The season started with great vibes. We already have novice pilots making mountain flights and soars with our local friends, the vultures.
That day from the video we managed to hike twice to the top of Mount Brace and do two beautiful flights.
When all the elements are present—the sun is here but not too hot, the wind is blowing in the right direction at the right intensity, a group of friends is around to share the hike and flight—those kinds of days are just worth all the effort and investment we've made to get there.
Of course becoming a paragliding pilot and being able to enjoy that kind of day requires a bit of time and effort as in any sport. You don't go on double black–diamond ski runs on your first day. That wouldn't be a smart move.
Paragliding is similar; it takes some time on a training hill with an instructor to master basic skills to control the paraglider in a different kind of air (turbulent or laminar), and velocity (from 0 to 15+ mph).
When your launching technique is under control, landing into the wind softly is another skill to master.
When your ground skills, take off, and landing are controlled, then comes the big picture—the big playground. It's similar to learning scuba diving in a swimming pool and then being ready to jump out into the big ocean.
At Mount Brace, even after your Novice certification, you will fly under the supervision of an "Observer" (a more advanced pilot) who will act like a big brother, helping you make the right choices depending on the weather conditions.
It also takes time to see the big picture, understand the wind, the turbulences, reading the clouds, and riding thermals. So having somebody more experienced to guide you through the process is a must for a long and safe pilot life.
But once you get there, then the kind of days that look like the one in the video are rewards that make all the previous efforts worth it when you take into account the experience you get in return.
The paragliding community evolved a lot and we have access to great books and DVD made by professionals from the sport.
When you become a paraglider pilot it is very important to understand how the wing is flying and how it is affected by the surroundings. Also, since we are evolving in a constantly changing environment
The Art of Paragliding by Dennis Pagen
This is a reference book and a well-known paragliding manual around the world. It explains in detail step-by-step training method with the latest techniques based on the USHGA training program. Whether you are discovering paragliding or already flying but get deeper knowledge and polish your skills, this book is sure to provide a goldmine of information.
Understanding the sky by Dennis Pagen
A pilot needs to understand the ways of the sky to fly successfully and safely.
A guide for Balloonist, Rc Modelers, Parachutists, Hang Glider, Paraglider, and Sailplane Pilots.
I hear this question all the time: Should I fly a paraglider or the one with the motor (PPG or paramotoring)?
My answer is very easy: Both!
Why? Because those 2 activities are totally complementary and I think that doing one without the other is missing half of the big picture.
What about PPG?
Something I hear often when I fly with paraglider pilots is that PPG is noisy, which is true. And because of that, it's difficult to find flying spots in our area. The neighbors can get tired quickly of hearing the noise. It's like having a lawn mower over their house. Hearing that noise repeatedly or for too long can become annoying, and that is really understandable.
So the smart thing to do is to take off and never stay over the same spot more than 10 to 15 minutes. That amazing toy gives you the option to cruise around. Another option is to go fly over no man's land or small airports.
Yo can fin a lot of info on the national association the USPPA
Some of our favorite videos:
- If you respectfully fly away from people that are nearby, and know the basics about ultra light regulations and the airspaces, then the PPG is an amazing toy.
- First, if you have a big open field free of obstacles, you can take off in any wind direction, giving you a lot of flying options without having to drive for miles to find a take-off facing the wind.
- Second, since you don't depend on natural lifts like thermals, you can say goodbye to "sled rides" that last 5 minutes. Every time you go, you can quickly log airtime and practice your flying skills, making PPG a fantastic toy to get better at flying in general and log tons of hours of airtime.
- Being able to log in hours of airtime quickly means you can keep your skills sharpened year-round.
- In flat land, if you want to fly free flight you need a winch operation (requiring machinery and a tow operator). But with the motor, all you need is a big open field free of obstacles (of course away from restricted airspaces and with the landowner's approval).
- First, it's recommended to fly in smoother conditions. Flying bumpy thermals is not comfortable with the engine weight on your back, and landing with the engine when the landing zone has thermal active air can be very tricky. So PPG is best early in the morning and late afternoon or evening (at least on thermal days).
- The noise,
- The weight, and
- The storage and maintenance require a garage.
- Traveling: You need a rack on your car or a pick-up truck, so carpooling is limited and traveling by plane is doable but requires some mechanical work since you need to totally disassemble the unit.
- A common mistake we see is that some newcomers feel that, because of the motor, they just need to press the gas and off they go! The reality is that you still need to master your take-off and landing skills. Just pressing the throttle will not get you off the ground.
Usually, with PPG, if you master the ground skills and landing phase, everything is pretty easy, especially in 5 mph steady wind. Everything becomes a lot more technical early in the morning, for example, when the wing is a bit wet, there is no wind, the ground is slippery with a bit of dew on it, etc. In that situation, you need to have a reliable technique for a smooth take-off and landing.
Regular practice is key, but if you invest a little of your time, you will have a blast with it.
What about Paragliding?
You can find a lot of info about paragliding on the USHPA web site
The usual feedback I hear from paramotor pilots, is that in the paragliding world we do a lot of “parawaiting”. That can be true since we rely more on the wind/thermal conditions; sometimes you need to pick your time wisely like a fisherman or a surfer.
I love paragliding. I love the hike to launch, the preparation, the wait on launch and the reading of the local conditions. Since you can't rely on the motor, timing for the take-off is important—looking at the clouds, the birds, the shadows in the valley.
You are really connected with a constantly changing element. Kind of like a wind surfer, for example.
While flying, a paraglider pilot is more tuned to the actual local conditions, constantly looking for signs of lift like a bird of prey. So it's an approach that requires more patience and that's more connected to the elements.
- Slightly cheaper since you don't have the cost of the engine.
- Since they can not rely on the motor, paraglider pilots tend to have a better feeling of the air (i.e. how to optimize their climbing rate in thermal air or their glide to reach a landing zone).
- The equipment is very easy to carry around; it's a backpack, so you can easily travel around the world by plane, car, bus, subway, etc.
- For outdoor people, you can hike and fly.
- Easy to go up mountains using gondola and ski lifts at ski resorts.
- Carpooling is an option: You can have 3-4 people with their gear in a regular car/SUV.
- You might have to wait hours upon launch to have a good opportunity to fly.
- Sometimes, when the conditions are different than what the weather report was forecasting, you'll drive to your site, hike to launch and it won't be flyable. It's frustrating but it's part of the game.
- In some situations, you'll drive and hike out only for your flight to last 5 minutes. Bummer, but again, it's part of the game.
All in all, it's flying and doing it with or without a motor has its pros and cons.
As a paraglider pilot, it took me a long time to get over the noise part of PPG but I enjoy all my PPG flights and the hours it provides. And when the wind conditions are good, paragliding gives me this incredible feeling of connection with the elements.
Don't hesitate one bit—if you can, fly both ways!
This part prescribes rules governing the operation of ultralight vehicles in the United States. For the purposes of this part, an ultralight vehicle is a vehicle that:
(a) Any person operating an ultralight vehicle under this part shall, upon request, allow the Administrator, or his designee, to inspect the vehicle to determine the applicability of this part.
No person may conduct operations that require a deviation from this part except under a written waiver issued by the Administrator.
Certification and registration.
(a) Notwithstanding any other section pertaining to certification of aircraft or their parts or equipment, ultralight vehicles and their component parts and equipment are not required to meet the airworthiness certification standards specified for aircraft or to have certificates of airworthiness.
(a) No person may operate any ultralight vehicle in a manner that creates a hazard to other persons or property.
(a) No person may operate an ultralight vehicle except between the hours of sunrise and sunset.
Operation near aircraft; right-of-way rules.
(a) Each person operating an ultralight vehicle shall maintain vigilance so as to see and avoid aircraft and shall yield the right-of-way to all aircraft.
Operations over congested areas.
No person may operate an ultralight vehicle over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons.
Operations in certain airspace.
No person may operate an ultralight vehicle within Class A, Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless that person has prior authorization
Operations in prohibited or restricted areas.
No person may operate an ultralight vehicle in prohibited or restricted areas unless that person has permission from the using or controlling agency, as appropriate.
Flight restrictions in the proximity of certain areas designated by notice to airmen.
No person may operate an ultralight vehicle in areas designated in a Notice to Airmen under [§91.137, §91.138, §91.141, §91.143, or §91.145 of this chapter, unless authorized by:
Amdt. 103-6, Eff. 10/11/2001
Visual reference with the surface.
No person may operate an ultralight vehicle except by visual reference with the surface.
Flight visibility and cloud clearance requirements.
No person may operate an ultralight vehicle when the flight visibility or distance from clouds is less than that in the table found below. All operations in Class A, Class B, Class C, and Class D airspace or Class E airspace designated for an airport must receive prior ATC authorization as required in §103.17 of this part.
While flying a paraglider or a paramotor, we usually carry a reserve parachute, for emergency situations.
While flying a paraglider or a paramotor, we usually carry a reserve parachute for
Paraglider reserve parachutes are very different from ones intended for skydiving. A paraglider one is designed to open as fast as possible to stop the pilot's fall, whereas a skydiving one is designed to open gradually to slow down the skydiver from a high-speed fall.
Its use, packing, and maintenance are different but it's your responsibility to make sure you are doing it (or are having it done by a professional) every six months.
A regular maintenance will affect the opening time and the performance of the parachute in the long run (according to manufacturers, a reserve parachute should serve its purpose for about ten years if the maintenance was done on a regular basis, i.e., at least, every six months to every year). It’s a good idea to practice a reserve extraction by hooking yourself up to a simulator before your season starts.
(You don't need to have the parachute fully extracted which would require a repack. What you can do is extract the reserve still in its bag and throw it in somebody's hands close to you while hooked to the simulator.)
The benefits of simulating an extraction are:
- Making sure you can move fluidly.
- Finding the reserve handle easily without looking.
- Confirming that the extraction requires little effort and is working properly.
- Having the opportunity to practice re-installing the reserve in the harness container.
-Closing the container pins correctly (it’s possible that when you arrive on launch, you find that one of your pins is out of its loop, so it's always good to know how to put it back properly).
- Installing the handle properly followed by a quick review of your pref-light check.
There are three main different styles at the moment
1) The round ones are more basic and simpler to use and repack. They come in "regular" or "light" versions. The lighter version is about half the size when packed (so it’s easier to put in the harness but most importantly to extract. They also weigh half as much as other ones so they’re more popular, especially with those who like to hike and fly.
2) The square ones are pretty much a recent evolution of the round ones which mean newer technology. The square shape results in a more stable reserve, faster opening, and better/slower sink rate.
3) Finally, the Rogallo style like the Beamer can be directional after opening. The main advantage is its ability to fly away from a dangerous obstacle like power lines while descending. While being directional is a great advantage, it also means there are more tasks to perform after opening it. It’s recommended to practice the reserve extraction during maneuver training over water to master its use.
Overall, you need to evaluate all aspects properly when you are ready to purchase your reserve. But it’s also imperative to understand that your reserve parachute requires a repack every six months to properly function when needed.
What we try to explain to our students is based on what we have seen at Let’s Go Paragliding over the last 15 years of teaching on a daily basis. We see a lot more students, before P2 completion or just after, fully geared up with high-end electronics. Sometimes with cockpits that would impress a competition pilot :-).
We just believe that it’s too much, unnecessary, and at the beginning simpler is better.
As an example, we’ve had students that cannot afford a full set of new gear and then pass on the variometer, flying sometimes one or two seasons without. We have observed that often, those students outperform, by their skills and senses, those that fly right away with a variometer. They are not as dependent on the variometer to give them information/feedback about what’s happening as a pilot who uses a variometer right out of the gate. So we often recommend that our students stage their use of a variometer.
All that said, each pilot has his/her own philosophy, and should use the tools available in the way that is most effective for them.
Happy flying to All!
Let’s Get You Flying at the Paragliding Introduction Day
You finally decided to take that leap of adrenaline and fly across the skies into a new hobby that will provide you with a lifetime of memories. Congratulations! We are just as excited to have you choose our Paragliding School as your ultimate guide to teaching you how to conquer the mind-blowing activity of paragliding. We know that your heart is sailing with adventure and ready to take flight, so let’s quit the chit chat and get to the good stuff of paragliding!
What is Paragliding?
You’ve likely seen it before in the sky – it’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s a paraglider! You may even know the basics of paragliding, but it is important to know exactly what this astonishing activity is all about before heading off to your Introduction Day. This is an outdoor sport that allows you to explore the world in a way that only birds get to. It’s a pure rush and extremely safe, with the proper training which of course, you will be receiving on Introduction Day and throughout all the other classes of your choice. Paragliding is similar to flying a kite, only you’re sitting below the kite instead of steering it from the ground. The wind currents act somewhat like the ‘engine’ of the glider and you basically soar through the sky, enjoying the sights.
Your First Paragliding Class
We offer a huge range of different training programs to ensure that your desires are met fully – and even more importantly, to keep your paragliding experience furthering. However, before you advance on to flying on your own or becoming an expert under the sail, you certainly need a bit of an introduction to this adrenaline-pumping action. This is where you will get all the basics that you need, including equipment. The slow and steady approach within the training will provide you with a thorough look into what paragliding is all about, and if you decide that it just isn’t for you, this is the perfect time and place to discover that. However, we are absolutely convinced that you will be ecstatic with the full day of outdoor fun, and can’t wait to provide you with the thrill of flying. During the Introduction Day training class, you will also learn the basic skills to kitting your glider, how the air currents is the secret to flying, and you will even make your very first flight… from the training hill, of course.
Prepare For Your First Paragliding Class
The first thing you need to do to prepare for your first paragraph class is to get exciting! This is an experience of a lifetime, and you certainly want to enjoy it to the fullest. So, get a well night’s rest and a delicious and nutritious breakfast in before packing up your bag. Some things you definitely don’t want to forget at home include your; hiking boots, light gloves, water and snacks. Depending on the weather, you may also want to add in your sunglasses, a long sleeve shirt and some long pants just to ensure your comfort. Other than that, you’re ready to go. Let’s Go Paragliding will provide you with all necessary equipment such as the glider itself, harness, helmet and radios. You just have to bring yourself and your excitement – and a couple of other things, as mentioned.
What are the different levels of Wings or Gliders?
Safety of pilots is of highest priority in the sport of Paragliding and reputed organizations and the ambassadors of the sport take every necessary step to ensure the same.
In this scheme of things, the performance and the quality of the wing/canopy/ glider is of high importance.
No glider ever makes it to the large scale production site without getting rated and certified by standard organizations. This happens only after the glider clears some prerequisite tests conducted on it. The rating of the glider is a way to measure its performance and stability.
The rating system
The most trusted and accepted glider ratings are given by the ‘European Committee for Standardization’- CEN or in short EN and the ‘Deutscher Hangegleiter Verband’- DHV, the German Handgliding and Paragliding Organizations which has changed its name to LTF from DHV.
The EN rates the gliders in the decreasing order of stability as A, B, C and D and the LTF rates the gliders in the same way as 1,1-2, 2 ,2-3 and competition glider or 3.
The A or 1 rating is meant for a Beginner pilot, B or 1-2 for Intermediate, C or 2 for Advanced and D or 2-3 for Master pilots. The glider of rating 3 is generally meant for the extremely skillful gliders with years of experience behind their back and it isn’t something that the EN or LTF certifies.
These ratings are conducted by licensed agencies and are mainly meant to ensure two main aspects for the pilots-
1. That the performance and stability of the glider match with the level and skill sets of the pilots that it is intended for.
2. That the glider has undergone proper testing before it’s used for flying.
The testing of the Paragliders.
The ratings are the results of tests which are conducted under run time conditions. Sophisticated and highly precise measuring instruments are used to record accurate measurements during the tests which are only conducted by experienced pilots.
Among other things, these tests measure the time it takes for the glider to re-inflate itself and get back to stable condition without any input from the pilot after it has collapsed during the flight.
The faster the glider responds to such scenarios the lower it’s rating will be.
Generally, beginner level gliders are more stable and re-inflate themselves within 3-5 seconds, whereas gliders with higher rating can take an added 3 or 5 seconds to get back to stability. Precision cameras provide run time information about the inflationary times and also the angle the wing turned during the inflation stage.
It is always advisable to choose such wings which are intended for your level of expertise in flying.
Respect the sport and follow the standards, you will sure fly safe!
One of the biggest mistakes that new pilots make occurs in purchasing their first wing.
Benoit Bruneau named 2010 Paragliding Instructor of the year.
Instructor of the year.
Every year, the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association elects a US instructor to receive this award. In 2010, Benoit Bruneau, owner and head instructor of Let’s Go Paragliding, LLC, received this honor:
Benoit Bruneau is the founder of and head instructor at Let’s Go Paragliding; he has been teaching the sport since 1999 and is certified by the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (as well as the Canadian and French equivalents). An experienced paragliding instructor and highly qualified outdoors-man, Benoit is just the person to help you experience the joys of paragliding.
• Certified advanced paragliding instructor (in the U.S.A., France and Canada).
• Certified paragliding tow technician.
• Certified white water kayaking instructor and rafting instructor.
• Certified caving instructor.
• Certified canyonning instructor.
“I have always found it exhilarating to help people discover new ways to enjoy life and forget the stresses of daily living through outdoor activity. In particular, paragliding allows us to not only achieve an understanding and respect for our environment, but also to achieve the ultimate dream: the ability to fly!”