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5 lessons to avoid all collapses on your paragliding flight.

Collapses in paragliding flight are completely preventable, but it takes more than good equipment control to escape them.

In this direct text, I intend to show you 5 (five) items to help you in this mission.

Piloto Eurismar Jr - durante seu treinamento SIV( Treinamento de Segurança Sobre a Água).
Pilot Eurismar Jr - during his SIV (Flight Incident Simulation) training.

Consistent piloting (active piloting) will prevent most collapses on your glider.

Conscious or active piloting, in short, consists of maintaining the pressure of the paraglider evenly. The turbulent air generated, by a gust of wind or thermal, moves the paraglider, often for only a small area, throwing, for example, the right of the wing up and, consequently, taking all the pressure on the left side. It is at this moment that the pilot must act by putting pressure on the left side, using the brake and/or the body, to maintain the pressure and avoid collapsing.

You can train this in two ways:

- one, with your instructor holding two ropes for reflex and pressure training;

- another, on the ground, with your paraglider in the presence of moderate wind.

Keep training until you have full control of the equipment. Training is never too much. But that won't prevent all meltdowns... So let's keep reading.

Equipment control is not everything.

Even having full control of the equipment, it is not possible to avoid all collapses with this skill alone, because we depend on nature and its invisible forces to be able to fly. It takes knowledge of aerodynamics and the forces of nature to avoid hovering in places and conditions unsuitable for flight. Even the best pilot in the world will not be able to avoid a collapse in a wind-protected zone or in zones of high shear. That's why flight planning and detailed knowledge of the place where you plan to fly is essential.

The best way to achieve this, outside your usual space, is to talk about your flight plan with the experienced pilot in the area and study the weather forecast, in order to enjoy only the good moment of the day. If there are indications that weather conditions may intensify, land before getting into dangerous conditions...

If you are flying on a day in strong conditions, it is essential to have experience in this type of flight. Because in these conditions, to avoid collapses, only active piloting is not enough, it is necessary to correctly position yourself in the areas of less turbulence, whether on takeoff, flight or landing.

Equipment maintenance also prevents collapse

Paragliders are designed to the millimeter for their function of creating sustainability and flying. Everything is tailored exactly to your weight ranges and also tested in the most diverse ways to earn your certifications, A, B, C or D. So why do you think you'll be using a paraglider for years to come? wire and still think it will have the same performance and behavior as when it was new?

Equipment with many hours of use and without maintenance will have its support lines, profile, etc.

The change in the paraglider's design, caused by the change in the size of the lines, may represent a different piloting than normal, facilitating collapses or reaching the equipment's stall faster. And the situation can be even worse if the paraglider lines no longer support the minimum safety load. This will make the lines break more easily during a takeoff or even a small collapse, forcing the pilot to instantly use the emergency parachute.

Evolution must be slow, gradual and measured by different experiences during the flights performed.

When I write slow evolution, I am not referring to those used to flying for years with the same paraglider or always in the same place of flight. This is not evolution. Slow evolution just means not skipping steps. And the steps must be measured by experiences/situations experienced during the flight. It's no use having 300 hours of flight in the late afternoon (weak thermals) and suddenly taking off at the strongest thermal time, assuming you don't have a collapse. It may not even take, but the statistics are against this pilot. So, if you want to learn to fly thermal and not collapse, for that, first, you must have patience to always take off at the later times, when the thermals are so weak, so that, even if you miss your core, the thermal doesn't will have enough strength to close your equipment. Afterwards, you must continue training at this time, until you have enough knowledge to discern, consciously map, where the thermal and its parts meet, always turning in its center and trying to avoid the edges. This training also includes active piloting and balancing the pressure of the paraglider. Once you are aware of this, you can take off a little earlier and continually do your workouts. The progressively stronger the thermals, the faster, more intense and more precise your command will be. With the gradual evolution within the schedules, you will naturally correct the pressure of the paraglider in a harmonic way and avoid staying or going through several times in the areas of more turbulence.

It is important to know that not all pilots do this evolution process within the schedule and, even before having control of the equipment in all flight conditions, they already change the paraglider.

That's why we still witness many meltdowns in thermal flight.

Self knowledge

Probably the hardest part! judge whether we are able to fly in certain conditions and equipment. Sometimes, the pilot is even aware of his inability to fly with a certain model of equipment or certain weather condition, but he will insist on flying anyway.

This happens for several reasons. One of them is to think that flying in a more performance equipment will show others that he is a better pilot, more skilled, or will be able to go further, even though he doesn't know clearly what he is doing. That's what you actually see all the time. Almost always those who fly in a higher letter equipment are seen by others as being a better pilot technically, even more if they fly longer (although they try/take off much more times than most). However, what actually happens is that this type of pilot is under a much higher risk than the others, going through many unforeseen events, more dangers, a large number of scares, most of the time being forced to land in strong thermal hours, due to to their inability to stay longer in flight, a factor whose effect often results in accidents or in the abandonment of the sport, momentarily or permanently.

Seek strength, awareness and maturity in your ability, to avoid being one of these pilots.

Assess your limitations and fly with full awareness, determination and joy.

If you apply all the tips in this text you will avoid 100% of collapses, but we are not perfect and at some point we will fail.

You have to be trained to understand that a collapse is not the end of the world. If the pilot has a good active piloting, even with the sail collapsed he will be able to maintain the flight and the paraglider will open as fast as it closed.

By, Eurismar Junior

Founder of Quixadá Aventura, the largest free flight assistance company in Cross Country in Brazil

free flight instructor

Leia meu artigo sobre o piloto de vela B que voou 385km.

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