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

Stretching Glide

Oct 18, 2007 | Chapter 19 Situational Emergencies

Having the motor quit is no big deal if you've followed the admonition to always stay within glide range of friendly terrain. Sometimes, though, even the best plans leave you needing to stretch your glide. The PPG bible covers this in nicely except for one situation--the shoreline situation.

When paralleling a long landing zone, like a shoreline, there are some special considerations.

Look at the diagram at right. You're cruising north at 20 mph in the face of a 10 mph headwind. The motor dies. Anywhere along the green area is safe landing territory. Which is your best option, A, B, or C?

If you answered anything other than B, read on.

When trying to make a fixed point over the ground with steady winds down to the surface, it's always best to make your ground track exactly towards the point. In the example, if you were going for a specific point, you would choose A, provided that was where you wanted to end up and indeed, your heading would be as illustrated--somewhat into the wind. But if you can land anywhere along that safe landing area, Choice B is best.

If you're thinking that the most direct route, a tangent to shore, is best then you're still thinking about a point. We have the entire shoreline to work with. Yes, you'll travel over more water but ALL your progress will be towards shore instead of burning some fighting the wind.

Consider if the headwind were 20 mph. You would be standing still out there over the water all the way to splashdown. But if you head west, due west, now you are going 20 mph towards shore while drifting 20 mph to the left (south). Yes, you'll land way down the shore but at least it's shore. Actually, your glide ratio, relative to the shore line, is identical in this situation than if there is no wind whatsoever.

When faced with a long landing area like this, your best bet is to fly a heading that's towards the area but perpendicular to it. Then just accept where you drift to.

Choice C is never best even though you build in a tailwind. The increased distance more than counters any benefit from a tailwind.

Tacking to go Upwind

Another misconception you'll hear is the idea of "tacking" left and right to improve upwind penetration. That's entirely false. A sailboat tacks into the wind by virtue of having water to push against. A paramotor is flying through the air in what we call wind. With no ground to push against, tacking has no benefit.

The Gist

Here is what to remember if Mr. powerful craps out. 1) when trying to make a shoreline or other long landing area, head straight towards it and accept the downwind drift. 2) When trying to make a point, adjust your heading into the wind enough to make your ground track directly towards the point. 

Although all the choices are depicted as succeeding, only one will get you to shore with the highest margins.

This comes up for midwestern flyers most often when flying over corn or trees. You can land in corn but the nightmare of extraction will make you wish you'd made it to something better.


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