Flying Tip of the Day

Flying Tip of the Day

Tips and Maneuvers

Tip #1

You don’t like flying backwards?

Caught in a venturi and going down? Don’t panic there are still a few things you can do to escape a forced tree landing.

1. Sit back, go hands up and get aerodynamic (lift your legs out straight and point your toes).

2. Use full speed (if you are high enough). Beware: a full frontal while on full speed bar can result in a huge collapse and likely a huge loss of height, sometime more than 1000 feet! Use just enough speed bar to regain a safe glide ratio.

3. If a wind gradient is the cause of your “parkness”, try big ears with baby wing overs (to drop back down to the lower wing speeds). If more speed is still needed, then add speed bar (again, just enough).

4. Change your heading: crabbing (left or right) will often allow you to find a different wind pattern and hopefully lesser winds.

5. If your speed system is maxed, and steps one to four are not working, then try pushing on the A risers with your hands (very risky but will add an extra 1-2 kph).

Q. is your speed system working properly?

Tip #2

Ever launch with a radio and discover that the volume is too low?

A great way to test your volume level is to use a little rock & roll trick called feedback.
Simply place another (remote) radio, about one foot from your radio, then key up the remote radio for two seconds. If there is feedback you are ready to go, otherwise check your radio frequency, and volume level, and try again.

Here is something you can try if you are by your self.
Most radios can be placed in an “unsquelched” mode (speaker always on). If you do this correctly, you’ll hear lots of white noise (slightly less appealing than feedback, but a great way to adjust your volume level).

Instructor Tip:
At Deimos Paragliding, we use the feedback radio test just before launching our students, so if you ever hear this sound, it means a Deimos pilot is about to launch. This also is a signal to the landing instructor to clear the air waves; and marks a good time to ask the launch instructor to delay his launch while he lands a student.

Tip #3

Wrap up your Big Ears!

Not as a Christmas gift, but as a technique for top landing at tight narrow sites like Woodside and Makenzie Mt.

It quite simple:

Set up for a straight, approach (from behind launch), top landing at a 2:1 glide ratio (beware of strong rotors if you set up too far behind launch).

1. take a wrap on your brake lines,

2. then pull in your Big Ears (outside A lines) – this will allow you some steering and sink control.

3. Pull down your hands lower and you slow down and drop more; raise your hands and you move forward and sink less.

4. Flare at one meter or lower. Since you already have a full brake line wrap your flare will be very quick and powerful.


There is a big risk of stalling your wing using this technique, so I recommend that you first try this at a minimum of 1000′ AGL, then at your favorite soaring site, finally at your narrow mountain site.

Tip #4

Did you ever wonder if it is too strong to fly? Well I call this trick “Don’t loose an inch!”.

This trick works best at soaring sites like Whidbey or Blanchard, but at sites like Woodside or Pemberton, the upper winds are too dynamic to measure at launch: build a wall with your wing, but don’t clip in. Hold the wall as high as possible, through the strongest of wind gusts. If you get pulled, even as little as an inch, it’s probably too windy to hook in – advance piloting skills required.

Tip #5

How to avoid line tangles and yawing while launching in the snow – make a wedge and slice it up the middle! What?

Make sure that no one walks in the layout area of your wing – this is often over looked when you first arrive on launch; due to the stunning great views and urge to taste the wind. When you layout your wing: start from the backside then walk to the point where your harness is connected. If you need to approach your wing, do so from the harness point only (never from the side). It’s usually the side footprints that lead to line problems and result in a tough take off. Try to walk directly from the harness point to the wing then back again.

Keeping out of the line area will create a foot print pattern that looks like a pie shaped wedge (if done right). If it is windy or snowing then just go – foot prints won’t matter much!


Tip #6

How fast should you turn, in no lift, to get the best results?

Based on the Bank Angle graphs show on pg 317 (Art of Paragliding), I have calculated that around 5.4 seconds would yield the best results (least amount of altitude lost); or another way to measure this, is try to maintain a sink rate of -1.5 m/s throughout your turn.

Got a vario?

Why not try some experiments?

Bank Angle
Time for 360 (sec)
Total Sink

Tip #7

Ski poles to fly?

Collapsible ski poles are very useful when hiking to your favorite mountain peak.

Usually going up is not a big problem, it’s going down, after a two hour parahike, where they are best served. The three part poles are the best type, if you plan to stuff them into your back pack. There are many arguments about using one or two poles. I prefer one, so I can switch hands on the steep traverses. In some case they can even be used to self arrest your fall (in icy conditions).

Tip #8

Are your boots grounding you in the winter?

A few years ago, I invented a great product that uses hot water to dry your boots or shoes called the Boottle. Simply add boiling water, close the lid, and place one Boottle in each boot. In the morning your boots are nice and dry!

Only $7.00 each.

Tip #9

Pump it really good!

Are you finding that the LZ is a little small or the surrounding trees are a little too tall for your standard landing style? If yes, try using a single pump of the break lines (evenly of course), to initiate a “quick dive” of the wing. This quick pump will cause your wing to dive up to fifty feet within a few seconds. Caution: flying too slow, then pumping your wing, may cause your wing to spin – very dangerous. Practice this trick at a safe altitude first.

Tip #10

Do you parahike just one way (upward)?

Always be prepared to hike down: if you feel too tired to take another step, then you should consider hiking down. In most cases, pilots keep pushing upward and then forced them self into the air – this is usually the last mistake you’ll ever make (a very deadly way to parahike). I suggest that you always carry extra food and water for the hike down, a head lamp, and proper footwear like light hiking crampons (for icy conditions).

Tip #11

Do you like to scratch too low then have problems making goal?

Novice pilots should consider playing upwind then use the wind to help with your glide ratio. With a 20kph tail wind, most wings can achieve up to a 12:1 glide ratio. Never “scratch” too low when trying to land at a new LZ, instead try to arrive at least 500′ directly over your landing point and then start your landing approach.


Tip #12

Your radio goes dead, just when you need to announce your perfect or not so perfect landing?

Don’t worry; you can probably squeeze a few more seconds out of your radio. First turn the radio off and wait five minutes. While you are do this, try to warm up the battery – this will increase the chemical action of the battery and add a few extra milliamps and allow one or two more short messages.
After this five minutes wait, turn on the radio and quickly change the power to the lowest setting, then talk quickly and efficiently (just the facts). If you’re your radio goes dead again, you can try repeating this process, but you’ll need to increase the wait time for better results. If you happen to live on a deserted island with coconuts, copper wire, some limes and a bike cycle you can completely recharge you battery (unless your name is Gilligan)!

Tip #13

Trust or Bust (a gut)!

I suggest that everyone, even non pilots, leave an extra key on your vehicle. This will allow some one to drive your beloved truck down the mountain or back to the LZ, after your amazing XC flight. Also takes away tones of stress when your driver looses your only key. Choose a hiding spot that is not too obvious, but will allow easy access when need – (don’t pick a spot too far under the vehicle).

Tip #14

No new surprises on launch.

If you plan to launch with winter gloves or heavy mitts, I suggest that you first try using them on your favorite training hill – you may discover them to be quite tricky and cumbersome. One of my French Canadian pilot friends never wears gloves on take off (even in minus 20 degree weather), because he does not want to risk a bad inflation. Practice launching with gloves and there should not be any surprises, and your hands will stay warm a lot longer.


Tip #15

Wanna keep your student happy – stand up wind of him.

If you want to help your student, I suggest that you stand in front of him while he is launching: this will allow you to check all the lines while the wing is inflating, talk to him (without yelling) as the wing comes up, and potentially grab him or the brake lines if the wing has a problem. Because most inflations move a little downwind, I usually stand a little more to the upwind side to avoid the awkward “dance in the hall” scenario.


Tip #16

Even new students can save lives!

It seems like some pilots barely even think about paragliding safety, never mind practice their no wind or high wind launch prior to their first big spring day of flying. If all pilots, even students, help to visually check each other, maybe we can prevent a launch incident or accident. Just this weekend my new student Mark spotted an instructor, about to launch, with his boot lace undone. Other common things to check over are:

  • is your radio volume set high enough,
  • are your harness leg straps connected,
  • is your helmet strap closed,
  • are you wearing proper gloves,
  • is your vario switched on,
  • does your glider have twisted break lines,
  • is your speed bar connect correctly…

Tip #17

In the spring, driving can sometimes be more exciting that flying

You just had a great day of flying; you even aced your first top landing, don’t get too confident, your adventure is not over until you’re down off the mountain. Often the soft snow on the way up to launch, has turned to solid ice. Even driving in 4L will not save you from an out-of-control downhill toboggan ride into the nearest ditch or tree. I suggest either starting your day with chains or proper studded snow tires, or else end your day early (almost never practiced), so that the road is still safe.


Tip #18

Are your top landings a little rough around the edges?

Many pilots wait until the lift is completely gone before attempting their top landing. By the time they arrive at take off height, the wind/lift is mostly gone, leaving just sink and too much forward speed. For a soft and easy touch down, I suggest using big ears or spiral down about 20 minutes before the thermals are completely gone: this will allow you to take a couple of tries at top landing, and because of the remaining lift and wind, your set up will be ten times easier and a lot slower. No need to do a side hill, “I hope this won’t hurt” – top crash. (see Tip #3)

Tip #19

How’s your skills at the bar?

In the spring conditions, some pilots may under estimate the upper launch winds, and then need full speed bar to escape the trees. I suggest practicing getting on the bar without using your hands. The trick I use is to lean forward in the harness, then reach your heal back for the bar. With practice, this maneuver can take less than two seconds to complete: a local (self taught) pilot needed this maneuver, this time last year, but instead he just went hands up and landed in the trees ten seconds after launch.


Tip #20

Don’t let a shadow hurt you!

If you need to force a landing in a small area, surrounded by tall trees and wind shadows, I suggest using big ears to the ground (flare and release the ears at about three feet). This will stabilize the wing and reduce your chances of a low collapse, however, because of the big ears, you will loose the ability to turn quickly. Practice this tip many times, in a safe environment, before attempting this trick during an emergency landing. Remember not release the ears while turning or you’ll likely loose the ground effect and land very hard.

Tip #21

Speed bar, I don’t need no stink’n speed bar!

I saw a pilot launch, yesterday, without his speed bar hooked up (actually missing completely), and I did not say anything (because there was no wind to speak of). Ten minutes after he landed, a strong gust front arrived, and speed bar was required for all air bound pilots. Always fly with a speed bar properly attached (if the lines are not connected it may tangle up with your reserve handle and cause a deployment). Next time, I plan to say something.

Tip #22

Is your harness soft and cuddly?

Here’s a trick that could save your life. Replace some of your harness foam with a light weight sleeping bag. One of my students, Jonathon, suggested wetting and freezing the foam before cutting it with a sharp knife/blade. If a light weight down bag is used, the total harness weight would be almost the same as the original design.

Tip #23

There are old pilots and bold pilots …

My tip for this week is never go first unless you have to. The local lemmings are very good at this game, because it’s a smart thing to do. Your DHV1 wing will not save you if you launch in a strong rotor or windy conditions. On these days, the most advance pilot/lemming will eventually emerge when the conditions become flyable. A smart thing to do is get ready and launch shortly afterwards; my bet is this pilot will sky out and go XC and all you need to do is follow.

Tip #24

Help your fat boys – stay clear!

Keeping a tandem in the air is not an easy task: flying two hours at min sink is like doing five push ups ever two minutes for two hours! Also, most student pilots forget that tandem pilots have the right of way, in the air and while landing. If you are a solo pilot, with the ridge on your right, you must turn away and give way to the “fat boys”. Watch out for our wake. A 500 lbs+ aircraft can twist up the air pretty good!

Tip #25

Ever try a two-some on launch?

You’ll need to if you want to do a proper radio check. You’ll need to both transmit and receive a signal to complete the radio check. This will allow you to check the volume, very important for pilots that have a speaker in their helmets; and test if your PTT switch, on your radio, is working properly. Also, set your radio for a maximum transmit (key) time of one minute – this is a great option in case your PTT switch gets stuck on (blocking all communication until your radio goes dead).

Tip #26

No, after you. No after you – I insist!

If you and another pilot plan to land in the same LZ, and are at the same elevation, you will likely be in a landing conflict. There is an illusion that you are well spaced out (horizontally), but eventually you will only have a few seconds between each other. This is a very dangerous situation, especially if there is sudden lift on the base leg. I suggest that the lower pilot flies with big ears or spirals to improve the separation while the upper pilot should fly at minimum sink to stay in the air longer. Some LZ’s are the size of eight football fields so no problem, but other LZ’s, like Bridal Falls, can barely manage one pilot at a time – this tip could save you from a hard landing or collision will another pilot.

Note: since all tandem pilots have the right of way, all skilled solo pilots, while landing, should make their best efforts to keep an equal spacing between the LZ and remaining pilots.

Tip #27

Push it real good!

If your local training field allows it: here is a great way to get a feel for how fast (or slow) your wing turns. Get a helper to push you, from the back of the harness, while you executes small turns into the wind. This trick only works in slightly windy conditions (10-15 mph). If conditions really pick up (15-20 mph), it’s fun to get a helper to grab your speed bar and kite you: start with the bar already in front of your legs, inflate your wing, stabilize it, turn, stabilize the wing, then ask your helper to pull.

Caution: make sure you and your help are wearing proper gloves and other safety equipment; tell your helper to always let go if they find them self at six feet or higher.


Tip #28

Don’t frontal my big ears!

A great way to do your first big ears is on the ground. When the wind is about five or more mph, inflate your wing, stabilize it, and start running. Locate the big ears lines and pull them gently – too hard and your wing will frontal, too slow and you’ll loose your heading – watch out for hazards (people, trees, bushes…).

Note: in the air the tension on the big ear lines will be much more.

Tip #29

Twist your handles.

When you launch facing your wing (AKA reverse launch) you’ll need to hold the wing’s brake handles so that the least amount of brake lines are used – this will require that you twist each handle towards the wing. When we teach our students to reverse, we start with the brake handles over their wrists – this allows the handles to naturally twist to the proper (least brake pressure) position; however, launching like this can sometimes result in having your brake slide up to your elbows causing an uncontrolled take off. Reverse launches are best done with the handles in the proper hands.

Tip #30

Check please!

Always check your equipment before, during and after each flight.

On launch: do a radio check TX and RX, and check your wing, harness, helmet strap, laces, pockets, and reserve handle – to name but a few.

While flying: check your wing, right up to the carabiners, your reserve handle, leg straps, radio…

While rolling up: check your lines, reserve pin and glider for any problems.

Tip #31

Wanna be a super hero?

Bring up a big, cold, water melon to take off. Some pilots may be unprepared for the long hot parawaits, in 30+ degree weather – this jester will be long remembered by any heat baked pilot.


Tip #32

Dancing with wings

In moderate winds, I suggest that all pilots learn to kite their wing, on take off, just before launching – this will allow you to check your lines, harness and conditions more effectively. For reverse launch, bring your wing up as normal, turn and take another step (to keep the wing loaded), then take a wrap on the brake lines and stop all forward motion. Balance the wing over your head for at least ten seconds and wait for the next thermal to lift you up. If it is not strong enough, progressively start moving down the slope and eventually launch at full speed (as usual) – or consider killing the wing. Kiting your wing, with no intentions to fly, is a great way to discover if the launch is in rotor or not. Practice on flat ground for many hours (40 plus) before trying this on your cliff launch.

Tip #33

Just wait a minute or fifteen.

Not sure about the conditions?  Here’s what I like to do: after a bad gust or thermal cycle I like to wait for at least 15 minutes, if no more bad cycles are noticed then start to get ready. Each time a bad cycle arrives, reset the clock. After an hour of this it is usually better to head down to the LZ and practice your launches or drink beer (your day is done)!

Tip #35

Three point brake check

One great way to reduce your chance of a knotted or tangled brake line is to do a three point check:

First sort the lines and pull the brake lines outward all the way to the first cascade point

Check that the cascade pt (1) the pulley (2) and the brake handle (3) are clear of all other lines – your three point check!

Another brake line tip is to make sure you have just a minimum amount of brake lines pulled between the handle and the pulley, if too much line is pulled, it could tangle up with the pulley and cause some major launch problems.


Tip #36

Do you really care?

I try to keep spare gloves, and a jacket, around for all my tandem passengers – not so much for warmth but for protection from my less than perfect aborts or landings. On bumpy flights, my jacket has been appreciated by the odd passengers, now and then. Can you imagine how you would feel driving home with a “soiled” shirt?


Tip #37

How can I help you?

If you have a first aid kit in the truck, but only one person knows what’s in it and where it is – this could be a problem. I suggest that you frequently show your driver/friends/students what’s in your first aid kit and maybe talk about the ABC’s of first aid; or maybe place a note on the back seat to remind students of it’s location and basic first aid procedures.


Tip #38

Your helmet is not what it’s cracked up to be.

If you want to prevent your helmet from being scratched and or cracked: never put your helmet close to the back door of your truck – it will likely fall out when the door/lift back is opened. Even putting it in your pack will not always protect your helmet. I suggest placing it in the back seat of simply carry it. Using a protective bag will keep it looking new for many years!


Tip #39

Think negative!

Before you start to inflate your wing, make a prediction on what direction the wing may move. Most pilots assume that it will be a perfect inflation: straight, perfect speed, no surge, but in the real world this is not always the case. I suggest that you make a guess and visualize the steps you will take to fix the problem.

Here’s a clue: high wind launches usually involves moving back with the wing and damping the surge with lots of brakes; light conditions may require a longer inflation and light brake inputs and the odd abort if the wing turns too much. Draw a mental line where you plan to kill the wing if it is not inflated the way you want.

Think negative with positive results!

Tip #40

Eyes wide shut!

I suggest, for your winter flying to always carry glasses or ski goggles. Trying to see into the snow can really be a big challenge and painful with just the naked eye. I suggest a ski goggle with a clear lens – hard to find actually, most are coloured.

Tip #41

So you wanna play in the snow?

You may be surprised how hard it is to launch with snow gear on.
I suggest going to your local training hill/field first and work out the bugs. Actually pack up your harness with your snow shoes, ski poles or what ever other gear you think you will need on your hike. Also, replacing your harness foam with a down sleeping bag could be useful if you are forced to spend the night out doors.

Tip #42

So you what to try your first deep spiral?

I suggest that you choose to spiral to the side that has your reserve handle, otherwise the G forces could easily prevent you from even looking at the handle! While performing a deep spiral, a pilot may experience between 1-4 G’s: most pilots will start to black out after 20 seconds, so be ready to throw your reserve if things go wrong.

Caution: Spirals and other advance maneuvers must be with proper equipment (i.e.: ear piece, repacked reserve…) and with proper instructions (usually over water, with a life vest and rescue boat team).

Tip #43

Don’t whip it out unless you mean it!

At the start of the season it’s easy to skip some of the safety steps in order to get airborne quicker – how dumb! A good pilot will have a routine for checking their leg straps, chest strap, speed bar….but checking the reserve handle and pin(s) are often over looked. I suggest that before you strap on your harness, check the reserve handle and pins – they should be in their proper position, and the handle should be bent outward for a easy grab. Also, when your flight is over, check them again, just before packing up the harness – this may give you some protection against a premature reserve deployment.

Tip #44

So you want to (die young and) stay pretty?

Here is what I suggest you do to stop a very dangerous/stupid pilot from launching himself and potentially killing himself or worse.

Offer to help him check his lines. Then, while wearing protective gloves, stand in front of him; when he starts to run yell STOP, STOP, STOP and kill the wing using the glider’s D lines; then explain that last year, this time, you saw the scariest launch, and it looked just like yours, where the pilot landed in “those trees” and had to go to the hospital. While he set’s up for launch number two (or more) you can explain the pros of getting proper lessons from the local certified schools, but each time yell stop and offer more scary stories. Usually two launch attempts is enough to scare most pilots away.


Tip #45

Put a mitt over it!

If you add a mini-carabiner to an old mitt or glove, then clip it to one or two straps on the inside of your harness – it makes a perfect radio pouch. Works on most harnesses.

Tip #46

Do it one handed

If your radio or harness needs adjusting, but you’re too afraid to let go off your brake toggles – try this: put your brakes in one hand and fly for a minute or more with your free hand ready to take over. If you have not used your free hand to correct a wing surge then why not try to fix your problem?





Chapter 1

Paraglider takeoff

Did you ever look at the specs sheet when you purchased your Paraglider? You probably noticed the suggested weight range, the size and some other numbers. The total weight includes everything: glider, harness, pilot, clothing and of course, your underwear. During the total time you touch the ground, before you are airborne, you should try to load the Paraglider by leaning forward (wing loading) and by resting your belly on the harness’s belly strap. By loading it, you will realize that your running distance is reduced to a couple of steps, only if you are centered and you are not accelerating in front of the paraglider. Remember that a paraglider is controlled by slowing it down but it has to fly first and before you take-off you should feel pulled up and forward. By loading the Paraglider you will also be able to keep it stable. Basically, what you try to do during takeoff is simulate the conditions you meet in flight …always centered, with maximum wing loading, with enough brake to keep good pitch stability. “Always make sure there is pressure in the wing by feeling tension in the controls.”

Paramotor takeoff

                              It looks easy and it actually is quite easy. You hold on to 2 risers (to inflate the Paraglider), the throttle control, the Paraglider controls (to steer the Paraglider) while supporting 50 pounds on your back during the run. A good technique is to use 60% throttle after a few steps to help inflate the Paraglider, not to push air into the cells, but to create a constant forward motion that you need when the Paraglider is 20% – 60% up.
Here are some other points to keep in mind:
1. Position your hands behind you and below the belt. Start running and lift your hand vertically without pulling forward to prevent deforming the leading edge, which would slow down the inflation. If you do not use the thrust of the Paramotor to help you move forward and inflate the Paraglider, the Paraglider will slow down half way up and will probably yaw because of the high angle of attack and you might have to abort.

2. If you wait until you feel tension on the lines, the delay for the air to travel from the propeller to the Paraglider will give you enough time to elevate the Paraglider to prevent being pulled back and fall.

3. You can release the throttle, reducing the RPM to 20%, slowing down the motion of the Paraglider, preventing it from going in front of you and deflating.

4. During the run after the glider is inflated, you will have to straighten your back (like a Russian Cossack dancer) to minimize the running distance. Every degree off the vertical will result in more running. Every degree off the center of the Paraglider will also result in more running and could also  make you oscillate. Running in a jumping manner also disturbs the air above the Paraglider, resulting in more running. If you follow these rules, you should be airborne after running less than 10 steps or less than 5 steps even in calm wind!

5. Once the Paraglider is stable, center it and squeeze the throttle progressively to maximum RPM for about 10-20 seconds until you reach a comfortable altitude and are comfortable in your harness.

6. After lifting off the ground, you could get into a pendulum caused by over controlling the Paraglider, combined with the torque of the Paramotor My suggestion: ease-off the Paramotor and turn in one direction for a few seconds.

Landing it softly and precisely!

The Paraglider is the easiest aircraft to land! At about 200 hundred feet above the LZ, I kill the engine, tighten the two shoulder straps, clip the throttle handle to the cage and align myself into the wind. I then ease out of the harness to make sure I end up on my feet to prevent slipping on landing and damaging  the safety cage, good hiking boots will help a lot too. To insure a soft landing, fly the Paraglider with  hands all the way up to build speed that you will later transfer to a nice pendulum that ends in an  upward motion, not downward, which would happen if you over control during the last 30 feet of the flight. Hand motion should be very regular and equal on both sides until you fly parallel to the ground. Continue pulling if the wind is light or if you have an old Paraglider that has a glide ratio less than 5 :1. The effect of carrying which you will notice as you come closer to the ground. Do not slow down, i.e., flare, before you are lower than 6 to 8 feet AGL because you will stop the pendulum that you need at the end to land softly.

Thermals can make landing a little tricky sometimes because closer to the ground there is more heat and that could extend your flight. Make sure you are not heading toward any obstacles. Small landing areas and slope landing techniques.

You will have to, at some point, land in a tight area or in a slope, especially if you like cross-country flying. The problem is to decrease your glide ratio without stalling. You know that braking more than 50% will increase your sink but could also cause a stall in turbulent air. A good way to reduce your glide ratio is to stand up to create more drag around you, instead of the glider. It will also increase your chance of landing on your feet instead of your butt. You will have to fly slower. Otherwise, you will glide too much. You may also have to create turbulence around your glider by pumping (80% pull for half a second, 20% for a second) until you feel you are low enough. You will not stall if your hand motion is not too rapid. Stay calm!

In flight, you Fly smooth to get the best glide ratio possible, minimizing the roll and pitch BUT, If you want to go down, you can increase the roll by pulling on one side then the other until you get comfortably low. Do not spiral over the area – you will build too much speed and you could crash, the last 50 feet of the flight should be straight or minimal changes that will not increase pitch and roll. My favorite technique is to come downwind and do a sharp turn close to the base of the LZ, align myself in the middle and roll or pump if I need to lose more altitude. Pulling Big ears is also a good technique, especially for slopes. It stabilizes your glider and allows you to steer by weight- shifting. You can be aggressive on the weight-shift; it won’t cause any problems.


Chapter 2


Your Paraglider will fly as long as you keep sufficient airflow around the glider. If the airflow is disturbed to a point where there is no lift, the glider will stop flying and fall. A stall is caused if the angle of attack*  is too high, caused by applying too much brake or braking and giving too much throttle. If a stall occurs, we suggest you release the brake pressure slowly back to your shoulder level and stop using the power of the engine. You can also stall it by pulling both “B” risers below shoulder level or as far as you can possibly pull, the release is done by accompanying them back up to ear level then you release them.

The Paraglider will surge but nothing to worry about. This is one of the best development in the Paraglider construction and one of the best descent technique.


A spin is caused by pulling too hard or too low on one control. In general, you should be able to turn without pulling the toggles below the chest level. For a Paramotor, note that the engine torque rolls the glider to the right and at the same time makes it turn to the right. Release the throttle before turning left.

As you get more experienced you will be able to feel the glider spin when turning fast. Flying in turbulent air can also cause the glider to spin even if you are not pulling too much on the toggles, or “brakes”. Spins (to prevent spins, never keep your hand down more that 2 seconds. Pull down gently to execute a turn and bring your hand back up a few inches then pull again. This will prevent a spin and will keep your glider nice and flat and at the same time you get a better sink rate!)
Spiral dive

To enter a spiral, pull on one toggle and slowly increase the pulling to a point where you will feel the centrifugal force… at that point you will be losing up to 30 feet/second in altitude! To stop the spiral, lift  the toggle back to your shoulder level, but be aware that the glider might surge forward, if you lift it too fast.


Deflations may happen when flying light on the controls and/or using the speed system and/or flying in turbulence. The airflow usually comes from under the canopy. This is a positive angle of attack. As the angle reduces to a point where the air pressure in the cells is minimum, a pilot feels the effort to pull on the controls is reduced to zero! Beginner paragliders are designed to make a beginner pilot feel safe by increasing the drag around the profile, drag will act as a stabilizer by reducing the pitch action which will at the same time reduce chances of deflations. Beginner models will also accept more piloting errors and will not need any input from the pilot to re-inflate but may result in a turn up to 90 degrees! It is better to prevent it and pull down on the controls to reestablish the angle of attack, pulling just a few inches will not stop it but a foot or two will do it. Remember to keep you original heading before re-inflating the deflated side. In a fraction of a second you can prevent a deflation from happening. This is especially  important if you are just taking off from a hill, scratching along a hill, or are about to land. Feeling the tension on the controls, flying slower (between best glide and minimum sink speed, but closer to minimum sink) or pulling the ears (reducing the surface of the canopy will also create more drag that  will stabilize the pitch) will keep the angle of attack high enough to fly through turbulence. Of course, if you fly with too much brake (slow) or if you pump the brakes, you will not get a good glide ratio.
Generally, if you fly with your hands around shoulder level, you will stay out of trouble (for paragliders) and around ear level(for motorheads). Just after the Paraglider deflates on one side, it will Roll, Pitch and Yaw on the side of the deflation (Just  like if you were doing a dynamic turn). Your body will be off centered but should have a tendency to return under the middle of the Paraglider If not (because you fly a competition model or an older model) you will have to steer to keep your body from being centrifuged ! If you try to re-inflate before steering to keep your heading you may enter a spiral and lose altitude which may result in a CRASH. When your

Paraglider is partially deflated (close to 50%) the air pressure is pushing toward the inflated side from the middle of the Paraglider By steering to recover your original heading you will shift to air pressure from the inflated tip to the middle and to the deflated side. The Paraglider being in front of you for a while will increase its speed and help re-inflate itself! Bonus!

Afternoon thermals can be strong and cause changes in the angle of attack every time you go in or out, or partially go out of thermals. You may have to pull fairly hard for a fraction of a second to prevent a deflation. You will feel the glider surge forward because of its light inertia. Pulling hard on the controls when your Paraglider is surging forward after coming out of a stall, a spin or a strong thermal is OK. Synchronizing the pulling with the surge is the best approach. You cannot stall when the canopy is in front of you. Even if a stall occurs (turbulent airflow around the canopy) it will have an immediate recovery because of the pendulum stability of a Paraglider If you bring your controls above you shoulders when the glider is above your head, you can avoid a stall. The shape your Paraglider takes when you pull on the toggles makes it collapse proof, the tips are curved in, the arch increases and the angle of attack is increased. The internal air pressure is not a concern for the pilot, it is something the manufacturer took care of during those hundreds of test flights. As long as the Paraglider is not fully collapsed or stalled, the pressure is good.

Remember that when your Paraglider is 50% deflated, the wing loading doubles, essentially. To effectively stop a rotation, you have to apply more pull on the side that is still flying. Pull on that control slowly, but enough to feel that the rotation is reduced and you are no longer centrifuged. Newer paragliders recover by themselves after rotating about 90 degrees, but if you are close to the ground, you still need to react quickly to stop any rotation.

Chapter 3
Evaluating weather conditions

Observing is the key. Before, during and after driving up to the takeoff site, you should keep your eyes open to nature’s indicators. Windsocks are also very good indicators. Keep in mind that conditions can change. Use binoculars to observe the wind at the Landing Zone. A good way to evaluate the wind is to look at the clouds – their speed, shape and also, their shadows. From the air or from the ground, you can always see their shadows. Wind meters are not always reliable, especially when the air is unstable. A thermal can generate a 20 mph air flow on the takeoff and then drop to zero if the wind is calm. Do not confuse wind and thermals. Thermals come in cycles and between those cycles, you should evaluate the wind. If it does not calm down between cycles… think twice about taking off. Of course, if you are a P3 or higher rating, you should know if you can deal with these conditions. If you’re having difficulties evaluating conditions, do not take off first! Always bring a good wind dummy!…If you can’t find one, observe birds in flight. They can give you enough information about the conditions. Another good practice is to be patient … just relax for 15 minutes or more and observe the conditions. Generally after 4 pm thermal conditions start decreasing. Also expect conditions to change before sunset, remember that air masses do not mix so when the sun goes down and the hotter air mass disappear or elevate, at that point one can expect the wind to increase or decrease, keep an eye on tree motion etc. … especially in narrow valleys.

Ridge soaring is safe in winds up to 30 Km/h, only if you are skilled enough to takeoff

Chapter 4
Thermal flying

Up you go, in this big and strong warmer air current … 3, 4, 6, 9, 12 m/s to the sky! How will it be today? Turbulent,calm, windy… The question is, what do I measure with my wind meter before launching? Is it a thermal or wind or a combination of both? By looking down toward the LZ, you can see the wind strength on the ground and also the shadows of the clouds which you can compare with the speed of people walking or cars on a highway. If the windsock at the takeoff moves violently at 10:00 in the morning, it is probably windy.

Dynamic of a thermal: You can probably visualize the shape of a thermal and you can visualize that it is increasing in diameter as it goes up. That means there is a horizontal motion on top of the vertical motion. Sometimes in flight you suddenly stop moving because you are close to one of these strong babies and/or you are probably close to the top of it. Other times, you may drift away from a ridge or a mountain, thinking the wind has changed direction. But no, it is thermal activity. Of course if you are pushed for a long period of time, the force at work is probably wind. The theory says that as it gets bigger it should slow down but it is not always the case. When the thermal travels through a colder air mass like at the snow level in the high mountains,its strength increase and your gain rate increase sometimes by 3 times.

Turbulence caused by wind around thermals and clouds. Air masses usually do not mix, because of
their characteristics: density, humidity,temperature, speed etc. Wind will push a light thermal more than a strong one and also will cause more turbulence around the strong thermal. Turbulence will be mostly behind or on the leeward side. A cloud deflects the wind like a mountain would. You will feel lift on the windward side of the cloud and sink plus turbulence on the leeward side. The best way to fly a thermal is to extend as long as possible the upwind part of the spiral until you hear your variometer decrease substantially, then turn tightly on the downwind part. Light wind will not affect the thermal much; just try to stay away from the thermal’s edge. If you do fly partially out of the thermal, you might feel your outside control going soft. At that point, you pull on the outside brake to increase the angle of attack and to keep your glider inflated. Then release it and pull the other brake to reenter the thermal. Try to weight shift toward the core of the thermal. The position of the core will also change as the wind increase. The weak part of that thermal is more affected by the wind and will be shifted back, this is why you come out of the thermal as soon as you enter the core in some occasion.

How to climb high?

First you have to understand how the sun heats up the ground (mountains, lakes,
trees, rocks …). Ninety degrees is the optimal angle for the heat transfer from the sun to the ground. It means you could get some excellent thermal flying in the morning on an east facing site … as early as 7:00 am! If you want to go high through an inversion, you need to stay close to the hill, if the hill is taller than the inversion’s altitude. The sun heats up the ground with the same strength or better at 2000m as at 1000m. Knowing that the inversion is at 10 degrees Celsius and the thermal looses 0.7 degrees per 100 meters, approximately,you will have better success flying closer to the hill to fly over the highest thermal source (rock face or other dry areas) A long smooth rock face would also be more efficient than one shaped like stairs, due to the accumulation of heat along the surface. In French, this is called “suradiabatic”or extra adiabatic, meaning the air is hot enough to pierce the inversion. Many of my flights which resulted in gains of 1000m to 2000 m where based on this principle. I admit, I had a little help from the birds, as well … 100 vultures in the same thermal in Venezuela, a hawk flying over the small ridge in Pemberton B.C.  I often see pilots flying in a good
thermal, then they lose it and they give up right away without ever coming back in it. Usually,if you know there is a thermal somewhere at a certain time, it means it will reappear following a cycle! Don’t give up. Keep your eyes open and you will go high and get cold!

Chapter 5

How to choose the right Paraglider?

The most important thing to consider is stability, then handling and speed. Some Paraglider
manufacturers set the weight range to get good results at the time of certification. Some others think of the pleasure of flying! These days, you can stay up for hours with a beginner model, so it is not
necessary to buy a competition model to have performance. With that in mind, you want to fly without having to carry ballast and be in the top half of the weight range since the speed is directly proportional to the wing loading. In thermal conditions, you have better handling and pitch control.

Flight Mechanics and Aerobatics

Maybe some of you like to show off! Or maybe it is just for fun! Wing-overs are fun but watch out – pilots lose their lives doing so. It is important to keep a good distance above the ground to experiment with your first ones.

Roll, pitch and yaw.

The right combination of these three will result in some nice aerial figures unless…
Start a wing-over the same way you start a spiral dive but a soon as your body is swung on one side, steer on the other side and release the opposite toggle at the same time. You have at that point two choices, being aggressive or smooth on the toggles because between the two, you might get a 50% deflation or more! The roll associated with the maneuver cause the Paraglider to move beside the pilot and at that point if you do not keep on pulling to add some yaw to the recipe, you will drop and the airflow will the circulate from on tip to the other instead of circulating from the leading edge to the trailing edge. The yaw will make the glider point toward the ground and you will obtain lots of speed that you can transfer in another wing-over or nice penduluming. If by any chance you feel the lower side of the glider soft, it is possible to save the deflation by pulling on that same control until you feel a good tension.

Big Ears (descent technique)

You may someday need to go down! By decreasing the surface of your aircraft you will still keep control of it by steering with your harness (weight shift, rolling) and at the same time it increases the angle of attack and stabilizes it (pitch stability). Pulling the ears can also help you land in a small LZ or land in a slope. You can trust this configuration, many pilots go through strong turbulence without any incident. You may stress some lines if you do it too often or if you combine it with a spiral, due the added centrifugal force on a reduced number of lines. You can also combine it with the speed system, you will go down a little bit faster. Steering without toggles
It is possible to steer without the toggles. This could be useful if you have a knot in the line or if the knot that hold the handle gets loose. Pulling on one of the back risers will result in a slow turn but you will keep control of you direction.

Flying In The Rain

We suggest not flying in the rain. Make sure you dry everything, especially your Paraglider, if you do not fly again, for an extended period of time, MOLD. Do not be scared of dropping from the sky if you get caught in the rain, the result is an increase in sink rate but not noticeable. You might also get cold! Note: Controls, toggles and brakes are the same. Do not confuse with the throttle control.