Flight Safety during XC paragliding flights

If you think about it, XC paragliding flights are a terribly dangerous thing.

When you fly out of competition, you will most likely be all alone. Stall at low altitude or an injury on landing - and you can only hope that children will come running from a nearby village to watch. During the competition, you will most likely be noticed and summoned by rescuers. However, even in this case, there is a great chance to land using reserve parachute in a place where only a helicopter will get. But for some reason, all the incidents I knew happened near the start. On routes maximum reserves were thrown, but at the same time managed to sit down without injuries. I do not know what caused this phenomenon. Perhaps the pilots are aware of the danger and increase alertness. Or maybe the pilot gets used to the flight and behaves more carefully. Probably just God save the pilots, leaves them a chance of salvation and relieves their comrades from a long search.

So the main thing that you should avoid is to wrap yourself up far from people. But even without injuries, you can get into trouble if you land anywhere. This is especially true for the mountains, but on the plain you can also find black spots. Well, if they know about you and, in which case, go in the evening to look. In this regard, the competition compares favorably with free flights. It happened to me like this: I arrived on the field, I didn’t see any friends, took off, flew away. It would be right if before the start they asked you for your name, phone number, telephone number of relatives. To do this, the winch team needs to make a few extra movements, and therefore, I'm afraid such measures will not be introduced until the first incident.

By the way, about the phone: take care to fully charge it in the evening. When flying, it somehow discharges phenomenally quickly. This, apparently, contributes to the low temperature overboard and the constant loss of the network.

A walkie-talkie is useful if you have agreed with your comrades to communicate at a certain frequency. In other cases, it does not help at all. However, I still fly with it. First, just in case. Secondly, it supports on the side other devices on my cockpit.

Do not neglect the tough heavy boots such as the Hanwags. In addition to insurance against ankle injury during start-up and landing, they will serve you well when you get to the road through swamps, mud and a windbreak.

A few words about the choice of weather. XC Paragliding flights always take place in the heat train, so choosing the weather with low turbulence will not work. There remain 2 aspects: wind and thunder. Wind is not a hindrance in the plain, but on the contrary helps to fly further. If only the winch did not refuse to pull, but the streams at least in some form remained (they are sometimes broken by the wind). In the mountains, the wind is a much bigger problem. If the muzzle is in the morning, you just won’t start. Worse when the wind intensifies while you are in the air. No matter how much I fly in the mountains, the wind obeys the laws of local aerology. Apparently, this is more typical of the mountains. I have not seen any amplification of the global wind due to the approach of the front - usually there are amplifications of local valley winds due to the development of thermal activity. This can and should be found out in advance. In addition, with some experience, such things can be predicted. Read meteorology books: Pegin's one, or at least the Book of Thermals.

Now about the thunderstorm. It happens that while you are in the air, small lambs in the sky grow to black monsters with lightning, hail and a flurry. Look around, watch the clouds, try not to miss this development. Thunderstorm is mainly dangerous by flurry and suction. A flurry happens under the cloud and behind the cloud (meaning that the cloud moves in the wind, it has a front and rear edge). There was such a story with me: we sat at the start, waited a couple of rains, and, in the end, the day was canceled. At the time of cancellation, another cloud just passed, and the weather seemed quite normal. Pilots started to sit in the camp. The air was calm, soft streams, and I even thought of flying around for myself. But then I saw that the approaching cloud had somehow grown poorly. I sat down quickly, without even bothering to approach the camp. 10 minutes after the wing was collected in a bag, the wind intensified to 15 m/s.

One of the signs of an approaching thunderstorm is when rushing everywhere. If you fought the whole flight, almost sat down, and then suddenly you managed to catch a stream from 50 meters - be careful: evaporation from 50 meters often ends in a thunderstorm! In my opinion, suction is dangerous only if you are under the center of the cloud at the height of the edge. Try not to go into such places - and then you can escape from under the cloud. In which case the best method of emergency reduction: find the minus and process it.

I deliberately do not touch on other aspects of safety, such as selecting the right wing class, helmet, shoes, acro at low altitude. This is a very voluminous topic, but it applies not only to scheduled flights. We will not try to grasp the immensity, let us leave these things for other guides.