Flight Skills

Flight Safety: The Essential 60 Seconds

Dr Matt Wilkes and Dr Lucy Hawkes led a research group investigating the effects of altitude on paraglider pilots, under the banner of the Free Flight Physiology Project. Although the high altitude research has produced many useful results, what I’ve chosen to focus on is the discovery that relates to every freeflight pilot. Something that could make a big impact on your flying safety.

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Improve Your Ground Handling

Improving your ground handling skills is very important for paraglider pilots, both for your safety on the launch site, and for building your confidence before you fly. But where should you practice it, and what should you be trying to do? We offer some tips and a structured set of exercises to get you started on mastering your wing control.

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Strong Wind Depower: Rear Riser Control

Launching in strong wind is difficult to learn, because if you get it wrong you’re quickly overpowered. Here’s a technique that reduces the force generated by the paraglider, allowing you to stay in control.

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How To Cobra Launch (and not get bitten)

The Cobra Launch is an alternative launch technique for moderate to strong wind. It works by pulling the wing up from a crosswind position relative to the pilot, so the pull force is reduced. In this article we analyse the setup and control required for a successful Cobra Launch.

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Basic Soaring Skills for Low Airtime Pilots

Ridge soaring provides an essential learning environment for low airtime pilots, allowing you to build airtime without the turbulence and hit-and-miss altitude of thermic flying. But after you've gone up and down the ridge twenty times, what else can you do? Are there some things you could be exploring to improve your skills faster? Yes there are!

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How To Topland Safely (On a Paraglider)

Landing on top of a ridge or even on the launch site is a useful skill for paraglider pilots, but the top of the ridge is usually the windiest place to land. This is partly because of wind gradient (wind often increases with altitude) and partly because of the Venturi effect: the wind is accelerated over the top and around the sides of any obstacle. In this article we study various approaches to making a safe landing.

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Managing Your Paraglider On Windy Launch Sites

Flying in strong winds can be really risky, so I thought I’d share with you just a normal procedure that I use when flying in strong wind. You really want to practice this in more mellow conditions and slowly build up your skill level to get into the strong stuff. Probably 90% of accidents are caused by trying to fly in conditions that are too strong.

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Boris and the Dust Devil

Flybubble crew member Boris Tyszko was attacked by a vicious dust devil this summer. He made a miraculous recovery and flew away. To understand what happened and how to avoid it, let’s investigate dust devils and this incident in more detail.

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How To Deploy Your Reserve Parachute

When your paraglider collapses and you can't fix it, will you do the right thing? Get your thoughts in order with our quick guide to reserve parachute deployment: when to throw, an action plan, and case studies.

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Zen and the Art of Freeflight

"When I return to the ground and am asked by non-flying friends how it was, I can never find a way to convey more than a tiny fraction of it; I open my mouth but am lost for words to describe the awesome beauty of climbing to 6,000 feet in a big sky or of seeing the world spread out far below me whilst still dwarfed by clouds the size of mountains …"

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