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Paragliding and fear: deal with it and continue enjoying your flight

Fear can bind you in a web of limitations that takes away the joy of the sport you once loved. Often you don’t even know you’re afraid, your only sign is that the fun has evaporated like a cloud over the desert.

‘That? me? scared? I am a daredevil, I am beyond weakness!’ But deep down, you know. You have probably thought about some of the points below. Once you acknowledge fear, you’re on first base. The second base is to understand the fear, the third is to master it and, finally, to let it go and be home, free.

1. What happens if my paraglider falls and I can’t fix it?

All modern paragliders undergo rigorous aerodynamic testing, which focuses more on stability than performance. Match your glider to your experience level: a DHV1 for training, DHV1/2 for recreational flying (or less than 50 hours of airtime), DHV2 for experienced regular pilots and cross-country flying, DHV2/3 for just advanced/competition pilots. The glider should recover on its own, if left completely alone for a few seconds. Added to this, you can practice instability maneuvers in a structured training program called the SIV course or Safety Course. You will learn to repair your glider from all possible collapses. Keep practicing after the course to keep your edge.

If your glider is not rated, please refer to the next question, as there is a high chance that the glider will not recover properly from some situations.

2. What happens if my equipment fails?

The load tests are very severe. For a glider to have achieved an AFNOR or DHV rating, it must be virtually indestructible under the loads that the pilot can induce during flight. Therefore, the equipment failure is likely due to negligence. It is your job to make sure:

Regular Factory Checks: At least once a year, send the entire kit to your agent/school.

Daily Equipment Inspection – Before you fly, check every part of your plane.

Pre-flight checks: Before each takeoff, methodically check the vitals (protection, harness, suspension, wing, weather and air traffic).

Reserve parachutes provide immense psychological comfort and will catch you if all else fails.

3. What happens if I get sucked in and I can’t get down?

It is quite easy to lower a paraglider. A loss of line B induces a descent of about 7 m/s. A spiral dive varies between 10 and 25 m/s, depending on the glider and your aggressiveness. In total stall – 15 m/s. Only in the event of severe cumulus development or extremely strong winds will you find lift strong enough to overwhelm your descent attempts. So the danger of disappearing into the skies becomes more the danger of not seeing the developing Cumulonimbus cloud. They don’t appear instantly – keep an eye out, you’ll be fine. A simple rule of thumb: don’t fly when ‘Cumulonastiness’ clouds develop within 30km of where you’re flying, or the weather forecast warns of embedded Cunims (thunder cells hidden in an overcast sky).

5. What happens if I have a mid-air collision?

Two drivers are required to have a collision. You’re one of them. The principle is defensive flight. All paragliders travel at very similar speeds. By varying the amount of brake you’re using, you can sync your speed with the riders around you. The easiest way to avoid traffic problems is to follow the glider in front of you, at a safe distance, just as if you were driving on the highway. This creates a space around you, a safe space in which to fly. Indicates your intention to turn. Look around you before you do anything to alter your course. This helps maintain your space. If someone insists on drunk driving and a collision is unavoidable (ie you can’t fly or land), a reserve parachute is vital. throw it away

6. What if I panic?

Panic is caused by an overwhelming lack of experience in an extreme situation. Doing the wrong thing in an emergency can make the problem worse. Fly the glider, whatever is there. You are the pilot, no one else is. By practicing instability maneuvers on your paraglider, you increase your experience in extreme situations, little by little. Do a SIV race. They are designed to improve your safety, not reduce it, and should help you become familiar with extreme flight dilemmas.

7. What happens if I crash?

Takeoff accidents are invariably caused by poor ground handling skills. The glider begins to fly above you, instead of the other way around. Clean, open strips of land can be found in any city, if you look hard enough. All you need is a wing and a wind. Go and practice your ground handling. Pull up with a single riser. Traction bias. Get up blindfolded. Pull up with twisted bands. Then keep the glider there, never let it fall to the ground again. Walk around the obstacles. Release the brakes, use only your stroke for balance and direction. Go play in rough air (behind some trees). Then do it all over again on a friend’s wing.

Landing accidents can be smoothed out using the PLF (Parachute Landing Fall). It is a fantastic method of absorbing the impact of a crash. Practice this at home, first on a mattress, then on the lawn. It is not a natural response of the body, so regular practice is essential. The other type of ability that you can farm is the landing setup ability. Pick a stone or marker on your landing field each time you land. Reward yourself if you land within a meter of him! This ability can be invaluable when you only have a clear area in the woods to land on.

8. What happens if I crash and no one sees me?

Every pilot’s nightmare: crashing into some remote ravine, out of sight. First: carry a radio so he can communicate with other pilots. Bring a mobile phone – emergency services are just a phone call away. Carry some flares, a universal distress signal, in case other methods don’t work. Fly with friends, they’ll know you’re missing out, especially if you make your intention clear by discussing your flight plan before you take off.

9. What happens if I land in the middle of nowhere?

Always carry some food (biscuits, dates, energy bars, glucose) and water when you fly. Today could be the day you hit that boomer and whistle in the back, landing 50km away, lost, happy and far from civilization. With a little sustenance, huge strikes are possible – ask Bob Drury about his 5-day strike in the Zanskar Range on his Himalayan bivouac adventure! They may be uncomfortable, but you have nothing to fear, you will live.

10. What if I’m too rusty and forget to do the right thing?

Humility is your best friend here. Embrace the mantra “there’s a lot to learn.” If you haven’t had more than one flight each month, then you’re certainly rusty. Claim your license has been downgraded: if you’re a cross-country rider you’re now an intermediate rider, if you were a newly licensed rider you’re a student again. Find the right orientation, let a more current pilot offer you assistance. And only get some airtime in mild conditions. keep it simple

11. What happens if I get beaten up?

The risk of being hit by a strange blast is assumed, in exchange for the reward of freedom. We all have this fear, to a greater or lesser extent. But very rarely is the taste strange: bad air is usually caused by something. Either due to airflow obstructions, shear turbulence or thermal turbulence. Increase your knowledge of meteorology by reading so you don’t get into bad air. There are very few weird situations that will overwhelm every pilot, but they do exist. This small random risk of being airborne and the random risk of human nature is considered by some pilots to be a beast called the Sink Monster. If you think it affects you, all I can advise you is to go to church on Sunday.

Hope the approach helps you. In each case, you are not ignoring the fear, you are acknowledging that you have it, that it is a legitimate concern. So to understand it, you need to explore all the angles it comes from, and all the information you have on the subject. If you lack information, ask an experienced pilot. If the answer you get doesn’t satisfy you, ask someone else. Mastering fear means that you have contained it, answered all its questions. It’s not gone, but it no longer controls you. Now you are ready to let it go, to move beyond the fear, having done all the protection you can to do.

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