03 February 2022

5 Paragliding Takeoff Habits That Can Save Your Life

Submitted by Stefan Kruger
5 Paragliding Takeoff Habits That Can Save Your Life

Building the right habits makes Paragliding not only extremely fun but also safe.

For a lot of people, paragliding is often considered a dangerous and unsafe activity. And although there is a certain level of risk, when you put in the work, take the precautions and build some important habits, not only is paragliding extremely safe, but it is also one of those adventures that once started, you will not be able to stop. 

Building the right habits that can save your life.

Developing Good Habits can be challenging, and breaking bad habits, especially bad paragliding habits, can be even harder to break. This is why developing a good habit as early into your Paragliding journey as possible is vital to making each flight safe and fun.

Riding epic thermals and pushing maximum speeds are thrilling however they do come with a price, and sometimes checking your ego can be just as important as checking your gear. Hence why we put together this guide of our favourite paragliding takeoff practices to help you take to the air the safe way.

1. Know your Forecast

Showing off like a paragliding rock star doesn't count if the only people there to see it are the paramedics. But you can avoid many serious pitfalls by checking the weather forecast ahead of time and studying the actual wind conditions on your planned route. Plotting your flight based on real-time data of precipitation and barometric pressure can not only eliminate surprises but can also help you make tough decisions about when and how long to fly. Remember: good safety habits and paragliding equipment inspection can only go so far against erratic wind gusts and dangerous thermals.

2. Double-Check the Harness

It may be easy to relax in a supine position on a couch at home, but doing so while vaulting through the air is a different story entirely. Many accidents happen due to the pilot's inability to fully enter the paragliding harness during takeoff. Juggling between the brake and the harness seat can sometimes send your glider into a stall, spin, or on rare occasions a full-on collapse. Instead, try leaning back with your knees bent towards your chest as you squirm into the seat avoiding sudden death or, worse, an uncomfortable groin position.

3. Try a Test Inflation

Whether you're a Red Bull X-Alps champion or launching for the first time, one thing is certain: overconfidence kills. One fail-safe way to prepare a launch is to do test inflation lifting the wing without launching fully to test the air and turbulence. Even paragliding pros have a hard time decoding wind conditions, and doing test inflation can help you get a real-time feel of what you're likely to experience in the air.

4. Test your Reserve

When paragliding in thermals goes wrong, a good paragliding reserve can mean all the difference. One good tip is to test your reserve handle before you even get in the harness. That means peeling off and resetting the handle so that the Velcro binding is ready to release when you pull it. This is especially useful after long drives, which can cause the Velcro around the handle to become offset by the vibrations of the car. Be sure and double-check the pins also, to double-check that they are fully inserted and ready to release when pulled.

5. Devise an Exit Plan

Launching is optional, but landing is mandatory. In other words: after you've taken off, the only option is to land somewhere whether it's a landing zone or in some strangers backyard. That is unless you have an exit plan. If conditions don't feel right for takeoff, have a Plan B for aborting your launch. That means studying the landscape around your launch point and memorizing the best places to make a sudden landing, i.e. spots with minimal structure and maximum clearance. Knowing when to call it a day, and how to do it, can not only let you live to fly another day it will make you a better pilot.

Contact Fly Cape Town today

For more information on any of our paragliding habits or to book your next paragliding session, Please feel free to contact us at Fly Cape Town and we will be glad to set you up for a once in the lifetime experience.

The Fly Cape Town team are a group of highly experienced Tandem Paragliding Flight Instructors who can provide you with the best paragliding Cape Town has to offer. Come and experience the joy of a tandem paragliding flight in the beauty of Cape Town.

To have the experience of a lifetime. You can contact us either by email or contact number or visit our website at https://flycapetown.co.za/

Published in Sports Range