altitude and angle downwind to just behind your landing point, then back into the wind on final. Apply the brakes and land normally. Be careful when you perform a top landing and observe the way other pilots are
approaching. Every mountain has different conditions and local pilots are the most experienced persons to guide you.
Kristof Kirch [The German Professor]
Landing Across a Slope
Landing on a sloped area is something that a paraglider can perform with reasonable caution and awareness of the limitations. Landing on slopes is a procedure for experienced pilots or lesser skilled pilots under supervision. You will remember your first slope or top landing with joy. First, you should note that paragliders cannot land heading up a steep slope as can their cousins, the hang gliders or sailplanes, because a paraglider doesn't have as much speed retention can land only sideways. Consequently, if a slope landing is necessary or desirable, you should land sideways or parallel to the slope irregardless of the wind direction, as long as it isn't a tail wind. In this manner you can land on a slope that has the same degree of incline as the takeoff area. You should approach the landing area by performing figure 8s and judge the strength and the exact direction of the wind. If the wind is crossing the slope, approach in the direction that gives you the greatest head wind component. As you get closer to the slope, let the wind ease you towards the hill by adjusting your crab angle (see the definition in "Problems in flight"). If there is wind, there will probably be some lift, so don't flare early. In fact, just as your foot is about to touch is nearly correct. If you do not succeed try again. Never apply the brakes or stall the wing if you see that you are a meter (3 feet) from the ground, because this may cause a spin or stall the wing. With a little practice you will find that side slope landings are easy.
Landing Across a Slope
Landing on inclination
As you approach the landing area of a downward slope or inclination you will notice that you are flying close to the ground for a longer period than over a flat surface, and that you are not able to judge the exact landing point. This may cause you to land at the end of your field where power lines or other obstacles may be present. You may feel you are "floating" along more than usual, but it is simply the ground dropping away from you. The trick is to exercise patience and be aware that your normal timing must be overcome. In a situation like this you should try to land vertical to the inclination or even upslope, if there is a slight inclination and you are facing a worse problem.
The best thing we can do is avoid any obstacles and pick out a safe landing path. When this is not feasible, we must play it by ear and act appropriately according to the prevailing conditions.
When landing in a tree is unavoidable, both feet should be held together firmly and the eyes should be shielded with one hand from the branches. If possible, pull sharply onthe brakes, before crashing.
The most important thing is to grab the tree to avoid dropping down. Sometimes landing in a tree is the solution to a worse scenario. After having landed in a tree or other obstacle, the line lengths have to be inspected to see if they have been stretched. Comparing left side to right side can do for checking.
When a water landing is imminent, try to release the straps of the harness and take off your gloves before touching the water. If time will not permit this be quick and calm to act as soon as you can. You should apply the brakes if you think that the wing has to land behind you (for example, if you are headed to shore) or do not apply the brakes at all and the wing will overpass your body with the front cells first touching the water. The air that will remain inside the cells will help the wing to float for a few seconds. Remember:The wing and the lines will make your movements more difficult. The wing will be heavy and will not assist you at all by floating. When performing simulation tests over water a life vest and light shoes should be used and a boat should reach the pilot within 2 to 3 seconds of a water landing. By the way do you know how to swim? In a river of rough waters the situation is more serious for the wing drag becomes extremely heavy! Waves can become fatal and pilots can be drugged out to sea after landing in knee-deep water.
Power lines represent a considerably greater problem and danger. Should you fall onto electric power lines, you are likely to suffer severe burns and electrocution. Upon contact, cables oscillate, as a result they may arc and short-circuit, thus the supply will then be cut off or the pilot may escape but don't count on it. If the wing should hit a cable, you will swing forward before plummeting downwards. So you are
better off landing in a tail wind or a tree rather than crashing into electric cables. If you do get caught up in an electric wire, the power supply must be cut off before attempting a rescue. It is less commonplace to have pilots crash into telephone lines (they are lower) but this doesn't make the danger any less severe. In any case, on a lighter note, no one likes having his phone cut off!
Electrical cables were close You should be anticipating a landing path and not taking any risks. In my club, we call a pilot who crashed twice on power lines, kilowatt (although he should be called lucky).
Packing the Canopy
For proper packing care of your glider the ground should be clean. First, place the harness near the wing and put the lines on top of the canopy. Remove any thorns, stones etc. Fold the canopy as described in the drawing that follows. Pack the canopy in a different way regularly so the canopy does not suffer repeated folding in the same areas. The canopy will be kept in a perfect shape if it is carried inside the protective bag. A wellmaintained canopy flies better than one that is not. Some pilots like to pack the harness without detaching the wing, as this will be easier for the next flight. You will find the packing method that suits you. The way you place the harness and canopy inside the bag is important when you have to carry the bag a long distance.
Try to place the heavier haness on the bottom and the canopy on the side that comes into contact with your back for padding. When the carrying bag is on your shoulders, adjust the shoulder straps for comfort and tighten the central strap. If you fold your glider cell on cell when packing it, you must make sure that the reinforcements of the cell walls at the leading edge end up lying as flat as possible on top of each other. If you have to store your glider for several weeks or months: Take the harness out of the bag, don't compress too much the wing in the bag, leave the inner and main bags open in order to let humidity go out, store your material in a dry room, far from high heat and from the sun. If your glider is wet, spread or hang it and let it dry at room temperature, or at least out of the sun. A wet canopy can radically alter the flight characteristics of the glider.
Have a pleasant walk...
Meteorology is defined as the study of weather. In actual practice, such a study involves collection of data intended to further the scientific development of all the complex aspects of the atmosphere. Paragliding tends to focus interest on meteorological conditions relevant to the sport itself. It must be understood from the outset that observation with an eye for detail and experience are two essential requirements for getting a handle on the weather and making sense of its fickle nature. This handbook contains references to weather topics which are presented as simple as possible with the aim of enlightening aero-athletes. As an end result, the information gleaned from this text will be more than sufficient for the majority of pilots.
Micrometeorology is an offshoot of meteorology dealing with small-scale weather patterns. Thermals, sea breezes, anabatic and catabatic flows are subjects which involve micrometeorology,
otherwise known as local weather patterns. In this handbook I've chosen to arrange chapters or sections according to winds, types of cloud and thermals so that the subject is easier to grasp. However, it isn't always possible to separate topics dealing with micrometeorology from general meteorology. In my approach, paragliding is the central theme or point of reference.
Basic Meteorological Concepts
Solar radiation heats up the earth. The ground is heated up and releases the heat into the atmosphere. In a similar but less rapid manner, the sea is heated and this heat is also released into the atmosphere. In turn, the heated atmosphere then causes various weather patterns to occur. The fact that the earth warms and cools more rapidly than water will later help us understand several other weather patterns later. In a nutshell, all weather patterns derive their activity from heat via solar radiation.
Pressure and temperature diminish with height
The atmosphere that surrounds the earth has mass and so is pulled downward by gravity. The weight of air above and around us is felt as pressure on all earthly matter. This is called atmospheric pressure, and is measured in Hectopascals (hPa), or formerly in Millibars (mb). Further standardization has been agreed upon with the establishment of one unit of atmosphere at sea level per 1013.25 hPa (or 29.92 inches of mercury). Thus atmospheric pressure is reduced by 1 hPa per 8.5 meters (28 feet) of altitude as we move upward. Air then becomes more rarified to the point that external supply of oxygen is required for paragliding above 3500 meters (11,500 feet). A
fight beyond this height without oxygen support is extremelly dangerous. Any variations in atmospheric pressure from place to place is accompanied by a tendency for air at greater atmospheric pressure to flow into the area of lower pressure. This horizontal displacement of air is commonly known as wind. As mentioned previously the heated earth releases heat into the atmosphere. When this happens, the warm air rises vertically and a neighboring cold air current fills the void. This vertical displacement of air is called an ascending current of air or thermal updraft. Thus it is evident that there are two types of motion in the air: 1. The wind, which is the horizontal movement in the air. 2. The ascending or descending air current caused by thermals, which is the vertical movement in the air. Most non - pilots cannot understand the difference between wind and a thermal. In practice, it is not always clear when to differentiate them since they can often occur simultaneously. Beginner pilots should fly under steady conditions with a wind speed at launch of 0 to 15 km/h (0 to 10 mph) and under an experienced pilot's supervision. Indeed, any seasoned pilot knows that paragliding is directly dependent on weather conditions and this calls for a good knowledge of meteorology. Temperature is measured in degrees Celsius ( ºC ) in most countries while degrees Fahrenheit ( ºF ) are still used in the U.S. As you know the air's temperature varies throughout the day according to the solar heating. Low temperatures usually occur in the early mornings and high temperatures two hours after the sun passes meridian level. The heating by the sun causes thermals, so thermal production usually follows the temperature pattern. Temperatures typically fall with altitude by about 0.65 ºC or 1.08 ºF, for every 100 meters (300 feet). Humidity represents the amount of water vapor contained in the air. Water exists in three different states: 1. Gaseous in the air in the form of water vapor 2. Liquid as precipitation or water droplets 3. Solid as hail or ice The air may contain a limited amount of water vapor in proportion to the temperature. For instance, a cubic meter of air with 1013 hPa pressure can contain up to 8 g of water at zero Celsius (0.28 oz at 32 ºF), 13 g at 10 ºC (0.46 oz at 50 ºF), 25 g at 20 ºC (0.70 oz at 68 ºF) and 40 g at 30 ºC (1.41 oz at 86 ºF). The air holding the largest possible amount of water vapor is called saturated. When air becomes saturated, the water vapor turns to liquid. This liquefaction process is achieved either by increasing the water vapor content by evaporation from the surface or when the temperature drops, as we will see later in the chapter on thermal flying. Absolute humidity is the amount of water vapor in grams contained in a volume of atmospheric air. Relative humidity is the mass of water vapor existing in a given unit of volume of air in relation to a mass of saturated air, and is expressed in percentage terms. Dew point represents the temperature at which the atmospheric air becomes saturated as it cools. Any further cooling converts a part of the water vapor into water droplets which we see as cloud or fog. Pressure and temperature determine the density of a gas such as air. Water vapor density is roughly five eighths (5/8) that of dry air. Therefore, it is necessary to know the relative humidity to determine the air density. Furthermore, an increase in altitude will reduce the density by roughly one per cent per hundred meters (300 feet) of altitude increase. In contrast, density increases when there is a drop in temperature. So, it seems that there are no guidelines for raw sensory perception of density and thus must be measured scientifically.
Flying in low-density air means flying at a relatively higher airspeed compared to a situation with the same conditions but with high air density. For example, on a hot, dry day all true airspeeds will be higher. Flying at high altitude occurs inlower density air and also results in relatively higher airspeed. It is important to remember that your airspeed is lower when for example, you decide to fly in the vicinity of the sea with a high humidity breeze. Air density cannot be easily measured at the flying site, but it can be generally assessed by noting the temperature, humidity and altitude. The density factor affects you mainly at launch and landing, and usually is not detectable in flight since the force of the relative wind is the same in all air densities.
Isobaric chart containing indication of geostrophic and surface wind direction. Isobars are curved lines on a weather map which connect points that have the same atmospheric pressure. In general, isobar patterns curve around large areas of low pressure, or barometric depression, and around areas of high pressure, or anticyclone. A difference in pressure at separated points on the earth's surface results in a flow of air from high pressure to low pressure. This flow is nature's way of equalizing the pressure imbalance, which we know as wind. An isobar chart can inform us of many things. For example, in the earth's northern hemisphere: 1. The closer the isobars are to each other, the stronger the pressure gradient and thus the stronger the wind. 2. Winds invariably blow parallel to isobars because as the winds flow the earth turns below them. The result is an apparent turning to the right in the northern hemisphere. We call this the Coriolis effect. According to the Buys Ballot's Law: In the Northern Hemisphere, if one stands with his back to the wind, the area of low pressure is to his left. In the Southern Hemisphere the reverse is true.
The explanation lies in the deflection, caused by the earth's rotation, in the movement of air from areas of high pressure to areas of lower pressure. 3. Wind rotates anti-clockwise around depressions (lows) and clockwise around anticyclones (highs). The opposite occurs when we are in the southern hemisphere.
Stability and Instability
In previous sections a reference was made to the terms stability and instability. The atmosphere is deemed unstable when the lower air masses are of a higher temperature than higher air masses and rise up into their place. However when there is no difference in temperature between the two masses, or even when higher masses are warmer, the atmosphere is stable.
Strong instability and humid air produce huge cumulus (left) Light instability produces small cumulus (right)
Atmosphere's temperature - Adiabatic gradient
Under unstable conditions we often have good flights with thermal lift. Under stable conditions we have calm or smooth flights. The dry adiabatic lapse rate is a constant which gives us the rate at which a rising air mass cools. This constant is 1ºC per 100 meters of height (5.5 ºF per 1000 ft). We have already mentioned the average rate (0.65ºC per 100 meters) at which the air's temperature drops with altitude. Such a drop in temperature differs from place to place, and from day to day in the same place depending on the nature of the air mass and the sun's heating. Let us illustrate this concept with an example. Assume the ground temperature at sea level is at 20ºC while at 1000 meters the temperature is 5ºC. If a small mass of air leaves the ground at 20ºC it will expand and cool at the adiabatic rate to become 10ºC at 1000 m (that is 1ºC per 100 m). In other words the rising small mass will end up warmer than the temperature in the surrounding air which is 5 ºC. Thus, it will go on rising upwards because warmer air is less dense. This rise continues until equilibrium is reached between its temperature and that of the environment. This process is known as instability. In contrast, stability is experienced when a rising small mass cools off faster than the surrounding air. Of course this example is purely hypothetical, since if the air is cooler than that of the surrounding air, it cannot move upwards on its own to reach the 1000 meter point in the first place.
Sometimes strong thermals pass through the inversion layer. Vertical movement in the air is due to the difference in energy between warm low-level masses and cooler high level ones so that an overturning or mixing of the atmosphere occurs. But quite commonly the situation exists whereby the temperature rises as altitude increases. This effect may occur at the ground or at different levels above the surface. We know such layers as inversions. Inversions tend to stop all but the strongest ascending air currents or thermals.
All About Winds
Winds are characterized by their strength and direction. Wind strength is measured in km/h or mph. A British sea captain devised a wind strength classification known as the Beaufort Scale. The scale is accompanied by observed effects of the wind at sea which aren't overly helpful to paraglider pilots, so we have added effects you can observe on land to judge the wind strength. These matters are presented in the chart below:
Beaufort General Sea Criterion No. Description Landlubber's Criterion Wind Wind in in Kmtrs Knots Calm Smoke rises vertically. Less Less than 1 than 1 1-3
Calm Light airs
Sea like a mirror.
Ripples with the appearance of Direction of wind shown 2-6 scales are formed, but without by smoke drift but not by foam crests. wind vanes.
Light breeze Small wavelets, still short but Wind felt on face; leaves 6-11 more pronounced. Crests have rustle; weather vane
a glassy appearance and do not break. 3
moved by wind. Wind socks begin to angle out 7 - 10
Gentle breeze Large wavelets. Crests begin Leaves and small twigs in 12-19 to break. Foam of glassy constant motion. Wind appearance. Perhaps scattered extends light flags. white horses. Moderate breeze Small waves becoming longer, Raises dust and loose 20-30 fairly frequent white horses. paper; small branches are moved. 31-39
11 - 16
Fresh breeze Moderate waves, taking more Small trees in leaf begin pronounced long form; many to sway. Flags flap white horses are formed. steadily Chance of some spray. Strong breeze Large waves begin to form; white foam crests are more extensive everywhere. Probably some spray. Near Gale
17 - 21
Large branches in motion; 40-50 whistling heard in telegraph wires, umbrellas used with difficulty. Flags flap and snap 51-61
22 - 27
Sea heaps up and white foam Whole trees on motion; from breaking waves begins to inconvenience felt when be blown in streaks. walking against wind. Moderately high waves of Breaks twigs off trees; greater length; edges of crests generally impedes begin to break into spindrift. progress. The foam is blown in streaks.
28 - 33
34 - 40
High waves. Dense streaks of Slight structural damage 75-89 foam. Crests of waves begin to occurs such as slates topple, tumble and roll over. removed. Spray may affect visibilty. Very high waves with long overhanging crests. Resulting foam is blown in dense white streaks. The surface takes on a white appearance. Visibility affected. Seldom experienced inland; trees uprooted; considerable structural damage occurs.
41 - 47
89-102 48 - 55
Violent storm Exceptionally high waves. The Violent cyclones sea is completely covered with long white patches of foam. Everywhere the edges of wave crests are blown into froth. Visibility affected. Hurricane Air filled with foam and spray. Sea completely white with driving spray. Visibility very severely affected.
103-11 56 - 63 7
118 + 63+
Direction is described with terms relating to the compass heading where the wind is coming from. For example, a northwest wind is blowing from the northwest to the southeast.
The geostrophic wind is the wind that blows out of the influence of ground friction. It is the wind influenced solely by pressure (represented by isobars on a weather map) and the Coriolis effect. The geostrophic wind follows the isobars and flows anti-clockwise around depressions (lows) and clockwise around anti-cyclones (highs) in the northern hemisphere. The geostrophic wind takes place over 700 m (2000 ft) and above all surface objects.
When geostrophic wind is moving in a curved trajectory, on approaching the core of a low, it will experience a counteracting centrifugal force, which will diminish or moderate it. On the other hand, during a curved trajectory away from the anticyclone's core it will meet with a joint centrifugal force which will reinforce it. Such altered wind is called gradient wind.
Surface wind is the prevailing wind close to the surface of land and sea and is affected by friction. Friction: • Alters direction by roughly 30º on land and 10º on sea. • Reduces the strength of the wind near the ground surface. • May reduce surface winds by 2/3 the speed of the wind over a ground surface and by 1/3 over a
sea surface. Such a drop may be felt significantly while paragliding.
Wind-gradient is the gradual reduction in wind speed as we approach the surface due to the friction of the ground. This is a matter of concern to us in flight. On landing approach, especially in the final few meters, you should prepare yourself for a sudden drop in wind speed, provided that there is a wind. Your paraglider may lose airspeed in a strong gradient and approach a stall. It is important to offset the effects of wind-gradient by carrying more airspeed on final aproach before you reach the gradient level. You can read more about this in the section on landing and transitional phases. Rough terrain favors the presence of a wind-gradient. While flying, if strong wind is experienced at a particular height you can usually descend to a lower level and encounter less wind. In this situation wind-gradient is your ally. Wind-gradient often occurs well above the ground. Layering can happen with various wind speeds at different heights. By losing or gaining height you may go from one layer to another and encounter different wind strengths and turbulence.
wind - gradient Such a situation is more common when there is a scarcity of thermals, since vertically moving flows
tend to blur the sharp boundaries in wind layering. Thus, no strong wind-gradient is experienced with abundant thermals. On the other hand, with vertical currents interrupting the horizontal flow, more frequent turbulence may be experienced. But we can't have everything our own way, can we?
Local winds are represented by sea and land breezes, plus anabatic and catabatic flows. These winds do not appear individually on an isobar diagram or weather map, and due to their brief duration are affected very little by the earth's movement and Coriolis effect. Such winds are fundamentally formed by heat differentiation on the earth's surface and on coasts, valleys and mountain ranges. They tend to prevail over light geostrophic winds and alter them. Thus, when weather forecasts make a reference to "light to moderate wind" we can bet that local patterns will affect the area. The strength of local winds, in contrast to the general prevailing wind, will begin to drop after a particular height above the surface. Bear this idea in mind when flying, as it will help you assess whether the wind on the slope is a general prevailing wind or breeze, or a combination of both. If as you aseend the wind decreases you are flying in a local wind, and if the wind increases you are flying in a general prevailing wind. I believe I've given you food for thought. In a later section we will discuss vertical currents (thermals) and the subject may seem more complex. That is, on a slope there may be a local flow, general prevailing wind and a thermal current simultaneously. Do not panic! For paragliding all this signifies good flying conditions.
The sea Breeze is a local wind with an onshore wind direction. Since land heats up more rapidly than sea, and the warm air over land rises, the cool sea air will flow in from the water to replace it. Thus an onshore flow of air is formed during daytime which lasts until late afternoon or early evening.
Sea Breeze Invariably, it starts off as an onshore wind, yet later will turn rightward due to the Coriolis effect. In a large number of regions it is affected by other factors as well, such as in the Saronic Gulf in Greece, where it starts off in the morning in a westerly direction only to turn southerly later in the day. This turn is worth a mentioning because when there is a sudden shift in wind direction places which are flyable with specific direction may encounter lee side problems.
A land breeze is a local wind which, opposite to sea breeze, implies an offshore wind direction (land to sea). Formed at night when the sea cools less rapidly than land and the cold air flows out from the land to replace the warm air over the waters, it will increase its intensity when flowing along with the general prevailing wind.
If the direction of the general prevailing wind is opposite to the sea breeze, a zone of convergence is created. Such a convergence of wind is called a sea breeze front and is visible along coasts, where during the warmer months of the year a hazy line of cloud parallels the coast some distance inland.
General prevailing wind is inverse to the sea breeze and a breeze front is created.
Anabatic and Catabatic WindValley Breezes
Anabatic breezes or upslope winds are formed in the vicinity of hillsides or mountains when air adjacent to the hillside slopes heats up and flows up the slope. Inversely, catabatic or downslope flows are formed at hillsides or in the vicinity of mountains when the slopes cool at night or when they are shaded from the sun. The air above the slope is cooled and descends to form a downward flow of wind. Strong catabatic flows often occur on hillsides when a cool wind is blowing through saddles towards valleys.
Winds prevailing within valleys depend on and are altered to a large degree by both anabatic and catabatic flows in the vicinity of the hillside slopes. From the diagrams we can observe interesting patterns which are worthy of careful analysis. (Drawings on previous page.) In the morning there is a cold wind in the valley covered by a temperature inversion. As soon as the sun rises, an anabatic flow forms on the adjacent slope. At noon the valley continues to contain cold air, which by moving towards the slopes forms a light to moderate descending air current in the center of the valley. In late afternoon a catabatic flow will descend from all sides. On meeting in the middle of the valley, an ascending air current, commonly known as "magic lift" or "wonder wind", may be formed due to convergence. This gentle, mild, ascending current is a generously fitting finale to the end of a paragliding day.
The term valley wind is used to describe the existence of a wind in a valley, which differs from the general prevailing wind. Valley winds are phenomena we face mostly in Alpine flying (flying in a complex of mountains with narrow valleys). The timing and the strength of the valley winds in a complex or high mountain/valley system may be very difficult to estimate. Local pilots, after experiencing problems, learn and teach us the timing of valley wind in their area. In Venezuela (Placivel) I launched with 30 km of east wind and landed in a valley just below with 40 km of west wind. In the same valley other pilots experienced north wind. This effect is a result of the movement of the air inside the valley. The slopes and the difference of heat on the slopes inside this valley caused this confusion in direction and strength of the wind.
Foehn is described as a wind but actually includes a local phenomenon. Foehn winds are warm and dry, and are encountered on the lee side of a hill or mountain where rising air mass causes precipitation. The diagram pictures a 2000 m mountain with the wind on the left. Air temperature at ground level is 14 ºC. On ascending, it forms a cloud at 5 ºC and on reaching the summit at 0 ºC, rain and snow fall on the facing side and the cloud loses much of its initial humidity. As a result, the cloud evaporates toward the leeside at 1 ºC. As it descends temperature rises to 18 ºC due to compression. It is clear that by now the dry air's temperature after the process has risen by 4 ºC. The Foehn can blow extremely strong because gravity helps accelerate the flow on the downslope side. This wind can also be extremely turbulent as it flows over and around crags, trees and hills.
Atmospheric waves occur when vigorous winds blow over mountains or ridges under conditions of upper level stability. As strong winds pass over a mountain peak they are deflected upward then rebound to form continuous leeside waves. The waves may form a range of a stationary cloud called altocumulus lenticularis at their crests. On the leeside of the mountain a variable cloud formation called a "rotor" cloud often builds up, which occurs whenever there is hazardous swirling motion, or rotor turbulence. The violent winds that may form waves do not lend themselves to safe paragliding.
Ideal conditions for sailplanes but not for paragliders.
Wind shadow occurs when a large obstruction (mountain or ridge) lies in the path of the wind and partially blocks it. At some point downwind of the mountain, the wind will be blowing at the surface, then as you near the mountain it will diminish or reverse direction in short order. The problem with wind shadow is that it presents a sudden horizontal gradient or velocity change which can cause a collapse. In high mountains be careful to check the overall wind direction. Otherwise you may end up flying in wind shadow thinking you are on a calm launch only to find severe turbulence away from the mountain.
We can fly on both sides of a mountain after careful observation.
A front is the boundary which separates warm and cool air masses. As we already know, some regions or areas are heated more than others. Thus warm and cold air masses may be formed, which at some point encounter one another. These dissimilar masses tend not to mix or combine. If the cooler air mass has more pressure behind it, it will proceed forward and the moving boundary is known as a cold front.
Warm front Likewise, if the warm air mass has more pressure pushing it, the moving boundary is called a warm front. A boundary where both warm and cold masses are equalized in pressure will not move and is known as a stationary front. Generally speaking, a cold air mass is denser than a warm air mass and will plow under the warm air if it moves as a cold front. The lifting causes clouds and usually thunderstorms and rain. A warm front will result in the warm air riding up over the cold mass it is replacing. Again clouds and rain occur, usually on a more widespread basis than with a cold front.
Following is a description of typical frontal passage. The approach of a warm front is often announced by a bright halo around the sun or moon. The halo is formed by a high cloud called cirrus. The cloud eventually covers the entire skyline (the time needed for a front to pass over varies). The wind direction tends to shift gradually (a southerly wind can turn westerly) and the temperature also rises. Visibility is poor and clouds continue to lower with forms such as altostratus and then, lower still, stratus. Eventually there will be extensive rainfall, atmospheric pressure will fall and formation of thermals will not occur because of stable conditions and blockage of the sun. A warm front typically moves along at a speed of 16 to 24 km/h (10 to 15 mph) in an easterly or northeasterly direction (in the northern hemisphere). A cold front moves more rapidly (30 to 50 km/h20 to 30 mph) than a warm front. When a cold front passes, the temperature drops, the wind direction changes (from southerly to northerly in the northern hemisphere), precipitation intensifies, but eventually becomes more intermittent. Thunderstorms may pass through, then disperse. The sky begins to clear and fair weather cumulus clouds appear. After the cold front has gone through, the atmosphere is unstable and this favors thermals. Good weather for thermal flying may go on for several days after the cold front passes provided, of course, a fresh spell of low pressure does not ensue.
Clouds are formed by liquefaction of water vapor at the dew point (the temperature at which lifted air cools and reaches the saturation point). Clouds form at varying heights and display various
forms. These forms are classified as either stratified when horizontally shaped or cumulus when voluminous and vertical. How they form and disperse varies accordingly. High Clouds (6000 to 10000 m or 20,000 to 33,000 ft): Cirrus (Ci), Cirrocumulus (Cc) and Cirrostratus (Cs) are thin, wispy clouds indicating the approach of a warm front and are non-precipitation clouds. They do not necessarily cover the totality of the sky. Mid-Altitude Clouds (2000 to 6000 m or 6,500 to 20,000 ft): Altocumulus (Ac) and Altostratus (As) are bright clouds in general. Altocumulus look like a neat arrangement of tufts or clumps, whereas altostratus clouds are spread out over a wide area. Low Clouds (to 2000 m or 6,500 ft): Stratus (St) and Nimbostratus (Ns) are widespread, thick layer clouds. Stratus clouds are gray and create overall overcast conditions. Drizzle or light rain is a common occurrence. Nimbostratus are dark rain clouds producing steady, perpetual precipitation or snow in generally overcast conditions. In these conditions wind tends to be steady (except during imbedded thunderstorms) and vertical currents suppressed. Flights will be smooth with little lift, except when thunderstorms are hidden in the clouds. Dark stratus clouds are dangerous for this reason. Cumulus (cu) clouds, which we will discuss below, are also low-level clouds.
Clouds are often produced at mountain peaks due to the lifting of the air over the mountain. They form when they reach dew point level on the lee side. Such clouds include cap clouds, wave clouds, stratus, mist clouds and others.
Mist or Fog
Mist or fog is essentially a low level cloud formed in the vicinity of the ground. Several categories determining how they are caused have been formed: Radiation fog: Formed at night in light to moderate winds when the air is cooled by the ground which itself has been cooled by radiation. In the absence of moisture or during strong wind conditions fog does not occur. Advention fog: Formed when a humid air mass moves in light to moderate winds over a cold region such as the sea. This type of fog is commonly found in ocean territory and coastal regions. Sea smoke: Formed at sea due to the difference in temperature between seawater and colder air. When water vapor evaporates it immediately cools and reaches saturation in the cold air.
Vertical Cloud Formation Cumulus (Cu)
For cumulus clouds to form, thermal energy is required in the form of a thermal updraft or current. This current rises upward until condensation occurs and thus creates a cumulus thermal cloud. When a thermal air mass rises, reaches saturation point and condenses at the dew point, it releases the heat energy that had previously caused the evaporation to take place from the ground when the mass absorbed humidity. Thus, an additional ascending impetus works on a cloud from inside: increased instability is caused by the rise in temperature. This process is essentially why cumulus clouds forming vertically can reach great altitudes of up to 10 km (33,000 ft) in conditions of great instability. This level of the atmosphere is called the troposphere. Here the temperature rises and the cloud cannot expand vertically any higher so it starts expanding horizontally. If it meets high winds here, it will point downwind in the shape of an anvil. A large, dark, rain-producing cloud is called a cumulonimbus and is identified as a thunderstorm. More will be said on this in greater detail in further chapters. Thermals rise until they reach their temperature equilibrium with that of the atmosphere. Thus, all thermal clouds form at a similar altitude on a given day which is known as cloud base. Any shift in altitude will come about in the daytime as heat increases. An important point to remember is that all clouds form, gather and then disperse in 15 to 30 minute cycles. Pilots should learn to judge all stages in the development of a cumulus cloud, so as to take full advantage of the lift it denotes. If there is an overabundance of clouds throughout the sky, conditions for paragliding may become inclement. Daytime thermal activity will be halted due to the sun's rays being blocked by clouds. When layer clouds disperse, a new round of thermal activity may begin. In light to moderate thermal activity, a row of clouds may be formed parallel to the wind direction. These rows form because the wind is sorting out thermals by creating thermal release downwind of existing thermals. This pattern is called cloud street and it offers superb flying conditions as long as streets don't have to be crossed.
Cumulonimbus (Cb) clouds are of concern to us because of their dangerous attributes. The storm cloud will move in the direction of the prevailing wind and it continues to vacuum up warm air
from the ground, sometimes producing a strong surface wind towards its base. As with all vertical forming clouds, a Cb's energy is due to the strong release of heat through condensation. We call such a cloud formation a Thunderstorm. Often a group of thunderstorms occurs along cold fronts because the front lifts the warm, moist air it is replacing.
Cumulonimbus The great energy in a thunderstorm results in strong ascending currents which do not allow rain to fall. Thus a great accumulation of moisture may develop in a large storm cloud. This moisture is usually in the form of ice crystals and hail in the upper levels. When the updraft force weakens, the reverse process occurs with the currents no longer able to withhold the hail. This situation results in a hailstorm. As a consequence of the electric charge produced by the violent kinetic energy of matter, flashes of lightning break inside clouds and thunder bolts strike the earth. Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of a thunderstorm to flying (from paragliders to large airplanes) are the downdrafts and gust fronts. When hail or rain starts to fall, they create severe downdrafts by dragging air along. This air hits the ground and spreads out violently in a burst of cold air that is called a gust front. Gust fronts can turn airplanes upside down and are ample reason to give thunderstorms a wide berth. The buildup of cumulonimbus may be impossible to see in conditions of overall cloudiness. A cumulonimbus, vast though it is, starts off as a plain cumulus, then grows into a bulky cumulus before winding up as an enormous cumulonimbus. At its maximum rate of growth, ascending air currents can approach 20 m/s (4000 FPM). Even hail can be driven upward at 70 km/h (45 mph)! Drooping cloud forms, called mammata in Latin, may be associated with extremely violent downdrafts. What should be remembered is that cumulonimbus is the only cloud capable of producing lightning and hail, and the only cloud to have peripheral cumulus which feed them. The special
anvil shape of a Cb is somewhat characteristic, but many thunderstorms do not display this shape on top, and indeed often the tops of Cbs cannot be seen due to spreading cumulus down below. In paragliding, and in aviation in general, this concentration of cloud is a considerable problem. Even large aircraft tend to avoid approaching thunderstorms. Measures to be taken are described on page 139 "Problems of flight".
El Nino - La Nina
El Nino is a disruption of the ocean-atmosphere system in the Tropical Pacific having important consequences for weather and climate around the globe. El Nino means "The Little Boy" or "Christ child" in Spanish. This name was used for the tendency of the phenomenon to arrive around Christmas. El Nino is often called "a warm event". The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean on Earth. The weather and climate condition known as El Nino is caused by a change in the wind pattern over the equatorial Pacific Ocean. This change leads to changes in how the Pacific distributes heat to other parts of Earth, and to changes in weather and climate. One of the changes in weather caused by an El Nino is a redistribution of rainfall around the Pacific Ocean. Because the Pacific is so big, a large El Nino can also alter the weather in places far from the Pacific.
During El Nino rainfall increases around Pacific Ocean
La Nina is defined as cooler than normal sea-surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific ocean that impact global weather patterns. La Nina means "The Little Girl" in Spanish. La Nina is often called "anti-El Nino", or simply "a cold event". El Nino and La Nina are extreme phases of a naturally occurring climate cycle. Both terms refer to large-scale changes in sea-surface temperature across the eastern tropical Pacific. This warm pool expands to cover the tropics during El Nino, but during La Nina, the easterly trade winds
strengthen and cold upwelling along the equator and the West coast of South America intensifies. La Nina conditions recur every few years and can persist for as long as two years. El Nino was the climate event of the past century.
Learn more at http://www.elnino.noaa.gov
Flying Like Birds
As we all know, paragliders glide steadily and progressively downwards. To maintain or, even better, gain altitude there has to be an updraft or ascending air current as discussed in a previous section. For flight within thermals we can use the term "thermal soaring" or "thermaling". Winds also provide another opportunity to stay aloft as we shall see below. We call such a practice "ridge soaring" and it is a result of "orographic lift". The combination of "thermal lift" and "orographic lift" is called "convergence lift".
Two pilots glide in different conditions. [Demonstrated in the upper drawing gaining height due to thermal]
When wind blows on to a mountain slope, it is forced to follow the mountain's contour towards the peak. An ascending air current, called "orographic lift", is produced. We can fly up alongside the slope and benefit from this lift. Flying in this lift is called ridge soaring or slope soaring. The height reached once above the peak will not be that great since the wind flow will resume its horizontal course again once the obstacle of the slope has been passed. Rounded hills and other shapes which do not block the airflow are not very suitable for ridge soaring. Often hills with bowls and ravines are the most appropriate for slope soaring, especially if they help channel updrafts. Ridge soaring allows student pilots to get their first long duration flights. This result often occurs when the wind is stable but may present danger if there is thermal activity because of turbulence.
On days that present a lot of thermal activity all pilots should gain height and stay well above the slope. Student pilots should not fly under such conditions. The feeling of safety near the slope can bring trouble to the pilot. Remember that no one gets injured in the air but on contact with the ground. Ridge Soaring in Practice: 1. Right of way rules must be strictly adhered to, especially if there are a lot of paragliders in the same vicinity. 2. Figure 8's should be performed into the wind and you must not be tempted to head toward the ridge. Always make your turns heading away from the ridge. 3. Make turns whenever you are in ascending air so that no altitude is lost. 4. Pull gently on the brakes and avoid maximum airspeeds. Reserve some speed and use it when needed. 5. When flying low and close, always shift your weight away from the hill. This way, if you have a one side collapse you will be less likely to turn into the hill as you are ready to correct before a problem develops. Note that too much weight shifting away from the hill will require extra hill-side braking that is detrimental to the wing's performance. Determine your own safety and performance compromise. 6. Do not fly straight ahead when descending air currents are ahead. Bear in mind rotor turbulence produced by trees, rocks and other wings and alter your flight path to avoid undesirable air. 7. Do not attempt to fly in windspeeds of over two thirds (2/3) of your canopy's maximum speed. On many occasions there will be an upward deflected ridge current combined with thermals, which are released on the mountain slope or drift into the mountain. In such a case we may decide to fly in stronger wind because thermals add to the wind felt at launch, but not the true horizontal speed. The windspeed should be measured on the hillside itself at launch and should not fluctuate beyond the range of 15 km/h (9mph) minimum to 30 km/h (18 mph) maximum. 8. The further away we are from the hill the more the windspeed and lift will diminish.
9. Keep in mind that when the wind crosses from perpendicular to the slope, less lift is produced. If it is blowing parallel to the hill, no updraft is produced. In a tail wind sink and dangerous rotor are usually present. 10. Wind tends to accelerate through gaps and close to the slope. There is increased wind due to the "venturi effect" combined with anabatic flow. 11. You should not fly into ravines, because wind tends to be come stronger and turbulent there. 12. Wind speed and direction can change as you go out to land due to the deflecting effect of the mountain lower down to or the release of thermals. 13. You should check your ground speed at regular intervals. One sign that the wind is increasing is a general increase in lift beyond what it was before at a given area of the ridge. 14. You may encounter thermals which change the flow when flying near the ridge on an unstable day.
When a moving air mass meets another, convergence results. Convergence often occurs:
Sea breeze meets a light prevailing wind 1. At mountain peaks when upslope breezes rise up on both sides of the mountain. 2. When a sea breeze meets a light prevailing wind. 3. When downslope winds encounter each other as they flow down opposite sides of a valley. Flying in convergence areas is usually very smooth with widespread ascending currents, since such a phenomenon usually occurs in light weather conditions.
Let's deal with this very important topic in a concise manner: A thermal is a warm upward motion in the air. Downdrafts often exist around a thermal since the air must move down to replace the rising thermals.
Instability results in thermals. Unstable days with humidity produce cumulus clouds which are a good sign of the presence of thermals. The so-called "blue thermals" do not produce clouds, since they are low humidity thermals. All thermals of reasonable strength reach the same altitude the dew point or cloud base. Weaker ones dissipate at a lower altitude.
Strong thermals form a column.
Strong thermals reach cloud base.
The formation of a thermal cloud
Sources of Thermals
The best way to spot a thermal is to watch cumulus clouds forming or birds circling under them. In addition, thermal sources can be assessed by studying the terrain. An example will illustrate where thermals can be found in general: if we turn the earth's surface upside down after having it thoroughly flooded and observe where the last droplets of water are coming from, we will see that it is from these points or ridges that thermals are likely to originate.
Here are more thermal source keys:
• Light-colored terrain: Especially when surrounded by dark terrain. This is a fundamental source. • Hills: The ridges of hills are ideal producers of thermals, even in late afternoon. • Rocks: Despite taking time to heat up, they are good producers of thermals, even in late afternoon. • Trees and flora: Evening suppliers of thermals. • Villages and houses: Excellent sources during the day. • Lee side thermals: Also excellent. But remember lee side means downwind side, and in any significant wind it is advised not to seek them out as its is dangerous. If you lose a leeside thermal you will land in the turbulence of the lee side area. • House thermals: Reliable thermals commonly known to local pilots, which almost invariably
emerge from the same point on the terrain. • Magic Lift: Common parcels of rising air in a valley late in the afternoon (sometimes in combination with wonder winds). They are steady thermal suppliers.
How a Thermal is Formed
To start with, a thermal is formed rather like the shape of a balloon when the sun heats the ground and the ground heats the overlying air in turn. If the heat source is strong, the thermal bubble transforms into a narrow pillar shape or column which grows upwards in continuous fashion, provided the warm air supply is large enough. Some days can exhibit both balloon and column-type thermals, though usually one or the other exists in a certain time period. A thermal actually comprises the internal upward draft and a cooler descending draft surrounding. In flight, a pilot should expect to encounter both sets of drafts, one shortly after the other. This phenomenon establishes an essential equilibrium in the atmosphere.
Estimating a Thermal Lift
Here is a guide to estimating the thermal strength you will encounter based on the wind speed variation at launch. Assuming: Thermal vertical flow speed = 9/10 of the variation in wind speed at launch. Your average sink rate is 1.2 m/s (240 FPM) and knowing that 1 km/h = 0.278 m/s (1 mph = 88 FPM), we can establish that 4.3 km/h (2.7 mph) of vertical flow is needed to give you sustained flight which is equivalent to 4.8 km/h (3 mph) of wind speed variation felt on launch (4.3/.9). Every 4.0 km/h (2.5 mph) beyond that will add another 1 m/s (200 FPM) of lift.
How to Work a Thermal
Thermaling, or soaring in thermals, consists of remaining as much as possible in rising parcels of air and avoiding descending ones. As long as you maintain a low speed inside the thermal you'll be able to stay in it longer and then pass quickly through the descending currents by speeding up. Remember, turbulence usually exists around thermals, so maintain good control and inflation pressure.
Working a thermal basically involves flying where the lift is either by circling within it or by flying a figure 8. A combination of techniques is also a good idea. Your climbing motion can be either upward circles or by hovering vertically in rare cases where the wind is right. It is all a matter of experience and instinct, which is why women pilots tend to excel at thermaling! In more detail, this is what happens: When you encounter a thermal you may feel the sensation of lift on one side of the wing. You should turn toward this lifted wing to enter the thermal. A thermal is stronger at its center and weaker on its rim or edge. You should find the area with the strongest stable lift, which is near the core or center of the thermal and circle to remain within it. The stronger the lift, the more you may be able to widen your turn radius and vice-versa. The air within a thermal is constantly and randomly changing. While flying circles in the thermal, apply sufficient pressure on the brakes, shift your weight towards the inside of the turn and control the brake on the opposite side to produce a smooth, coordinated turn. You must apply only the appropriate amount of pressure on the brakes, which is a matter of experience. That's what makes the difference between pilots in the same thermal. A basic asset of thermaling skill is the ability to concentrate well. Listen to the indications of your variometer and adapt your maneuvering accordingly. Many pilots tend to alter their turn radius improperly and as a result drop out of the thermal. Those pilots who can detect the thermal drift or core variations best will climb highest. When the degree of lift is steady it means that you are located close to the center of the thermal. Thermals vary in size. Tighter turns must be made for small thermals, and indeed there are occasions when you will not be able to complete a turn within the thermal diameter. Very large thermals are wide enough to maintain a straight flight or figure 8s, and thus you will not to have to make turns in them. Thermals vary in their degree of lift. Strong, large thermals can be best utilized with a shallow bank angle. In weak thermals you can climb better by applying weight shift opposite to the turn. Thermal cores may merge into one and as a result it is not uncommon to have two pilots in
separate thermals converging at a higher altitude. After landing a typical exchange of words between them would ensue along the line of:
Thermal cores may merge into one. "I was there first", "I don't think so. It was mine" "You followed me" and so forth. In fact, reality shows that they had each climbed in two different thermal cores that went on to merge into one. A number of pilots claim they can smell the thermal's whereabouts. Indeed, a waft of soil, traces of dust and leaves can be seen, so it is not idle talk. My suggestion, after some years of flying, is to concentrate on your wing and feel its center of pressure. When you enter a thermal the tip is lifted, thus the center of pressure is to the side of the wing. You must bring it to the center by turning to the lifted side. It is easy to feel the pressure on your canopy if you concentrate a bit. In order to locate the thermal's shape just keep the center of pressure in the center. In a weak lift this is an essential technique.
In Search of Your First Thermal
Thermal wind reaches the launch area in cycles.
Thermal downdraft gives the impression of downwind.
Common thermal behaviour Spotting a thermal straight after launching is important, especially when hillsides and slopes are not very high. Sometimes thermals tend to stand still against a ridge before assuming their long slender cylindrical formation at a higher altitude. If a thermal has not assumed its shape because it is expanding by the slope or hillside we get the impression that we are experiencing a general wind such as in ridge flying. This is not the case, but if we steer away from the slope it is likely that we will enter sink and have to make a quick landing. It is better to fly in this area and wait for a stronger thermal.
What Should be Done?
After launching try to achieve as much altitude as possible, either by gradually ridge soaring upwards or performing figure 8s in areas of lift. Then find a stronger lift, fly circles once you have ample clearance and finally climb above the slope. The first circle in close proximity to the launching area will be the trickiest to execute, as it needs to be a tight turn to avoid getting too close to the hill. Thermals can often be found further out from the slope so you will have to track them down after reaching adequate altitude. Should you lose altitude, return to the lift at the slope and try again. Be patient. It's the end result that counts. There will be times when flights are terminated solely due to one minor oversight or error, so do not despair or feel sorry for yourself. As an example, in Spain once there was a group of pilots stuck that was low on a hillside. We had to wait for an hour for a decent thermal, but it was well worth the wait. We got over 2000 m (6,500 ft) of altitude out of it.
Many smaller thermals had passed before, but none were able to lift us away from the hill. Sometimes clouds cover the sky and thermal activity is stopped for a while. Try to keep your height by ridge soaring until thermal activity returns.
When to Launch
This is a decision not to be taken lightly. You can feel thermals passing through the launch area and while you are waiting you can keep a record of the number, frequency of occurrence and strength of thermals. Once these indications have been noted you can then decide to launch before, during or after a particular thermal. Launching just after will usually put you in the sink behind most thermals. Launching before often means you meet the turbulence that precedes thermals. Generally, the best policy is to launch just after the thermal arrives and the flow has smoothed out. At times you may feel a wind from behind you at launch because a flow of air is moving into the void left by a thermal lifting off further down the slope. In competition, knowing when to launch is a make-it or break-it decision. Even prominent pilots have sometimes found it very difficult to snatch their first thermal efficiently and get under way. There is always an element of luck involved, but a strong dose of experience and concentration are great help.
Approaching Cloud Base
It is always preferable when flying directly under a cloud to make the approach on the wind-facing side where the best lift usually is. As mentioned earlier, the lift cycle of a cloud formation, growth and dispersal lasts about 20 to 30 minutes.
When flying with the wind we often find good lift at the front part of the cloud.
In order to reach a cloud under strong wind conditions we should fly slower for cloud A, at normal speed for cloud B, fast for cloud C. After some point in this cycle, the cloud will disperse or remain formed but inactive. Not all clouds are active; an active cloud changes shape and is whiter. The formation of a cloud can go on repetitively as long as the feeding source is constant. Also, a cloud is often fed by multiple thermals. A sunlit region between large clouds which cast a shadow over the terrain often does not produce thermals because the area is in the sink from the thermals feeding the clouds. Venture cautiously across blue areas when cumulus clouds are building. The lift is usually beneath the clouds. A cloud seen constantly at the same angle when you approach it in windy conditions implies that the cloud is within reach. In some cases clouds provide mild enough conditions that allow flying under them without losing altitude. This is an extremely nice experience.
Some clouds are formed by many thermals.
Thermals in Strong Wind
You would expect thermals to drift exactly with the wind, yet a strong lift often goes on moving almost vertically. Sometimes the former situation occurs while at other times the latter situation occurs. It is true that the wind sweeps thermals along. On the other hand, thermals cannot move along at the same speed as a wind, due to their great mass. A thermal measuring 20 m by 40 m (60 by 120 ft) weighs 250 tons. It is sufficiently heavy and is carried along relatively slowly due to its great inertia. Consequently, a large, strong thermal is affected less by the wind than a small one, due to its weight and mass. When you climb in a thermal, bear in mind its changing structure. The lower part can move vertically and the upper can get swept along by the wind because the higher the altitude the stronger the wind. Anticipating changes in the wind intensity is necessary when you top out and intend to leave a thermal. Often you encounter gusts, turbulence and downdrafts. These conditions are normal and soon passed through. As long as you have ample clearance above the terrain you can leave your thermal in any direction and head for the next one. This is how most long cross-country flights are performed; you achieve ample altitude in a strong thermal and when you leave you continue on a downwind track to maximize your speed over the ground.
The wind changes the thermal's vertical direction As an example of thermal flying in extreme conditions, in Piedralita, Spain, in July 1995, forty pilots managed to cover a distance of 150 to 170 km, flying at 4000 m altitude in a windspeed of 70km and total speed of 100km/h measured by G.P.S. A thermal's shape in a strong wind can tilt and elongate in the wind direction. Often downdrafts get swept along at its rear. It is important to use great caution when circling up in a thermal alongside a mountain peak in windy conditions, as you could end up on the leeside with its downward currents as you crest the top. Thermaling back behind the peak on a ridge or mountain in wind may mean you will not be able to reach the front as you encounter head wind and sink after leaving the thermal. We emphasize that the lee of a ridge should be avoided because of rotor and turbulence. Within a thermal in a strong wind, remember not to follow a circular track, but extend the upwind leg so you do not drift downwind out the back of the thermal, or get tossed out. It is also a good trick to avoid the strongest sink that tends to be on the lee side of the thermal. Enter the thermal from the crosswind or upwind direction if you can. Thermals tend to break up and shift in a strong wind and may continue their course in stages. Weak thermals especially get altered by the wind. They may disperse altogether, even as tall column thermals. As a result, you might end up with your hands full, trying to cope with a broken thermal. It is better to go after a stronger, more cohesive one if you have altitude to play with.
This is a dangerous area to fly.
Dust devils are caused by a tight swirl of whirling air which results when a thermal lifts off suddenly and air with a slight rotation rushes in below it. Compared to a mini tornado, this fierce movement of unstable air can grow large and tall in very unstable conditions such as those found in arid regions. You can actually see particles of dust and leaves moving about its center. It goes without saying that flying both near and within one is extremely ill advised. Dust devils are stronger at ground level and weaken at altitude. Often pilots use them to locate thermals. However, the only but unsafe way to use a thermal above a dust devil is to have at least 300 m (1000 ft) ground clearance over small dust devils and 600 m (2000 ft) or more over large devils. Also you must enter the lift to circle counter to the swirls rotation or you may experience a sudden tail wind that can totally collapse your wing. Pay particular attention to dust devils at launch in the summer months to avoid the severe turbulence they present near the ground. As long as you are observant you can avoid them in almost all cases.
Unlike ordinary thermals, blue thermals do not produce clouds. The reason for their lack of cloud is that the air mass is too dry, or more commonly, an inversion layer which stops the thermal before it reaches the condensation level. When only blue thermals are available, it's more difficult to locate them. You should scan the terrain
for thermal sources. Also, by watching the flight of birds and other pilots you will be able to spot where the lift is.
An abundance of thermals combined with a strong wind will form an arrangement of clouds in such a way that will produce what is called a cloud trail. Rows or lines of clouds of good continuous or cyclic thermal sources may form downwind. It should be understood that with thermals all in a line downdrafts will also line up along the thermal row. A cloud street together with a high cloud base means excellent conditions for cross-country flying.
Suggested flying routes.
Hands on Thermal Forecasting
For cross-country flying it is a common procedure to forecast what kind of day it will be in regards to thermal strength, cloud base and instability. Predicting cloud base height can be accomplished by using a chart and a wet bulb thermometer to find the dew point. However, most pilots don't carry these to the launch area, so the meteorological office can be of assistance here. In general, dryer, warmer days exhibit higher cloud bases. All pilots should be aware that there are a lot of forecast sites and online programs on the Internet which can help us find out more about the day's weather. Choosing the right moment to launch includes evaluating the time a shift in thermal altitude and
strength will take place. This matter is usually resolved by observing the cloud base itself, the strength of the thermal induced gusts at launch and the temperature increase. Knowing the normal cycle for your site and the prevailing temperature changes in the area can be a big help. The strongest conditions on a normal day are usually formed from 13:00 to 16:00 hrs. To assess the best time for launching, take into consideration how far you want to cover. For instance, say you want to go over a valley, it may be better to execute your flight later in the thermal day since a valley is heated up later than a mountainside.
Great sky Flying cross-country means travelling distances using the natural lift found along the way. It is great fun and what most pilots learn to achieve. Here is a good plan for cross-country flying on a good forecast day. Get to the launch site early and wait for the conditions to start building around noon. Then take off, hang out in the lift and wait for conditions to get stronger. Find a good thermal and climb as high as possible. Once you have done that, try to keep maximum altitude and wait. Soon the thermals will take you higher. Now begin to attempt to cover a distance, following the wind's direction if possible. Be sure to fly over peaks with sufficient altitude, which will allow you to pass the lee side with a safe margin.
Flying in the opposite direction of and in the same direction with the wind. Strong descending currents accompany strong lift at the outset of the thermal day, so choosing a cross-country route is no simple matter. This is why paragliding is so interesting and magical. Every day is different so you never know how it is going to turn out just do your best. In cross-country
flying the idea is to cover the greatest distance possible. The longer you stay with it, the better you will get and one day you will achieve a great distance. On entering a thermal, it is important to exhaust its entire altitude potential so you have the altitude to reach the next one. At times, the lift may stop but your variometer may not be indicating sink. Do not be in a hurry to leave the thermal area for a fresh thermal cycle may come along and probably take you even higher.
Always try to fly nearly to cloud base before abandoning a thermal. A couple of advantages arise from having exhausted the potential of a thermal and being at a high altitude: Thermals expand at the top and so the distance between two thermals is reduced, therefore so is the region of descending currents. High altitude flying is usually faster, so you can cover greater distances. Altitude can be classified into different zones which should relate to your general flying airspeeds: High level for speed, medium altitude for trim speed and low altitude for the best glide ratio or minimum sink speed. Sometimes the pilot may decide to fly at medium level, although staying high is a rule. This can happen because of strong wind at the high level, opposite wind direction from the desired course or turbulence due to crossing winds.
A temperature inversion at upper levels is also a common problem. When you are circling in a thermal and climb to an inversion you will encounter mild turbulence while the thermal expands and disperses. Sometimes it can pass through the inversion, reorganize and continue lifting up to the cloud. Try staying with the thermal by working every little bump to struggle through the inversion. Too often pilots leave a thermal that starts to break up in an inversion. They are then stuck below while the pilots who get through can get high and stay there.
Experience and persistence are required to fly over an inversion.
If the day is very unstable, you should pick and choose your thermals. There is no point in trying to gain altitude in a weak thermal, especially with stronger lift and a cumulus cloud in close proximity. Before ending this subject i should mention the importance of climbing in a thermal at a low flying speed then flying through descending air at a faster speed. Competition pilots learn to fly the exact speed that gets them to the next thermal as efficiently as possible. Generally, competition pilots fly faster than recreation pilots, but their thermal skills make up for any extra altitude lost and of course, they cover more ground.
Cross-Country Team Events
Flying cross-country in teams is a particularly good way of exchanging views on how to execute a good flight. Finding lift and safety are two great benefits to team or group flying. Greater areas can be scanned for thermals. Participants have the added advantage of being able to share common experiences. The solitary nature of cross-country flying often has a negative impact on most participants.
In April 1997, the French national team achieved a flight of 279 km, an important landmark not only for its impressive distance, but also for the fact that it was achieved by pure teamwork, albeit outside competitive racing. The longest distances are usually achieved outside of competition because most meets use tasks that are "races to a goal".
A team covers a larger area while searching for the next thermal.
Observation and Judgment
Sound judgment is important in paragliding since much of the decision making that has to be done involves assessing space around us. The human eye has difficulty in judging distances accurately over a certain altitude, as well as sizes, movements on horizons and changes in natural surroundings. Experience and some techniques will help pilots overcome these difficulties: 1. Learn to assess potential landing areas, especially small ones. With a little practice you can learn to determine angles of glide effectively. From far away it is difficult to tell if you will reach a field or a given point on the ground. A good trick is to hold a foot out in front of you and put the toe at the edge of the field on the ground. If the field sinks below your toe, you will reach it. If the field moves up you won't. 2. Clouds and other pilots in the sky are objects in the distance for which we have to make mental judgments. In general, other gliders appear to be further than they are and clouds look closer. One trick is to mentally measure the distance between your shadows, if these can be seen. Another is to note your position over the ground and the distance to a cloud's shadow. Then factor out the distance the shadow of the cloud is away from straight below it by noting the sun's angle. You can also use your thumb and index finger, hold your hand out tightly and practice by judging distance by checking the relative size of wings from where you are. Remember that while flying with a paraglider you should think one step ahead. When you are in a thermal think of the next one, or when you are losing a thermal try to find a new one, but also have a safe landing field located.
Problems in Flight
Sudden changes in air motion are felt as turbulence. In the absence of general wind there still can be thermal turbulence. In this handbook, we have made several references to dealing with turbulence, which can be classified into three basic types: 1. Mechanical, due to ground obstacles. 2. Thermal, due to currents moving upward or downwards. 3. Shear, due to the movement of air masses rubbing against each other. Very briefly, flying safely in turbulence involves flying with the canopy in a normal overhead position and making corrective controls if there is any change to that position. You, in relation to your wing, should be in the center of the left and right side, directly below the center of pressure of your canopy. You should be flying close to trim speed, which provides the most stability. Accomplished flying means dealing satisfactorily with turbulence and maintaining the wing's normal overhead position. Turbulence is likely to occur: 1. When different wind flows meet. 2. Between ascending and descending currents. 3. At inversions levels.
In strong winds the area around trees and houses is turbulent. 4. Downwind of trees, houses, mountains or other solid wind blockages. 5. When a thermal lifts off. 6. In ravines. 7. In proximity to clouds. 8. Along fronts.
The feeling and effects of turbulence vary from wing to wing and even harness to harness. It also varies from day to day at the same site. We are dealing with the powers of nature, so it is to be expected. Turbulence is a fact of aviation life so expect to deal with it, even in good flights. If you don't like turbulence, fly in calm conditions or with stable, steady winds. The feeling of turbulence diminishes: 1. When the carabiners on the harness are placed high. 2. When the harness is fastened tightly. 3. When the diagonal straps are fastened tightly. Yet you ought to feel turbulence just enough to be able to react accordingly. Wind, when striking obstacles, produces swirling motion and rotors, mainly on the lee side. When such motion and rotors occur, there is no stable flow of wind and sudden changes in wind strength and direction make flying hazardous. Hills, mountains, houses, trees and flying machines can be classified as obstacles. Since a paraglider can also produce swirls and turbulence it is up to a pilot to make sure he will not cause another pilot's canopy to collapse. This matter can readily occur when passing while ridge soaring. Flying close to obstacles must take place on the upwind side and not the lee downwind side. This point should be considered as the number one rule in your safety guide book.
In soaring winds, turbulence extends 10 times downwind the obstacle's height.
Leeside Flying and Landing
In strong winds, things become very tricky on the leeside of a mountain where hazardous rotors are typically produced. Obviously no one should be flying around in this area. However, it is possible to get caught in it either because wind direction has changed or you made a poor calculation. Consider it luck to find and escape from this area with a thermal produced there. Lee side thermals are strong and sometimes violent. Don't hesitate to use them and climb high to escape the lee side.
Remember that in the absence of wind there is no lee side, but pilots call thermals `'lee'' thermals when they rise from the side of the hill we did not launch from.
What to Do
When you are in a lee your aim should be to land as soon as possible or at least distance yourself from the area. The general suggestion is to turn downwind and get away as soon as possible, while at the same time maintaining both careful control of the canopy and good pressure. The wing transmits certain information and the pilot has to operate instinctively. Experience teaches this and, in fact this, is the reason why pilots should be careful to fly in conditions they can handle. When you sense a lifting or dropping of the paraglider, controls have to be very smooth. You have to handle maneuvers confidently and dynamically. Flying in the lee turbulence requires using weight shift to avoid braking too much. Speaking from experience, it is possible to land on the leeside near the top as long as there are no upwind penetration problems. If there is enough altitude, which varies with the height of the obstacle, we can turn around downwind to get away from the lee turbulence, which extends up to 10 times the height of the obstacle. In high winds a strong rotor can be located quite a long way from the mountain. Expect the unexpected at all times. If there is sink (-4 m/s or 800 FPM for example) and you deploy a reserve, the vertical speed of the reserve (-5 m/s or 1000 FPM) is added to the sink and the total downward velocity becomes -9 m/s or 1800 FPM. With this speed, PLF landing is too difficult to be effective and a serious accident should be expected. In short, the lee of a hill creates many serious problems in paragliding avoid it. I believe that none of us should go flying in extreme conditions. In particular, beginners should always be under the supervision of an experienced pilot and never fly in adverse conditions. The saying "you learn by your mistakes" cannot really apply to paragliding we should learn from others' mistakes and they have already been made! Simply stated, we push boundaries as far as we can, but never go beyond them.
The internal process of a thermal based cloud must be looked at in more detail. These clouds are created by rising thermals, but also seem to produce lift of their own. Close under such a cloud lift may suddenly get stronger, widespread and smooth. Pilots call this phenomenon "cloud suck". The mechanism is this: Once the water vapor, starts condensing, it gives out extra heat which increases the instability and accelerates the lift. This thermal activity inside the cloud can reach 20 m/s (4000 FPM) in a fast developing cumulonimbus. Humid air inside the cloud is lifted and, because of the cooling, it is converted to rain drops and subsequently to hail. Temperatures can reach -50 ºC (-58 ºF). In this environment no human can survive more than a few minutes.
What to Do
No one should be flying under thunderstorm conditions. In most cases when accidents have occurred, pilots have known that it was too dangerous to fly. It is important to work out whether the cloud being formed will grow too big by comparing the progress of other clouds in the area. An indication of whether a cloud is developing at high altitude and may produce cloud suck is that its base is very dark.
Escape by following a direction perpendicular to the prevailing wind. If you end up below a sucking cloud, at first try to escape to the side (perpendicular to the direction of cloud drift). Steer clear of the lift and escape the active part of the cloud. Use "big ears" and, in addition, your speed system if it is not too turbulent. Try to lose height by doing either a spiral dive, B-stall or even full stall, depending on the degree of suck (strength of lift). Avoid deploying a reserve parachute in cloud lift at all times. Your parachute will only pull you higher and you will not be able to control it. The approximate sink rate with spiral dive can be 5 to 15 m/s (1000 to 3000 FPM), in full stall 7 to 10 m/s (1400 to 2000 FPM) and with a reserve parachute 5 m/s (1000 FPM). In cross-country, advanced pilots are making use of cloud suck, albeit with extreme caution by only going close to smaller clouds that aren't overdeveloping. Occasionally pilots will use lift under a building storm. I don't agree with this type of flying. Let them do it if they want to risk it, but remember that the best way to deal with the problem is to not to fly under these conditions at all. Today, even competitions don't open the launch window when there is high instability. Reasonable caution and judgment are always preferable to flying with fear and danger. You must comprehend that climbing towards cloud is not hazardous , being inside is. Never fly into a cloud! You will lose your sense of direction, and even with a compass you will not be able to continue your chosen course, you might even collide with another pilot. Ignorance of a subject can lead to unnecessary fear. For instance, on approaching a cloud which is being fed by three thermal centers, you would sense that the thermal is stronger because of the convergence of the three, which in turn could create concern about being in cloud suck, whereas this would not be a correct assumption. Cloud suck, leeside and strong, turbulent thermals are the most dangerous problems encountered in paragliding.
Flying entails a combination of both vertical and horizontal speed. It is easy to see, by looking down at the ground, that the movement through the air does not always correspond to movement over ground. If you fly with a direct crosswind, your paraglider will make headway over the ground but will also drift sideways. By turning a little into the wind you can offset the sideways drift. This action is called crabbing, which corrects the shift in ground track due to the crosswind. Imagine you want to cross a river in a boat and have to maintain the same course directly across. If you aim directly across, you will not end up at the point on the bank you set out for due to the force of the downstream current. To correct this, you would aim slightly upstream to reach your desired point. The same happens in midair. If there is a strong wind your motion needs to be at an angle to the wind direction. This is similar to a crab walk, hence the term crabbing.
Turn your heading almost parallel to the wind direction
So far in this handbook flying has been the individual affair of each pilot. Here the situation changes, since the aim of the flight is to satisfy or instruct the passenger and not the pilot himself. Due to the additional weight in tandem flying, particular difficulties will arise during launch and
landing. Also, due to the close contact between pilot and passenger, movement is made more difficult. It can be assumed that a tandem pilot must: 1. Be very experienced. 2. Be able to fly safely. 3. Have the good sense to apply 1 and 2 above.
Launching With this in mind, tandem flying will be safe and will offer pleasure to a passenger trying paragliding for the first time as long as suitable conditions are chosen. A tandem paraglider is not inferior to a single place performance paraglider in regards to descent rate. It is also just as fast, providing the performance glider makes no use of the speed bar. The tandem glider, due to its speed, requires a good running launch. On the other hand, during landing it is difficult to run due to the passenger, so landing controls have to be made accurately. If the pilot is tall, it is an advantage, because he can see more clearly, run last during launch and touch the ground first. Launches should definitely not be attempted in crossing or in tail winds. Without the slightest hesitation, avoid tandem flying if the conditions are not ideal. Experimenting is something that should be done by experienced pilots flying solo and not with students or passengers who are coming along for the ride. Do not attempt to perform tests or maneuvers with a tandem paraglider, because of the high forces involved. Testing a tandem glider requires specific knowledge and experience, which only few pilots possess. A passenger's natural position is in front of the pilot due to the fact that he is suspended by the risers, which connect them. Alternatively, a passenger can be positioned to the side of the pilot during launch or landing at a distance that risers permit, though personally I do not recommend this technique. In my opinion, the best launch procedure is a reverse inflation launch, which allows you to control your lift and correct the wing's chosen path. My favorite reverse position is to let the passenger face down the hill with the risers behind him while the pilot turns to face the canopy as much as possible. This method allows the pilot to control the glider more freely and at the same time the passenger is ready to run. The passenger does not need to do anything at all, except follow the pilot's instructions, but he ought to be confident about the pilot's competency and suitability before deciding to go up. It is evident that a tandem pilot needs special training according to local regulations. When tandem paragliding, passengers must have confidence in the pilot's ability and follow or imitate his actions.
During The flight The pilot will be giving out specific instructions, from launch to landing: 1. Get ready: In 2 or 3 minutes we'll be airborne. 2. Let's go: Means tension your body as much as the risers allow you to move. Don't slip or stumble. Follow my movements at a distance. 3. Run: Run hard even after having left the ground. 4. Sit: Meaning grasp the low foot straps from the left and right side and assume a harnessed position by thrusting your body backwards and feet upwards. 5. What's it like?: You are free to reply. Scream if this makes you feel more conformable. 6. Get up: Meaning flex your body and slide out of the harness, ready for landing. 7. Get ready to run: Meaning look down at the landing area and be prepared to assume a running action, or step smoothly onto the terrain. A passenger ought to assume this action well before the touchdown, as he will have no sense of altitude during the final few meters. 8. Go back: Meaning that although you've landed, the flight has not quite finished so take a few steps backwards for the wing to land, which may be pulling you backwards. Alternatively, the pilot may say "go forward." Have a good flight
Pilot's helmet missing.
Your Browser does not support this video format Flight can be performed with a motor on the pilot's back, thrusting him forward and thus producing an upward lift. Launching can take place on flat terrain in a slight head wind. For safety reasons experienced pilots only fly powered paragliders in mild weather conditions. It is essential to learn free flight prior to getting involved in powered paragliding.
Trike ready to take off
The engine's power is transmitted into thrust force via a propeller, which is attached directly to the crankshaft of the engine, or via a reduction system. Thrust produced by the propeller is measured in kilograms (or pounds). The noise can be considered a drawback, though it has been considerably reduced in recent times through improvements in reduction gear, propellers and exhaust systems. The wings used are stable and inflate easily. It is also desirable to have a fast canopy. The size of the paraglider should be able to handle the weight of the paramotor, which weights 16 to 25 kg (35 to 55 lbs). Instead of placing the engine on your back, you can place it on an undercarriage with wheels, commonly known as a "trike." With the trike you launch on the wheels, and the engine produces thrust to the carriage. An additional activity, commonly practiced in the USA, is flying a powerchute (powered parachute). This is a combination of a trike and specially designed parafoils, which can carry the heavy weight of the trike. Powerchute pilots have a lot of fun flying in flatlands and they generally don't care for free flight. Trikes and powerchutes have been around many years, yet personally I feel this part of aviation deprives paragliding of its convenience of use and quiet nature. Yet, it is an option which might suit you very well. Those involved in powered paragliding are organizing more events to explore the capabilities of this alternative paragliding sport.
Pocket sized Paramotor
In this chapter you will find an outline of towing techniques. Remember that towing requires special equipment and techniques which cannot be understood safely without expert guidance. Severe injuries and deaths have occurred with towing. This information is intended to familiarize you with towing, not teach you how to tow. You must receive adequate training.
A good day for towing When launching in a paraglider, you make a sprinting start on an incline with the aim of pulling up the wing cleanly and leaving the ground as the slope drops away. An alternative to this process is towing on flat terrain, which, as mentioned earlier in the history of the sport, is an older technique than slope launching. In towing, when you launch you continue to be pulled and as a result you attain an altitude which is a certain percentage of the length of the rope that is dragging you. Once reaching the maximum possible height, the pilot, using the quick release system, releases himself from the towline to fly freely. If there is thermal activity he can prolong his flight and soar
similaryly to a launch from a slope. Towing has in fact proved popular in countries such as England, Australia and Holland, where mountains are few and at a great distance from each other. Inversely, it is almost unknown in countries mountainous enough to provide the right conditions for free flight. There are three types of towing used in paragliding:
1. Static towing
In this practice a car pulls the rope attached to a release which in turn is attached to the harness carabiners. With this type of towing you cannot control the tension on the pulling rope except through the car's speed. Therefore, it is dangerous for inexperienced pilots to learn or practice static towing without adequate training and supervision. If a person is towed by hand, tow forces tend to be limited and student practice can be carried out. However, injuries have resulted during hand towing in windy conditions.
2. Reel-in winch
Instead of using a vehicle to tow, a motor reel-in winch can be used.This setup uses a motor to pull one end of the fully extended towline which is attached to the pilot via the quick release system.This technique is extensively used in some countries, notably England. One particular type of winch in the market comes equipped with a special rim that can be fastened onto the wheel of a car, which is placed on blocks to serve as the winch power.
3. Payout winch
This is the most widespread method of towing and is considered the safest. The winch is installed inside a car or boat with the towline wound up on a reel. The car moves and pulls the pilot into the air. The winch operator keeps the tension of the line at a specific level. The towline unwinds as the pilot climbs independently of the car's speed. The ease of operation and compactness of the winch are good reasons to choose this technique. It is popular since car owners can attach one to their vehicles.
Towing Equipment Required:
1. A modern winch with a hydraulic or mechanical anti-snagging windup. 2. A quick tension release at the winch end. 3. A quick release at the pilot's end. 4. A weak link at the pilot's end (and at the tow vehicle end during static towing) to ultimately limit the tow forces. The weak link is an extremely important part of a safe towing setup. It normally consists of a loop of string or line tested to break at a specified load.
ow release devices
Quick release device
The release system must be attached to the harness carabiners and the weak link comes between the release system and the towline. An automatic anti-lockout system has been developed for paraglider towing. The system comes into operation when the tow force gets too far to the side or becomes too strong. In this case the system releases the pilot from the towline automatically.
3 Safety weak links limit for example: 1) 110 kg 2)180 kg 3) 250 kg Paragliders require greater care in towing compared to other flying craft (hang gliders and sailplanes, e.g.) because of their low flying speeds and the low towing point which is well below the canopy. Towing too hard can lead to serious consequences such as stalling or lockouts. Locking out is rather similar to plummeting to the ground like a kite. In this case, the pilot has no control and a serious accident is the usual outcome. Towing calls for training and reliable equipment. Never attempt any type of towing without an expert. I recall an accident where a brand new motorcycle being used to tow was accidentally lifted into the air only to crash to the ground and smash to pieces. As luck would have it, no one was harmed, but this type of uninformed experimentation has proven fatal. Towing can bring the sport to flatlands, though nothing can replace the sensation of free launching in my opinion. Towing does however present an alternative.
Informative Guide to Novices The following training schedule can be adjusted according to each instructor’s system, weather or other unforeseeable circumstances. Paragliding ought to be a team sport so joining a local club is recommended not only for the individual but also for the sport’s development as a whole.
On-Site Student Practice Day one: On the flat Instructor demostration on inflation and forward launch. Sprinting start with wing overhead without using the brakes and then with brakes. Student practice under instructor’s supervision. Day two: Small incline More practice with accurate handling of maneuvers. Instructor demostration on launch abort technique, deflating wing prior to launch and during landing due to gusty conditions. Reverse launch. Day Three: On-site slope Launch and landing demonstration by the instructor. Dos and don’ts session, short flight practice and 45º turns. Day four: On-site slope Student guided on first low altitude flight from a hill. Progress onto a higher altitude. Turns of 90º. Day Five: Altitude flying Altitude flying with 90º and 180º turns. Description and attempt for small big ears technique. Applying brakes to adjust speed. Instructions with VHF by the instructor. Day Six: Altitude flying Higher altitude flying with 360º turns, big ears and handling. Forward launch and turns using
shifting of body weight. Demonstration by the instructor of reverse inflation launch. Classroom Instruction Theory as well as practice has to be taught along the lines of what this handbook deals with: 1. Equipment 2. Aerodynamics 3. Meteorology 4. Practical flight 5. Problems in flight, and 6. Regulations It is up to the instructor to determine the syllabus, and up to the students which level they want to reach. Conclusion The beginner’s course teaches you how to launch, land, control airspeed and turn, as well as safety and theory. At the secondary level, on-site instruction ought to include soaring, thermaling and maneuvers such as B-stalls, asymmetric collapse, frontal collapse, ground handling in use of reverse inflation launch. Students commonly perfect their technique by doing ground control on their own paragliders. However, you never really stop learning. Most countries have their own pilot rating standards. One is Student Pilot, Club Pilot, Pilot and Advanced Pilot. Another is Level I to IV of piloting skill. The CIVL (International body governing all hang gliding and paragliding) has an international system which any country can adopt, and more importantly is used as a license to allow pilots to fly in foreign countries. This system is known as Parapro :
FAI/CIVL Parapro Training and Safety System Recommended International Paraglider Standards of Safety & Training
This material was originally written by Stein Arne Fossum for the CIVL The history of paragliding has been written in a few years, where new barriers have been broken virtually every day. Today it may suffer from a hard case of the "Icarus Syndrome." It has developed into a full-blooded aviation activity, which means that it is no longer simple and easy to learn. It has become complex and potentially more dangerous for the "self-learners", while the opposite may be true for the ones that receive proper training. In the race for more efficient gliders and new developments (high aspect-ratio wings, power, thermal and cross country flying), one seems to forget too often that human nature needs time to learn to perform new tasks in a safe manner. The training methods are very often on the "ground skimming level", while reality calls for cross country and thermal flying. If one looks at the history of paragliding with respect to the levels of flying that have been reached (limited to foot launched, no power paragliding), we see 5 distinct stages, similar to those involved in flight in hang gliders. However, in paragliding, the lowest two levels are combined, due to the greater ease of takeoff and landing and lower flight speeds in paragliders. Accidents are most likely to happen when the pilot takes the step up to a higher stage. Each stage is followed by a more complex stage (a building block system) requiring new knowledge and skills. It is a natural "ladder" where a student should climb to progress safely in his paragliding career. We have additional stages like Aerobatic, Experimental and Power, all of which I personally
consider unsafe for the general pilots at the present time. They should therefore only be performed by specialists using a strict professional program until safe methods are found to make them available to everyone. In addition to the stage system above, there are also other stages or steps a pilot may take, such as changing to another harness system, or learning to fly a new site or a new paraglider. Each time new stages are pioneered, or are being reached by the "self learning" pilots, there are an increase in accidents. Some of those accidents are unavoidable because of the pioneering nature of it (Lillienthal was the first one), while others could have been avoided simply by proper training. If one analyzes why most accidents caused by "pilot error" happen, one finds that they happen either because the pilot tries to perform a task or meet a condition he/she is not able to master, or he/ she simply does something that should not be done. Today we have all the material necessary to avoid most such accidents, either by the knowledge the paragliding community has collected itself or by the available knowledge through other aviation activities. Either we know how a task should be performed correctly or we know that there are clear limitations that we cannot safely exceed. (One sample of the latter is cloud flying. Any sane motor or paraglider pilot knows that this is dangerous, and it is hence unnecessary for paraglider pilots to rediscover this fact by killing themselves). Today, paragliding, along with other aviation activities, has most of the information needed to progress safely through the flying stages. All that is needed is to put all together in a training system. Let us have a closer look at the model of the stages: The 5 stages of paragliding: Accidents are most likely to happen when the pilot takes the step up to a higher stage. A training system should be designed to smooth out these steps with a natural progression to higher pilot ability. We fill in these steps with instruction. GROUND SKIMMING (combined with stage 2) "Don't fly higher than you would care to fall!" ALTITUDE GLIDING (Orange) "Altitude and space to maneuver, no soaring" RIDGE SOARING (Green) "Soaring in non turbulent conditions" THERMAL SOARING (Blue) "Soaring in turbulent conditions." CROSS COUNTRY (Brown) A PILOT'S ABILITY to fly paragliders can be broken down to 4 QUALITIES that we can develop: 1. Knowledge 2. Skill 3. Experience 4. Airmanship SKILL: Since paragliding is a practical activity, a pilot's ability can best be measured by his skill, which means his way of performing maneuvers, links of maneuvers and tasks, and how he masters flying conditions and new situations. He certainly also must show good AIRMANSHIP but that is not easily measured and difficult to diagram. A good instructor however is able to spot good airmanship often before the pilot is even in the air. KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE are only "tools" used to improve a pilot's SKILL and AIRMANSHIP and hence his ABILITY as a pilot. They are however of good value in the learning process and their value as such can hardly be overestimated. Left alone by themselves they are meaningless in measuring the pilot ABILITY. BASED on the above "facts" or statements, I have developed a training system, built on the 5 STAGES of PARAGLIDING as a natural progression for a pilot. I have also based the system mainly on the development and measurement of the pilot's SKILL, although the other 3 qualities have found their place. For instance, AIRMANSHIP is expressed by the fact that the pilot has either a STUDENT
LICENCE, which means that he lacks the necessary AIRMANSHIP to take care of his own and others’ safety, or he has a PILOT LICENCE, showing he has the necessary AIRMANSHIP. In other words, a student pilot is one that is under a training system, controlled by an instructor, and all his flying shall be in accordance with the instructor guidelines. A pilot license shows that the holder is a pilot that is mature enough to take care of his own flying, seeking further instruction when he feels he needs it. A pilot license does not mean that the holder is someone who does not need more instruction because "he knows it all", but merely that he can take care of himself at the stage he is at. When he wants to progress to a higher stage he seeks instruction, before he goes out on his own flying at that stage. THE COLOR CODES (or "Black belt in Paragliding"): The stages in the system are color coded for easy identification. The idea is that the pilot (or student) will wear visible markings that identify him as a Student or a Pilot, as well as the stage he is on "signed off by an instructor". Apart from being a good site control system it has its values as a training aid. It is motivating and it gives the students and pilots insight in what they are up to by breaking down the way to the top into easily identifiable stages or blocks that seem attainable by most people. Note: The stages are given colors from yellow to brown. A "black" grade or Master grade may be considered as the top level. This grade should express the ultimate in Airmanship, Skill, Knowledge and Experience. PARA PRO, general description The objective of this program is to aid and assist the participants to progress safely in, enjoy the sport of paragliding, and become true airmen. This means that they must be able to enjoy the beauty and freedom of the sport, and not risk injury or restrictions due to their own and others’ lack of will and ability to take care of their safety, enjoyment and freedom. The ability of an airman is based on knowledge, skill, experience, personal qualities and attitudes, which take time to develop to a standard where one is able to operate alone within the objective above. The development of this ability is a matter of education, which is done most efficiently, enjoyably and safely through a planned program which motivates the student and pilots by helping them to reach easily definable and natural stages or goals, which gradually expands the operational freedom without jeopardizing safety. THE PROGRAM The program consists of 5 natural stages, based on the development of the sport, and which give an excellent progression after the building block principle of learning. One progresses from the easy to the more difficult, from low to high, from basic to advanced, from simple to complicated, being careful not to leave any gaps on the way. The program also divides the participants into students and pilots which indicated whether they are able to operate alone or not. THE 5 STAGES 1,2. Altitude gliding Orange Student 3. Ridge Soaring Green Pilot 4. Thermal Soaring Blue Pilot 5. Cross Country Brown Pilot PARTICIPANTS: Students: A student pilot is, as the name suggests, under training to become a pilot. He is considered to have limited ability to take care of his own and other people's safety. This means that he has not developed enough ability to evaluate all elements involved with regard
to safety and based on this, make safe and sound decisions and act accordingly, without the supervision of an instructor. Pilots: A pilot should be able to take care of his own and other people's safety within applicable rules, regulations and code of good practice. When operating alone a pilot may encounter situations beyond his ability or judgement. This means that he must be able to evaluate all the elements involved with regard to safety, and based on this make safe and sound decisions and act accordingly, on his own, or to obtain further instruction, information and assistance at his own discretion. Recommended training and safety limitations Students should always fly under the supervision of an instructor. Before all the rating requirements are met they should always fly under the direct supervision of an instructor. Students should only fly paragliders and harnesses suitable for students and which on they have been checked out on by the instructor. They should only do tuning and repairs when approved by the instructor. Students should only fly demonstration or competition flying at the stages they are rated for and always under the direct supervision of an instructor. Pilots are expected to be familiar with and to follow all applicable national aeronautical regulations and local flying site rules. Pilots should not participate in demonstration, competition or other organized flying which requires higher standards than they are rated for. Minimum age: To fly paraglider: the minimum recommended age is 16 years old, with the written permission of parent or guardian when below 18 years.
PARA PRO, DESCRIPTION OF STAGE ELEMENTS:
Knowledge Students stage 1, 2 and 3 should be given the necessary lectures, briefings, oral discussions and written tests to ensure that the required knowledge needed to meet the objectives of the applicable stage, is acquired. The listed requirements are a guide to meet those objectives. They should not restrict anybody from giving additional instruction if found necessary. The methods of instruction may vary and are left to the discretion of the organizer/instructor. Stage 3. Before a student is signed off to become a pilot, he should pass a written test on air law, applicable rules and regulations and code of good practice, to ensure that he has all the necessary knowledge to operate alone, safely and correctly at sites and in the air. Pilots stage 4 and 5, may at their own discretion acquire the required knowledge, either through attendance of lectures, briefings or through oral discussions and group or personal study. Before a student or a pilot is signed off at an applicable stage, the instructor or observer must be convinced that he meets the required standard of knowledge. Practical skills Students stage 1,2 & 3, should be given the necessary instruction in each of the practical skills. Before a skill is actually performed, the student should be given a theoretical briefing in the basic theory, the purpose, normal procedures, mistakes, faults and dangers and their corrections, as well as the acceptable safe criteria of performance. Each skill should be practiced until the instructor is convinced that it is mastered within correct and safe procedures and limitations for the applicable stage. The skills may be signed off progressively as the above criteria is met. A special flight test is hence not necessary. Pilots stage 4 & 5, may at their own discretion, within acceptable safe methods, acquire the necessary instruction for each practical skill. Before the skills are signed off, they should be
demonstrated to an instructor or observer, who should be convinced that they are mastered within safe procedures and limitations. Experience Experience is not, by itself, a measurement of pilot ability. It shall, however, ensure that the knowledge, skills and airmanship have been practiced a minimum number of times in various situations. Exercise, drill and practice are important in the learning process to meet the objective of all true learning which is: to effect behavioral changes. The experience requirements should be documented by a logbook or reliable witnesses. The instructor or observer should be convinced that the minimum requirements are met or he/she must require further proof. Airmanship The instructor or observer should be convinced that the student or pilot has the ability to take care of his own and others’ safety at the applicable stage, within applicable rules, regulations, recommended safety limitations and code of good practice.
PARA PRO, STAGE 1-2,
LOW FLIGHTS & ALTITUDE GLIDING (ORANGE)
Low flights is gliding near the ground over smooth terrain, normally not above 5 meters. Altitude gliding is gliding with enough height and distance from the terrain to be able to maneuver relatively freely. INSTRUCTIONAL AND SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS: The objectives of this stage are to introduce the student to paragliding by a progression through first low flights (the first stage) and then altitude gliding (the second stage) and make him able to practice and enjoy this within safe limitations, as well as to prepare him for the next stage. This stage is probably the most important in the whole progression of the student, since it is here the basis for good "or bad" habits is founded. One shall in safe closeness to the ground, fly easy equipment, in easy hills and conditions, to gain confidence in flying, the equipment and also oneself and practice and learn the basic skills. The student shall then gradually become accustomed to flying well clear off the ground, and lose possible height anxiety (allow for individual progression). One must now plan and prepare for each flight and one finds that one is actually safer with altitude that gives time and space to maneuver and correct for possible mistakes. One learns and practices the basic maneuvers, such as speed control including slow flying, coordinated turns, and combinations of those, correction for wind drift and precision approaches and landings. The latter proves that one has mastered the other maneuvers with sufficient planning and precision. The key word is planning that starts even before takeoff and continues all the time. One must be ahead of the events, observe, evaluate, decide and act accordingly. This "process of flying" is vital in all aviation, also at the higher stages. Warning must be given against attempts to take off in cross-, down-, gusty or strong winds and to fly in unstable or turbulent conditions or in lift. At the beginner hill, one should not practice slow flight and stalls (except for landings) or more than gentle turns with only small diversions form the flight path. In the intermediate hill, poor planning, preparations and takeoff techniques may have the most serious consequences. All maneuvers should be done into the wind to avoid drifting into the hill or too far off and hence not be able to reach the landing area. Advanced maneuvers, like 360° turns, pylon flying and slow flying should be performed with extra caution and sufficient height and distance to the terrain to allow for corrections or recovery if control is lost. Turns, downwind flying and airspeed below speed for best glide angle close to the ground should be avoided. Approach should be planned in good time, and started with good height. After all rating requirements have been met: The student should, when flying without the direct supervision of an instructor only fly in beginner or intermediate hills with light to medium (0-3 m/s, 0-15 km/h, 0-10 mph), smooth winds. Takeoffs should only be done in approximately headwind. Lift or turbulence should be avoided, or if this is not possible, flown straight through (away from the hill) to calmer conditions in order to land in the ordinary landing area. One should also avoid flying alone. A beginner hill is a hill with smooth terrain, preferable snow, sand, grass or gravel, with a profile that allow for low flights with the type of paraglider in use. The takeoff and landing areas and the area between should be free of obstacles and other hazards with a good margin to either side. It should be possible to do the whole flight in close to a straight line. An intermediate hill is a hill where takeoff, landing area and the flight path between them is considered to be easy and with good margins to any obstacle or other safety hazards. The takeoff area should be smooth with a profile that allows for acceleration to flying speed before getting airborne (no cliff launch). The landing area should be large and easy to reach by normal
maneuvering with a good margin of height. There should be established two-way communication between takeoff and landing if the landing area cannot be seen from takeoff. Before progressing to the next stage it is of vital importance that the student knows the theory as well as mastering all practical skills, especially airspeed control in the lower speed range and that he is able to recognize and correct for nearness to stalls. This applies to both straight flight and turns. To gain a minimum of experience, the student is recommended to practice a minimum of 4 flying days and 20 flights, after all rating requirements are met.
PARA PRO Stage 2, KNOWLEDGE
Requirements: Aerodynamics: 1. Lift: Difference in pressure created by: profile, airspeed and angle of attack. Low pressure over the wing, high pressure under the wing. Definition of: relative wind, even "laminar" airflow. 2. Lift factors: airfoils "wing profile", area, aspect ratio, air density, airspeed, angle of attack. Internal pressure in the wing, how influenced by use of brakes. 3. Resistance/Drag: Parasitic, induced, relation to airspeed and angle of attack. More drag when paraglider is behind the pilot on the ground than when overhead. 4. The nature of flying: One is always dependent on continuous forward airspeed in order to keep flying, one can not stop or reverse. 5. Load: Weight, G-force. Forces in turns, lift gradients gusts and turbulence. Opening shocks. 6. Driving forces: a. On the ground: By running. b. In the air: The principle of the inclined plane: In flying without engine one is always going down (related to the air around you) because gravity is the driving force. 7. Airspeed versus Groundspeed. Wind effects: Why to take off and land into the wind. Head or tail wind, wind drift and crabbing, drift and corrections in turns. 8. Stalls: Description, dangers, recognition, avoidance and recovery. In turns, accelerated, secondary, in wind and lift gradients, downwind, in gusts and turbulence. 9. Frontal collapses: Both asymmetrical (one wingtip)" and symmetrical (both wingtips or entire leading edge). Description, dangers, recognition, avoidance and recovery. In turns, gusts and turbulence. 10. Spins, Spirals, Skids and Slips. Negative spins: Description, recognition, avoidance and recovery. 11. Wing tip vortices: Turbulence behind all aircraft, how to avoid collapses therefrom. Ground effect. 12. Control movements and principles: Airspeed control and turning. Use of brakes versus weightshift. 13. Airspeeds and speed polars: Minimum sink and best glide angle, relation between airspeeds in head-and tail-wind and varied wing loading. Micrometeorology (site conditions) and meteorology: 1. Wind, description and creation: Airflow from high to low pressure. Created by uneven heating of the surface. "Samples: Water flow. The sea breeze". 2. Wind measurement, wind meters, natural indicators and signs: a. Velocity: Knots, MPH or m/s. b. Directions: Compass and quadrant (head or up, tail or down, crosswind). 3. The wind force: Increases proportionally with the square of the wind velocity increase. Effects, dangers.
4. Wind gradient: Effect, dangers, corrections. 5. Uneven wind/gusts, turbulence and lift: Causes, signs, dangers. a. Mechanical turbulence: Behind or lee of obstructions, trees, buildings, hills. b. Thermal turbulence: Instability, uneven heating, dangers, recognition. c. Wind shifts: Gusts and dangers. d. Wind shears: Descriptions, dangers. 6. Local conditions: Terrain effects, valleys, around obstructions and corners. 7. Weather: Creation, heat and pressure differences, stability/ instability, circulation, wind systems. 8. Sea breeze: Creation, effects. 9. Waves: Rotors. Behind mountains, signs and dangers. 10. Ridge effects: Descriptions, kinds, gradients, dangers. 11. Thermals: Description, instability, turbulence, signs. 12. Clouds: Cumulus, cumulonimbus, rotor clouds, dangers. 13. Air masses and Fronts: Cold fronts, warm fronts, signs and conditions. 14. Weather reports and evaluation: a. Weather reports: Signs, interpretation. b. Reading wind: direction and force, at takeoff and landing, along the flight path, indicators. c. Recognition of safe and dangerous conditions. Paragliders and equipment: 1. Construction and Terminology: Materials and parts. 2. Airworthiness standards and requirements: Design and certification, purpose and need. Design maximum loads, maneuvering limitations, stability, stall characteristics, maneuverability, speed range, pilot weight and rating. 3. Handling: Control response. Roll, pitch and yaw coupling. Stability, slow flight and stalls, Blining, takeoff and landing characteristics. Effect of accelerators or speed systems. 4. Maintenance: Daily and periodical inspection and care, qualified tuning and repairs. 5. Selection of gliders: Rating and experience, type of flying, performance, handling and weight range. Use and ambitions. Appropriate model rating for students: Standard rating (not Performance or Competition rating). 6. Selection of harnesses: Types of harnesses, weight-shift or classic, use of cross-bracing. Rating and experience. 7. Performance: Minimum sink, maximum glide, maximum speed, penetration, turning capacity. 8. Safety equipment: Helmet, boots, gloves, clothing. Dorsal protection and hip protection. Airbags. Airmen 1. Physical factors: Fitness, strength, exhaustion. Drugs and alcohol. Vertigo, hyperventilation. 2. Psychological factors: Anxiety and fear of height. Recognition of own ability and limitations versus natural and equipment limitations. Confidence versus overconfidence (The Icarus syndrome). Group and personal pressures and approval, saying no, the walk down. Self discipline. 3. The learning process and environment: The training system, objectives, description, safety, motivation, individual progress. 4. Conduct/ Airmanship: a. The nature of flying: One is always dependent on continuous forward airspeed in order to keep flying, one can not stop or reverse. b. The process of flying: Insight, continuous evaluations, decisions, actions. With regard to the nature of flying, being ahead. c. The commando principle: The necessity of completing every started flight. The danger of panic. Rules and regulations "as applicable": 1. Government or other official authorities.
a. Airspace and Air traffic: Controlled and uncontrolled airspace and airports, VFR/IFR traffic and rules, right of way rules. b. Other rules. 2. National Paragliding Association. 3. School and training. 4. Local and sites. 5. Code of good practice. 6. Right of way rules. Practical flying and safety: 1. Instructional and safety recommendations. 2. Flight planning: The process of flying: Information/observation, evaluation, decisions and execution. Making a flight plan. 3. Preparations: Standard routines and checks, double checks of critical factors. 4. Flying exercises: The practical skill requirements: Description, intention, procedures, execution, errors and dangers. 5. Critical, dangerous and emergency situations: Their causes, avoidance, recognition, corrections. Applicable training methods "simulations". a. Poor preparation: Equipment failures and malfunctions. b. Ground handling in gusts and strong winds: Loss of control. Being dragged, avoidance, prevention. c. Stalls: Level flight, in turns, low, high, in takeoff, in gradient, in gusts, in turbulence, in "unexpected" lift, downwind, downwind turns in gradient. d. Poor takeoff techniques: Poor control of paraglider, poor airspeed and directional control. Overcontrol, turn back to hill. Getting into harness, release of brakes to accomplish same. e. Wind conditions: Wind strength, crosswind, gusts and turbulence, unexpected lift, drift into hill, wind gradient. f. Crashing/ Emergency landings: Avoidance, preparations. g. Takeoffs above 1500m: Air density decreases. True airspeed increases. h. Critical maneuvers: Flying close to terrain and obstructions, stalls and slow flight, 360? turns, spins, spiral dives, pylon flying. Takeoff in wind without assistance, particularly near cliffs. i. Unfamiliarity: With sites, conditions, paraglider or harness, maneuver or tasks. j. Physical and Physiological factors: Stress, pressure, exhaustion, fear, drugs and alcohol. k. Poor airmanship: Overestimating own ability and/or underestimating sites, conditions, equipment or task. l. Vertigo: Flying with reduced visibility. m. Combinations: Of two or more of the above multiplies the risk of accidents. n. Emergency maneuver: Use of parachutes, prevention of down-planing of paraglider after parachute deployment. Landings in water, trees, rough terrain, obstructed areas, electrical wires. o. Accidents: Assistance and reports. First Aid: In accordance with appropriate authority's recommendations.
PARA PRO Stage 2, PRACTICAL SKILLS
Requirements: Part 1: Introduction and LOW FLIGHTS: 1. Transport, care and maintenance of paraglider and equipment. Accordion vs. rolled fold up. Proper stowing of lines and risers. 2. Pre and post flight routines: Laying out, making a horseshoe, "building a wall", adjustments, preflight checks, line and carabiner control, harness control, attachment of cross-bracing and speed
system. Packing up. 3. Takeoff position and final check: Position of risers and toggles. Body and arm position. Final check.: Of carabiners and cross-bracing, conditions, clear area. 4. Takeoff exercises: The paraglider to flying position: Determined, correct running to get the paraglider up. Checking the paraglider visually. Letting go of front risers. Correcting problems. Continue running, smooth acceleration, no jumping into harness. 5. Running with paraglider: Controlling position of paraglider and angle of attack and roll, on flat ground and on a slope. 6. Stalling and stopping a run: On flat ground and on a slope. Correct landing technique. Not flaring too soon. 7. Flight planning: Evaluating site and conditions. Decisions, giving a flight plan. 8. Takeoff: Takeoff position. Smooth acceleration and lift off, with correct airspeed and good directional control. 9. Speed control: Best glide angle speed, no tendency of slow flight or stall. 10. Directional control: Maintaining heading, smooth course corrections, avoidance of oscillations. 11. Shallow turns: Coordinated entry and recovery, small diversions from course. 12. Landings: Directly into wind. Part 2: ALTITUDE GLIDING: 1. Planning: Insight, evaluation of site and conditions, decisions, giving a flight plan. 2. Preflight routines: Repetition of Part 1, spreading, adjustment, preflight checks. 3. Takeoffs: Start position, final check, smooth acceleration, lift off at correct speed, good speed and directional control. 4. Speed control maneuvers: Best glide angle and minimum sink speed. 5. Turns: 90?-180?, gentle to medium bank, left and right, coordinated. 6. Slow flight: Recognition and recovery "at safe altitudes". 7. Ground reference maneuvers: Figure 8-turns and rectangular patterns, correcting for wind-drift. 8. Traffic rules: Maneuvering according to other traffic. 9. Landing patterns: Following planned procedure. Approach with downwind, base and final legs. Figure 8-turns. Control of gradient. 10. Turning and landing only by the use of the rear risers "simulation of brake-line failure". 11. Precision approaches and landings: Safe and standing inside an area preset by the instructor. Slow flight and mushing is not allowed.
PARA PRO Stage 2, EXPERIENCE
Requirements: 1. A minimum of 6 flying days. 2. A minimum of 30 successful flights, of which at least 10 are altitude gliding flights.
PARA PRO Stage 2, AIRMANSHIP
Requirements: The instructor should be convinced that the student is able to take care of his own and others' safety, while flying low or altitude gliding within the instructional and safety recommendations given.
PARA PRO, STAGE 3
BASIC SOARING (GREEN)
Soaring near the slope Basic soaring is soaring in easy ridge or thermal conditions, without gusts or turbulence, well clear of the terrain, obstacles and other traffic.
INSTRUCTIONAL AND SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS
The objectives of this stage are to introduce the student to soaring flight and to make him able to practice and enjoy soaring within safe limitations. He should also be qualified to become a pilot, with the ability to operate alone within safe limitations and to take the responsibility for his further progression. Soaring has many stages in itself, with increasing difficulty, from easy conditions and maneuvers with a large safety margin, to marginal or extreme conditions with minimal margins. When a pilot "masters the art", it seems quite simple and in a sense it is. This, however, should not mislead anyone into believing that it is easily mastered. Lack of knowledge, misjudgment, wrong maneuvering, ignorance or gambling may easily end up in a serious accident. One will in this stage get more time to practice in the air and the flying can get automated. There is however less room for mistakes and errors. Therefore careful planned progression is very important. Exercises should in the beginning be simple and with large margins. Soaring requires careful preparation, good planning and ability to do precise and fast maneuvering. Especially important is good launch technique and control in the lower part of the speed range. One must be able to fly coordinated turns with a minimum loss of altitude, often in marginal conditions close to the ridge while calculating drift and keeping constant lookout for other traffic and maneuvering according to traffic rules. One must also be able to recognize all kinds of collapses and to execute prompt and correct recovery at the first signs, with a minimum loss of height and control.
To become a pilot: One should now also be free to develop further, and one has still a lot to learn in order to be able to use the possibilities there is. One will be given possibilities that will demand very good "airmanship" including self discipline and carefulness. It can often be necessary not to fly or to fly with large margins. The point is that one must show that one is able to take responsibility and that one knows where one’s own as well as others’ limits are, and when further instruction is necessary. An instructor will no longer be responsible. This puts large demands on one’s personality. Warning must be given against too fast a progression, overconfidence, inattention, ignorance, gambling, misjudgment and lack of skills. One will operate in stronger winds with smaller margins than on previous stages. Even before takeoff accidents can happen. Poor takeoff techniques, lack of control and correction of paraglider while running, or takeoff without a "perfect" paraglider can have serious consequences. One should have qualified assistance when launching in strong or gusty winds. Further one should be very careful with the conditions, which can change suddenly. Strong wind and turbulence may easily lead one to the lee side, or to drift in over dangerous/ unknown terrain. One should also avoid flying alone. Warning must also be given against the so called "intermediate syndrome" or "Icarus syndrome", meaning that it is easy to believe that one now knows and masters everything, and that neither oneself or the equipment has limitations. It is well known that Icarus was the first who killed himself because of this attitude. The student (before stage 3 is attained) should only fly: with instructor present, in easy smooth conditions with a wide lift band or in smooth thermal conditions. This will allow him to maneuver with a good margin to other traffic and the terrain. He should be careful not to turn before he is established in flying position with good control of airspeed and direction. He should not try to return to a lift band he has flown out of. Ridge soaring in marginal lift, in strong wind (above 7 m/s, 25 km/h, 15 mph), in turbulence, cliff launches, crosswind launches, top landings or landings into the hill (hillside landings) are also not allowed. After all rating requirements have been met one can fly freely within the safety limitations, as long as a higher stage is not required by other rules or regulation. One will have the responsibility to seek further instruction when necessary. It is recommended in the beginning to use the rules for students (see above) as a guidance for safe flying. Only experienced pilots should fly at advanced sites close to the ridge, in marginal, strong or turbulent conditions or in "heavy traffic". Before progressing to higher stages, the pilot should have a variety of experience from different sites and conditions. The process of flying should be automated, so that reactions are fast and correct in the different situations/exercises one has to master. It is recommended to fly a minimum of 10 hours and 20 flights.
PARA PRO Stage 3, KNOWLEDGE
Requirements: Aerodynamics: 1. Repetition of stage 2 theory. 2. Stalls and collapses: In takeoff, in gusts and turbulence. In lift gradients. Turning in lift gradients. In wind gradient. Turning in wind gradient (downwind). Secondary stalls. 3. Speed polars: Performance. Evaluation of glide angle and minimum sink with corresponding airspeeds: In head and tail wind, in lift and sink. With regards to wing loading, air density, turns. 4. Wind effects: Wind-drift and crabbing, drift and corrections in turns. Head or tail wind, penetration. 5. Wing tip vortices: Behind other gliders, airplanes, helicopters. Meteorology:
1. Repetition of stage 2 theory. 2. The wind force: Increases proportionally with the square of the wind velocity increase. Effects and dangers. On the ground, at takeoff, in the air, at the landing. 3. Ridge lift: a. Factors: Shape and gradient of slope, wind direction and velocity. b. Components: Horizontal and vertical, gradients, acceleration, strongest lift, strongest head wind. c. Dangerous conditions and areas: Lee-side, turbulence, rotors, strong gradients and winds. Winds that increase quickly in speed. d. Safe and good conditions: Up and in front of the ridge. 4. Waves: a. Factors: Terrain, wind direction and velocity. b. Signs: High winds, lenticular clouds, rotor clouds. c. Dangers: Rotors, penetration, strong lift, high altitudes, hypoxia, cold. 5. Thermals: a. Factors: Instability, lapse rates, terrain, sunshine and heating. b. Signs: Large temperature drop with altitude, wind shifts, lulls and gusts, cumulus clouds. c. Dangers: Gusts and turbulence, strong lift gradients, pitch ups and downs. d. Safe and good conditions: Large thermals, smooth and moderate gradient, light to medium winds. 6. Frontal lift: Cold front description. a. Factors: Air masses, from high to low pressures, instability. b. Signs: Cumulus clouds, moving clouds, squall lines, wind-shift, temperature rise/fall. c. Dangers: High winds, wind shifts and gusts, strong lift, turbulence. 7. Clouds: Cumulus, cumulonimbus, cap clouds, rotor clouds, stratus clouds, lenticular clouds. 8. Weather reports: Current meteorological forecasts and maps. Where to obtain, interpretations. 9. Weather signs: Reading the weather on the ground and in the air: a. Measuring: Of the wind, pressure and stability. b. Clouds: Associated weather and conditions. c. Wind: Reading the wind, wind indicators. Paragliders and equipment: 1. Repetition of stage 2 theory. 2. Design Factors: Airworthiness, performance, handling. 3. Maintenance: Daily and periodical inspections and care, repairs. 4. Tuning: For maximum performance in the prevailing conditions. 5. Instruments: Variometers, altimeters, airspeed indicators. 6. Clothes and equipment: For endurance, high altitude and cold. 7. Selection of paraglider: Appropriate model rating for pilots at this level: Standard rating (not Performance or Competition rating). Airmen: 1. Repetition of stage 2 theory. 2. Pilot in command: Airmanship, traits, abilities, responsibilities, command and control. Mastering the nature and process of flying. 3. Physical factors: Vertigo, hypoxia, cold, exhaustion. Rules and regulations: 1. Repetition of stage 2 theory. 2. The airspace and other traffic in the air: a. Controlled airspace and airports: Control zones, terminal areas, airways, ATC, VFR/IFR traffic patterns, rules of operation, VFR rules for minimum visibility and distances from clouds. b. Uncontrolled airspace and airports: Information zones and services, VFR/IFR traffic patterns,
rules of operation, VFR rules for minimum visibility and distances from clouds. c. Other airspace: Restricted, dangerous and prohibited areas. 3. Information sources: ICAO maps, publications, manuals, NOTAMs. Where to obtain. Air Traffic Control, information service, local airports and clubs, schools. 4. Right of way rules for paragliders and hang gliders: General, ridge soaring, thermal soaring. 5. Other rules and regulations, as applicable: Government, National Paragliding Association. 6. Code of good practice. Practical flying and safety: 1. Repetition of stage 2 theory. 2. Instructional and safety recommendations. 3. Preparations: Standard routines and checks, double checks of critical factors. 4. Flying exercises: The Practical skill requirements: Description, intention, procedures, execution, errors and dangers. 5. Critical, dangerous and emergency situations: Their causes, avoidance, recognition, corrections. Applicable training methods (simulations). a. Ground handling in gusts and high winds. Practice of reverse inflation, use of crossed-hands control or not. The turn from reverse to forward position, when and how. Deflation of paraglider when necessary, avoidance of being dragged. b. Poor takeoff techniques: Wrong use of or wrong commands to assistants. Poor control off the paraglider. Poor airspeed and directional control, collapses, loss of control, turning back to ridge. Getting into harness. c. Stalls: In gusts, turbulence, in lift gradient, close to the terrain, in turn. d. Conditions: Marginal lift, strong winds, gusts, turbulence, rotors. e. Unusual situations: Turbulence, aerobatics, flying close to clouds. f. Critical maneuvers: 360? turns, returning to lift band, flying close to the terrain, top landings, hillside landings, stalling in turns. Stopping a negative spin. Recovery from major collapses "symmetrical or asymmetrical", B-line stalls. Stopping a spiral dive. g. Unfamiliarity: With sites, conditions, paraglider or harness, maneuvers or tasks. h. Physical and Physiological factors: Stress, pressure, exhaustion, fear, drugs and alcohol. i. Poor airmanship: Overestimating own ability, and/or underestimating sites and conditions. j. Vertigo: Flying with reduced visibility. k. Combinations: Of two or more of the above multiplies the risk of accidents. l. Emergency maneuvers: Use of parachutes. Landings in water, trees, rough terrain, obstructed areas, electrical wires. m. Accidents: Assistance and reports. First Aid: Repetition of stage 2 theory.
PARA PRO Stage 3, PRACTICAL SKILLS
Requirements: 1. Review: Stage 2 maneuvers mastered. 2. Planning: The process of flying, giving a flight plan. 3. Preparations: Spreading out, attachment of harness, adjustments, preflight checks. 4. Ground handling: Control, assistance, correct procedures. 5. Takeoffs in wind: With assistance, procedures, instructions, Start position. Final checks. Speed and direction. Flying position. 6. Minimum sink maneuvers: Speed control, coordinated turns left and right, minimum loss of height, without any sign of stall.
7. Wind corrections exercises/ Maneuvering in lift bands: Figure 8 maneuvering, corrections for wind drift, turns and reversing direction. Maneuvering according to terrain and other traffic, keeping a good lookout. 8. 360 degree turns: Ordinary speed and on minimum sink, right and left, shallow to medium bank, without any sign of stalls. "Safe height and distance to terrain." 9. Stalling: From minimum sink speed and flight straight ahead. "Safe altitude and distance." To be attempted for first time only with instructor, with radio communications, with reserve parachute present, and over water. B-line stalls: force required to enter, avoidance of parachutal stall during recovery by quick let-up of risers. 10. Frontal collapses: 2-3 cells on one side and on both sides. "Safe altitude and distance." Progression from pulling on 1 A-line to 2, 3, 4. Use of counter-steering with weight shift. Pumping out folds. 11. Soaring: Entering, turning and maneuvering in lift, corrections and gradient, without any signs of stalls. Precision approaches and landings: Safe and inside an area decided by the instructor.
PARA PRO Stage 3, EXPERIENCE
Requirements: 1. A minimum of 60 successful flights and a total of 5 flying hours. 2. Flights from 5 different sites, of which 3 are inland. 3. Minimum 3 flights and a total of 1 hour of flying in lift.
PARA PRO Stage 3, AIRMANSHIP
Requirements: The instructor should be convinced that the student is able to take care of his own and others' safety within applicable rules and regulations, recommendations and code of good practice, while operating alone.
PARA PRO, STAGE 4
ADVANCED SOARING (BLUE)
Hands off the brakes during ground control. Advanced soaring is flying in demanding lift, such as marginal, strong and/or turbulent thermal or wave conditions. INSTRUCTIONAL AND SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS: The objective of this stage is to make sure the pilot can safely practice advanced soaring, also under pressure as in displays, demonstrations and competitions. This stage has turbulence and small margins as key words. One must be prepared to be forced to operate close to the safe operating limitations for the both the equipment and oneself. Even while one certainly should give both equipment and oneself good safety margins, one must be prepared for the possibility that those margins may be passed. A thorough knowledge of emergency procedures, such as recovery from asymmetric and symmetric collapses, stalls, spins, spirals, and surges, as well as use of parachute, is very important. One must have a thorough knowledge of performance curves and correct flying speeds (speed polars), use of accelerator (speed system), design limitations and load factors. Advanced soaring requires the ability of fast and accurate evaluations of conditions and situations combined with fast and precise maneuvering. There will be situations with little time for balanced decisions and wrong reactions. One must be prepared by careful planning and one always must be ahead of the situation, so that in critical situations one gives the right reaction without wasting time. One must have highly developed skills and a thorough knowledge in order to gain maximum
performance. One must, often close to the terrain and in turbulent conditions, master all types of turns combined with low speeds, and also keep a close watch of terrain and other traffic. Extreme conditions are warned against, because of the strong forces that may be present. Regardless of pilot skill and experience one may easily lose control. Structural (equipment) failures can also happen. One must never overestimate oneself or the equipment. If one meets strong turbulence, one must not panic and try to avoid it by sharp turns or high speeds, since this increases the possibilities for loss of control (or major collapses). Correct maneuvering in strong turbulence is moderate speeds and flight straight ahead or shallow banks if necessary. Other dangers are stalling or frontal collapse, and loss of control close to the terrain. If this happens, the correct reactions are vital. That is, in case of a stall first reduce the angle of attack by raising one’s arms, control the ensuing surge of the canopy, then wait for speed to maneuver and then avoid collision. In case of a frontal collapse, this is to increase angle of attack and if necessary counter any tendency to turns and then avoid collision. One should also avoid flying alone. Students are under no circumstance allowed to practice advanced soaring. Pilots must have a license for this stage in order to fly advanced soaring in displays, demonstrations or competitions or else where this stage is required. Before progressing to the next stage one must be able to, with a great deal of accuracy, evaluate conditions to be acceptable in relation to safety. One should also show that one is able to find and use all kinds of lift.
PARA PRO Stage 4, KNOWLEDGE
Requirements: Repetition from stage 3, especially: Aerodynamics: 1. G-loads: a. Relative to maneuvering and speed in turbulence, turns and pulling out of spiral dives. b. Correct maneuvering speeds in turbulence. Stability. Speed polars. Meteorology: 1. Thermals: a. When, how and where. Stability versus instability in the air. Lapse rate. b. Best thermal areas. Time of day and of year. c. Types of thermals, dangerous thermal conditions, dry thermals. d. Signs: Clouds, cumulus, cumulonimbus. Squall lines. 2. Wave conditions: waves, turbulence, high altitudes. 3. Dangerous conditions: Strong wind. Clouds, cumulonimbus, severe turbulence. Paraglider and equipment: 1. Structural limitations: loads, speeds, attitudes, aerobatics. Structural failures. 2. Stability: profile, wing torsion, pendulum stability, recovery after stalls or major collapses. 3. Selection of paraglider: Appropriate model rating for advanced soaring pilots: Standard rating, or Performance rating (but not Competition rating).
PARA PRO Stage 4, PRACTICAL SKILL
Requirements: 1. Stage 3 maneuvers, mastered, reviewed if necessary. 2. Planning: The process of flying, giving a flight plan.
3. 360? turns, shallow to medium bank, left and right. 4. 360? turns, steep, left and right. 5. 360? turns, at minimum sink "flat", left and right. 6. Ridge soaring: Launching and soaring. 7. Thermal soaring: Launching, locating, entering and climbing. 8. Marginal lift: Launching and soaring. 9. Gusts and turbulence: Launching and soaring. 10. Maneuvering according to the traffic rules.
PARA PRO Stage 4, EXPERIENCE
Requirements: 1. Same as for stage 3, easy soaring, plus: 2. A total of minimum 10 flying hours. 3. A total of minimum 2 hours of thermal soaring. 4. A total of minimum 2 hours of ridge soaring.
PARA PRO Stage 4, AIRMANSHIP
Requirements: The pilot should be considered to be able to take care of his/her own and others’ safety while flying at this stage, also during displays, demonstrations and competitions and anywhere else this stage in required.
PARA PRO, STAGE 5
Ground control helps to improve handling
CROSS COUNTRY (BROWN)
Cross Country flying is to use rising air currents (soaring) to fly away from (and maybe return to) the local flying site. INSTRUCTIONAL AND SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS: The objective of this stage is to enable the pilot to fly cross country safely, also under pressure as in demonstrations, displays and competitions. This stage has nearly unlimited possibilities, from short and easy flights, to really demanding long distance flights, where if the conditions permit, the pilot's ability, as well as his/her determination, will set the limits. It is here that the pilot's ability, that is his knowledge, skill, experience and airmanship, is put to the ultimate test. One must be able to plan, administer and perform each flight within safe limitations, while one must stress oneself and the equipment to the same limitations to be able to go really far. One must have a thorough knowledge of aerodynamics and meteorology as well as air traffic rules and the airspace. In accordance with the planned flight, and existing and possible conditions, one must
choose correct equipment like clothes, aids and emergency equipment, as well as organizing necessary transport and pick up, radio communications and procedures for use in an emergency situation such as landing and getting injured in deserted and difficult terrain. Cross country flying requires the ability to find all types of lift, as well as correct maneuvering in lift and sink areas. One must be able to judge the terrain and conditions so as not to land where it is prohibited, or where one may add injuries to oneself or others, or in areas that are remote. One must be able to very quickly pick out the best landing fields if one has to go down, and if necessary set up a precision approach to a small landing field with a short field landing over possible barriers. This is because any accident may have the most serious consequences. Warning must be given against cross country flying into remote and deserted areas, over areas with no possibilities for emergency landings and over water. One must always make sure that someone knows where one intends to fly, and that a search is activated if found necessary. If there is any possibility for a landing in remote and deserted areas one should bring an emergency pack according to the conditions. One should also avoid flying alone. Students are under no circumstance allowed to fly cross country. Pilots must have a license for this stage in order to fly cross country in displays, demonstrations or competitions or anywhere else this stage is required.
PARA PRO Stage 5, KNOWLEDGE
Requirements. Navigation: 1. Planning: Collecting information on weather, terrain, sites, airspace, air traffic and hazards. Use of map and other publications, air traffic and weather service. 2. Weather service: Where and how to get weather information. 3. Interpreting weather reports: Meteorological reports and maps. 4. Interpreting weather: Signs, recognition of acceptable and dangerous conditions. 5. Airspace and air traffic: a. Controlled airspace: Air corridors, terminal areas, control zones and airports. b. Uncontrolled airspace: Air transport and other airfields. Danger, restricted, prohibited and alert areas. c. Military traffic: Training areas, graphing from the air. d. Governmental publications: Sectional charts, Notam, ICAO maps. 6. Use of maps: a. Planning of flights: Dangerous/ deserted areas, alternative routes, landing areas, communication and retrieval. 7. Equipment: For altitude and low temperatures, emergency and first aid equipment, survival equipment, warning and communication equipment. 8. Selection of paraglider model: Appropriate model rating for cross-country pilots: Standard rating or Performance rating. For advanced cross-country pilots willing to possibly compromise handling or safety standards for additional performance: Competition rating. 9. Standard procedures: Signals, retrieval. 10. Emergency procedures: Warning, search after missing pilots.
PARA PRO Stage 5, PRACTICAL SKILLS
Requirements: 1. Review: Maneuvers from previous stages mastered. 2. Planning: Evaluations and decisions, giving a flight plan.
3. Soaring: Search for and use of all kinds of lift. Flying in lift and sink, head and tail wind with correct speed. 4. Cliff-launch in light to moderate wind. To be avoided due to risk of collapses. 5. Cliff-launch in strong wind: Not to be attempted in a paraglider, only in a hang glider, and then only with assistance. 6. Crosswind-launch: Wind maximum 45 degrees off launch direction. Crosswind component less than 2 m/s, 7 km/h, 5 mph. 7. Outlandings: Precision approach to unknown landing area: Selection of landing field, control of speed and glide angle.
PARA PRO Stage 5, EXPERIENCE
Requirements: Same as for stage 4, plus. 1. A total of 20 flying hours. 2. A total of 5 cross country flights in various lift (ridge soaring and flying along the same ridge, only, is not approved).
PARA PRO Stage 5, AIRMANSHIP
Requirements: The pilot should be able to take care of his own and others’ safety during cross country flying, also during displays, demonstrations and competitions and anywhere else this stage in required.
Suggested visual markings for the PARA PRO system: The students/pilots should have visual markings that shows the stage they are at. The following are suggested: A HELMET BADGE, with color trim, matching the color of the stage.
Right of Way Rules
Regulations concerning air traffic protocol:
1. When two pilots meet head-on away from the ridge, both turn right.
2. When meeting at an angle a pilot has to give right of way to whoever is on the right
3. Near the ridge, right of way is given to the pilot whose right-hand side is nearest the ridge.
4. Overtaking should be executed at a safe distance of at least 2 wingspans and the overtaking pilot should pass between the ridge and the pilot he is overtaking. 5. On landing, priority is given to the pilot who is closer to the ground. However, the lower pilot should not linger during landing setup, but quickly land to clear the way.
6. The pilot who enters a thermal first determines the circling direction. The second pilot to enter, whether lower or higher, should circle in the same direction. 7. In the same thermal the pilot lower down has priority and the one higher up should clear the thermal if they come too close together, since the pilot lower down is unaware of the other pilot's presence or position. 8. Tandems always have right of way over solo paragliders, except if they are higher up in a thermal. 9. Flying within a cloud is strictly inadvisable. This practice is forbidden in most countries because it is dangerous. 10. Free-flight configurations always have right of way over paramotors, powerchutes and ultralights, but should yield way to other aircraft. 11. Paragliders should comply with national (federal) regulations. In most countries, among other important items, it is strictly forbidden to fly near airports or aerodromes within a radius of 8 km (5 miles) and a height of 750 m (2500 ft). You are obliged to follow air traffic rules.
Do not fly too close to another paraglider, nor should you follow close behind. Every pilot must take care to avoid collisions with other pilots. Such rules are intended to organize flying with the ultimate goal of safety. These rules are a guide and may change in some parts or differ in your country.
Maneuvers and Tests
These tests, also called S.I.V. (Simulation d' Incident en Vol in French, meaning Flight Incident Simulation), are control maneuvers when flying, particular situations will occur which we need to be dealt with. These circumstances do not normally concern novices because students should fly in mild conditions. The following exercises are described with a pilot's instruction syllabus in mind. We will also be outlining acrobatics which are not included in S.I.V tests. Needless to say, all tests do not present identical degrees of difficulty. Always use supervision, especially the first time you attempt them. The instructor will advise you to have altitude, consult the manual of your canopy and take things in stride. Dynamic full stall should be avoided by all but the most accomplished pilots. All tests should be performed over water while having necessary arrangements,such as a rescue boat, a lifevest etc. However, it is essential for everyone to be able to perform a tip fold (big ears), a one-side collapse and later a B line stall.
Extreme maneuvers by the King. [Nova archive]
• Wear gloves at all times. Otherwise the risers may burn your hands through friction. • All maneuvers alter the aerodynamic shape of the paraglider and it is unsafe to use them when there is no need from safety point of view. • Always bear in mind that control maneuvers will impair equipment (stretch lines and canopy) and should not be overused. Here are the maneuvers we consider: 1. Tip fold-big ears 2. One side collapse or asymmetric front deflation 3. Front collapse or symmetric tuck 4. Horseshoe 5. B-line stall 6. Parachutal stall or deep stall
7. Spiral dive 8. Wingover 9. Spin 10. Full stall
Tip Fold or Big Ears
This is the most common and safest maneuver. The total surface of the paraglider after applying big ears is smaller and thus takes more load. The pilot performs big ears in order to lose height and make the wing more stable in turbulent conditions.
How to do it
Keep your hands in the brake toggles, reach up and grasp the outboard lines of riser A. The manufacturer determines the number of lines which are safe to use for big ears. Usually in a set of 5 lines grasp 2 on each side. That is, less than half the number of lines of the A riser on each side. Grasp high to avoid pulling down the whole of A line. Then pull down these lines slowly and symmetrically. Check wing constantly. The outward tips should partially fold under.
Tip fold - Small ears :) What will happen? Not much. Your variometer will merely indicate a greater sink rate. Release the lines and pull gently on the brakes to eliminate big ears. Try again to pull down the said lines more dynamically for a larger tipfold. If you do it correctly you will get a descent rate of 5 to 6 m/s (1000 to 1200 FPM). The next stage involves guiding the paraglider by shifting your weight, as you cannot use your hands to turn with the use of the brakes.
Letting up the lines symmetrically allows you to recover. It is a good idea to apply the brakes to make the wing recover, but remember every wing performs differently. Practice with a safe margin of height.
• The wing obtains greater stability and solidity. • The sink rate increases and often the horizontal speed falls, except for a few wing models. • Performing "big ears" is the easiest way to loose altitude while your speed is not altered much. This is usefull to escape a cloudsuck. • Avoid using "big ears" with modern paragliders during landing due to the tendancy to deepstall. With "big ears" your wing is not flying with the designed shape even though it is a fairly benign event.
One-Side Collapse or Asymmetric Front Deflation
The collapse of one side of our wing is a common problem when we fly in thermals. Most collapses can be avoided provided the pilot is careful in his actions. Strictly speaking, when you have a collapse you have made a mistake just previously. In flight an asymmetric collapse occurs when we are flying with too little brakes or when we are entering or exiting a thermal with strong associated turbulence. This is a common occurrence and can be progressively from small-scale to large-scale maneuvers.
This way is only for test pilots
How to do it
Hold the left brake and apply normal pressure on the wing. Keep the right brake handle in your hand, reach up and pull down on two lines from the A riser with the right hand until a part of the right side folds under. The wing will want to turn right, as this side will be creating more drag. To prevent this right turn, apply a little more left brake and shift your weight to the left. Caution: Do not let the glider turn and do not apply too much left brake which can stall that side use weight shift steering. In flight, some advanced wings would behave better if the pilot let them turn and then try to recover.
To reinflate the collapsed side, let up on the lines and pull down the right brake with one controlled movement. Tentative "pumping" is not really effective for making a normal recovery. Some
paragliders can recover without pilot input. For a bigger collapse, pull down the right riser. The wing will tend to turn since the part of the wing which remains inflated bears all the pilot's weight. To deal with this, pull down on the left brake and shift your weight left to prevent turning too much, release the riser and then pull down on the right brake. Let the wing turn a little towards the deflated side and this will enable faster recovery. Do not apply too much opposite brake because this can cause deflation of the open side. Remember to handle your wing with smooth and controlled movements, which are the result of practice.
• Tangling of the folded side with lines is possible, especially when there are only a few of them. If you cannot disentangle it, fold the other side and head for landing. • If you do not brake the speed of the inflated side, you may enter a spin. Inversely, if you brake too much you will enter a stall. • The right technique is acquired with experience. A general rule is composed and confident movement. There is no need to be afraid, but be aware that asymmetric folds involve altitude loss.
This collapse is caused by turbulence and can be a result of a one side collapse. Also a front collapse can produce a one side collapse. In flight, the wake turbulence from other paragliders flying near can produce a front collapse.
How to do it
A pilot can cause a front collapse by pulling down the A risers. It is safe for the brake handles to fall down around your wrists if this feels more comfortable than when they are in their normal position. Of course, the maneuver should be carried out gradually by tugging slightly on the A risers, noting the resistance and gradually increasing the pull. The wing will fold at the front and lose its shape due to stall, and a forward horseshoe will probably be produced. Altitude will be lost after a pitch oscillation of the wing.
To recover normal flight, pull on both brakes symmetrically. Some times the front collapse is not symmetrical and the one side might require less or more braking.
• Pilots using trims should be extra careful. Due to the oscillation caused when recovery is made, the trim may open automatically. One sided or asymmetrical trim opening can occur during other maneuvers as well. My opinion is that trims should have some Velcro security system. • In areas of turbulence, apply brakes actively to prevent a collapse and to feel the wing better. In a state of repeated collapses, do not rush to correct or the wing will fold again.
This is a symmetrical collapse of the central front part of the paraglider. The center stops flying due to deflation and the sides meet in the center of the wing.
How to do it
While holding the brakes, grasp the one inboard line from each A riser and pull them down slowly to your chest. This may not be enough so you may have to pull the lines a little more. Make sure you pull down symmetrically. Both sides of the wing will maintain a forward direction while the center will slow down, so there will be a central collapse. Loss of altitude (5 to 7 m/s or 1000 to 1400 FPM descent rate) will occur so keep a safe distance from the ground. Several designs of paraglider will not perform or resist to perform this maneuver.
Gradual letting up on the risers and applying the brakes slightly produces recovery. Be gentle to protect your wing from wear and tear when recovering.
Here the aim is to fold the wing lengthwise with the result that partial stall produces a controlled, brisk loss of altitude (7 m/s or 1400 FPM descent rate).
How to do it
With your brakes held in your hands, grasp the B risers at the small carabiner and pull down 10 cm (4 inches). Wing resistance here is considerable at first but will drop suddenly. Do not release the risers but hold them symmetrically. Continue pulling the B risers to your chest. In some cases you will have to pull on more than 20 cm (8 inches). The wing will stop forward motion, the relative wind will drop, and the wing will move rearward and forward and soon will be more stable. The result is a quick loss of altitude (7 m/s or 1400 FPM descent rate).
Recovery is recommended in two stages. First, let up on the risers halfway then complete the action faster. If you do this stage very slowly you might enter a deep stall. You should be leaning forward to make your recovery easier or use the speed bar. To recover, ease off the risers perfectly symmetrically and you will feel the canopy pull them from you and surge gently forward (it should not dive far enough to cause a tuck). If you have released the B risers and you haven't felt a surge forward, then check your horizon and airspeed, you may be in a parachutal or deep stall. If you are, then push forward on the A risers. If this does not work, then pull on the brakes until you feel the canopy slow down and release them again quickly.
• Never pull one B riser only as this causes a spin. Always pull and release both B risers symmetrically.
• If you pull the risers too hard, both your descent and motion will be unstable. • Riser recovery must be symmetrical, brisk and accurate to prevent a spin. • This maneuver is considered safe for losing altitude quickly when necessary (cloud suck). • Some pilots attach a ribbon to their lines to check forward motion and recovery. • You can learn this maneuver gradually by pulling less on the B risers. • Not recommended in strong winds, as you may be carried backwards. Having said that, I have seen a successful execution of this maneuver in 40 km/h (25 mph) winds.
Parachutal Stall or Deep Stall
This situation is invariably accidentally imposed on us and is not a B line stall, which is a controlled stall. A canopy will stall when the angle of attack is increased and the airflow over the wing is broken up. This increase in angle of attack may be a result of flying through wind gradient or by pulling the brakes down too far, or when pumping out big ears with wrong brake movements. The canopy will go through a stage where its normal descent rate increases rapidly even though its profile may appear normal. If, when the controls are let up, this steady state stall continues and requires positive input to recover, then it is in a parachutal stall. The state where a canopy cannot be recovered after stalling is called a deep stall. By way of example, imagine flying in weak ridge lift and minimizing sink rate by pulling on the brakes. If you slow too much, you may feel and hear the relative wind decrease, the controls become mushy, the horizon starts to rise and you feel yourself sinking. Descent rate is 5 to 6 m/s (1000 to 1200 FPM).
First, you must recognize all the signs of the canopy entering the parachutal stall. Recovery should be made as soon as the source of the trouble ceases to exist. First, push forward on the A risers to lower the angle of attack. If nothing changes, apply brakes then release the brakes quickly and allow the canopy to surge forward, pick up speed and regain balanced forward flight. As it surges in front of you make sure you re-apply sufficient brake so as not to let it tuck. To be sure that you have not braked too much and re-entered a parachutal stall, check your horizon and airspeed. If your first recovery attempts have failed (which is unlikely), repeat the process. Note your altitude loss and if you are nearing the ground, prepare to do a PLF while carrying out the recovery actions. With enough experience and ground clearance you can produce a dynamic full stall to get out of a deep stall.
• If you apply brakes to one side when the canopy is in parachutal stall, you can enter an asymmetric stall and spin. • Certification of canopy up to performance level assures that a canopy will recover by itself. • Stalling usually occurs symmetrically so the canopy should not enter a turn providing that you are quick in your recovery actions. • In parachutal stall it is fairly easy to enter into full stall with too much braking.
A spiral dive consists of continuous tight 360º turns. It is the most effective maneuver for losing altitude (5 to 25 m/s or 1000 to 4000 FPM). Its sheer beauty is the reason behind its popularity.
How to do it
Begin turning, but if you sense a drop in speed, hold back slightly to resume the previous speed and then maintain greater brake pressure and weightshift. The glider continues to steepen in bank and a brisker motion begins. Reduce pressure on the brake to continue a steady spiral. The centrifugal force goes up considerably as you rotate around the wing.
You can enter a spiral with an aggressive on-off application of the brakes and when the paraglider dives, so as to recover its speed, you make your initial turn assisted by your weightshift control technique. Brakes here are used to control speed, yet applied separately.
This is the most important part of this maneuver. To make a recovery, gradually reduce inboard brake pressure and pull on the outboard one to slow the wing's rotation. The turn will flatten out and flying speed will convert into climb which will reach a maximum then the glider will enter a dive. Control the dive so as to avoid a collapse. Mastering this maneuver will improve your in-flight control co-ordination.
• Entry into spiral is more difficult in turbulence and requires the pilot to have a good command of the spiral dive technique. In order to lose height, if it is easier for you, choose a B line stall instead. • If you fasten the cross straps on the harness too tight the outboard brake may need more force. • Too hasty an entry into a spiral may produce a spin.
A wingover is a maneuver which is in reality a climbing steep turn ending in a dive. It is an altitudelosing, spectacular maneuver like the spiral dive and is almost as popular.
How to do it
Pull one of the brakes quickly to make a fast turn and assist the turn with weightshift. Before the turn ends apply opposite weightshift and reverse pressure on the brakes. If you do this repetitively you will dive left and right performing a figure eight, all the while losing height. Another type of wingover can be performed with sharp application of brakes followed by complete release. As you dive you can begin initiating the turn, using your body weight to assist.
This maneuver requires good control and coordination and reaches the boundaries of what a paraglider can do according to its design and manufacture. Start with small turns and increase the speed when you are familiar with the behavior of your paraglider.
Spin refers to a rotation around one side of the wing. This event occurs when one side stalls. Because of the excess load on the inflated side and the motion around the paraglider's axis, the centrifugal forces make the pilot rotate violently with the wing. Even worse, the paraglider may rotate around the vertical axis while the pilot himself has come to a standstill which winds up the lines. Spinning implies a very low flying speed (i.e. within a thermal). Turning too slowly or applying too much inside brake leads to a spin the paraglider is out of control, the horizon is spinning and the ground is getting nearer and nearer.
How to do it
As a maneuver, you can produce a spin in two ways: 1. With both brakes down while flying at minimum speed, let up on one of the brakes abruptly while pulling further down on the other. 2. At trim speed, pull one brake all the way down fast, which will cause asymmetric stall and a spin if you keep on braking. The spin produced in this manner, is more violent.
You really have to know what you are doing here. Release the brake of the collapsed side then shift your body to the other side and slow the rotation by braking the inflated side (outside wing in the turn). On recovery, the wing surges forward and overcorrecting will result in a spin on the other side. Correct the spin smoothly but do not overcompensate. If the spin does not stop despite input, or when the lines have rotated, produce a full stall and recovery. If you are near the ground, deploy your reserve. A fully-fledged spin is difficult to deal with especially on competition paragliders.
• Avoid low speeds. Act instantly without panicking. A one-sided collapse or front collapse can develop into a spin. • Do not attempt to produce a spin on a competition paraglider (unless you have test pilot experience) because there is a possibility that the spin can't be recovered and you will crash while in the spin. Sometimes the spin with this type of paraglider is recovered with full stall or deployment of a reserve parachute. Because of the centrifugal force, it has been estimated that the speed of revolution can reach 100 km/h (62 mph) and the sink rate 10 m/s (2000 FPM). The time margin for reaction and recovery is obviously restricted.
This is a self-induced maneuver, which is perhaps the most dangerous. It should generally be avoided by all pilots. If you insist on doing it, make sure you have an instructor with you, exercise precaution, have sufficient altitude, a correctly fastened harness and fly over water. If the pilot maintains or increases brake input beyond the stall point then the tips of the canopy will move backwards, forming a horseshoe shape and the whole canopy will then drop backwards relative to the pilot. He will then pendulum underneath the canopy descending almost vertically under the now fully stalled wing. The descent rate will increase to 7 to 10 m/s (1400 to 2000 FPM).
How to do it
You are flying over water with at least 400 m (1300 ft) clearance, you pull on the brakes fully and evenly, allowing the canopy to drop into a stall. The most important thing is to recognize the point at which a canopy will stall. You must keep the brakes on fully as you pendulum backwards. You may feel a tremendous force on the brake lines pulling your hands upwards (some wings do not display this much force). You must resist this, keeping them fully down until you are descending under the stalled but stable wing (stabilized in terms of forward and backward motion). Once you are in this position you will feel the canopy rocking less backwards and forwards. Observe your canopy and ease off the brakes only when the canopy is in its neutral or forward motion position.
As you ease off the brakes the canopy will try to pull them from you and will immediately inflate to its normal profile and start to surge forward. Allow it to do so but apply the necessary amount of brake, often down to shoulder level, to stop oversurging and tucking. Ease off the brakes as the dive starts to slow down and you pendulum directly underneath the canopy. Then release the brakes fully and check your horizon and airspeed before applying further brake. If you do choose to perform a full stall, never release the brakes as you pendulum backwards because the canopy will inflate, dive forward radically and tuck or even catch you as you fall into it. Be careful of overbraking the canopy as it recovers from its dive forward, thus dropping it back into another stall. If you still find yourself pitching forwards and backwards then release the brakes and reapply them again until you feel a slight resistance. When the canopy stabilizes then release them again.
• If you find yourself rocking backwards and forwards violently whilst established in full stall, then next time take a wrap on your brakes so that the stall is more complete. • Release brakes when the wing is in forward motion for a smoother recovery. • Let the wing stabilize before releasing the brakes. • Tangling of wing and lines will lead to spinning.
* Aerobatics are hereby described for your knowledge only and not as a guide for you to perform these extremely dangerous maneuvers.
Expert pilots have accomplished aerobatics, which are extremely dangerous for you. We describe these aerobatics for your knowledge only. Attend an official training school with experienced instructors who observe and guide you. Of course always only above water and all the proper equipments (boat, lifejacket) etc. Do not attempt these aerobatics alone unless you are a test pilot flying over water. In other words, don't perform them because if you were a test pilot you would not be learning from this book! There are a lot of tricky points you have to know when you perform aerobatics that make a big difference to glider's reactions and pilot's senses. The main thing in aerobatics is body position - weight shifting in good timing as a reaction to the canopy's moovements.
Loops were performed initially with specially designed paragliders, but today normal fast paragliders are used. Strictly speaking, a true over-the-top loop is not possible. Here we are talking about an extremely fast climb and roll which places the pilot nearly upside down at some point. A true loop will not be possible until a paraglider's speed potential is improved. Andre Bucher performed the first loop. Some pilots may still want to try these maneuvers. The extreme danger in aerobatics is to be dropped inside the wing at which point luck will determine your future.
Mike Kung Acro pilot
How to do a reversal loop [How the test pilots do]
You enter at symmetric spirals and gain a lot of speed. Once you are over the wing (in a good asymmetric spiral) and you start to go down again, release both brakes and put hard body weight shift to the other side of the turn. The wing stops turning and rapidly starts flicking to the other side. When it passes over your head pull the brake of the same side of the body weight to sharpen the turn. Now as you start to roll over the wing, gradually center your body into the harness as well as both brakes input at the highest point over the wing to hold it open. You escape by the side, holding only the inside brake when you are going down, so you enter a spiral again and slowly decrease the speed. Remember: No hesitation. Be well prepared and go for it!!
The pilot puts body weight and brake on the same side (let's say left). As the wing dives, release the brake to gain speed and center the body into the harness. Now as the pilot dives under the wing has to place the body tothe same side (left) again. Pull the brake (left again) when you pass vertically under the wing, force it to move rapidly on the same side of the previous turn. This will alloud you to roll at a good angle over the wing. Hard braking when you are on top is not necessary because of the too much speed and energy that you build during an asymmetric spiral keeps the wing tight enough. It only needs small corrections.
Synchronizes weight shift and brakes with a lot of practice.
When in normal flight and as you hold the brakes, make a turn or two (depending on the glider) of
the brake line around your one hand only (let's say right hand), so the pressure to begin when your hand is all the way up (by the side of the brake pulley). With the other hand (left) hold tight all risers in the middle of the distance between big and small carabiners. Now push the left risers away by fully extending of your arm and move your body to the right side. Apply a little right brake and as the wing enters a normal spiral dive (not very steep or asymmetric) pull down the inside brake until your fist reaches your ribs and hold it like this. The result is the inside wing to stall and comes up very fast and you are in SAT, with the center of rotation between you (who is flying backwards) and the wing (that is flying forward), giving a lot of G's to your body. Exit by releasing the brake of the stalled wing first, making it drop to a spiral again and center your body into the harness by leaving the risers of the other hand, just after.
Know well your wing's stall point, and work out your arms!!
As you are in normal flight pull both brakes to increase the angle of attack. At this point - almost at deepstall, pull one brake all the way down and keep your body exactly at the center of your harness. As the glider is starting to spin, you completely release the outer brake and little bit of the inside brake too. Let the wing follow the rotation, control it only with smooth corrections with the outer brake. Keep the wing directly over your head and be well centered in your harness. Exit by slowly pulling the outside brake until you stop the spinning. Release both brakes and let the wing fly and when do pull them down again as far as it needs catch the surge. Remember: Fine cooperation of both brakes.
Wagga is an aerobatic maneuver which consist a spiral with the tip of the wing touching the ground just before landing.
A perfect wagga In this maneuver the critical point is to recover from the spiral dive fast and precise. The pilot performing a wagga ought to be very experienced with spiral and have the theoretical knowledge of the conversion of his speed to lift while stalling the wing to land.
Deploying a Reserve Parachute
A reserve parachute is essential for all flights, whether you are flying low or high, and is considered
the ultimate rescue action performed by the pilot. On normal tested paragliders up to performance level, the need to deploy a reserve parachute is rare. According to the specification tests, these paragliders can recover from any incident and return to normal flight in 3 sec with or without a pilot's assistance. Thus, the need for deployment is normally limited to incidents such as a mid-air crash with another paraglider, twisting of the lines or cravat (the material of the wing entangles in the lines), when the ground is too close and generally speaking in cases where no recovery is possible. Top pilot Hans Bollinger has mentioned that he often sees people deploying their reserve the moment their paraglider returns to normal flight. However, it is better to deploy and wish you hadn't than not deploy and wish you had. It must be said that many pilots are not familiar with the reserve parachute technique. When in trouble, try to make a recovery but if you are less than 100 m (300 ft) from the ground or it is impossible to make a recovery, deploy the reserve without the slightest hesitation. A well-packed reserve can open in a few seconds. With the aid of a rocket it takes less time. Time is precious and much altitude can be lost during that time. Bear this in mind when the ground is approaching.
How to do it
The first step is to know where exactly the parachute handle is. Then the movement of your hand toward the handle will be instinctive and accurate. It is more convenient to have it placed in a front container. Prior training is vital. Grasp the handle and pull smoothly, stretching your arm out in front. The reserve bag follows at a distance of about 30cm (12 inches). Throw out the entire bundle including the handle as vigorously as possible. The parachute will now open by coming overhead with a slight jolt. The pilot hangs from the lines secured to the harness and his contribution to the flight is terminated (once a reserve is deployed). If altitude permits, you should do a B-line or fullstall or pull in on one side so as to pack the paraglider into your lap. This procedure prevents the paraglider canopy from entangling your parachute.
PLF (Parachute Landing Fall): 1. Position the body to form an arc. 2. Start the PLF when the balls of the feet touch the ground. 3. Do not hesitate on the balls of the feet. Complete the PLF by falling in the direction of drift, and lay the (body) points of contact on the ground. 4. Keep the chin on the chest and keep the neck tense throughout the PLF. 5. Use a twisting, bending motion, beginning in the hips, to push the knees around, exposing the calf and thigh (right or left) as the legs give with the impact. Be on your guard! You will land randomly with great descending speed. In this situation you need to know how to land. A series of diagrams indicates the technique to use to soften the impact, distributing it through your entire body. This exercise is best practiced in a sandpit and is called a PLF landing. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the high-speed drop pilots often experience the illusion of going slower than in reality. Have a good PLF landing!
• Checking the handle and the safety pins prior to flying is imperative. • Make sure the parachute container is not accidentally opened during launch assistance. • When a reserve is deployed, conditions are usually not mild. • In a spin, throw the parachute into the opposite direction of the spin to prevent windup. In any case, throw the parachute into clear air. • Due to poor positioning on the harness, the parachute may not come out or open. Common causes are the tough velcro, overlong retaining rigging, or detachment due to poor state of stitching, difficulty in finding the handle's position due to panic or bad position of the pilot. • If the reserve is controllable like the Rogallo, with a glide ratio of about 2/1, equip yourself with a cutaway system on the carabiners of the risers and the speed bar as well so you can fly the reserve. • In strong winds you may get blown about after landing, so be prepared. • The sink rate of the reserve increases if you are in a descending air current. That means that the descending vertical speed of the reserve, which is 4 to 6 m/s (800 to 1200 FPM), increases when the descending speed of the surrounding air is added. • The sink rate of the reserve increases when it is not directly overhead, and things get worse if oscillation occurs.
• The bothersome position of lines over your face might lead to uncomfortable position for landing.
Reserve Parachute Packing
Packing a supair reserve parachute You should repack and check your reserve parachute every 6 months. Make sure the area is clean. Leave it open for 24 hours so it can be aired. Check the expiry date. Some companies use low quality material that expires in 5 years instead of 10 or 12. If you are using a reserve after its expiry date it does not just mean it won't do a good job, it means it won't do the job at all. When packing, request the help of an expert and consult the instruction booklet. You should pack it yourself next time under supervision.
Do not be alarmed by the word competition. Competition involves meeting people, good performance and escape from your daily routine. An event has something to offer to everyone, not just to the best pilots. After all, there are class A and class B events. Even at the PWC (Paragliding World Cup) there is an Open and a Serial class.
Objectives of Competition
• To have fun. • To solidify friendship between pilots. • To award the best club or national team. • To award the best pilots who will make up the national squad that will evidently participate abroad. • Promoting and developing the sport. Events are hosted and organised by the various flying clubs and is supervised by the national flying club or CIVL representation. Every hosting club appoints an organizing committee, which determines the turn points, launch and landing sites. These items may change according to the discretion of the meet director. The organizers also keep tabs on civil aviation rules and airspace, cooperate with the media, supply all material infrastructure and emergency medical and first aid supplies, as well as often organize accommodation for the athletes.
What Pilots Must Bring Along
1. Pilot qualification certificates. For international events an annual seal is essential. 2. Third party liability and repatriation insurance (sometimes available at the meet). 3. Approved paraglider or, if a prototype, approved by the appropriate national authority. 4. Reserve parachute. 5. Helmet adhering to current international specifications. 6. GPS aproved. 7. Flight instruments. 8. Radio communication at specifically determined frequency. 9. Water system.
Typical Meet Rules
The meet rules will typically designate a strictly enforced level of pilot qualification. For a team to compete, a captain must be appointed. In the statement of participation information is given regarding the pilot and paraglider. Normally each competitor fills an affidavit to state that he has the required level of experience and that the paraglider fulfils international standards of safety and has been verified to be in good condition. Pilots also sign a waiver to absolve the organizers and officials from responsibility for any accident and claims. Right of entry is reserved by the hosting flying clubs. The entry fee typically covers transportation to and from launch sites, collection from landing site alongside pre-selected route and safety rescue. In addition, the fee includes the supply and development of daily photographic film, plus a detailed topographical chart, numbered stickers and free entry to all social activities (but not accommodation). A change of paraglider during an event from one day to the next can be permitted only if it is damaged and only if granted by the meet director. It must be replaced by a paraglider of the same model. Advertising is permitted on the wing. Organizers may terminate competition for safety or security reasons. Flying into clouds is strictly forbidden and full adherence to airspace etiquette and rules is required. A pilot can be disqualified for the following reasons: 1. Recklessness and rule breaking, e.g. flying into clouds. 2. False flight report. 3. Non-compliance with an emergency landing command. 4. Improper or misleading use of radio communication. Trophies are typically awarded to the first three men and women, and to the best team. Provisional results are announced the same day and are based on GPS data. The pilot or team captain can submit protests to the competition secretary.
If a protest occurs, provisional results only become permanent after the judicial committee hears the case and makes a ruling. With GPS verification photographs are not necessary. You still must fly through the proper sector, which is a cylinder rather than a wedge.
Method of Launch
There are several start systems commonly used in competition. These are: "Time trial", where time is counted from the moment of launch, or while in the air (air start). If the pilot needs to land straight after launch for safety reasons, the launch director may give permission to launch again. All other landings are considered the finish of a flight. Distance and time according to the predetermined task are scored. Time is counted according to the start system. After landing the pilot or team captain must immediately inform the landing director that landing has occurred. This procedure facilitates the sending of a rescue team by the organizer within a reasonable time. The time limit for submitting a flight report is determined for each competition day at the briefing and account is taken of any difficulties of retrieval of the competitors. For safety reasons, the rescue team starts operating from the moment the report submission time limit begins. As soon as pilots land, they pack or fold away their paragliders. An unpacked paraglider means that the pilot needs help. Any pilot witnessing an accident must inform the organizer or captain on the emergency frequency very clearly calling out "Mayday, Mayday" stating the time and place of the accident, and the name and number of the caller.
Triangle: Turn points are given. FAI Triangle: Similar to above, but the turn points must obey rules determined by the FAI (see www.fai.org). Race to goal: Starting point to arrival point (usually landing point). Out and return: Same as above but with a turnpoint that must be rounded before returning to the starting point. Elapsed time to goal: Same procedure with race to goal. The difference is that is up to the pilot to start his evaluation time. Cat's cradle: This event aims to test the pilot's initiative and understanding of the day's weather conditions. Every turn point is reached once as the pilot tries to fly the best distance. There are 6 to 10 turn points scattered across the sky, some of which are near to each other while others are not, so that not all pilots will be able to get round them. The order in which the pilot reaches them is the important part of this competition. Only completed routes between turn points will be counted for scoring purposes. The starting point is the first turn point.
Air Start May the best pilot win.
The course or route is called the task and the interim positions you must fly to, turn points. The arrival is called goal. The "window opening time" is the start of launch time. Each morning a briefing takes place concerning the rules, task and weather conditions no one should miss the
1. Not to forget to check, reset and look for new batteries for your GPS. Fortunately, photographs in flight are being phased out in favor of GPS flight verification. 2. Watch the best pilots to learn their tricks, but do not follow them like minnows. Work out your own flight plan. 3. Prior to launch, highlight the turn points on your map and keep them handy in a special trouser leg holder. 4. Aim for your best performance. 5. Use GPS properly and take care to round the turn point. Take the GPS mark from within the distance required. 6. If you do not reach the goal, land as close to the course line (the line joining the turn points) as possible. The further away you land from this axis, the worse it is for your scoring.
The Appropriate Paraglider
Pilot and Paragliding Classes
The sport's continuous development has resulted in both performance and safety improvements which sometimes do not come in the same design. Thus there is a need to split pilots and wings into classes. A student wing is more tolerant of errors and delays than a high-level, high-performance wing. Unfortunately, some pilots do not respect the divisions of glider design, but sooner or later they run into trouble. There are currently two popular rating systems: the French AFNOR and the German DHV.
A performance wing and a beginner's wing Let's take a look at the classes: • A Student should be able to fly an AFNOR standard or DHV 1 wing. • A Beginning pilot should fly an AFNOR standard or DHV 1-2 wing. • A Club pilot should fly an AFNOR performance or DHV 2 wing or lower. • A Pilot should fly an AFNOR performance or DHV 2-3 wing or lower.
• An Advanced pilot should fly an AFNOR competition or DHV 3 wing or lower. While an advanced pilot can and should use a low category paraglider, a student cannot use a high performance one. Unfortunately the latter sometimes happens, because there are no hard and fast rules or clear boundaries between pilots. As if that wasn't enough, manufacturers have to consider their profit margin and market their products within the most commercially viable categories, often neglecting others. Every pilot can and wants to believe that he is better than he really is with the result that many paragliders are bought for performance beyond our skill potential. Remember you will be flying a lifetime, not just one flight. We've all seen pilots with six months experience, who have 50 flights under their belt flying competition wings, as well as beginners with performance ones. I know of a pilot who has, in 10 flights, landed twice in trees, impacted the ground in a B-line stall and spun, because he had not received proper training and was using a paraglider unsuitable for him. Luckily he received only minor injuries in each case. Take great care fellow pilots! What will happen in strong conditions? Will they bring about traumas or accidents? In any case, when chasing your dreams, the `'best'' paraglider will lead to nothing if the pilot is not good enough. Simply consider that a competition in the world cup has been won with an intermediate device (J. Packer on a Nova Phocus). Prior to making any decision, gather enough information. Rely on other pilots or magazines but think what is best for you. Consult your instructor. The following table in English, as well as in French and German, aims to give a better grasp of features and specifications outlined by makers and magazines. It cites as an example a hypothetical high performance canopy.
Technical Specifications Table
Technical specifications (English) Manufacturer Name/Type Test/Classification Wing Line/ diameter Material Risers Speed bar Trim Wing area real Wing area projected Wing span real Wing span projected Specifications Techniques (French) Constructeur Nom/Taille Test/Homologation Technische Daten (German) Hersteller (Marke) Name/Typ(Grusse) Gutesiegel Example Pocket Nitro Afnor Kevlar cousin 1,1/2,2mm Carrington 42g m2 4 (A4-B5 – C4 – D3) Yes Yes 4cm 29,35 26,23 12,96 11,58 3,57/2,89kg/m
Suspendage/diamètre Leinen/Durchmesser Voile Elevateurs Segeltuch Traggurt Speedsystem Trim Fluche ausgelegt Fluche projiziert Spannweite ausgelegt Spannweite projiziert Flachenbelastung
Acceletateur Trim Surface à plat Surface projetée Envergure à plat Envergure projetée Indice de charge Wing charge max/min alaire
Aspect ratio real Numbers of cells Average line length Total of lines Wing weight Pilot weight Total flight weight Glide ratio Minimum sink Max/min speed Trim speed Suggested harness Price
Allongement à plat Streckung 5,72 Nombre de cellules Anzahl Zellen 90 Longeur de Mittlere Leinenlunge 8,0 suspendage Total suspentage Anzahl der Leinen 34 Poids de l’aile Schirmgewicht 8,4kg Poids du pilote Pilotengewicht 70/90kg Poids total en vol Startgewicht 85/105kg Finesse Gleitzahl 8,3 Taux de chute mini Sinken min 0,95m/sec (T/C) Vitesse Max/Min Geschwindigkeitsbereich 20-52km/H Vitesse de vol Geschwindigkeit 42 Sellette recommandée Empfohlener Sitz ABS Prix Preise -
All manufacturers publish the minimum and maximum weight at which a glider can fly ideally. Three sizes usually exist: small, medium and large. Glide ratio is always the same regardless of the weight of the pilot if he flies within the wing's limits. The variable is in the sink rate and speed potential, and this determines the wing's behavior. The total flight weight (pilots apparatus and equipment) divided by the wing area is called wing loading and is used as a point of comparison for performance purposes. The ideal wing loading is considered to be approximately 3.1 kg/m2 (.63 lbs/ft2). A greater wing loading makes the glider fly faster and less loading slows down the controls. Let's take a closer look at what happens when we fly with a small paraglider at its upper weight limit compared to a bigger one of the same type. To begin with, we transport a paraglider of slightly less weight in construction material. On launching, in the absence of wind, we will have to run faster to achieve launch airspeed. Once in the air, flying speed will be roughly another 3km/h (1.8 mph) and 0.1 m/s (20 FPM) worse in sink rate. The wing will be more brake responsive and turn faster with a steeper bank at a given radius of turn. The harness will give clearer feedback, stalls will be more rare but stronger and recovery will be quicker. Flying time in light conditions will be less but wing penetration greater, especially in a strong wind. The results will be the opposite if we fly with a larger wing. Adjusting weight by adding a waterbag seems to be a popular method of dealing with the dilemma of size. Nowadays competition pilots have to think about speed all the time. So using small gliders or big ones with additional weight is increasingly popular. At world championship events it is common to fly heavy, often exceeding the normal load limit by 10 to 20 kg (22 to 44 lbs) in order to achieve an additional 5 km/h (3 mph) or so. This practice puts a lot of pressure on the wing. In terms of aerodynamics, the larger wings fly better, though not much importance has been given to this lately. The reason is largely due to changes in manufacturing techniques. Everything is made to scale unlike in the past when designers would simply remove panels from the center of a large glider to make medium and small sizes. Choosing size is a serious decision. Consider the type of wing, regional conditions and the time of day you will be flying at, as well as your level of competence. Personally, I feel with a student pilot glider it is better to go light, because the pilot will be flying in mild conditions. Flying heavy in a performance canopy is for competition pilots. When reading test reports it is important to critically observe the wing loading or flight weight of the test pilot as well as the altitude and conditions in which the measurements took place. A paraglider flying at 2000 m goes faster than at 500 m since the air is less dense at a higher altitude. The sink rate changes accordingly too.
LATEST NEWS 2006
The three paraglider testing houses in Europe [Aerotests (FFVL), Air Turquoise (SHV) & the DHV] are preparing for the new CEN standards.
An idea of the upcoming new standards can be found here. SHV: Also known as the FSVL, this is the Swiss Hang gliding and Paragliding Association FFVL: This is the French Hang gliding and Paragliding Association DHV: This is the German Hang gliding and Paragliding Association CEN: Comité Européen de Normalisation/ European Committee for Standardization EHPU: European Hang gliding and Paragliding Union FFVL ex A.F.NOR(Association Francaise de Normalisation) based in France and D.H.V (Deutscher Haengegleiterverband) of Germany are the leading certification agencies. S.H.V is also quite active of Switzerland. Many countries have their own certification institutes and carry out their own tests. The standards required are constantly upgraded on a global level. Standards are revised as new information comes to light. The basic differences between AFNOR (ACPUL until 1994) and DHV is that AFNOR bases its tests on video taped maneuvers which must fulfill certain specifications as well as static loading standards. The DHV, which issues the Gutesiegel, considers the test pilot's personal evaluation to be more important. The DHV tests are more numerous and more concise than those of AFNOR. Each system of assessment has its pros and cons: ACPUL used to have 12 tests for all classes but AFNOR no longer applies this system for all classes, which means a paraglider may receive competition pilot approval but not fulfill all the standards for all classes.
In 1999 AFNOR increased its tests to seventeen and now entrusts the carrying out of the tests to the private sector. It lists three classes of solo paragliders -standard, performance, competition - and a class for tandem paragliders. The Swiss SHV harmonizes its standards with that of AFNOR on a regular basis but also works in conjunction with the Italian federation, FIVL. Our continual awareness then is essential, as changes in standards and specifications are constantly being made. In addition, when they want to meet piloting approval, manufacturers often customize paragliders for the appropriate specifications. Thus gliders may have different behavior even though they are the same models. Note: In such tests we do not find out actual flight shortcomings. The test pilot simulates a number of scenarios where the wing reacts appropriately. For example, making a correct recovery from an asymmetrical collapse, which can be corrected with ease. What is not tested is how often the specific wing is performing an asymmetrical collapse in turbulence. Thus, I believe that the correct criterion for a wing is the length of time it has been in the market and the general popular opinion of it. Each certification agency certifies a paraglider with a special label which is stuck onto the wing. Fortunately, a European standardization organization called CEN (European committee for standardization) www.cenorm.be is creating an integrated system of assessment including paragliders, making it easier for consumers to make comparisons.
AFNOR System of Testing Paragliders A. Loading Test
1. The wing is loaded with 8 times more weight than what it will be certified for and then pulled aloft by a car. If the test is successful, it goes on to the next one. 2. Paraglider attached to car via rope with a safety release, which activates at 6Gs.This tests, resistance to sudden load.If it passes, it then undergoes the 17 flight tests.
B. The 17 AFNOR Flight Tests
These are flight tests a glider must pass to acquire AFNOR (Association Francaise de normalization) approval. 1. Inflation 2. Landing 3. Speeds field 4. Utilization of the accessories 5. Pitch stability 6. Exit from parachutal stalls 7. Exit from B stalls (slow release) 8. Exit from B stalls (quick release) 9. Attitude to turn 10. Maneuverability 11. Wing over 12. Exit from asymmetrical tuck 13. Exit from holded asymmetrical tuck 14. Exit from spin 15. Exit from asymmetrical stall 16. Exit from symmetrical frontal tuck 17. Exit from tight 360s Notes: 1. The flight is called "Normal" when the paraglider is fully inflated and flies straight without any intervention of the pilot. 2. "Spontaneous return to flight" means "without intervention of the pilot". 3. "Pilotable" means that if the wing is partially deflated (in the limit of a maximum of the 40% of the wingspan) the pilot can perform 180 turns in both directions without deteriorating the situation. 4. "Piloting accessories" means trim, accelerators and so on. 5. Some paragliders have trimmers. Slow trim equals low speed. Fast trim equals high speed. 6. V min = Minimum speed 7. V max = Maximum speed 8. V trim = Speed without brakes or use of speed bar 9. Classes: 1 = standard, 2 = performance, 3 = competition, 4 = tandem These procedures may be altered or amended in the course of time.
1. Launch and inflation
The wing must inflate in absence of wind and on flat terrain in 5.5 m (18 ft) (all classes).
The pilot should be able to land in absence of wind, upright, without running (all classes).
3. Speed Range
The paraglider must possess a minimum speed range of 10 km/h (6.25 mph) and must demonstrate flying at V max and V min for at least 10 seconds. Class 1, class 2 with trimmers set to slow, class 4 with 15 km/h (9.4 mph)difference.
4. Use of trimmers and speed bar system
Demonstrate flight for 10 seconds accelerating to V max. Then with slow trimmers at V min (all classes).
5. Shift of speed from V min. to V max
While flying at V min, demonstrate abrupt shifts in speed to V max, trimmers set to fast. Class 1 recovery with dive less than 45°, class 2 dive less than 90°. Class 3 and 4 no requirements.
6. Parachutal stall exit with brakes and slow recovery
A parachutal stall is caused by slowly pulling down the brakes. In class 1, recovery in 4 seconds and dive up to 45°; classes 2 and 4, dive up to 90°; class 3, dive up to 90° with pilot input.
7. B line stall exit (slow recovery)
B line stall entry, recovery of B risers with slow trimmers. Class 1, less than 45° dive; class 2, less than 90° dive and 4 second recovery with pilot input. Class 3 and 4, no requirements.
8. B line stall exit (quick recovery)
B line stall entry, quick recovery of B risers with fast trimmers. Class 1, less than 45° dive; class 2, 3 and 4 dive less than 90° and 4-second recovery with pilot input.
9. 360o turn
Vertical stability during abrupt change in direction with slow trimmers. A 360º turn one direction is reversed to the other direction. Class 1, recovery in less than 18 seconds; class 2, in 20 seconds; class 3 and 4, in 23 seconds with pilot input.
Verifying ability to make fast turns; 90° turn, balances out. Perform an abrupt turn with one brake down and other released. Class 1, normally; class 2 with pilot input; class 3 and 4 recovers normal flight after the turn.
Uniform turns with 45o dive. Classes 1 and 4 without collapses, classes 2 and 3 with collapses but without a change of course more than 90o.
12. Exit from asymmetric (one-sided) collapse
55% deflation fold is produced and recovery occurs without brakes and a shift of body weight only. Class 1 and 2, recovers in 4 seconds and turns up to 360o. Classes 3 and 4, pilot can input after 4 seconds, then recovery must be complete in an additional 4 seconds and a turn up to 360o.
13. Exit from asymmetric "held" collapse
55% deflation or fold is produced, assisted by body weight shift, pause for 360o turn, then the riser is released. Class 1, unassisted recovery in less than an additional 360o; class 2 and 3, a 4-second recovery with pilot input and class 4 recovers flight in less than 2 turns.
14. Spin exit
Flying at V min., pilot pulls fully on one brake while releasing the other one until 360o has been turned with trimmers set to fast. Class 1, recovery in less than 360o; class 2 and 4, spin must stop at 360o and at 90o further, enter normal flight. Class 3, no requirement.
15. Exit from asymmetric stall
Flying at V min., pilot pulls fully on one brake and as soon as an asymmetric stall is produced brakes are released. Class 1, unassisted recovery in less than 90º; class 2 and 4, input for recovery in less than 90º. Class 3, no requirements.
16. Exit from collapse
No use of brakes during front collapse using the A risers. Class 1, recovery in 4 seconds with dive less than 45º; class 2, input for recovery in less than 4 seconds, dive less than 90º and change of course less than 45º.
17. Exit from fast turns (spirals)
Two spiral turns with brake recovery on the third turn. Class 1, return to flight in less then 360º; class 2 and 4, recovery in less then two 360º turns; class 3, if no recovery in 360º, pilot inputs and recovery in 360º of turn.
In more details
Technical Terms The flight is called "Normal" when the paraglider is fully inflated and flies straight without any intervention of the pilot. "Spontaneous return to flight" means "without intervention of the pilot". "Pilotable" means, also if the wing is partially deflated (in the limit of a maximum of the 40% of the wingspan), that the pilot can perform 180 turns on both the senses without deteriorating the situation. "Piloting accessories" means trim, accelerators and so on. "To Be Defined", the procedure has still yet to be defined Some paragliders have trim. Slow trim equals low speed. Fast trim equals high speed. V min = min. speed V max = max. speed V trim = Speed without brakes or use of speed bar Classes: 1 = standard, 2 = performance, 3 = competition, 4 = tandem Notice: Please consider that they may alter in due course
Test 1: Inflation Objectives Verification of the possibility of easy inflation phase. Procedures To Be Defined Required results Standard
To Be Defined Performance To Be Defined Competition To Be Defined Twin To Be Defined
Test 2: Landing Objectives Verification of the possibility to land the wing without complex maneuvers. Procedures The pilot land using only the commands. Required results Standard Must be possible to land without special maneuvers. Performance Same as Standard Competition Same as Standard Twin Same as Standard
Test 3: Speeds Field Objectives Verification that the field of speeds (Vmax - Vmin) is enough and giving the results to the wing builder. Procedures The Vmax and the Vmin are maintained for 10 sec., with and without the accessories use, then registered on a instrument. Required results Standard The speeds field must be at least 10 Km/h. Performance The same as Standard, but with trims in "slow" position. Competition None imposed. The speeds aren't registered. Twin The speeds field must be at least 15 Km/h.
Test 4: Accessories Utilisation Objectives Verification that all the wing accessories (trim, accelerator, ...) can't be the source of dangerous behavior (es. tuck at Vmax, parachutal stall at Vmin). Procedures Vmin: trim set for minimum speed position for 10 sec., the speed is registered and the behaviour is
observed. Vmax: accelerator or trim set for maximum speed, no action on commands, maintained for 10 sec., the speed is registered and the behaviour is observed. Required results Standard None exit from the flight domain is accepted. The speeds are recorded. Performance Same as Standard. Competition Same as Standard. Twin Same as Standard.
Test 5: Pitch Stability Objectives Verification of the wing pitch stability. Procedures With trim set for Vmax, the pilot slow down the wing using the commands. At the stall point, the commands are released quickly. Required results Standard The forward surge must not exceed 45 degrees. Tucks are accepted if they do not cause route changes. Performance The maximum forward surge is 90 degrees, Tucks are accepted if they do not cause route change in excess of 90 degrees and the return to flight is spontaneous. Competition Test not imposed. Twin Test not imposed.
Test 6: Exit from Parachutal Stall Objectives Verification the aptitude of the wing to regain the normal flight exiting from a parachutal stall (using commands). Procedures With the commands, the pilot slow down the wing. At the stall point the commands are slowly released until the highest speed position. If after 4 sec. the wing is still in parachutal stall phase, the pilot applies the wing Owner's Manual instructions. Required results Standard Spontaneous exit form parachutal stall in less than 4 sec, forward surge less than 45 degrees, route change less than 180 degrees. Performance Same as Standard, but with forward surge less than 90 degrees. Competition Forward surge up to 90 degrees (horizon), return to normal flight during the 4 sec following the pilot intervention. Twin
Same as Performance.
Test 7: Exit from "B" Stalls (slow release) Objectives Verification of the possibility of perform a emergency descent using the "B" technique, if it's foreseen on the wing Owner's Manual, and verifying the wing pitch stability. Procedures If there are accessories, they must be set in Vmin position. The pilot pull the "B" risers until reaching the "B" stall, then release it slowly. If the wing remains in parachutal stall, the pilot applies the wing Owner's Manual instructions. Required results Standard Forward surge less than 45 degrees, tuck accepted if it does not cause a route change and if it reinflate spontaneously. Performance Forward surge less than 90 degrees, return to normal flight during the 4 sec. following the pilot intervention. Competition Test not imposed. Twin Test not imposed.
Test 8: Exit from "B" Stalls (quick release) Objectives Verification of the possibility of the wing to return to normal flight exiting from a "B" stall. Procedures If there are accessories, they must be set in Vmax position. The pilot pull the "B" risers until reaching the "B" stall, then release it quickly. If the wing remains in parachutal stall, the pilot applies the wing Owner's Manual instructions. Required results Standard Forward surge less than 45 degrees, tuck accepted if it does not cause a route change and if it reinflates spontaneously. Performance Forward surge less than 90 degrees, return to normal flight during the 4 sec. following the pilot intervention. Competition Forward surge less than 90 degrees, return to normal flight during the 4 sec. following the pilot intervention. Twin If the wing Owner's Manual does not specify the possibility of perform "B" stalls, it's not tested; else the same as Performance.
Test 9: Attitude to turn Objectives Verification of a good aptitude to turn of the wing.
Procedures If there are accessories, they must be set to Vmin position. The pilot perform a 360 degree turn towards a direction, then to the opposite, as fast as possible. Required results Standard The turn is performed without weight shifting. Maximum time to perform the maneuver: 18 sec. Performance The turn is performed using weight shift (if necessary). Maximum time to perform the maneuver: 20 sec. Competition The turn is performed using weight shift (if necessary). Maximum time to perform the maneuver: 23 sec. Twin Same as Competition.
Test 10: Maneuverability Objectives verification of the possibility to turn quickly, for example to avoid an obstacle. Procedures The pilot pulls a command to the lowest position, with the other completely released. After a 90 degree turn, it release the command, stabilize the wing and repeat the maneuver in the opposite sense. Required results Standard No exit from the normal flight domain. Performance Same as Standard, but using weight shifting if the wing Owner's Manual specify it. Competition No exit from the normal flight domain or return to the normal flight by itself at the end of the maneuver. Twin Same as Competition
Test 11: Wing Over Objectives Verification of the wing aptitude to slide in turn and to return in normal flight. Procedures The pilot performs a series of turns with at least 45 degree bank angle. Required results Standard No tucks permitted. Performance Tucks permitted if the return to normal flight with less than 90 degree course deviation. Competition Same as for Performance Twin As per Standard
Test 12: Exit from Asymmetrical Tuck Objectives Simulation of a known effect of turbulence. Procedures The pilot provokes a tuck of at least 55% of the wingspan, then shift the weight on the inflated side and waits for 4 sec before using the commands (if necessary). Required results Standard Spontaneous return to pilotable flight in less than 4 sec, and maximum course deviation of 360 degrees. Performance Same as Standard but maximum course deviation of 360 degrees. Competition If the return to normal flight isn't effective after 360 degrees, the pilot intervene and the wing must return to be pilotable in less than 360 degrees and 4 sec. Twin Same as Competition
Test 13: Exit from Asymmetrical Tuck Maintained Objectives Simulation of a known effect of turbulence. Procedures The pilot provokes a tuck of at least 55% of the wingspan, then shift the weight on the inflated side and waits until a complete 360 degree turn before release quickly the riser which permitted the tuck realization. Required results Standard Spontaneous return to pilotable flight with less than 360 degree course deviation. Performance If the wing does not return spontaneously to normal flight, the pilot follow the wing Owner's Manual indication and the wing must return pilotable in less than 4 sec and 360 degree turn. Competition Same as Performance Twin Return to spontaneous flight in less than 2 turns.
Test 14: Exit from spin Objectives Observation of the exit form a spin and verification of the stability on 3 axis. Procedures With the trim in Vmax position (if available), the pilot slow down the wing until Vmin, then apply full brake on a side, releasing completely the other, maintaining this position for 360 degrees, then equilibrate the commands. Required results Standard The wing must return spontaneously to normal flight, but can prosecute the rotation for not more than 360 degrees in the same direction of the spin.
Performance The wing can prosecute the rotation for not more than 360 degrees, then must return spontaneously to normal flight in less than 90 degrees. Competition Test not imposed. Twin Same as Performance
Test15: Exit from asymmetrical stall Objectives Verification of the possibility of returning to normal flight in consequence of an involuntary asymmetrical stall. Procedures The pilot slow down the wing until Vmin, then apply full brake to one side, until provoke an asymmetrical stall, then release quickly both the commands. Required results Standard Spontaneous return to normal flight, with a course change less than 90 degrees. Performance If the wing does not reinflates by itself, the pilot apply the indication of the wing Owner's Manual, and the wing must return to normal flight with a course change less than 90 degrees. Competition Test not imposed. Twin Same as Performance
Test 16: Exit from Symmetrical Frontal Tuck Objectives Simulation of a known effect of turbulence. Procedures Using the front risers, the pilot provoke a symmetrical frontal tuck, the release quickly the risers. During the maneuver the commands are not utilized. Required results Standard Return spontaneous to normal flight in less than 4 sec, with a forward surge less than 45 degrees. Performance If the wing does not reinflate by itself, the pilot intervene and the wing must return to normal flight in less than 4 sec, with a course change of less than 45 degrees and a forward surge maximum of 90 degrees. Competition Test not imposed. Twin Test not imposed.
Test 17: Exit from tight 360 Objectives
Observation of the wing aptitude to return in normal flight after a series of tight 360s. Procedures The pilot begins a spiral dive, maintaining it for 2 turns, then release slowly the commands during the 3rd turn. Required results Standard Return to spontaneous flight in less than 360 degrees Performance Return spontaneous to flight in less than 2 turns. Competition If the wing remains in spiral dive, the pilot intervene and the wing must return to normal flight in less than 360 degrees Twin Same as Performance
AFNOR vs. D.H.V
The following table shows the differences between the two leading certifying agencies: AFNOR and D.H.V by Kinsley Wong.
Test DHV AFNOR AFNOR AFNOR
1. Take Off/Inflation yes 2. Landing yes 3. Straight Line Flight yes 4. As above with trimmers yes 5. Pitch Stability yes 6. Deep Stalls with Brakes yes 7. B-line Stall, fast release yes 8. B-line Stall, slow release yes 9. Handling in Turns yes 10. Sharp Turns yes 11. Wingover/Turn yes 12. Reversal yes 13. Asymmetric Tuck yes 14. Asymmetric Tuck Held no 15. In Spin yes 16. Asymmetric Stall yes 17. Symmetric Stall yes 18. Spiral Dive yes 19. Symmetric Full Stall Recovery yes 20. Full stall Asymmetric Recovery yes 21. Abnormal Incidents yes
yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes no no no
yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes no no no
yes yes yes yes no yes yes no yes yes yes yes yes yes no no no yes no no no
New Class Descriptions by DHV as of 1999
The progress in paraglider technology has shifted the relationship between glider classes and
requirements of pilot skills. Therefore DHV and OeAeC (the Austrian standard committee) have changed the official wording of the paraglider class descriptions. The performance of today's class 1 and 1-2 gliders is pretty close to the performance of the more demanding gliders. Since their good-natured flight characteristics give a high level of active and passive safety, they are recommended to anybody who doesn't fly regularly or whose motivation to fly is pure fun rather than ambition. On the other hand, today's class 2 gliders require an actively flying and well-reacting pilot. Experienced pilots, of course, like these more demanding characteristics, which are combined with a level of performance equaling that of high performance competition wings of a couple of years ago.
Category 1 Paragliders with simple and very forgiving flying characteristics. Category 1-2 Paragliders with good-natured flying characteristics. Category 2 Paragliders with demanding flying characteristics and potentially dynamic reactions to turbulence and pilot errors. Recommended for regularly flying pilots. Category 2-3 Paragliders with very demanding flying characteristics and potentially fast reactions to turbulence and pilot errors. Recommended for experienced and regularly flying pilots. Category 3 Paragliders with very demanding flying characteristics and potentially very violent reactions to turbulence and pilot errors with little margin for pilot errors. For expert pilots only.
Buying a New or Used Paraglider
So far we did not separate new paragliders from used ones. The parts of the paraglider (canopy, lines and risers) need inspection by specialist. Lines should be checked every year and the material of the canopy every two years. A porosity test will be carried out, the length of lines will be measured and a report will be issued. The inspected paraglider should be tested again on the date that the report recommends. A used paraglider that has been tested is safe for you to buy. In practice things are not that simple. In most countries this maintenance program is not followed and it is a pity. However, this book has to deal with common practice and I should give you some advice as to what to check: 1. Make sure the wing's color is uniform throughout. 2. Concentrate your inspection on the leading edge. This part suffers most on the canopy. 3. Look for the certification agency sticker on the trailing edge or on the center of the paraglider. 4. Check for potential damage to the material outside and inside the cells. 5. Put your mouth to the material and blow air in various parts. The air should pass through the material slowly displaying almost the same resistance throughout. 6. Pull on the material to see if it is resistant to tear. Body builders, let somebody else do it. 7. Try to find out if this canopy has ever been dropped in seawater. 8. Check lines by comparing the same line on the left side and the right side. 9. Check lines for damage to the protective shielding.
10. Check risers for wear and tear. 11. Inflate the canopy and ask someone to observe its shape when it is inflated to check for irregularities. 12. Do a test flight, after all ground checking has been successfully passed. Ask someone to observe the shape of the canopy when you are airborne. The best thing you can do is to ask your instructor or a specialist to check the paraglider for you.
The Human Factor
Fear of Flying
The sensation of fear (not phobia) accompanies us throughout life and is natural in flying, especially at the training stage with its knocks and scratches. Being a logical defense mechanism which aids safety, it can, however, act as a stultifier to our progress if allowed to get out of hand. This is what a psychologist would say: "Listen to your fear." It is there to help you be aware of something. Do not ignore it. Think about when it appeared on launch. Did you thoroughly check the weather, your equipment and the wing? Is your fear justified? Are you being reasonable? Don't forget that limits and boundaries should be expanded gradually, not hurriedly. Control your fear. Look at things logically. Judge your potential objectively. Follow the example of pilots launching in front of you and gather data. Sort out your desire to fly and search for experiences. The more you know the less you will fear. If you really want to fly, use your fear to your own advantage and you will begin to see that it is worth trusting. Control your fear by getting plenty of practice at things you know you can do within your own limits. Gradually confidence will take over. Ignore challenges from hot shots with too much of a cavalier attitude. Trust reliable pilots only. Remember that fear is always within us fear of heights, of the unknown, of failure. We will invariably feel it,
yet learning and practice will tend to reduce it sufficiently. You are bound to shake off your fear after a few flights. If you do sense this effect, use it as a guide to achievement. A high level of piloting implies high skill and experience in dealing with fear. Every flight is different and interesting in its own way. Do not waste time. Even simple gliding techniques need some form of planning, so aim to enjoy yourself at all times and progress will come by itself. Progress is when you gradually go higher and further. "The secret is to turn fear into excitement!" Jocky Sanderson
A lot of decisions have to be made before and after, as well as during a flight. Pilots who constantly make the right decisions are those who excel. The outcome of a decision makes all the difference between an exceptional flight and simply a short glide. Let's take a look at how we can lead ourselves to correct decisions thus improving performance. Awareness: Very experienced pilots make decisions automatically but students have to be aware when the right moment occurs to make a decision. Swift decision-making: Do not dither, do not delay, yet do not rush either. Seize the opportunity when it presents itself. Flexibility: Make new decisions when conditions or situations change. Note the outcome of a
decision: learn from your mistakes as well as successes. Take notes if necessary. Practice patience: This is a fundamental asset for every good pilot. Make sure you do not overlook safety when a mistake is made. It is better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air, than in the air wishing you were on the ground. Phobias are acquired fast and go away slowly. Trust your decisions. Don't fall into the trap of making hurried decisions whose outcome produces fear. This will influence you negatively and your capacity for judgment will be hindered. Naturally some choices will be erroneous. But if we can learn from a mistake, it will have been better than not taking any decision at all. If you don't risk anything, nothing will happen that goes for local, distance and competition flying.
If you should land on a mountainside (either intentionally or otherwise), you must fold away your paraglider immediately. Any eye-witness will definitely show some concern if it is left open. Should you not wish to pack away the paraglider, you must make it clear that you are not in trouble either by gathering it up or standing up and raising an arm. Another pilot will understand that you are busy moving about and that you do not need any assistance. On the other hand, if you are in need of aid, leave your paraglider alone. The letter X means "Help". Should you require and desire it from someone form the letter X in any way you can with whatever means you have, such as branches, etc. Use your radio to transmit the international signal "mayday-mayday". In case you witness an accident it is obligatory to stop whatever you are doing (and this includes flying), in order to assist that person in trouble.
What to Do in the Event of an Accident
Medical advice by Doctor P. Panurgias
Behavior at the Scene of the Accident
Coolness, composure and correct judgment are the key words. It sounds easy to say but in the real world panic and lack of composure usually prevail. At the very least observe this rule: Rescuers must under no circumstances leave the injured person alone. Keep in mind the four following actions: 1. Be aware of the actual situation 2. Secure the injured person 3. Aid and examine the person 4. Inform or call a rescue team
What to Do to Aid an Injured Person
In seminars on first aid concerning sport activities, a reference is made to the following aspects, known as ABC: (A)airway, (B)breathing, (C)cardiovascular: Airway: Of primary concern is securing a breathing passage. Verify that the tongue is not blocking the air passage. If this has occured, pull the tongue by hand (if slippery, use a glove or cloth). Breathing: Second concern is breathing and making sure that the injured person is breathing. If he is not artificial respiration must be provided the “kiss of life”. In this practice air is blown into the victim’s lungs through his mouth. This process is repeated until normal breathing resumes. For adults, it is vital to clasp the nose firmly during artificial respiration. Cardiovascular: The third course of action is to check the pulse. If the heart has stopped beating, artificial pumping is necessary. In this case press down on the chest with both hands and pump at a normal heart rate interval. The blood may resume its circulation as long as the heart starts reacting. It is extremely difficult to say whether the injured person will come to steps. B and C steps may need to be administered simultaneously, in which case assistance is crucial. One person can perform the heart massage while another can perform artificial respiration. If you are alone you can give five heart pumps then several breaths and repeat. Continue until professional help arrives. When A, B and C have been successfully administered check for possible hemorrhage, a common cause of death among the injured. Other precautions are reducing the pain, preventing infection, protection from cold or sun and raising the injured person’s morale. General Guidelines • Do not move the injured person unless it is dangerous to leave him in the position you found him in. Be very cautious of moving the neck and back areas because of the possibility of spinal injury. Many spinal injuries are aggravate after the accident due to movement. Try to remove any unnecessary clothing with the slightest amount of
movement, removing those parts of the body not injured first. Most of the time there is no point in tearing or ripping up articles of clothing unless it is in the region of the injury. • If he has difficulty in breathing, free the mouth and neck (be cautious of your movements). If there is no breathing, perform artificial respiration. • In the event of bleeding, try to stop the blood with direct pressure or a tourniquet. • If he has regained consciousness and is thirsty a little water may be administered. However, if he is in a state of unconsciousness, nothing can be administered orally. • Protect him from rain, snow or heat. • Raise his morale.
Examining for Injuries
Dealing correctly with the injured person means diagnosing the injury. Questions should be asked from an eye-witness or from the injured person about how he feels, where it hurts, etc. Your examination should diagnose: • Injuries • Fractures Under all circumstances first aid is intended to: 1. Stop bleeding 2. Prevent infection External abdominal injury: No injury in the abdominal region will have been caused if the injured person can inhale and enhale easily and painlessly. Hemorrhage: Occasionally a blood vessel may have been cut, in which case, the blood flows or spurts out at pulse rate. The vessels moving the blood back to the heart are the veins, while those that fetch blood from the heart are the arteries. It is usually the veins that bleed, and in this case the blood is dark red and flows incessantly. Bleeding of a large vein is dangerous, yet more so is arterial bleeding, where the blood is bright red and spurts out at pulse rate. The bleeding produces an emptying of the vessels, in which case there is a great danger of shock if a liter (quart) of blood is lost, or even death if 2 liters (2 quarts) are not. Shock or even death may be the result of massive internal bleeding from a large vessel in the thorax or abdomen, in which case there may be no external injury. Caution: If the injury has occurred via a foreign body (wood, stone, iron, etc), which continues to be wedged in the region of the wound, no effort must be made to remove it, as further bleeding may be caused: its removal must take place at a hospital. Bleeding of the Veins: In the region of the bleeding apply a special bandage. If one is not available use a clean handkerchief folded over many times. The handkerchief is pressed down hard over the region of the wound and is tied tightly with a common bandage. The bandage over the venal bleeding must not be untied. If the wound
continues to bleed, a second or third bandage may be applied over it. Arterial Bleeding: Bleeding from an artery is much more difficult to halt than venal bleeding. In such a case pressure must be applied to the artery at a position located between the heart and the bleeding region or position. Keep the part of the body which is bleeding higher than the rest of the body. When the artery is pressed in the necessary position, the bleeding stops. As soon as it does a bandage is placed over the wound. In the event that the bleeding is located on a part of the body and there is no bandage available, use a large handkerchief folded in half or a torn shirt. Then wrap the affected area (arm or thigh). Tie the corners of the handkerchief into knots after a piece of wood is tied inside the knot. By twisting the stick of wood the handkerchief will stop the blood sufficiently. The position where pressure will be applied and where the bandage will be applied depends on the point of the bleeding. When a point on the hand is bleeding, pressure must be applied to the internal surface of the arm and two-thirds the distance from the elbow to the armpit. If it is a hand wound, the corresponding artery must be pressed hard over the bone underneath. When bleeding is located on the leg pressure is applied to the internal surface of the thigh and two thirds of the distance from the knee to the root of the thigh. The artery’s position can be located with the help of its pulse, which can be felt under your fingers. Caution: Never use rope, ribbon, wire or a string as a bandage it may enter deep into the bone fiber and impair it to the extent that gangrene or even amputation will result. The bandage must be loosened for 1 to 20 minutes every 10 minutes to restore blood flow to tissues. Tighten it again afterwards just enough to stop the bleeding. If there is no bandage handy then the artery must be pressed with bare fingers constantly until the hospital is reached. This applies to cases where bleeding is to the head and where a bandage cannot be used.
Infection from a wound or cut is caused by bacteria entering the wound. Foreign bodies, dust or anything else that comes into contact with the surface of the wound can cause infection. This is why anything being used to dress the wound must be sterile. Only in an emergency, e.g. massive bleeding when a life is at stake, can precautions against infection be somewhat overlooked. The greatest risk is infection from the tetanus microbe, which can be limited by thorough cleansing of the wound and removal of foreign bodies, local antiseptic application and an injection of human anti-tetanus serum.
Dressing and Cleansing the Wound
Minor wounds can be washed in bleach and/or water which has been previously boiled and left to cool. When the dirt and grime have been removed, iodine or hydrogen peroxide is applied and subsequently the wound is covered with a sterilized gauze held in position with a bandage. If bleeding persists, a bandage is applied, as mentioned previously. If the wound is clean, apply iodine or betadine.
A broken bone is called a fracture. If it exists alongside a wound then it is an open or compound fracture. If there is no wound then it is a closed fracture. With open fractures there is a risk of
bleeding and infection. Symptoms: 1. Severe pain felt in the fractured region. 2. Swelling 3. Movement of limb difficult or impossible. 4. The limb assumes an abnormal position or is shorter than the other corresponding limb. First Aid Open fractures must be cleaned and gently patted dry. In the event of bleeding apply the aforementioned steps. After cleansing, the limb is placed in a comfortable position. If it has assumed an abnormal position or is unusually bent backwards, do not attempt to bring it back to its normal position, as it must be left untouched in the position it is found. Do not under any circumstances move the injured person. A broken bone has the capacity to cut like a razor-sharp edge. The basic idea behind maintaining the injured person motionless is to guard the vessels and nerves neighboring the broken bones from further impairment. Another obvious reason is the pain. Remaining motionless provides some relief, since every movement produces unbearable pain. Painkilling tablets should not be administered, if at all avoidable, for they may interfere with some examination procedures.
How to Keep a Fractured Limb Motionless
The principle is simple: Immobilize the fracture's neighboring joints. If the sufferer is in immense pain in the leg and cannot move, or has a shorter, swollen or abnormally positioned limb, then it is likely that some bone of that particular limb has been broken. 1. Fracture of lower limb: The limb is immobilized by using handy, improvised pieces of wood or branches, but a stretcher must be used to transfer the victim to the hospital. 2. Fracture of upper limb: The fracture is immobilized if the limb is attached to a long solid object (piece of wood, cardboard or special splint). A stretcher should be used to transfer the victim to the hospital. 3. Head fracture: Unconsciousness, with a tendency to vomit blood or bleeding from the mouth or ear. The victim must be taken to a hospital immediately. 4. Jaw fracture: The jaw is held together with plaster of Paris and the mouth is kept closed. 5. Neck or spine fracture: The injured person must be immobilized and encouraged to lie still. Many victims try to get up or move which can cause additional severe damage, especially to delicate spinal tissue. Use a neck brace or back brace if available. If not, a number of persons should assist in moving him to a stretcher while keeping all body parts in alignment. Stretch the injured person out carefully and gently onto the stretcher. If a fracture is suspected in the back, place a cushion or folded blanket underneath the waist, tie both feet together at the ankles and immobilize by tying in several positions on the stretcher, thus preventing movement. 6. Rib fracture: If the injured person can breathe deeply without pain and has an injury to the thorax, then no ribs have been broken. If his ribs are broken he would be in immense pain after every breath.
A fracture of the ribs may cause great difficulty in breathing if the edge of the broken rib has pierced a lung. In such a case artificial respiration is not effective. Emergency medical attention is required.
Sunstroke - Heat stroke
Strange though it may seem, it is easier to get sunstroke at a higher point of a mountain than we think. The upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere do not block the sun's rays as much as down lower, and the sun's heat can affect you more intensely. Imagine that at a 4000 m (13,000 ft) altitude the sun's strength for one minute is the equivalent to one hour at sea level in summertime. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, tendency to be sick, red face, palpitations and fainting fits. Place the injured person in the shade and cool him down by plying them with lots of water. Wet his forehead.
Calculations and Conversions
Age calculator: This one is for fun Speed conversion: : This form converts km/miles/feet/knots to km/miles/feet/knots Temperature, Metric to English, Estimate Cloudbase: This is a multi conversion page
Estimate the thermal lift
1. How to estimate the thermal lift you will encounter based on the wind speed variation at launch. Assuming: Thermal vertical flow speed = 0.9 x (Variation in wind speed at launch) Your average sink rate is 1.2 m/s and knowing that 1 km/h = 0.278 m/s, we can establish that the first 4.8 km/h of wind speed variation is needed to give you sustained flight, and every 4.0 km/h beyond that will add another 1 m/s of lift. 2. How to find altitude of cloud base: [(Surface temperature Dew point) x 1000/4.5] or Altitude of cloud base = 125 x (Surface temperature - Dew point). Surface temperature should be taken at ground level in the shade. These calculations are not scientific and give different results. Try to practice with them in order to find the most appropriate for you.
•1 kg = 2.205 lb (pound-mass) •1 m = 3.28 ft •1 m/s = 3.6 km/h •1 m/s = 197 fpm (feet per minute) •1 m/s = 2.24 mph (miles per hour) •1 km/h = 0.621 mph •1 km/h = 0.278 m/s (meter per second) •1 km/h = 54.7 fpm
Glossary - Terminology
Aerodynamics: The study of the movement of a body through the air, such as a paraglider's wing. Actual Wing area: Span x average chord. Advention fog: Formed when a humid air mass moves in light to moderate winds over a cold region such as the sea. This type of fog is commonly found in ocean territory and coastal regions. Agl: Abbreviation for above ground level. Airfoil: A curved surface designed to generate lift when moving through the air. Airspeed: The velocity of the glider through the air. Airspeed indicator: An instrument for measuring airspeed. Aircraft Approach: Forming a U-shape by flying downwind, crosswind then head wind to the landing field. Approach figure -8: The landing area is reached by making figure 8 turns before or above the landing field. Altimeter: An instrument for measuring altitude above a predetermined point. Atmospheric pressure: The atmosphere's mass downward by gravity, measured in Hectopascals (hPa), or formerly in Millibars (mb). Attitude angle: Is the angle between the chord of the wing and the horizon. It is positive above and negative below the said horizon. Angle of attack: Is the angle the relative wind makes with the chord of an airfoil. Anchoring: Assistance by a person during launch. Alpine Launch: Forward launch with the pilot having the wing behind his body. Angle of descent: Is the angle your path makes with the horizon and is the same as flight angle. Aspect ratio: Ratio of the span to the chord or span divided by surface area. Span x span/actual wing area. Ass Wipe: Downwind landing, still in your seat Asymmetrical Collapse: An uneven collapse of the wing. One side of the wing is inflated and the collapsed part is deflated. Average rate: Is a constant at which the air's temperature drops with altitude by 0.65 C per 100 meters. Bank angle: The angle the wings make with the horizontal in a roll. Beaufort Scale: Observed effects of the wind described by a British captain. Big Ears: Intentional collapse of the wing tips while in flight. Buys Ballot's Law: In the Northern Hemisphere, if one stands with his back to the wind the area of low pressure is to his left. In the Southern Hemisphere the reverse is true. Bernoulli's principle: Physical principle formulated by Daniel Bernoulli that states that as the speed of a moving fluid (liquid or gas) increases the pressure within the fluid decreases. Brakes: The controls of a paraglider that pull down the trailing edge. Camel's back: Waterbag with a tube for inflight use. Camber: The amount of curvature on the upper surface of an airfoil. Canopy: The material or "sail" of a paraglider that forms the airfoil or wing. Cap Cloud: Clouds produced at mountain peaks due to the lifting of the air over the mountain. Carabiners: Are rings or loops usually made from steel or aluminum alloy. Cat's cradle: Competition task with multiple turn points, which the pilot has to fly at his own route. Cells: The individual inflated units of a canopy between suspension lines. Center of gravity: The point along a wing where all the weight is suspended. Chord: Measurement of an airfoil from the leading edge to the trailing edge. Coccooned: To be fully wrapped in the canopy while in flight. Coordinated turn: A turn at a steady state in which a slip or a stall does not occur. Convergence: When a moving air mass meets another mooving air-mass. Cravattage: The word comes from the French word 'cravatte' and means bow tie. As a term refers
to a form of the wing where the material of the wing tip is entangled in the lines. Cross-ports: The holes in ribs that allow equalization of pressure between cells. Crosswind: A wind angling across the normal launch or flight path. Cross-country: Flying beyond the normal landing field by using lift encountered along the way. Deep stall: An emergency situation whereby a glider descends with little or no for ward speed. Dew point: Represents the temperature at which the atmospheric air becomes saturated as it cools. Downwind: Flying in the same direction as the wind (flying with a tailwind). Drag: The energy losses on the glider due to the friction and mass of the air. Dry adiabatic lapse rate: Is a constant which gives us the rate at which a rising air mass cools. This constant is 1 C per 100 meters of height (5.5 F per 1000 ft). Dust devils: Are caused by a tight swirl of whirling air which results when a thermal lifts off suddenly and air, with a slight rotation, rushes in below it. Dynamic stall: A stall produced by pulling the brakes rapidly so that the pilot swings forward and aggravates the stall. End cell closure: A problem during inflation whereby the ends of the canopy do not open properly. Foehn wind: Is a warm and dry wind, encountered on the lee side of a hill or mountain where lifting of the air mass causes precipitation. Flare: The process by which forward speed is exchanged for lift during landing. Flight check: An inspection for tangled lines or end-cell closures. Flight angle: Is the angle between the horizon and the flight direction or path. Front: In meteorology it is the boundary which separates warm and cool air masses. Geostrophic Wind: Is the wind that blows due to the influence of ground friction. Glide angle: The angle between the glide path and the horizontal. Gliding: Flight that continues from an elevated point to a lower point. Glide path: The flight path of a glider. Glider: An aircraft that remains flying solely through the energy of gravity only. Glide Ratio: The horizontal distance traveled relative to the amount of vertical drop. Gores: The separate panels of a parachute equivalent to cells on a paraglider. GPS: Global Positioning system by Satelite. Grabbing: Is the technique correcting the shift in ground track due to cross wind. Gradient Wind: When geostrophic wind is moving in a curved trajectory, on approaching the core of a low, it will experience a counteracting centrifugal force, which will diminish or moderate it. Ground speed: The velocity of a glider over the ground. This is different from airspeed if any wind is present. Ground gripper: Non-pilot Gross weight: Total weight of the glider and the heaviest allowed payload (pilot). Gumby: When a pilot, fails to get into the seat. Harness: A suspension system that supports a pilot and attaches him to a glider. Heading: The direction a glider points (this will be different from actual flight direction in a cross wind). Headwind: A wind from the front or opposite the heading. Hook In Weight: The total weight of the pilot and all equipment, excluding the paraglider. Hook Knife: A special knife used in emergencies to cut paraglider or tow lines. Horseshoe stall: A maneuver whereby one each side inner central A line are held until the canopy collapses in the form of a horseshoe. Instability: An unstable air mass with a lapse rate greater than the dry adiabatic lapse rate (1 C/100m). Isobars: Are curved lines on a weather map which connect points that have the same atmospheric pressure. Kiting: Used more often as ground control. Laminar Air: Smooth, non-turbulent air. Landing Gear: Your legs.
Leading edge: The forwardmost part of a wing. The spar that forms this forward part. Lift: Uprising air used by the pilot to soar. Lift to drag ratio (l/d): A comparison of the lift forces to the drag forces. Lock-out: An out-of-control swinging of the glider to one side with a subsequent nose dive while towing. Log book: A book used to list flights and achievements. Lines: The rigging which connects the canopy to the harness. Maximum glide ratio: The best possible glide ratio for a given pilot and glider combination. Micrometeorology: Is an offshoot of meteorology dealing with small-scale weather patterns. Minimum sink rate: The slowest descent rate possible with a given pilot and glider combination. Min sink speed: Usually achieved with the use of some braking. Milking the Lines: Untangling the paraglider lines while on the ground. Msl: Abbreviation for mean sea level that indicates the height above the sea level. NOTAM: Means[Notice to Airmen] and contain information concerning the establishment or the change of condition of use of any aeronautical facility, service, procedure or hazard, the timely knowledge of which is essential for personnel concerned with flight operations. Orographic lift: Ascenting air current produced by the prevailing wind when forced to follow the mountain's contour towards the peak. Parablend: To wrap your wing and/or lines in the propeler of a paramotor. Parachutal stall or Deep stall: This situation is invariably accidentally imposed on the pilot and is not a B line stall, which is a controlled stall. Parking or Parapark: When the wind speed matches paraglider's airspeed Pitch: Rotation about the lateral axis which is an axis from side to side Amount of nose up or nose down. PG: ParaGlider Porosity: The measure of the amount of air that can pass through the wing's material. Polar curve: A graph or diagram where descent rate and flying speed are recorded. PPG: Powered ParaGlider Preflight check: A careful inspection of the entire flying system before inflation. Projected area: Projected span x average chord. Propeller: as in all aviation, is nothing more than a spinning wing that provides thrust. Race to goal: Starting point to arrival point (usually landing point). Radiation fog: Formed at night in light to moderate winds when the air is cooled by the ground which itself has been cooled by radiation. In the absence of moisture or during strong wind conditions fog does not occur. Rapid link (quick link): A small looped device used to attach risers to a harness Reflex: An upward bending of the rear of an airfoil to prevent dives. Relative wind: Is produced by our wing during forward motion in the air. It has the same axis but opposite direction to the flight path. Relative Humidity: The Relative Humidity expresses how much moisture is in the air, as a percentage of the total moisture the air can contain at the current temperature. Reverse launching: Involves turning around to face the wing and pulling it up, then turning back around to run for takeoff. Reserve parachute: A conventional parachute worn for use in case of emergency. Ribs: The vertical panels that separate cells in a canopy. Risers: Suspension lines. The lines that attach a harness to the canopy and hold the canopies angle of attack. Roll: Rotation about the longitudinal axis which is an axis going forward and back (Lifting or dropping a wing). Root: The center of the wing. Rotor: Turbulence as a result of being downwind of an obstacle. Sea smoke: Formed at sea due to the difference in temperature between seawater and colder air.
When water vapor evaporates it immediately cools and reaches saturation in the cold air. Saturated air: The air holding the largest possible amount of water vapor. Sink: Falling air which makes the glider travel downward faster than normal. Slip: A falling to the inside of a turn due to insufficient push out. Sitter: A pilot who stops running early on take-off and sit in the harness challenging his luck. Soaring: Flight extended beyond the normal glide path of the glider. Span: The total width of a glider from tip to tip. Spiral dive: A spiral dive consisting of continuous tight 360 turns. Spin: A violent rotation around one side of the wing. Slope landing: Landing across a slope or inclination. Stability of the wing: Tendency for a glider to return to level flight. Stability of the atmosphere: When lower air masses are cooler or with the same temperature of the upper air masses. Stabilizer: A flap or series of cells at the ends of a canopy to help hold it spread . Stall: A sudden loss of lift and increase in drag due to an excessive angle of attack. Stalling turn: A turn with too much inside brake applied resulting in a dropping back of the inside wing followed by a dive. Steering lines: The control or brake lines used to steer a glider or change its speed. Surface wind: Is the prevailing wind close to the surface of land and sea and is affected by friction. Tailwind: A wind from the rear or in the direction of heading. Tandem: Two people flying together, the pilot and a passenger. Tell-tale: A piece of yarn or cloth on the glider to tell wind direction at takeoff. Thermal: a warm current of air rising from the sun-warmed earth that can be used to gain altitude while in flight. a common source of low level turbulence. Triangle: Competition race with at least 2 turn points. Triangle - FAI : Similar to above, but the turn points must obey rules determined by the FAI (see www.fai.org). Trimmers: Configuration on the risers for altering the angle of attack Thunderstorm: A large convective cell that features violent weather in the form of high winds, turbulence, lightning and hail. Toggles: The hand recepticals or loops at the end of a steering line. Tow line: The line used to tow gliders with a vehicle. Top landing: Landing on a flat top surface of the mountain. Top-Bottom: Flight in stable air. Total weight (All Up Weight): The weight of the pilot and all equipment, including the paraglider. Trailing edge: The rearward part of a wing. Tuck: Wing collapse. Turbulence: Gusts or swirls of air encountered in flight. Turtle: To fall over backwards onto your paramotor while it's strapped to your back. Upwind: A flight direction heading into the wind. Valley wind: Used to describe the existence of a wind in a valley, which differs from the general prevailing wind. Variometer: an instrument that displays your rate of descent or ascent. Velocity: A measurement of the speed and direction of motion. Venturi effect: Wind increases velocity due to contricted flow and is named after the italian scientist that discovered it back in the 17th century. Vortex: The swirling of air at the wing. V min: Minimum speed before the wing loses its capacity to stay airworthy. Achieved via brakes without the use of the speed bar or trimmers. V max: Maximum speed via speed bar and trimmers. V trim: Flying speed without the use of brakes, speed bar or trimmers.
Washout: A progressively different angle of attack from the center of the wing to the wing tips. Weight (Total): The weight of the pilot carrying all his flying equipment including the wing. Weight (Pilot): Body weight. Wonder wind: Is the mild lift produced by convergence of catabatic wind and the last thermals of the day. Wind Dummy: The pilot making the first flight of the day to test the prevailing conditions Wind-gradient: Is the gradual reduction in wind speed as we approach the surface due to the friction of the ground. Windsock: A device used to show the direction of the wind and to some extent the wind speed. Wing loading: The weight-to-area ratio on an aircraft found by dividing the flying weight of the pilot plus the glider by the total wing area. Wingover: A maneuver which is in reality a climbing steep turn ending in a dive. Yaw: The motion of a wing whereby one side moves forward and the other moves backwards We call such rotation a change of heading.
Tips as a quick guide
1. Brakes should always be held, especially during launch procedure. 2. Don't launch if there is turbulence that you are not prepared to deal with. 3. The good flying conditions happen when you are away from the flying area. 4. Pay attention to the fight of phobia and fear. 5. Do not hide your fear from yourself and from your friends. 6. It is OK to quit paragliding if you feel that it is not under your control. 7. Do not struggle to get into your harness after take-off. 8. Rotate the wind meter to find the maximum wind speed direction. 9. If you see a pilot having a bad takeoff, be prepared to have one as well. 10. Grab the back risers while you wait to launch in gusty conditions. 11. Do not ask for assistance from people that do not know how to help you. 12. Always secure your leg straps first and don't open them until you are ready to remove the harness. 13. Chewing gum can assist your concentration. 14. Untangling is easy when you start from the risers to the wing with A lines. 15. In a strong wind, let someone grab your leading edge at the center. 16. Boots, helmet and gloves are essential items of the flying equipment. 17. The landing path is the safety path. 18. Landing ends when your wing is packed. 19. If you are getting dragged, grab one riser, a line or material and pull. 20. Use big ears in turbulent areas. 21. Do not use big ears unless essential. 22. When the slope is on your left, keep pressure and body shift on the right. 23. Look, lean, turn. 24. Never say "I will do a top landing". Say " I will try." 25. Always do the best you can to deal with a problem. It is enough. 26. Handle your brakes smoothly and progressively. 27. Always attach your speed system to the risers and keep the bar free. 28. If you have a collapse, try to keep your track without panic. Steer, then clear. 29. You can perform much greater weight shift while reclined than while upright. 30. To determine wind speed and direction at altitude look at the shadow of a cloud on the ground. 31. Secure the leg straps first as soon as you have put on the harness and release them last. 32. Active flying is keeping your wing exactly above and centered over your body. 33. When you are in a thermal, forget your vario and feel the center of lift.
34. Performing figure-8 turns can be better than full turns if there is a risk of colliding with the ridge. 35. A thermal column constitutes an obstacle for the wind. There is a lee side to it. 36. Never leave lift. 37. Don't fly into clouds. 38. Prefer trees for emergency landings than the risk of water, cables and sharp objects. 39. Look at the ground when you are in turbulence, and don't look at your wing all the time. 40. The more turbulence, the further away from the hillside you should be flying. 41. In turbulence body shift should be used more than brakes. 42. By maintaining some pressure on the brakes you can speed up and slow down as well. 43. It is better to land with big ears by applying the brakes, than trying to release them near the ground. 44. If you have plenty of altitude try to recover from a collapse rather than to deploy your reserve. 45. If you are low, don't hesitate to throw your parachute after an uncontrollable collapse. 46. Do not look at the obstacle you are afraid to crash into (this is called fixation). 47.Steering without the brakes is possible with back risers and/or body weight shift. 48. Leave your wing unfolded if you are hurt due to a bad landing. 49. Always carry a spare line and repair adhesive repair material in your harness. 50. When the temperature is high, metal parts of the risers should not be allowed to touch the wing. 51. There are no good pilots, only old pilots. 52. The only thing better than getting high, is being low at first.
Results from Competitions
Country code: • GB = Great Britain • CH = Switzerland • D = Germany • FR = France • ITA = Italy • AUT = Austria • JAP = Japan • CZ = Czech Republic • DAN = Denmark • LICHT = Lichtenstein • SW = Sweden • CAN = Canada • SLO = Slovenia
World Paragliding Championships
• 1989 Kossen, Tirol (Austria), 01/07/89 - 16/07/89 1st World Paragliding Championship cancelled while Ándre Bucher was in 1st place. Many pilots accused him of non-athletic behaviour.
• 1991 Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (France) Men
1. Robbie Whittall, GB (Firebird Ninja) 2. Andy Hediger, CH (Paratech P4) 3. Urs Haari, CH (Nova Phantom) Women 1. Andrea Ammann, AUT (Edel ZX) 2. Tanaka Miyuki, JAP 3. Nanou Berger, FR (Advance Omega) • 1993 Verbier (Switzerland) Men
1. Hans Bollinger, CH (Advance proto) 2. Ernst Strobl, D (UP proto 3. John Pendry,GB (Airwave Rave) Women 1. Camilla Perner, AUT (Edel Rainbow) 2. Nanou Berger, FR (Advance Omega 2) 3. Miuyki Tanaka, JAP (Nova Sphinx) • 1995 Kytakyushu (Japan) Men
1. Stefan Stiegler, AUT (ProDesign proto) 2. Hans Bollinger, CH (Advance proto) 3. Jocky Sanderson, GB (Nova Xenon) Women 1. Judy Leden, GB (Edel) 2. MiyukiTanaka, JAP (Edel) 3. Nanou Berger, FR (Advance Omega 3) • 1997 Castejon de Sos (Spain) Men 1. John Pendry, GB (Airwave)
2. Christian Tamegger, AUT (Edel Sector) 3. Jimmy Pacher, ITA (Edel Sector) Women 1. Sandie Cochepain, FR (Edel Sector) 2. Claire Bernier, FR (Edel Sector) 3. Louise Crandal, DAN (UP Escape) • 1999 Bramberg / Neukirchen (Austria) Winners at the time championship was cancelled. 1. Christian Heinrich, AUT (Nova) 2. Chris Muller, CAN (Gin) 3. Walter Holzmöller AUT (Nova) Women 1. Luise Crandal, DAN 2. Judith Dïrflinger, D 3. Nicole Nussbaum, CH • 2001 Granada Region of Andalucia (Spain) Men 1. Luca Donini (Italy) 2. Christian Tamegger (Austria) 3. Olivier Rösell (Germany) Women 1. Louise Crandal (Denmark) 2. Nicole Nussbaumm (Switzerland) 3. Miyuki Tanaka (Japan) •2003 Larouco, Montalegre (Portugal)
Men 1. Alex Hofer (CHE) 2. Frank Brown (BRA) 3. Masataka Kawachi(JAP) Women 1. Petra Krausova (CZE) 2. Nicole Nussbaum (CHE) 3. Louise Crandal (DNK)
Paragliding World Cup (PWC)
• 1992 Men 1. Uli Wiesmeier, D (UP Katana) 2. Urs Haari, CH (Edel Racer) 3. Hans Bollinger, CH (Advance Omega 2) Women 1. Nanou Berger, FR (Advance Omega 2) • 1993 Men
1. Richard Gallon, FR (UP Katana FR) 2. Hans Bollinger, CH (Advance proto) 3. Walter Hblzmuller, AUT (Nova Sphinx) Women 1. Camilla Perner, AUT (Edel Rainbow) 2. Nanou Berger, FR (Advance proto) 3. Claire Bernier, FR (MCC Challenger C) • 1994 Men 1. Jimmy Pacher, ITA (Nova Sphinx) 2. Hans Bollinger, CH (Advance Omega 3) 3. Harry Buntz, D (Nova Sphinx) Women 1. Nanou Berger, FR (Advance Omega 3) 2. Claire Bernier, FR (Edel Rainbow) 3. Camilla Perner, AUT (Edel Rainbow) • 1995
Men 1. Hans Bollinger, CH (Advance proto) 2. Walter Holzmuller, AUT (Nova Xenon) 3. Olivier Nef, CH (Advance proto) Women 1. Claire Bernier, FR (Edel Energy) 2. Silvia Siegrist, CH (Edel Energy) 3. Nanou Berger, FR (Advance Omega 3) • 1996 Men 1. Christian Tamegger, AUT (Sector) 2. Dietmar Karg, AUT (Nova Xenon) 3. Peter Luethi, CH (Nova Xenon) Women 1. Nanou Berger, FR (Advance Omega 3) 2. Claire Bernier, FR (Edel Sector) 3. KatThurston, GB (Nova Xyon) • 1997 Men 1. Jimmy Pacher, ITA (Edel Sector) 2. Peter Brinkeby, SW (Airwave XMX) 3. Christian Tamegger, AUT (Edel Sector) Women 1. Claire Bernier, FR (Edel Sector) 2. Sandie Cochepain, FR (Edel Sector) 3. Agnes Fouilleux, FR (Edel Sector)
• 1998 Men 1. Peter Lüthi, CH (Nova) 2. Robbie Whittall, GB (Firebird) 3. Jimmy Pacher, IT (Edel) Women 1. Claire Bernier, FR (Edel) 2. Sandie Cochepain, FR (Edel) 3. Louise Crandal, DK (Nova) • 1999 Open Class 1. Kari Eisenhut, CH Advance 2. Christian Tamegger, AUT (Nova) 3. Hans Bollinger, CH (Gin) Serial class (Performance wings) 1. Bruce Goldsmith, UK (Ozone) 2. Henrik Jensen, DK (Gin) 3. Andrew Smith, RSA (Apco) Women 1. Sandie Cochepain, FR (Edel) 2. Carolyn Lansdell, CH (Edel) 3. Louise Crandal, DK (Gin) • 2000 Open Class
1. Andy Hendiger, CH (Advance) 2. Steve Cox, CH (Advance) 3. Jimmy Pacher, ITA (Gin) Serial Class 1. Andrew Smith, RSA (Apco) 2. Oliver Loidice, FR (Flying Planet) 3. Rolf Dale, NO (Apco) Women 1. Louise Crandal, DK (Gin) 2. Sandie Cochepain, FR (Edel) 3. Nicole Nussbaum, CH (Advance) • 2001 Men 1. Patrick Berod, FR (Gin) 2. Caron Jean Mark FR (Gin) 3. Peter Von kanel CH (Gin) Women 1. Louise Crandal, DK (Gin) 2. Nicole Nussbaum, CH (Advance) 3. Petra Krausova, CZ (Mac)) • 2002 Men 1. Alex Hofer, Sui (Gin Boomerang) 2. Scotty Marion (USA) 3. Jean-Marc Caron (France)
Women 1. Petra Krausova CZ 2. Louise Crandal, DEN (Gin Boomerang) 3. Elisabeth Rauchenberger, SWI (Gin Boomerang)
2003 Men 1. Achim Joos D (Sky avax) 2. Stephan Morgenthaler CH (Gin Boomerang) 3. Alex Hofer Ch (Up Targa)
Women 1. Petra Krausova CZ (Mac Magnus) 2. Elisabeth Rauchenberger CH (Gin Boomerang) 3. Caroline Brille FR (Advance Omega) 2004 1. Olivier Rossel D Up Oase 2. Paolo Zammarchi I Boomerang III 3. Frank Brown BRA Boomerang III Women 1. Petra Krausova CZ Macpara Magnus 2. Elisabeth Rauchenberger CH Boomerang III 3. Brille Caroline F Advance Omega 6
• 1990 Saint-Hilaire du Touvet (France) Men 1. Gerald Maret, CH (Ailes de K) 2. Thierry Barboux, FR (ITV Gemma) 3. Robert Graham, CH (North Sail) Women 1. Fabienne Lachat, CH (Ailes de K Genair) • 1992 Preddvor (Slovenia) Men 1. Ernst Strobl, D (UP Katana proto) 2. Domen Slana, SLO (Edel Racer 27) 3. Urs Haari, CH (Nova)
Women 1. Barbara Lacrouts, D (Edel Racer) • 1994 Preddvor (Slovenia) Men 1. Jimmy Pacher, ITA (Nova proto) 2. Hans Bollinger, CH (Advance proto) 3. Richard Gallon, FR (UP proto) Women 1. Claire Bernier, Fr (Edel Rainbow) • 1996 Väga (Norway) Men 1. Vincent Sprungli, FR (Advance proto) 2. Hans Bollinger, CH (Advance proto) 3. Christoph Mougin, FR (Nova Xenon) Women 1. Nanou Berger, FR (Advance Omega 3) • 1998 Men 1. Jimmy Pacher, ITA (Edel Saber) 2. Peter Luthi, CH (Nova X-pert) 3. Kaspi Henny, CH (Airwave) Women
1. Sandie Cochepain, FR (Edel TX4) • 2000 Garmish (Germany) Men 1. Kari Eisenhut, SUI 2. Steve Cox, SUI 3. Achim Joos, GER Women 1. Louise Crandal, DNK 2. Judith Dorflinger, GER 3. Nicole Nussbaum, SUI • 2002 Kobarid (Slovenia) Men
1. Alex Hofer, Sui (Gin Boomerang) 2. Christian Tamegger, AU (Gin Boomerang) 3. Jimmy Pacher, IT (Gin Boomerang) Women
1. Louise Crandal, DEN (Gin Boomerang) 2. Caroline Brille, FRA Advance Omega 3. Elisabeth Rauchenberger, SWI (Gin Boomerang) 2004 Kalavrita Greece Men 1. Christian Mauer CHE Macpara Magnus 2. Bruce Goldsmith CBR Airwave Magic 3. Tomas Brauer CZE Macpara Magnus Women 1. Petra Krausova CZE Macpara Magnus 2.Ewa Cieslewicz Wisnierska DEU Advance Omega 6 3. Caroline Brille FRA Advance Omega 6
1 st World Air Games Turkey 1998
1. Hugh Miller, GB 2. Raul Rodriguez, ESP 3. Martin Brunn, A Women 1. Kaz Harland, GB 2. Agnes Fouilleux, F 3. Su Ok Ju, KOR
2 nd World Air Games 2001 Andalucia Spain
Here the results are the same as on the paragliding World Championship Men 1. Luca Donini (Italy) 2. Christian Tamegger (Austria) 3. Olivier Rösell (Germany) Women 1. Louise Crandal (Denmark) 2. Nicole Nussbaumm (Switzerland) 3. Miyuki Tanaka (Japan)
3rd World Air Games
Cancelled on 27-1-2004 due to insufficient time with Malaysia and Polland as 2 final binders.
Top 10 Paragliding Pilots Rankings on Nov. 2002
1 Cox Steve - Switzerland 2 Hofer Alex - Switzerland 2 Rossel Oliver - Germany 4 Caron Jean-Marc - France 5 Arnold Marc Antoine - France 6 Joos Achim - Germany 7 Lausch Norman - Germany 8 Pacher Jimmy - Italy 9 Siegel Torsten - Germany 10 Bonet Dalmau Xevi - Spain
WORLD RECORD Sub-class O-3 (Paragliders)
CIVL November 2002
Straight distance: 335 km Date of flight: 16/11/1998 Pilot: Godfrey WENNESS (Australia) Course/place: Mt. Borah Paraglider: Advance Omega 4/28
Straight distance to a declared goal: 257.4 km Date of flight: 23/12/2000 Pilot: Jacques COETZEE (South Africa) Course/place: Prieska (South Africa) Paraglider:Gin Gliders Boomerang
Out-and-return distance: 169.9 km Date of flight: 03/08/1995 Pilot: Pierre BOUILLOUX (France) Course/place: Finhaut (Switzerland) Paraglider:UP Escape
Distance over a triangular course: 203.6 km Date of flight: 19/06/2000 Pilot: Klaus HEIMHOFER (Austria) Course/place: Stubnerkogel (Austria Paraglider: Gin Gliders Boomerang
Speed over a triangular course of 25 km: 28.26 km/h Date of flight: 27/06/1995 Pilot: Patrick BEROD (France) Course/place: Albertville (France) Paraglider: Edel Energy 30
Speed over a triangular course of 50 km: 23.6 km/h Date of flight: 05/12/1999 Pilot: Enda MURPHY (Australia) Course/place: Mt. Borah, Manilla (Australia) Paraglider: Advance Omega 4/28
Speed over a triangular course of 100 km: 19.47 km/h Date of flight: 28/07/2001 Pilot: Burkhard MARTENS (Germany) Course/place: Brauneck (Germany) Paraglider: Gin Gliders Boomerang
Speed over a triangular course of 200 km: 23.50 km/h Date of flight: 19/06/2000 Pilot: Klaus HEIMHOFER (Austria)
Course/place: Stubnerkogel (Austria) Paraglider: Gin Gliders Boomerang
Speed over an out-and-return course of 100 km: 28.04 km/h Date of flight: 24/01/1999 Pilot: Howard TRAVERS (UK) Course/place: Eucla (Australia) Paraglider: Airwave XXX
Gain of height: 4526 m Date of flight: 06/01/1993 Pilot: Robbie WHITTALL (UK) Course/place: Brandvlei (South Africa) Paraglider: Firebird Navajo Proto
WORLD RECORD CLAIMS PENDING RATIFICATION November 2002
Category: General Straight distance: 421 km Date of flight: 21/06/2002 Pilot: William GADD (Canada) Course/place: Zapata, TX (USA) Paraglider: Superfly / Red Bull
Category: General Straight distance to a declared goal: 273.3 km Date of flight: 03/08/2002 Pilot: Bruce GOLDSMITH (UK) Course/place: Edinberg, TX (USA) Paraglider: Airwave Magic 3 M
Associations on the Web
F.A.I Regulations Administration Headquarters www.fai.org/ FAI Secretariat FAI Avenue Mon-Repos 24 CH-1005 Lausanne Switzerland Tel: +41 21 345 1070 Fax: +41 21 345 1077 Email: email@example.com AFNOR: www.afnor.fr DHV: [English] www.dhv.de
• Australia : www.hgfa.asn.au • Canada: Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada www.hpac.ca • Denmark : www.dfu.dk • France: Federation Francaise de Vol Libre www.ffvl.fr and www.ffp.asso.fr • Germany: www.fallschirmsportverband.de • Greece: Hellenic Federation www.elao.gr and www.hellenic-paragliding.gr and my website in Greek www.paragliding.gr • India: http://www.takeoffindia.com/nirvana • Ireland: Irish Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association www.newells.com/ • Israel: http://users.actcom.co.il/ipa/e_index.html • Italy: Federazione Italiana Volo Libero www.fivl.it • Korea: Korea Gliding Association (KGA) www.dacom.co.kr/~kga1/ • Netherlands : www.parachute.nl • Norway: www.nak.no/fallskjerm • Panama: www.stm35.com/apdp/frame5.html • Portugal: www.fppq.pt • South Africa: http://www.sahpa.co.za/sahpa • Spain: www.sportec.es/www/fae/paracaid • Slovenia: Zveza za Prosto Letenje Slovenije www.sffa.org/ • Sweden: www.sff.se • Switzerland: Schweizerischer Hangegleiter Verband SHV/FSVL www.shv-net.ch • UK: British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association www.bhpa.co.uk/bhpa and www.bpa.org.uk • Ukraine: www.visti.net/skydive • USA: US Hang Gliding Association www.ushga.org and www.uspa.org The active paragliding server www.paragliding.org has the links a pilot requires.
Author: Panayiotis Kaniamos
Born in Athens, Greece in 1957. Married with one child. He studied economics. Speaks English and some French and has traveled extensively all over the world. Apart from motorcycle racing, amateur long distance running and paragliding he owns an Internet cafeteria www.xplorer.gr and builds web pages. Has been involved in flying sports since 1992, he is instructor from 1996, tandem pilot and accidents investigator. In 1996 he won the Greek Cup, vice champion in 1996, paragliding champion in 1997 and in 2002 he won the Greek paragliding accuracy Championship. Personal webpage: www.xplorer.gr/panayiotis Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0030 210 9680620. Address: Chorikon 4 16675 Athens Greece, General information and corrections of this book www.paragliding.org/book
Illustrator: Vagellis Tzannis
Born on the island of Syros, Greece. In 1990, he graduated Vacalo College as a graphic artist. During his studies, and until 1991 he was working for AM advertising and design. In 1992 he went to Pen advertising and Moto magazine where he worked untill 1994. Since then he has worked with Road editions and 0-300 magazines.
Illustrator: Tonia Kouzou
Born in Athens in 1975. In 1999, she graduated Vacalo College as a graphic artist, with bachelor of arts. She has 3 years working experience in advertising. She is currently working as a freelance in graphic design and is also a drama student.
Translator: Gregory Cooper
From Southampton England, a graduate of London University. Has been a resident of Athens and teacher of the English language for many years. He is also a translator and can speak Greek and French fluently.
We wish to thank: • Dennis Pagen, Costas Pikros, Aristides Repoulias, Kinsley Wong of Big Air Paragliding, Dr. P. Panourgias. • Ioakim Skondras for his aerobatics, Dimitris Karpis (www.karpisart.gr) for his drawings, Dimitris Pataras for his flash intro and a lot more for their contribution to this book. • Cross Country magazine for it's support. • The main idea of fear, decisions and observation is taken from Dennis Pagen's books, as was the material on towing. • CIVL, DHV, Nova, Freex, Swing, Apco, Ozone, Michel Pheifer, Dionissis Vlassopoulos, Stelios Makrovassilis, Moscow Studio Computer Graphics and Extreme Arts, M@nos, www.airrave.com, the internet sites offering free information, especially paragliding.org, para2000.com, Jerome Daoust, Denise Lindquist. • Moscow Studio and Graphics for their contribution. • You
• ABC of Paragliding - Hubert Aupetit • 100 questions sur le parapente - Hubert Aupetit • Traite de Pilotage et de Mecanique du vol-Hubert Aupetit • Understanding the sky, The Art of Paragliding, Performance flying, Towing aloft by Dennis Pagen • Touching cloudbase - Ian Currer & Rob Crickshank • Meteorology and flight -Tom Bradbury • Site de vol libre de France - Jacky Estublier, Marc Nicolas • The air pilot's weather guide - Ingrid Holford • Paragliding the complete guide - Noel Whittal
• Paragliding - Wills Wing • Aeronautical Meteorology - K. Pikros • Flight - Life • Internet articles writen by Jerome Daoust and unkown authors • Magazines: Parapente, Fly & Glide (Drachenflieger), Gleitschirm, Skywings, Parapendio, Airplane, Azimoyth, Cross-country. Dennis Pagen's books may be found at: www.lazerlink.com/~pagenbks
Wings of passion
A breeze on my cheek, a gentle caress. A taste of things to come. This excites me beyond compare.
I stand at the edge, waiting for you. Take me to new heights of joy and passion. Lips trembling, eyes glazed with fire. I look forward to our joining, my first time with you. Ready now, I run into your arms, and you lift me up. Let us share this moment, this dance, this magic in the air. Oh glorious wind, embrace me!! I wish to learn more of you. To taste this sweet joy of flight. (Anticipation of my First Flight) by Denise Lindquist
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds---and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there, I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long, delirious burning blue I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or even eagle flew. And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand, and touched the face of God. Poem by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
The child raised his hand, stretched his fingers and shouted, Look! I touched the sky. As he grew the sky grew farther, And one day he took to a paraglider, and shouted, Look! I am the sky! Poem submitted byParimal India
You know that you are addicted to Paragliding when you do
1/3 from the following list:
1. People show you pictures of their vacation and you comment on the "`nice clouds". 2.You drive around with your glider in your car "Just in case it gets good". 3.You own at least 3 paragliding T-shirts. 4.The first question you ask on a date is "Do you drive?" 5.The word "Penetration" loses it's sexual connotation. 6.Sex is something you do when it's not soarable. 7.You manage to steer the conversation to paragliding and thermalling at any party. 8.The only people who stay at your house are either pilots, or soon become pilots. 9.You start "pulling brake" when your alarm clock beeps. 10.Your glider rack is permanently on your truck. 11.You know the name of every peak within 100 miles of your home. 12.You'll watch an hour long crummy show because there's a 10 sec. shot of paragliding in it. 13.You think nothing of driving 10 hrs to the mountain but grumble constantly about driving 4 minutes to work. 14.Your dog's name is `Rotor' and your cat's `sink'. 15.You incorporate PG jargon into everyday speech. 16.You would drive 3+ hours to a site wishing the weather forecast is wrong. 17.You arrange your office so that you can permanently watch the company's flag from your window. 18.When you're not flying, you're on the www.paragliding.org Internet site. 19.The largest folder on your hard drive is named Paragliding. 20.You check your e-mail more than twice a day. 21.You know more about the weather predictions than the weatherman on TV. 22.You wear a casio altimeter watch, instead of a Swatch watch. 23.You are consistantly breaking speed limits to get to your Site. 24.Your driving becomes erratic as you look for clouds develop and thermalling birds. 25.You make your dad drive for you on his first visit after bypass surgery. 26.The sight of a dust devil gives you a pit in your stomach. 27.You hang in your harness and watch TV 28.You pay more attention to the wind noise than to the person talking to you. 29.You have $1000 in savings and you think GPS. 30.When travelling by air, you get a window seat. 31.You would only consider losing weight if it helps your wing loading.
32.You cannot look at a hill without trying to figure out what wind direction it would best serve as launch. 33.You recall every vacation that you took by looking in your logbook. reporter (who doesn't know the difference) that it was a hangglider so that bad publicity doesn't harm paragliding. 34.You have a large number of photographs showing your shoes. 35.You observe the rising smoke and forget to call the police for a fire. 36.You have names for some of the local hawks. 37.The first number in your telephone's memory is that of the weather service. 38.You work nights so your days are open for flying 39.You keep your radio batteries fully charged in the dead of winter just in case. 40.You call in sick at work due to soar throat! 41."Getting High" has absolutely nothing to do with illegal drugs.
Leonardo Da Vinci • Judgement is what comes from making bad decisions. • Experience is a hard teacher. First comes the test, then the lesson. • Takeoffs are optional, landings are mandatory. • Air speed, altitude or brains, you always need at least two. • If you are looking for perfect safety, you will do well to sit on the fence and watch the birds. • Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man. Landing is the first. • Mix ignorance with arrogance at low altitude and the results are almost guar anteed to be spectacular. • If you can't afford to fly it right, be sure you can afford to fly it wrong.
• A good paragliding pilot can be defined as one who can look far in advance, anticipate situations and act accordingly provided that he has a good command of theory, he practices frequantly and he excercises precaution. • If you really wish to learn, get a paraglider, become acquainted with its tricks by actual trial. Wilbur Wright • Keep your brain a couple steps ahead of the glider. Neil Armstrong • We take these risks not to escape life, but to prevent life from escaping us. Anon • Get training! It means trust in what your doing! No trust, No fun. Eddie Jones • Plan the flight, fly the plan. • To most people the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home. • The object of the game, gentlemen, is not to cheat death, the object is not to let death play. Patrick Poteen, Sgt. U.S. Army • Flying is the hardest thing to learn and the easiest to do. Anon • When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return. Leonardo da Vinci
It is a common simplification/misunderstanding that we do not climb when we turn into wind!
Ây Stephen Purdie
1.When you make a turn, your airspeed, your gliders airspeed and your rate of descent increase. When you straighten out, your airspeed will revert to the previous value, resulting in a brief conversion climb, though ending no higher than before the turn was started. 2. As you exit the turn most, if not all, gliders pitch back excessively, in part due to the excess energy that you are carrying - remember that your momentum is trying to drag the glider through the air faster than it wishes to fly, increasing the angle of attack and thereby causing an excess speed reduction and consequent conversion into height. Sadly the next thing that happens is that this height is lost as the glider re-establishes normal flying speed. Thus the most efficient way to fly is to avoid this sort of ephemeral speed/height change - other conditions notwithstanding. To reduce these effects always allow the glider its head when exiting a turn. Personally ,I also prefer to accelerate as much as realistically possible before making the turn, that way the turn can be made primarily using both brakes (yaw then pitch to induce high bank), rather than just one, that way as you exit the turn, releasing the brakes promotes a dive which to some extent may counter the unwanted climb out - this is particularly relevant when scratching. 3. In fact, if you make a 180 degree turn from downwind you will have an excess of energy based on your change of speed (not velocity! at the time of writing I was trying to keep it simple) i.e if you are flying in a 10 kmh tailwind at 20 kmh you are travelling across the surface at 30 kmh. After completing a turn into wind you will be travelling at 20 kmh airspeed into a 10 kmh headwind, so your new net across the surface will be 10 kmh. Now in making this change you have: a) deflected your path by 180 degrees, which takes energy b) reduced your speed by 2*windspeed, eg 20 kmh, which yields an excess of energy The excess of energy may be described by the kinetic energy equation
Ek=1/2 mv^2. (v in m/s.) Now if, all up, you weigh 100 kg you will have gained 0.5*100*(20*1000/3600)^2=1543 Joules (sod all really!) relative to the ground. BUT Take an inertial framework, say the pilot etc at 100 kg and a volume of air containing him of, say, a 12 m radius around him. clearly this air is subject to flux based on the pilots airspeed & ld, but for the moment this will be disregarded. Now in a good old fashioned Newtonian universe, the inertia of this system must remain constant, unless acted upon by an external force. So if our pilot is performing turns then his changes of inertia must be reacted by the surrounding air mass. This in turn means that the air mass alters its inertia in line with the changes in the pilots intertia. ie if the air is travelling at 10 kmh and it has a mass of 1.19 kg * 12^3 * pi * 4/3 = 8613 kg it has an initial inertia, relative to the ground, of Ek=1/2 mv^2, 0.5*8613*(10*1000/3600)^2 = 33229 J and the pilot flying downwind at 20 kmh airspeed will have an initial inertia of 0.5*100*((20+10)*1000/3600)^2=3472 Joules Giving a system total inertia of 36701 J Now when the pilot reverses his course his (vectorised) inertia will change by -40 kmh, ie 0.5*100*((-40)*1000/3600)^2= (-) 6173 Joules So, when the pilot turns 180 degrees from downwind to upwind 6173 joules is added to the energy of the surrounding air, assuming (rashly) that this only affects the 24m dia sphere mentioned earlier, then the velocity of that air should increase in order to satisfy mr Newton: 33229 J + 6173 J = 39402 J 0.5*8613/39402 = 1/(v)^2 sqrt(39402/(0.5*8613))=v= 3. m/s = 3/1000*3600 = 10.8 kmh Now this means that the air must accelerate significantly downwind in order for the pilot to complete the turn upwind and maintain a constant system inertia. Could this in turn mean that the pilot finds that on completion of the turn he is actually going too slowly (17kmh) for the angle of attack and that he will have to loose more height to accelerate such that he meets the unaccellerated oncoming air at 20 kmh?? Thankfully this is not the case, this is where the flux mentioned earlier comes into play. The accellerated air leaves our inertial framework, to be replaced by air at the normal velocity for that point in the sky, leaving only a portion of disturbed air where we turned. However, there must be numerous additional transient effects which I have not looked into, eg wake, compressibility, further removed inertial effects, ground effects &c &c. In other words, the sums indicate that, if anything, you will loose energy and therefore height, when you turn into wind and that any gains must be due to other factors. (flying upwind at a constant alt. you are increasing your potential energy wrt the ground, but that is another story - remember in non rising/sinking air it takes more height to cover ground upwind than downwind) 4. Why do you sometimes make a big gain on turning into wind when thermalling, before leaving the hill? Probably just because as you approach the upwind edge of a low thermal it is going up faster as it has not had time to react to the wind urging it along. 5. Why is the upwind leg always better than the downwind leg when scratching?
Don't know, could be psychological in origin, could it be due to the refractive effects of the ground on the wind flow and how that varies with height? Stephen Purdie SPEED BAR TIPS By Bob Drury published in CrossCountry Magazine In the early ’90s, going ‘full bar’ on your speed system was the exclusive haunt of the desperate, the crazy or the very skilled. Paragliders were neither built nor tested at high speeds, and accelerated flight was very much a ‘rough science’. It was simple: a suitable amount of speed bar travel was allotted to production wings, whilst the competition models carried as much as the riser and pilot dare take. ACPUL, the main testing authority at the time, didn’t conduct any tests on the glider’s behaviour at accelerated speeds. And, alarmingly, ACPUL still doesn’t test gliders for deflation recovery during accelerated flight. It’s a bizarre omission that means that ACPUL certified gliders are only tested over the lower two thirds of their usable speed range! Times are changing though and most modern paragliders are now built with a very usable accelerated speed range and the DHV now include both symmetric and 70% asymmetric deflations at the wing’s top accelerated speed in their tests. Reaching for your speed bar nowadays shouldn’t just be a last ditch emergency measure to stop you being blown over the back of the hill, but should instead be an integral part of everyday flying. Consider the glider I fly at the moment, an Ozone Proton GT. Certified at DHV 2-3, the GT stalls at 22 km/h, flies at 38 km/h at ‘hands up’ (trim speed) and will accelerate to 56 km/h with the speedbar. The glider has a speed range of 34 km/h with 18 km/h on the bar; over 50% of the usable speed range is obtained by using the speed bar. Knowing how best to use this additional speed range will give you greater performance as you penetrate into headwinds. Nearly every flight we make involves some kind of into wind glide, be it pushing forward under a cloud in the flatlands, to making a valley crossing in the Alps. In edition 75, Adrian Thomas (GB) gave us a great evaluation of Speed to Fly theory, but to make the most of his excellent advice, you can’t just stamp on the bar and cruise off into the sunset. To maximise your use of your speed system, we first need to understand what happens to your glider when you press the speed bar, and how this will affect your flight. It’s also very important to realise how much the pilot acts as a pendulum weight sitting 10 metres beneath the wing, and consequently, how pilot and glider often fly at different speeds for brief moments. On the initial press of the speed bar, the glider’s angle of attack drops, the glider accelerates and pitches forward in front of the pilot. For a brief second the glider is flying through the air faster than the pilot. Eventually our pendular motion swings the pilot back under the wing and the pilot reaches the new accelerated speed of the wing. During that moment the glider can pitch a long way in front of the pilot and the resulting dive may lose substantial height. Consequently, how you initiate accelerated flight is incredibly important for both your safety and performance. The subtle art of Speeding Up Let’s take the case of two well-known local pilots, ‘Heavy-handed Henry’ and ‘Clued-up Chris’ who are both competing in their country’s National Championships. Let’s look first at ‘Heavyhanded Henry’s’ method of acceleration. Being a man with little feel for a paraglider and far more balls than sense, Henry likes to simply slam his feet down on the bar, jamming the riser pulleys together to send the glider instantly to full speed. What Henry doesn’t realise is that his heavy handed approach pitches the glider a long way forward, the angle of attack is greatly reduced, the wing is flying very fast, and for a moment his glider becomes very prone to big, violent deflations. (Remember, neither ACPUL nor DHV test how
easily a glider collapses, they only measure what happens once it does collapse). The first three attempts to reach full speed see Henry accidentally induce 80% deflations that spin him around 1800, and shed loads of his hard-earned altitude. The harder and faster Henry stamps on the speed bar, the further the glider will pitch and the more likely it is to collapse. When on Henry’s fourth attempt the glider stays inflated and doesn’t collapse, the sudden pitching of the wing forward results in a huge > pendular swing, only settling when both glider and Henry return to the same speed. This dive eats away at Henry’s altitude and again he loses more height unnecessarily. ‘Clued-up Chris’, however, has got it sussed. He has a natural feel for the dynamics of flight and prefers to initiate accelerated flight slowly, smoothly and progressively. Rather than stamping on the bar, he eases the speed on, carefully monitoring the pitch of the glider and allowing time for his body to catch up to the wing’s now higher speed before pushing on more bar. Eventually he reaches top speed too, but without ever forcing the glider to pitch so far forward that it might collapse. Also by allowing time for his body to catch up with the wing’s new speed he has avoided most of the pendular dive, and has reached his top speed with substantially more height than his friend Henry. Active Gliding Once both gliders are flying at full speed there is a marked difference in the way the two pilots use their speed bars. Heavy-handed Henry simply sits rigid with the bar jammed on full. He fails to feel or react to the movement and buffeting of the air he travels through and consequently suffers another three monstrous deflations, the last of which leaves him hanging in a tree just short of the goal line. Chris on the other hand chooses to actively control the pitch of his wing as it moves through the air. Just as he actively pilots the wing with the brakes during non-accelerated flight, he now uses the speed bar to trim his glider’s air speed, and consequently its angle of attack, to match the movements of the air. As the wing pitches forward he eases off the bar, slowing the glider down slightly, allowing time for his body to catch up. Equally, when the glider pitches back behind him he gently pushes more bar on, speeding the wing up slightly which allows time for the glider to catch up with the pilot. By doing this Chris is able to keep the wing directly above his head and avoids any unnecessary pitching. His legs are rarely still for more than a few seconds unless in completely calm air. To steer the glider he uses only weightshift, as touching the brakes causes his glider to slow suddenly and then dive again, which is bad for both his security and performance. Also, some gliders react badly to brake input during accelerated flight. He only interrupts the glider if it feels like it’s telling him that it’s about to collapse. ‘Clued-up Chris’ passes over his friend’s tree with several hundred metres to spare. To slow the glider down he eases off the bar smoothly and gently to avoid causing the wing to pitch back violently, climb, and then dive again. He crosses the line with ease, wins the task, spirals down to buy ‘Heavy-handed Henry’ a beer, which Henry unfortunately drops! A Word of Warning Regardless of how good you are with the speed bar almost every glider is more prone to deflations during accelerated flight due to the decrease in angle of attack. In addition, the extra speed you are carrying into the collapse means the wing reacts far more violently. During DHV testing almost every glider pulls its highest grades during the accelerated tests, and even very safe wings react faster when collapsed on the speed bar. For these reasons you should only consider using the speed bar when you have enough height to recover from a major collapse. Skimming trees at full speed will eventually see you in them! If you are unlucky enough to have a big closure when on the bar then pull your feet back immediately and slow down the side of the wing that’s still flying. If you don’t and you keep a lot of bar on you’re likely to drop the glider into a tight, fast spiral. If used with sensitivity, your speed system will see you arriving higher and quicker on long glides
and in much more safety than had you just jammed on the bar, pulley to pulley, and prayed you’d make it. By utilising your glider’s entire speed range you might open up a whole new level of performance that you didn’t know your glider even had. PRACTICAL TIPS -Make sure your harness is set up properly. Your speed line should run from your riser down through a pulley stitched to your harness directly below the harness, and then out via another pulley to your feet. If you find you are being tipped back in your harness as you push on the bar, then it means your first harness pulleys are located further forward than the centre of gravity. You might find it useful to gently hold your risers in your hands as you push on your bar to hold your flying position. -To be able to use the full speed range of your glider you may have to shorten your speed bar cords or add a ladder system. Many ladder systems can be set up so that ‘legs straight’ on the lowest bar is around half speed in the accelerated speed range - good for cruising into gentle head winds. The second bar is only used to get you up to max speed on the rare occasions where it’s both practical and safe to do so. -Arrange your speed system so you can access it without taking your hands off. Try pulling the top bar almost tight to the base of your seat and then leaving a loop hanging down to hook your heel in.
A MET GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS
by Tom Bradbury from Sailplane and Gliding August/September 1987
These notes are for early cross-country pilots who (at present) are more interested in getting somewhere slowly than trying to win races. 1. Picking a good day The best conditions usually occur after the passage of a cold front when; (a) mere is a ridge of high pressure moving across the country (or at least anticyclonically arrived isobars). (b) The wind speed in tha 2000-5000ft range is less than 20kt (preferably near 10kts). (c)The forecast Max temperature is at least 10 C higher than the dew point. (As a guide one may use the TV chart for the night Min and next day's Max temperatures; if the difference is 70"C or more then the cloudbase will probably become high enough.) There is a useful rule relating cumulus base and the difference between the surface tempera- ture and dew point. While the temperature is ris- ing each degree C between the air temperature and the dew point is equivalent to about 400ft in the base of convective cloud. For example a difference of 10C should give a cloudbase of 4000ft. This rule is not valid once the temperature starts to fall. FIGURE 1.
2. Route planning The wind. The wind at flying levels is best obtained from an aviation forecast but one can get an approximate guide from large scale fore- cast charts like these in the Telegraph. The Times alas no longer provides an adequate pic- ture.) Measure off a length of 300nm (this is 5" of latitude). Draw a line of this length at right angles to the isobars on the forecast chart and note the pressure difference between the ends. Multiply this by 2.5 and you have the wind speed at about 2000ft. This figure is strictly valid for latitude 52 north but it is close enough for most of the cen- tral and southern parts of England.) FIGURE 2
Wind speed is usually critical for into wind legs. Although pundits can achieve an average air speed of 50-60kt on a good day, less experi- enced pilots will rarely exceed 30kt. This obliges slower pilots to avoid into wind legs unless the wind is very light. If headwinds are unavoidable the into wind leg is best attempted during the afternoon rather than in the morning. Even with light winds the choice of track and TPs is influenced by wind direction because it is usually essential to keep clear of windward coasts. Unsoarable sea air tends to spread long distances inland across large flat areas (such as the Somerset levels and the regions round the Wash). There are rare occasions when the air is so dry and unstable that good thermals can be found right up to the windward coasts, but it seldom pays to bank on it. These areas are best crossed early in the day before inland convection has started to draw in damp sea air. (Fig. 3.) 3. Timing There is an urge to get in the air and away down track as soon as possible. Resist this urge if you are only after Silver distance. Unless it is known that poor weather is approaching one can expect soaring conditions to become easier later in the day. The cloudbase usually rises to its Max in mid afternoon and thermals, though further apart, seem to be smoother and easier to work during the latter half of the day. High ground warms up sooner than wide damp valleys and good thermals can be found over regions such as the Chitterns. Berkshire Downs, Cotswolds and the bigger hills of Wales a good two hours before any lift appears over low ground. On days of restricted convection this delay may be
much longer. (Fig 4.) FIGURE 4
4. Variation of thermal strength If occasions of cu-nlms are excluded the average rates of climb seem closely related to the height of cloudbase, or the top ot blue thermals. A survey carried out by the French showed that lift in knots was(approximately) 1.2 times the height of cloudbase in thousands of feet, minus 1 kt. Thus 2000ft produced a miserable 1.4kt. 4000ft gave 3.8kt and 6000ft 6.2kl. Almost every one finds stronger thermals than these during the course of a night but they nearly always have to stop and accept much weaker litt too. These figures are a useful guide for planning but no indication of absolute values. Spacing of thermals. If the depth of convection is shallow thermals are close together. As ther- mals extend higher the spacing becomes wider. There seems to be no exact relationship between depth and spacing because late in the aftemoon the gaps between thermals continue to grow wider even though the depth of convection is no longer growing. Sink between thermals. Early morning ther- mals usually produce weak lift with sink mainly confined to the immediate surroundings of the thermal. Later in the morning when convection is deeper and lift stronger the areas of sink often seem to extend much of the way across the gaps. When thermals become separated more widely (usually from mid to late afernoon) the interthermal sink is less troublesome although strong sink still occurs close to the best thermals. During the last hour or two of thermal activity the spacing is stroogly dependent on isolated hot spots such as sun facing ridges. In between these isolated areas the air can become very smooth with negligible sink. Variation of lift with height. Over level ground thermal lift is almost always weak below about 1000ft and does not develop its best strength until 2000 is passed. If the thermal is feeding into a cumulus which is at least 1000ft deep the lift may show a further increase close to cloudbase. However, on days when the only clouds are very shallow cumulus the lift frequently decreases rapidty iust below cloudbase. On such days the cloud tops are restricted to a well marked stable layer. The cloud tops may protrude a small way into this stable layer due to the momentum behind
the thermal. However, the rising airflow starts to spread out as it nears the inversion and as a result the lift ceases quite suddenly. Fig 5 shows the distribution of lift with height such days and why it is a waste of time to take the last few feet of the thermal. The same effect occurs when there are only blue thermals. FIGURE 5
5. Looking for lift Cloud reading. A major factor in the success of pundits is their ability to read clouds; it seems to be a skill best learn in youth. (a) Active cumulus clouds usually have well defined flat, (sometimes slightly concave) bases and crisp bulging tops. (b) The larger the cloud the harder it may be to find the lift. Sometimes such clouds have a slight step down in the base, or a region of slightly lower, rather ragged cloud. The best lift is frequently very close to this step. Lacking such signs one may have to waste time searching round. The time will not be entirely wasted if one can establish a preferred location for the litt at that time of day (c) The core of fhe thermal is often on the windward side or the sunny side of the cloud; if wind and sun are on the same side there is a good chance that the lift will also be on that side. Do not be too surprised if the core is actually in quite a different spot. FIGURE 7
(d) Shallow clouds under a dry inversion some- times show a curled over hook lihe shape or, the top. (Fig 7.) This usually develops when there is a stronger wind above the inversion. The shear of
wind takes the rising top and blows it over into the curling shape. iift is a]most always close under the windward side, with sink on the down shear side. (e) Small clouds usually have a very brief life in the morning, but they are normally close enough for there to be working alternatives near by. The larger the clouds the longer their life cycles; when there are many large clouds (more than half cover) several will be slowly decaying without showing any clear signs of their weakness. (f) If the lift is very strong (6 -10kt on an average) it is almost certain that there will also be very strong sink not far away. Unfortunately the reverse is not always true. (g) While heading for a good looking cloud one may meet an unexpected surge of strong lift out in a cloudless gap. This is probably a vigorous young thermal about to form its own doud. These often produce much better climbs than the older clouds nearby. Cloud streets. Streeting is common, even on blue thermal days. Streets generally form when the wind speed is over 15kt and may be wide- spread with strong winds. Streets are aligned along the wind direction (within a few degrees). This makes them invaluable for making progress into wind. (Fig 8.) FIGURE 8
A single line of cloud may have formed from a local hot spot on the surface but the streets do not depend on irregularities in the surface tem- perature. Streeting occurs over the sea as well as over land, especially when fresh cold air sweeps out over a relatively warm sea on the western flank of a depression. Streeting needs a stable layer to limit the depth of convection so that nearly all the cumulus tops are on the same level. The spacing between streets is usually about three times the depth of convection. If the tops are around 5000ft the streets are likely to be some three miles apart. If the inversion rises the spacing between streets increases, usually by the disappearance of weaker streets. (Not by all the lines edging further apart.) Over England one may go as much as 50 miles under a good cloud street without turning but the crossing from one street to another has to be made through continuous heavy sink. Streets are much harder to follow on blue ther- mal days. On such a day an unusually prolonged spell of sink enoountered when flying up or downwind probably means that the track lies be- tween streets. Turn crosswind for a time. FIGURE 9
Waves above streets (Fig 9.) Lee waves may develop above and at right angles to cloud streets. Such waves are not always marked by lenticular cloud. The first wave often occurs at the upwind end of a cloud street. If, when flying along a cloud street, there is a stretch where the usual lift is replaced by sink and then there is a small zone of unusually strong and rough lift it is quite likely that the street is being influenced by the waves above. Waves have also been found parallel to streets of shallow cloud, the streets then seem to be act- ing as temporary hills. 6. Avoiding sink The best instructors will tell you to "follow the energy", meaning to take a winding course under all the working clouds rather than heading out directly on track. A common problem is how best to dodge the decaying clouds. Clouds have a limited life and the small clouds tend to stop, working sooner than big ones, especially during the morning. Although the big clouds last longer they tend to leave a larger and more persistent area of sink. When the moisture in a thermal condenses out as droplets of cloud there is a release of latent heat. This gives an added boost to the thermal. However once the lift ceases and the cloud starts to decay descent of air causes evaporation. Evaporatian removes all the heat previously released by condensation and this air becomes colder than its surroundings. This cold mass produces heavy sink; the bigger the cloud has been the more extensive is the sink when the cloud decays. The signs of decay are: (a) Loss of sharpness in the cloud top: it starts to look fuzzy. (b) The cloudbase ceases to be level. (c) The cloud shadow changes from being solid to become a tattered area with holes. This is often the mosr reliable indicator if you are near cloudbase and heading for the next good lift (d) Tall clouds which start to topple over in a wind shear usually decay. Never fly close under the over hanging part of such a cloud. Steer around an the upwind side it possible. The net loss in flying flve miles in relatively still air is often less than taking a direct course and going two miles through heavy sink. (e) A cloud may be still be growing on the upwind side while decaying on the down- wind side. This is common with large clouds when there is an increase of wind speed with height. (Fig 10.) FIGURE 10
7. Showers As a shower advances downwind there is often a region of particulary strong lift under the lead- ing edge of the cloud. This can be used to gain or maintain sufficient height to fly around the end of the shower. It is usually wise to go around even the smallest shower. Flying straight through nearly always takes one into a large area of heavy sink. FIGURE 11
Sometimes the lift continues right up to the shaft of precipitation (Fig 11). One may even make a climb with hail rattling off the canopy. but be prepared for very sudden and often, nasty sur- prises. Precipitation ncarly always changes ascending into descending air, often very sud- denly, sometimes within the space of a single tight circle. Blue holes. A common problem in England is the short lived shower which dissolves to leave a blue hole. Although the cloud has vanished the sink may still persist; it pays to avoid flying under such a decayed shower, or across the stretch of ground upwind over which the shower has passed. Even when the sink has died out the cooling effect of the rain and the recently moist- ened ground inhibit thermals. Defunct showers are only one of the reasons for blue holes: they may be the effect of an unsuspected trough in a wave system higher up or due to preferential growth of big cumulus around the perimeter. When a group of cumulus clouds clumps together to produce an area of heavy cloud they may set up a wide area of surrounding sink which wipes out all the lesser cumuli which have not organised themselves in such a co- operative system. (Fig 12.) the development of a big cu-nim cell amongst a field of small cu fre- quently wipes out the tiddlers. FIGURE 12
With so many reasons for blue holes it is wise to be cautious about setting out across one. The pilot of a Ventus recently set out into the blue from 3000ft. With tips to extend the span to 17 metres he was confident of reaching the other side. In fact he was on the grwnd seven miles downwind of the start. A diversion of 30 degrees only adds a small amount to ones total distance; when going downwind even a 45 degrees change of heading is worthwhile. It is far better to take several short climbs at high level where the lift is good than to waste time scraping about low down where the lift is weak. 8. Spread out of cumulus This ruins very many days which would other- wise have been magnificent. The main reasons are: (a) A very unstable air mass which is too moist, and (b) An inversion or stable layer which traps all the convection, beneath it. (c) The arrival of extra moisture near the inver- sion level, often from a very weak old front which has temporarily lost all its cloud due to subsidence. It usually needs a depth of at least 2000ft from cloudbase to the inversion for spread out to become extensive. Each thermal takes up more moisture and spreads it out under the inversion adding to that already present until a solid layer of cloud is formed. When such an overcast area appears one should try and stay high using any scraps of lift under darker patches of cloud. Until the sun breaks through there will be few if any thermals rising off the ground. Warning Signs (1)The morning starts cloudless and visibility is often very good. (2) The first cumulus forms unusually early and the cloudbase is low. (If the first cu have a high cloudbase there is much less threat of spread out.) (3) Some of the first clouds may shoot up as narrow columns with no proper bases. (The base decays before the top has finished rising.) FIGURE 13
(4) A lenticular cap of cloud may appear just above the top of a growing cumulus. This has the latin term "pileus". The formation shows that as the top of the cu ascends it pushes up some of the moist
layer air above. This push is just enough to cool the upper layer below condensation point; it shows that the layer was nearly saturated at that level before the cu formed. Pileus is an almost infallible sign of subsiquent spread out.(Fig 13.) The cycle of spreading out. When an almost total layer of strato-cu has formed thermals become very sparse or totally absent. Lacking a continued supply of moisture from below, the layer may break up in an hour or two. This allows the sun to set off more thermals so that the pro- cess is repeated. With a really thick layer the cycle is so slow that no wothhwhile clearance develops until evening. Two things can act to disperse such a sheet Further subsidence may bring the inversion too low for a tall cloud cover to develop, or the arrival of drier air may result in the cloudbase litting up to within a few hundred feet of the inversion when the sheet will disperse. The two processes can occur together to bring about a rapid improve- ment in soaring conditions. The extra subsidence may be found near the axis of an advancing ridge, (which is one reason why ridges often give the best soaring weather in summer). Spread out situations. The problem is most troublesome near to windward coasts especially when the air over this country has come round the perimeter of an Atlantic anticyuclone and arrived over us from the north or north-west. 9. Blue Thermal Days Competition pilots have to set off on blue day but they have the advantage of many other gliders to find and mark the thermals. It is much harder for a beginner to succeed when there is no other glider in sight. The most important factor, (after the wind speed) is the height of the inversion. With only 3000 ft between ground level and the inversion unaccompanied cross-country flying is very dif- ficult. If the convective layer extends up to 4000ft it is probably worth a try. With 5000ft to work in the prospects become quite good. Possible thermal sources are towns, sun fac- ing ridges, and areas of higher ground which are relatively dry. Regions to avoid if possible are wide damp valleys. These may be devoid of thermals except where there is a large town. Even when some thermals do develop they are often weaker and do not go up as far as those over the high ground. The lack of thermals is due to the abundance of lush vegetation and the generally moist ground. So much of the sun's energy is wasted just evaporating the water that not enough is left to produce good thermals. (See also fhe last issue, "Blue Skies" by John Williamson, p126.) Slopes. these were the first resort of early soar- ing pilots and are now the last resort of most crosscountry pilots. Windward slopes may save the day when all else has failed. Ridges work best when there is no high ground upwind. Upwind ridges may set off lee waves; if these are out of phase with your ridge the lift may be damped out. Notice that rapid alterations of lift and sink may be due as much to thermals breaking away from the slope as to the mean flow of air uphill. Ther- mals often come off from one area like a stream of bubbles and one may need to head back into wind several times before finally escaping. 10. Top cover of cloud The arrival of a layer of cirrus nearly always reducss the strength of the sun. If the lower air is already full of active thermals the top cover tends to make thermals rather smoother and less strong. However. if it is early in the day, or there is a low inversion, (when the full power of the sun is needed to produce any thermals at all), then the cirrus often stops thermals completely. On such days a gap in the cirrus may allow a nanow zone of thermals to develop when most of the area has gone dead. Thickening pre-frontal altostratus. Such cloud almost atways has a disastrous effect on thermals, stopping them very quickly. Note the "almost": there are occasions when the air is so unstable that even the arrival af this grey sheet of cloud does not completely kill on all thermals and on rare
occasions one may still find lift (usually smooth and weak) persisting almost up to the time when the rain starts. 11. Fog and low stratus These are signg of very stable conditions at the lowest level; it is useful to know about them when route planning. Some of the sun's heat is wasted in evaporating the fog before any thermals can develop. Even when the fog has been burnt off the area is apt to be lacking in decent thermais for many hours. In summer sea fog or low stratus often moves in again from the coast on blue days when sea breezes begin. Although the sun may continue to burn off the stratus as it comes inland the air will probably never develop useful ther- mals until it has spent three of four hours over warm ground. Even then the lift is likely to be shallow and weak. The boundary often shows up as a marked change of visibility. When easterly winds develop over England the effect of North sea stratus can spread from the Wash to the Cotswolds by mid afternoon. (Fig 14.) FIGURE 14
12. Haze Most of our summer haze comes from the coo- tinent when winds over the UK are between ENE and SE. It is usually trapped beneath an anticyclonic inversion. The chief effect of haze is to delay the start of thermals in the morning, and to cut them off earlier in the evening. It is notice- able that thermals become weaker if one flies into the haze from an area of good visibility. Few long cross countries have been achieved in really hazy weather. Some of the haze particles are hygroscopic, that is they tend to absorb moisture by accelerat- ing the condensation of water vapour. This makes the visibility worse in regions of high humidity, especially in the layer within two or three hundred feet of the cloudbase. Since gliders often fly in this layer the collision risk is increased. Hot weather and summer haze often go together. The restricted visibility makes it next to impossible to see clouds ahead well enough. It thunderstorms break out (as they often do after a hot hazy spell). one cannot see the distant thun- derheads until one climbs above the haze layer. Instead the storm's approach is marked by thick- ening gloom where the cloud shadow falls on the haze. Haze tops and cloud tops. Strong thermals often reach the inversion with enough momen- tum to penetrate a short distance into the stable layer. On blue days it may be worth accepting the reduced lift at the top in order to get above the inversion for a briet time. The great improvemen( in visibility allows one to see any small cu tops in the distance and may reveal those active areas of convection
previously hidden from sight. Big cumulus can grow through a haze layer and extend high up to levels where visibilty is almost infinite. The haze layer seems hardly affected by this deep convection; it remains at its original level. A cloud climb is particularly satisfy- ing on such days but brings navigation problems; it may be impossible to make out any ground features when looking down through the haze.
Use of radio. There are three useful plain language broadcasts of airfield weather reports. They are updated every half hour. Reception is often difficult at very low level except near the transmitters. The frequencies are: London North 126.6 MHz London South 128.6 MHz London Main 135.375 MHZ A similar VOLMET broadcast consistlng chiefly of RAF airfields is broadcast on 4722 and 11200 kHz. This can usually be heard on the ground but needs an HF receiver tuned to the upper sideband. Ordinary short wave receivers are inadequate unless they have a BFO (Beat Frequency Oscillator).
AIRMET The new telephone AlRMET service gives three regional forecasts and are available between 0600 and 2300. me numbers are: Southern England 0898 500 436 Northern England and Wales 0898 500 435 Scotland and Northern Ireland 0898 500 434 There is an equivalent night service from specified Met offices from 2000 to 0600. The numbers are: Heathrow 01 745 3103 Manchester WC 061 429 0927 Glasgow WC 041 221 6113 Forecast Period Outlook Windvalid available to time 1600 0600-7400 2000 0900 1200 1200-2000 0200 1500 1800 1800-0200 0800 2100 These forecasts are not cheap. The BT rates are 66p for 3 min at the cheap period and 1.01 pounds at peak and standard rate time, plus VAT! The dura- tion of the forecast may take 4-8 min depending on the complexity of the weather situation and it could wdl cost over 2 pounds at peak times. Clubs without routine forecasts would do well to make one call and pin up the forecast for all to see. Tom Bradbury. Assembled by Larry Bogan - Sept 1997
This book was written out of love for the sport of free-flight paragliding.
I have endeavored to pass on my knowledge meticulously and consistently. Under no circumstances must this handbook replace your instructor, but it can improve your understanding and contribute to your safety. Paragliding is a sport that requires common sense on the part of the learner. Your safety demands that you observe the theoretical rules and put them into practice, thus progressing slowly but surely. Let me take this opportunity to wish you all the best for the future and I hope you will come to enjoy some good flying, but most of all I hope you all land safe and sound. I will post news, updates and corrections to www.paragliding.org/book for you. See you up in the sky. Fly high and land gently. Panayiotis Kaniamos
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