Educational by Chapter of the Powered Paragliding Bible

I: First Flight

01 Training Process

02 Gearing Up

03 Handling the Wing

04 Prep For 1st Flight

05 The Flight

06 Flying With Wheels 

II: Spreading Wings

07 Weather Basics

08 The Law

09 Airspace   

10 Flying Anywhere

11 Controlled Airports

12 Setup & Mx

13 Flying Cross Country

14 Flying With Others

III: Mastery

15 Adv Ground Handling

16 Precision Flying

17 Challenging Sites

18 Advanced Maneuvers

19 Risk Management

20 Competition

21 Free Flight Transition

IV: Theory

22 Aerodynamics

23 Motor & Propeller

24 Weather & Wind

25 Roots: Our History

V: Choosing Gear

26 The Wing

27 The Motor Unit

28 Accessories

29 Home Building

VI: Getting the Most

30 Other Uses

31 Traveling With Gear

32 Photography

--- Not in book ---

33 Organizing Fly-Ins

34 Places To Fly

35 Preserving the Sport

36 Tandem

Chap 15: Flying Backwards  High Wind Kiting  Light Wind Reverse  Light Wind (Cross Armed)  Crosswind Takeoff  Video of Possibilities

Crosswind Takeoff

June 17, 2006, Section III Mastering the Sport, Chapter 15 | See also Forward Launches

Crosswind launch  Nailing Every Landing  Analyzing the Forward Launch  Analyzing the Reverse Launch  The Bump Scale

You've got a site with this perfect run beside a driveway. It's long, there are no obstructions except line snagging beans to your left and right. But it's crosswind. What to do?

This situation has come up in my flying a lot, especially since I deplore taking off over water at beaches. If there's enough room on the beach, inflate into the wind then turn to launch along the beach. That way, if your trusty thruster coughs unexpectedly, you can simply land straight ahead and dry. But if the beach is narrow, this technique may help.

Launching from a road may require this method.

It relies on the fact that if you lay out perfect in a calm wind but start your run to the right, the wing tends to come up crooked and flops over to the right. Likewise, if you takeoff with a left crosswind, the right side of the wing catches air first and flops over to the left. We'll use those forces to counteract each other.

The example below is a north launch, down an abandoned road, in a light west wind. 

Lay out the wing as you would if launching north in no wind -- the tips will be over the edges of the road and the wing's centerline covering the road's centerline.  The launch is like any other forward  except that instead of running north down the centerline, run a few degrees to the right (east) toward the downwind edge of the road. 

As the wing comes up it will get blown over to the right AND start to turn into the wind. You may have to turn into the wind (toward the upwind or left side of the road) a little, accelerate then steer back down the road. As you run down the road, accelerating, the wing will be crabbed left and trying to twist you left as it lifts. This is a likely time to fall, be careful! You can counteract this twisted run by accelerating a few more steps then popping up with some brake application.

I wouldn't recommend trying this unless you're very consistent at successful launches and even then be willing to take on a greater risk.

Good luck!

PanoXwind.jpg (50213 bytes)
Of course it's always best to takeoff and land into the wind, but sometimes you just can't. During this launch, the wind was coming immediately from the pilots left—exactly perpendicular to the launch path.

Chapter 15 covers crosswind launches. This was an experiment to photograph that technique in a way that could be printed clearly. This is intended for launching off the wind due to site limitations, such as driveways, where you can't always line up into the wind.

Note: It it's ever this  windy (5-8 mph) then just pull the wing up in a reverse and steer down the road. That is safer and more reliable. This demo was done strictly to photograph the method in a way that would make it more obvious.

Photos by Tim Kaiser.

© 2016 Jeff Goin & Tim Kaiser   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!