Flying Safety

A Glider Too Far

By virtue of his role, Joe Schofield, the editor of BHPA Skywings Magazine, gets to hear many freeflight pilots' stories. Unfortunately many of these involve low-airtime paraglider, paramotor and hang glider pilots flying unsuitable equipment, too advanced for them, often with a bad outcome. Even if, by pure dumb luck, the pilot doesn't actually crash, or by chance isn't injured, their confidence takes a knock. They can become disillusioned, afraid of flying and even lose all interest in the sport. In this article Joe shares his thoughts from many years in freeflight and offers some wise words of advice on how to avoid the pitfalls and continue having a great, safe and above all FUN time freeflying for many years to come. Greg from Flybubble adds a few words too.

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Paragliding Safety: Launch & Landing Stance

It looks cool, to just step gently off the hill, tip back into your pod, and swoop off, inches from the grass. There is a hidden danger in this bad habit, one which will show its teeth when launching into unexpected turbulence or striking a hidden object.

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XC Secrets: The Downwind Devil

Turning back at the ridge? Don't get caught by the Downwind Devil!

When soaring, it's safest to keep all turns away from the hill. But for XC you need to thermal, and effective thermaling requires circling. When you're close to the terrain, you can be caught by the 'downwind devil', especially in strong wind. This has caught out many pilots over the years, pilots who knew the theory and yet still made the mistake. It might not be as simple as it seems. Don't let it catch you!

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Flight Safety: The Downwind Devil

When soaring, it's safest to keep all turns away from the hill. But for XC you need to thermal, and effective thermaling requires circling. When you're close to the terrain, you can be caught by the 'downwind devil', especially in strong wind. This has caught out many pilots over the years, pilots who knew the theory and yet still made the mistake. It might not be as simple as it seems. Don't let it catch you!

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Reducing Risk for Free-Flyers

Free-flyers are exposed to many risks. By identifying the greatest danger, you can make an effort to increase your safety margins in other areas. By examining each element in turn (Weather, Wing, Gear, Sites, Ability, Knowledge) in a series of articles, we hope to provide some insight into reducing your risk.

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Attitude: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Hang glider and paraglider pilots are a very small minority and most non-flying people will only ever meet one or two of us. Their opinion of our sport will be based, for good or ill, on such brief encounters...

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Paragliding “Low-airtime SIV” by Julian Rayner

Having completed his basic paragliding training and qualified as a paraglider pilot through a BHPA paragliding school in the UK in the summer of 2005, Julian didn't yet feel very confident when flying. He was always conscious that, if anything went wrong, he had little clue and absolutely no practical experience of how to deal with it. He didn't understand what my glider was capable of doing and what its limits were. As a result he would fly in a state of tension, controlling the glider gingerly for fear of doing something which would cause him to fall out of the sky. Flying in this state of mind, he felt that I was exposing myself to more risk than he should. He wanted to feel safer.

Someone suggested doing an SIV course and so he looked into it. He decided to go to Oludeniz in Turkey with Carlo Borsattino of Flybubble Paragliding. From what I'd heard, Oludeniz looked like the perfect place for SIV, with its good weather, high, nearby mountain and seaside location. And a number of people had told him that Carlo was one of the best instructors around. It didn't take long for him to realise that he'd made a good choice.

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