Chapter 5: The Flight
Nailing Every Touchdown
Jan 15, 2007 | Section I
Analyzing the Forward Launch
Analyzing the Reverse Launch
After posting a spot landing
picture I got a question about sometimes running out of brakes
on landing and touching down firmly.
That's common, especially in
the beginning, but there are techniques to improve your odds.
done aggressively or with bad timing you can
break a leg employing this technique! Build slowly. Practice up high as directed
before risking your bones down low.
Before Breaking Legs, Try
While at least 300 feet above
ground level (AGL) get into a power-off glide while holding brakes at
about position 2 (about 25%).
Release them smoothly and watch what happens. You dive a bit then
shallow out. Do this a few times down lower where you can see the effect
but without risking touchdown. When using it for landing,
you'll be using the natural round out after that initial dive.
Don't exaggerate it yet by
starting with more brakes and don't just let up immediately on
the brakes. Take about one second to go hands up. Letting them up
quickly makes the wing surge forward -- momentarily making it more susceptible to a frontal collapse.
Now for the Landing
Once you've mastered this in practice all you're doing is planning it so as to reach the
ground just as you naturally start to level off from the dive.
Then come in with enough brake to swing your body forward which
increases the wing's angle of attack. Then, as you slide in just above
the ground, feed in brake as it slows
Here's the sequence from
figure 1 at right using the numbered paramotor guys.
1. Start by gliding with brakes 2 (about 25%).
2. At 20 to 40 feet above the ground ease off the brakes. It
should take about 1 second to go from brakes 2 to none.
3. You'll dive slightly, building a bit of speed (energy).
4. Apply just a bit of brakes to get you swinging forward. Done
properly you'll arrest you descent possibly completely, leaving you
skimming just above the ground.
5. Come in with final brakes as necessary to finesse the
6. Viola! If all goes well you'll come sliding in for a smooth,
cool-looking arrival with style.
In figure 2 you can see that
I'm adding more brake to hold myself off the ground until I get to the
target for a spot landing.
If you're landing power off
this technique is very helpful because it improves your chances of
making a good landing, especially in turbulence. Just make sure to build
up to it slowly because if you time it wrong you'll land harder.
Generally speaking, if it's
turbulent, landing with power is preferable since you can use thrust to
arrest sudden sink. Of course that comes at higher risk of falling and
breaking gear. But if you're reasonably attune to managing turbulence,
consider landing power on.
Be careful and good luck!