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 19: Spot Landing Risks  Stretching Glide  Stretching Glide II  Deep Stall / Parachutal  When Ship Hits the Fan  Wing Collapses  fury of a dust devil

Spot Landing Risks

Aug 13, 2009 Why Spot Landings Are So Risky | Challenging Sites

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 you've slowed 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 roundout.

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 than done.

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 grief.

Precision flying is a great aspiration, but treat it with equally great respect.

Extract from an animation made for Master Powered Paragliding

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