Pilot Progression

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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10 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Paragliding

Freeflying is deceptively simple. Lobbing off the hill can be achieved with a little run but flying away can take years to get right. There are so many lessons to learn, and getting any one of them wrong seems to put you on the deck before you can say “top to bottom”. In this article Flybubble team pilot Dickon Walker shares some of things “I wish they’d told me.”

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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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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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Attitude: Landing Area Etiquette (by Angus Pinkerton)

Do you have the right of way when you land? Will it save you from a collision? There are a few pilots who consider that because the rules of the air give them priority it is always other people who have the responsibility to get out of their way. But this is not true, either in flight, on approach, or in the landing area. All pilots share the ultimate responsibility to avoid collisions; the Rules of the Air help determine priority, but if the other party isn’t aware of your presence, or is unable to manoeuvre, no rule is going to help you. Angus Pinkerton (Chairman, BHPA's Flying & Safety Committee) takes a look at landing area conflicts and ways to manage them sensibly.

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Paragliding Pod Harness Entry Tips

In this article, we share with you some tips on getting into a paragliding pod harness more easily. With practice, getting your legs and feet into your pod harness should be quick and easy. It's no good having to struggle to get in properly every time. As well as being frustrating, struggling to get into the speedbag (leg fairing) when you launch means you're not in control at a critical time, when you're near the ground, close to other pilots and possibly in need of your speedbar. Worse, you could end up accidentally activating the paraglider speed system, possibly asymmetrically, which is highly dangerous as it could result in a wing collapse at low level.

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Sports Class Paragliders: Big XC? No hotship required!

You don't have to fly a hotship to achieve great flights! Although having more performance helps, you don't have to fly a Performance Class or Competition wing to achieve your Big XC dreams. The gliding and climbing ability of the modern Sports Class (mid EN C) is now remarkable!

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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 too 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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XC Secrets: Progressing Beyond Ridge Lift

The transition from ridge soaring to thermaling is often led by the experienced pilots, who somehow seem to 'know' when to glide out into the big unknown void of Beyond The Ridge Lift. Whenever you try to follow them, you seem to go down. What do they know? And how do you develop this skill? Making the transition from ridge soaring to thermaling can seem complicated until you learn this simple trick.

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