Flight Skills

Reserve Deployment Breakthrough!

Dr Matt Wilkes has produced an outstanding contribution to paragliding safety. Together with his many supporters, sports professionals, regulators and the team at the Thames Valley Club he ran a study on emergency parachute deployment during the annual reserve repacking event ... and reached some valuable conclusions about rescue systems and how to use them.

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Using Tip Stalls to get down

The tipstall (B3/C3) is a relatively new descent technique that not many pilots know about. It is an effective alternative to Big Ears, but only on some wings – it depends on the wing design. It relies on the outer B or C line stack being in just the right position to create a neat stall that gets swept back in the wind.

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How to do Big Ears safely

Big ears: a flappy flight manoeuvre, misunderstood, maligned and even feared by beginners, this stalwart of the cloudbase regular is an essential skill for all pilots. Let’s strip it down to the basics, so you can tuck with confidence.

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The Flybubble Challenge 2019

The concept was to fly or hike around most of the Southern sites in a day, a 65km course that would be challenging for everyone. The forecast was for moderate northerly winds and good thermals. Carlo shares his insights from his winning route.

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Paragliding safely in strong wind

Strong wind and paragliders don’t play well together, but at some point you’ll be flying in ‘stronger’ conditions, and knowing how to handle this can improve your safety. Here are some techniques to help you paraglide safely in strong wind.

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Paragliding safely in the mountains

Flying a paraglider above mountains is an amazing experience but has some risks that you don't face when flying over the flatlands. Where are the danger zones? How do the winds work? Where are the best thermals?

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Sailing in the Sky (X-LAKES 2019)

The forecast was normal for the Lake District – in other words, dire warnings of rain and wind. But I’d arranged time off for the weekend and Team South partner Andy was up for a long drive, so we set off for The Flight Park in Keswick.

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Landing safely in a valley wind

In the morning, the wind begins to whisper through the grass. It tickles the trees. By noon, it tugs at the flags and nudges the umbrellas at the café. Landing is easy: point into wind and touch down. But by afternoon, it’s blowing over 30km/h and you’re getting worried. You had a long flight and now you’re dangling over the town. What’s a good approach when the wind is strong?

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A simple approach to landing setups

For beginner pilots, venturing beyond the safety of the ‘known’ landing field can be scary. How do you know if you can reach another landing? What if there’s a power line? And without a windsock, how will you know which way the wind is blowing? Let’s take a look at a simple generic landing approach which you can adapt to various situations.

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Getting into Hike & Fly

There is a growing Hike & Fly ‘scene’ in the UK, with the X-Lakes event (Northern England) and the Dragon Race (Wales). On the Continent there are many events to choose from. Longer ‘volbiv’ trips can be achieved anywhere there are mountains. It takes the focus off the numbers (XC league scores) and is more about adventuring through a landscape, on foot or in the air.

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