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.
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?
For beginner pilots, venturing beyond the safety of the ‘known’ landing field can be scary. How do you know if you can reach another landing? What if there’s a power line? And without a windsock, how will you know which way the wind is blowing? Let’s take a look at a simple generic landing approach which you can adapt to various situations.
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.