Chapter 5: The Flight
Powered Paragliding: Analyzing
the Reverse Launch
June 29, 2006,
Chapter 3, 4 | See also
Nailing Every Landing
Analyzing the Forward Launch
Analyzing the Reverse Launch
When Tim snapped this
series of pictures
it went crying for a quick treatment of reverse inflations, where you
start by facing the wing. Most pilots prefer these since you can see exactly what's going on. But
they present their own difficulties.
The first step is knowing when it's appropriate to do a reverse.
Basically, if you can stand there and kite your wing,
it's reversible. Otherwise, it's probably better to do a
forward. It's possible
to pull it off in very
light winds but walking backwards leaves you vulnerable to tripping and
falling. Plus, it's hard to generate much speed walking backwards. I've
seen pilots struggle for a half hour trying to coax their limp wings
upwards in vain during light winds.
Assuming you have at least 6 mph wind, here are some tips that can
Special high-wind techniques come into play as the wind speed gets over
about 12 mph, especially if you're on a smooth surface.
layout is important. While it's possible to bring a wing up from the
stuff sack, it's a lot harder. Lay it out like you would for a forward
inflation if the wind is light. Layout becomes less important with
The turn-around is critical. You must
turn around quickly then move forward immediately lest the wing
fall back. Make sure the wing has forward momentum before turning
around. In a lighter wind, if it stops or starts moving back down,
drop it and try again.
the A's much at all during the initial inflation. You need to get the
wing to billow and actually holding the A's a brakes together can aid
in the process but that's inconvenient. Then once the wing is inflated
you can give just enough A pull to help it up.
the inflation effort is exactly into the wind as much as possible.
the direction your wing is going to go and counter that by where you
stand. The side of the wing most directly into the wind will want to
come up first. Move towards that side before pulling it up.
If the wing is accelerating quickly
upwards, be ready to damp it with brakes. Do not turn around unless
you can comfortably do so while braking. Once dampened, let off
Different wings require variances in
techniques, sometimes dramatically.
There is a lot more to it, of course, and
a good instructor can save enormous effort and/or equipment damage.
Watching someone is revealing. Even professional athletes pay a coach to
watch them and offer suggestions.
Hopefully these quick tips can help. Enjoy
and be careful!