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.
Low-airtime paraglider pilot Ked Shayer found that he made some big improvements in his flying this year. He even won some prizes! Wisely, Ked noted down some of the things he learned so he could refer back to them later. We thought his notes would also be useful for other new pilots to read so, with Ked's permission, we've published them here for your benefit with bonus expert commentary from Carlo at Flybubble.
We invite you to take part in the second Foot or Flybubble challenge!
Using only your feet or your wing, link the selected launch sites in the closed circuit. Any day in May, June or July counts, between sunrise and sunset. The best attempt wins (longest then fastest around the course).
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.