Powered Paragliding Bible
21: Free Flight Transition
30, 2007 | Section III Mastering The Sport
transitioning from free flight to motors or vice versa, there are
important differences. It's a lot more than just adding/subtracting a
motor and those who pooh pooh the transition do a serious disservice to
its challenge. And you will find those who like to fancy
themselves as superior—be immediately leery of
Flight To Motors
A day with
a good motor instructor will be money well spent. The PPG bible devotes
an entire chapter but here are some of the things you want to learn.
about the extreme risk of getting injured by the prop. There's more to
it than meets the eye.
must not lean forward during launch. Free flight pilots are drilled to
lean and run. A skilled transitioning pilot will figure this out
quickly: you must stand up straight to let the motor push you. I've seen
my share of free flight pilots who ignore this advice and end up falling
face first when they start to power up while leaned forward.
light on the brakes while climbing. For one you are closer to parachutal
stall or spin which is more likely with a motor.
about torque. Avoid turns against the motor's natural torque turn
direction. If the motor tends to turn right, let it. Plan your launches
accordingly. A common crash happens when pilots try turning away from
the motor's natural tendency. The pull brake, not enough happens and
they pull more brake then, before they know what's happening, the wing
Motors to Free Flight
landing sites are frequently in tight spaces with little room to
maneuver. Plus, you may be sharing the site, especially launch, with
numerous other pilots. It's not the place to have marginal wing handling
skills. The USHPA has a ratings program where the P2 is most common. But
don't just get the rating. Poor kiting skills can be dangerous for both
you and your launch mates. With motors, we usually have the luxury of
room, not so on most hills.
qualified and experienced soaring instructor who knows the site you're
wanting to fly.
some of the areas you'll want to address when going powerless.
good kiting skills in strongish winds. Most free flight sites have
unforgiving options for a pilot getting thrashed by wind and strong
winds can come up quickly when conditions are soarable.
what active flying is all about. Basically, you want to be adept at
keeping the wing under control without even thinking about it. In fact,
its knowing how to use the least amount of brake pressure to keep
the wing mostly overhead. Fighting every nit and tiddle is just as bad
as doing nothing. And knowing that movement is far different than
pressure. In strong turbulence it can be possible to have full
deflection of the brakes to maintain pressure. But knowing when to let
off the brakes is equally important.
with and learn how to use a reserve. Any condition strong enough to keep
you aloft has opportunity to re-bag your wing. You want another.
about micrometeorology. Knowledge of how wind flows around obstructions,
where rotors are likely, and how thermals work becomes critical.
skimp on back protection. I'm sorry to say, but the current crop of
harnesses have developed their safety features on the broken backs of
endeavor has its own needs and idiosyncrasies. Respect them and you'll
do well, slough them off and the risk goes up dramatically.