Flying Safety

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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Paragliding safely in strong wind

Strong wind and paragliders don't play well together (generally best avoided) but at some point you'll be flying in 'stronger' conditions, and knowing how to handle this can improve your safety. We've put together some paragliding techniques which we've found help us stay safe on our paraglider when the wind picks up.

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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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Paragliding site analysis (Mount Caburn)

Continuing our series on risk analysis at flying sites, we present Mount Caburn: a small hill often flown in strong wind. You might never fly at this particular site, but understanding the airflow will help you to analyse similar sites. 

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Paragliding site analysis (Devil’s Dyke)

The safest paragliding sites can be made dangerous: fly a little too close to the top, and over the back you go! Fly too low behind the trees and whoops! How do you analyse the terrain to make sure you have identified the dangers? What do you need to look out for?

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Where does the wind come from?

A good pilot knows where the wind comes from. Always! The wind direction determines your flight path, it dictates where the turbulence areas are, and it reduces your landing speed to survivable levels (if you’re smart enough to line up your landing into wind). Let’s explore air speed, wind speed and ground speed to clear up one of the hardest concepts in freeflight.

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How to fix a cravatte on your paraglider!

A cravatte is a nasty kind of collapse, where the fabric of the wingtip becomes trapped in the lines. This can cause a significant turn towards the cravatted side, which if left unchecked will become a rather radical spiral dive. Let's look at how they are caused, how to prevent them, and what to do when you've got one.

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How to fly in paragliding traffic

Flying in paragliding traffic can be intimidating. There’s a lot to watch out for. It’s not easy because it’s a skill that you cannot practice until you get to a really crowded paragliding site. So let’s talk through some of the basics and look at some of the techniques to stay out of trouble when flying in traffic.

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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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Paragliding Skills: 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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