By Noel Whittall
The prime guide at the intriguing game of paragliding, now revised and up to date.
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Extra info for Paragliding: The Complete Guide
This does take a bit of getting used to, but I think the effort is well worth it. Spend some time ground-handling on the flat before trying this in anger on the hill. I think that this continuous-control system is beneficial when reverse launching in all conditions. It is particularly useful in lightish breezes, when you often see wings collapsing because the pilot doesn't keep control while swapping handles. Flying straight French team pilot Olivier Tops flying straight out from the hill. No brake is being used at this stage.
The fast flight ensures that the paragJider keeps a safe margin of airspeed down through this wind gradient. Attempts at slow approaches can result in stalls because the wing may not be able to react quickly enough to a steep wind gradient. The exception to the general rule about wind being lighter at ground level sometimes occurs among high mountains. Here valley winds can be blowing which are undetectable at altitude. 60 If there is a fresh breeze blowing, you will find that your descent will be almost vertical, and now your flare is much less important than the ability to collapse the canopy the instant you touch down.
Now, imagine that the manufacturer's sales office demands that the model should have a higher top speed. Simple! just cut down the area of the front openings a little and shorten the front lines give a slightly lower angle of attack. Result: more speed; now the wing has become a pig inflate on the ground and is more prone to spinning if handled roughly the air. A whole new development programme is needed to get the old easyhandling characteristics back into the faster wing. This illustrates the way that paraglider design is a constant matter of compromise.
Paragliding: The Complete Guide by Noel Whittall