What a useful skill it is to be able to land where you want without
power. Pilots of all craft recognize the importance being able to put it down
after thrust stops thrusting. We PPGers are lucky in just how small
of a place we can alight, even
landing on tiny targets like Frisbees. But trying too hard for that has
proven extremely dangerous.
Here are the reasons why pilots hurt themselves when trying just a
bit too hard for an exact landing target.
1. Like nearly all control-related issues in paramotoring, pulling too much brake
is the big demon, usually resulting is a spin.
Not surprisingly, a stall or spin is far more likely if you've
already slowed the glider, a common technique to avoid overshooting
the target. Warning lights in your brain should flash whenever
down, knowing that a stall or spin is more likely.
One interesting twist on spins is that they can occur when you
release a brake. If the glider is already slowed with lots of
brake pull, and you let up on one brake, the inside wing slows down
a bit. The wing twists above you, causing the inside tip to be
moving slower than the outside tip. That might be all it takes.
I've had it happen several times while trying a bit too hard.
After slowing down on base leg, I was pulling lots of brake and turning
right. I let up brake pressure on the left side to increase my right
turn and the right
tip started to stall. Thankfully I caught it before disaster set in,
immediately reducing all brake pressure, but it was close. And it's possible not to feel anything until its too late. Most of
the time an incipient spin will show itself when the inside brake goes
just a bit soft. That's because, as it stalls, the trailing edge
deforms downward and rearward.
2. The next big reason for hurting yourself trying for the target
is that you're concentrating so hard on making the spot landing that
you forget to flare properly or land in a bank. It's real easy to
get into a high sink rate and not allow enough time for a proper
3. Another reason is that you're concentrating so hard on making the spot that you
forget about some obstacle and run into it. An easy solution to this
is picking spots well clear of obstructions, especially wires.
But trees can easily be deadly (and have been), too. Set
up your landing target knowing that you'll forget about your surroundings. And of
course, don't forget about surroundings! Yes, I know, easier said
This was written as much to me as anyone else since I so enjoy doing
the many forms of spot landings. But I've been nearly bitten from all
these causes and hope others will realize what's at stake. Plus, it
serves as a reminder on how quickly we can meet with
Precision flying is a great aspiration, but treat it with equally great