You’re ready for take off, but wait! There are some paragliding tips every pilot should know before their feet leave the ground. While there’s no way you should be taking your glider out without having these take off tips embedded into your brain, sometimes a little refresher is needed.
However, if any of these paragliding tips and pilot secrets come to you as a surprise, it’s time for you to check back in for some paragliding lessons. Otherwise, let’s start soaring.
Think like a torpedo; act like a torpedo; be a torpedo. The ideal take off consists of your hands back, glider inflated directly above your head with your body ready to be lifted up and forwards. It’s somewhat similar to that of a torpedo, as you lean into your paragiding harness with a slight bend at your hips. Your hands don’t have to be at your side, and some pilots prefer to have them raised at chest level, but the perfect launch is all about the lean.
That means that you’re not running into the wind and jumping off a cliff. Instead, the launch has a lot to do with the positioning of your body. You had to lean slightly so you can maintain constant and gradual speed during take off. Your head should be help up, looking forward instead of looking down at the ground, which is a pilot skill that can take some time getting used to.
As an amateur paraglider, you’ll be tempted to use your brakes whenever you feel a pull. However, as you progress through your paragliding lessons and perfect your skills, you’ll quickly learn how to use your body and shoulders to make minor corrections as needed during take off. This is one of the best paragliding tips to have, as using your brakes excessively during launch can interrupt the airflow, making it more difficult to get your feet off the ground.
The main thing you need to remember when taking off is that your glider must be directly above you to ensure a smooth lift. When using your body to maneuverer with the wind, it’s crucial that you move under the wind and not away from it, as this will cause the glider to be slightly behind or in front of you. This will result in a jolty, less-controlled launch, which is never ideal. So, keep your body centered under your wing at all times.
It takes a lot of self awareness when launching your paraglider. You need to be aware of your body at all times, your wings position, how the air is flowing, and so much more. There’s a lot that you have to pay attention to, all at the same time, and even the smallest of distractions can throw your launch into a tailspin. So, don’t only practice your paragliding skills and execute these paragliding tips, but don’t forget to exercise your brain as well. Yoga and meditation classes can be excellent for getting your brain and body working together, while also teaching you to free your mind of distractions.
The pilot secrets and paragliding tips don’t end there, but these are some unique take off tips that can help you become the paraglider you want to be. To perfect or increase your pilot skills, join some new paragliding lessons and remember to practise!
Think twice before your feet leave the ground. The paragliding launch is vital to having a safe flight. It may sound confusing at first – after all, how does the process on ground affect your in-flight experience – but don’t be fooled. The most important steps happen before your feet even leave the ground. So, minimize your chances of having an accident by following proper paragliding launching techniques you should have perfect within your paragliding lessons.
Envision yourself as a pilot of an aircraft. Often, new paragliders pilots hop into their launch, and this is poor technique. Your paragliding launch should be similar to an airplane taking off. There’s no hopping, bouncing or skipping. It should be a smooth, gradual lift off. Doing the opposite can cause your paraglider to be ahead or behind you, which increases your risk of a launching accident. Your wing always needs to be directly above you for a proper launch. So act like a pilot, not like a bunny because doing the latter will only cause problems.
When you’re paragliding, you never want to rush into your launch. You just have to move into the rising airflow. However, to pull off this proper paragliding launch technique, your glider has to be directly overhead. If it’s behind you or even a little ahead, the lift-off will be bumpy and dangerous with the possibility of no lift at all. Ground handling is a critical part that you learn to perfect throughout your paragliding lessons.
With the prior mentioned, proper paragliding launching technique requires you to take off directly into the wind. Remember, your launch should be like an airplane taking off; flowing down the runway at a smooth, gradual increase of the speed. Not being in full control and, for example: being pulled from your launch, can result in higher stress level, which could be detrimental to your entire paragliding experience. So, go with the flow in full control of the process; never let it pull.
A major component of proper paragliding launch technique is to have your glider fully loaded. Anything short of that can make your entire take off quite unpredictable, as it can cause deflation close to the ground. A loaded wing is also faster and reacts better to the input you give with the brakes, so it’s easier to control. Learning to optimize using your weight in the harness while running will instantly minimize your risk of paragliding launching accidents.
Now, if any of these come to you as a surprise, it’s time to sign up or re-do a paragliding lesson. These launching techniques should be infused into your brain before you even consider taking a flight.
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!
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.
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!”
Now that you’ve read more about paragliding, paragliding lessons and the introduction day that we at Let’sGoParagliding offer, you might be thinking of shopping around for schools and programs to help you get started on your paragliding adventure. This is great. One of the most important things when you’re learning any kind of extreme sport is to have a good repoire with those that will be teaching you to paraglide. You want to feel comfortable with what you’re learning as well as trust that your teachers are as good as they say they are.
However, you can’t just go with a “good feeling” that you have about your school of choice. So, we’ve put together a list of what you should be looking at when you’re choosing a paragliding school that will be the best for you:
Don’t just price shop or you might get second rate paragliding instructions. You should know that most paragliding courses run about the same in an area. Some will be slightly higher or lower, depending on what the course offers. If you meet someone that offers to teach you to paraglide for a very low price you should consider finding another paragliding school.
While the feeling you get from a paragliding school is important, you should take the time to check on credentials of the school and/or instructors you’re thinking about taking classes from. Since paragliding can be dangerous, you want to make sure that you’re going to learn the ins and outs of safety, equipment and how to use it all properly. You also want to make sure that your instructors are certified so that you’ll have the best experience possible.
Since you don’t want to have to buy all your equipment before you even know that you want to pursue paragliding, it’s a good idea to go with a paragliding school that includes the cost of using their equipment into the price of the instruction package you’re thinking about taking. At Let’sGoParagliding, all of your instruction packages, from the introduction day to becoming certified to fly on your own, include the cost of equipment usage.
You also want to ensure that the instruction package you’re paying for will work with your schedule. Nothing is fun if you can’t make it work with your family and work life. That’s why we offer flexible scheduling and packages that work with your time so you can get the most of your paragliding experience.
Paragliding should be fun. You should be able to learn how to fly, but you also want to get in the air as soon as possible. We understand that you’re willing to learn, but you want to know what it’s like. That’s why we’ve worked to offer you a hands-on flying experience right from day one of your instruction.
If you’re still not certain that you want to paraglide, why not consider an introduction day to get you started? We want you to love paragliding as much as we do, and when you choose Let’sGoParagliding, you’re going to get to see how it feels to fly.
Before you decide that you want any kind of paragliding lessons, you want to know who your instructors are. You want to know that they are good at what they do and that you’re going to be safe and learn as much as possible.
We get this and that’s why at LetsGoParagliding, we provide many different training programs to meet your needs. You can enjoy an introduction day that will give you the basics of your equipment and let you get started on your first little flight. This is where you’ll decide if you want to pursue paragliding or not. It’s a full day of fun, excitement and outdoor activity. When you get in the air though, don’t be surprised at the thrill you feel.
If you’ve decided that you want to learn to fly on your own, we offer programs for this too. We offer packages that work with your schedule and time so you don’t have to feel pressured. At the end of our P2 program, you’re going to be able to fly without direct supervision from your instructor. Of course, you’ll have some limitations – you won’t be an expert yet, but this is a great way to get out and start enjoying nature the way the birds do.
We also offer programs that can help you to get to where you want to be when it comes to your experience level. So, whether you’re happy being a novice or you want to fly all on your own, we’ll be with you every step of the way.
We believe in the sport of paragliding. We know it’s exciting and thrilling, but we also know how things can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Since we feel passionate about paragliding, we want you to feel the same way, which is why we walk with you every step of the way.
What you’ll experience:
What you won’t find:
If you know that you want to try paragliding, consider LetsGoParagliding for your paragliding experience. You’ll get excellent training and have the experience of a lifetime.
The P2 program is valid for one calendar year, so that you can learn at your own pace. All flights are done with the latest equipment. You will be under radio supervision at all times when flying, and to make it safer and easier we’ll use the winch.
The cost of the P2 program is $1695, and includes:
» 10 full days of instruction or until signed off as a Novice pilot (P2) – whichever comes first.
The students have one full calendar year to complete the 10 days
— Some students take less than 10 days to be signed off as a novice pilot.
— Some students who are really committed and have an easy schedule manage to finish their certification in a few weeks
— some students going trough the intensive program can finish their certification in a week (7 days in a row) if the weather cooperate.
» Use of all necessary equipment (glider, harness, helmet, and radios).
You need to bring:
» Hiking boots, light gloves, sunglasses, long pants, a long sleeved shirt, and water.
» Students that require additional beyond 10 days to become certified can purchase training sessions at a cost of $95/ half day.
You can learn more about becoming a pilot here:
The introduction day is specially designed to provide you with the basic skills to enjoy kiting your glider, make your first few flights on the training hill, and help you get a good feel for the sport.
The introduction day costs $235 and includes:
» Use of all necessary equipment (glider, harness, helmet, and radios).
You need to bring:
» Hiking boots, light gloves, sunglasses, long pants, a long sleeved shirt, and water.
» Please note that there is an additional $10 fee for the use of the facilities The Mt Brace Flight Park.
Tip: Because, on the introduction day, you will likely be making your first few flights on the training hill in warm weather, make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks.