Perfect Paraglider Training Simulator
In pursuit of improving content for both the Instructor book and the
PPG Bible, we bought the best simulator available and tried it out
today; the "Zuba Fly Paraglider Simulator". Our mission is to 1) show
how good simulation can get for those instructors willing to
spend the money/energy, and 2) have a tool to get better pictures of
things that might be hard to get otherwise.
We bought it without risers and put a set of reflex risers on it.
It's made for a 3-riser system but is trivially easy to accomodate a
4-riser system which is what we did. We also added tip steering
on one side using thin bungee material to simulate a glider with tip
The Zuba Simulator
The secret sauce is a hang point that swivels and a bungee/line
connection behind the pilot allowing it to turn when brake is pulled on one
side. You have to let up on the left brake and pull right brake to
affect a turn. Just like in a real life. Plus, it has a response rate
that mimics the natural swing rate of a glider. If an instructor wanted,
he could use that to teach how to do a turn without swinging back and
forth. That's huge. Students in training, and even after, crash a lot
because of that swing thing.
It has other elements that make it good, especially given the new
predominance of low hook-in weight shift machines. There's a bungee for
the outer A riser of split-A systems and we added another bungee for the
D-riser common on motor wings (any wing with trimmers). That allows
students to practice big ears and rear riser turns.
This is a nicely finished, professional looking solution for $475.
If you're teaching paramotor, treat your students to this kind of
capability. If you're looking to learn, ask if your instructor has this
capability--most good schools have something similar. And it's easy to build for anyone wanting to spend the time (see
Buy it by searching "Zuba Fly Simulator." We don't sell
them but feel that wide adoption of sound simulator training will reduce
accidents during early student flights.
This is important. Insuring that new students have proper reacts BEFORE
they go flying is paramount. This knowledge is written in bone and
blood: if your school selection doesn't ensure automatic reactions to
certain situations your are risking your life and your ability to
Zuba Fly Simulator
This is one idea on how to
build it with dimensions that work based on the ZUBA. You must figure
out how to make it strong enough but, thankfully, the biggest loads on
the frame are in compression. Hanging with rope this way allows freedom
to pivot. PVC degrades quickly in sunshine and a fall from this could be
bad. If you're not knowledgeable enough about materials, load paths, and
so forth, buy one. The frame should hang about 12 inches below the hang
Ultimate Visual Simulator
The best training aid for powered paragliding is a good simulator
When you get training, among the most important tools is rehearsing
reactions to various situations, and the best way to do that is with a
sufficiently realistic simulator. Ideally it would have working brakes
and moving risers but, unfortunately, few instructors have such an
The reason for such a simulator is so you can rehearse doing D-riser
turns, big ears, feeling brake pull, knowing where the A's are and a
dozen other things. Of course it's even less likely that you'll have
anything to look at besides your instructor's mug as he talks you
through various maneuvers and you show your proper responses.
Now, though, there is more to see.
Canadian Christian Bultman, who speaks fluent German, found this
tidbit about a fellow who built a visual PPG simulator. He's got a
harness, frame and computer running flight simulator software flying a
PPG. Of course his web page
is in German but you'll get the idea. Here is a
Much closer to home, Michigan pilot
Mark Deseck of
www.PPGSimulator.com has done the same thing and is now
selling some parts to ease the process for anybody else wanting to build
one. It may not be as fun as the real thing but it sure will be a lot
warmer in winter!
I have to say, Mark's project looks really cool and could be a great
training aid. Can't wait to try it sometime.