Starting your flying season on safe mode.

Starting your flying season on safe mode.

Paragliding is a growing sport, which demands regular practice all year round. However, a lot of pilots fly too little and not at all during the winter.

So here are a few bits of advice:

If you have not flown for a while, it is a very good idea to hook yourself under a homemade simulator or beneath a tree branch and play with your adjustments. Make sure that these are properly arranged, so that you can move from sitting to standing position. You should also make sure that you can grab your footrest and speed bar without struggle and even without looking at it. That part already will make you super comfortable and more relaxed during your first takeoff. The point of a homemade a simulator is that you can play with your weight shift and get your feeling back without leaving the ground. Moreover, the last thing is to make sure that your set is mostly in the sitting up position. This will make your first flights more stable.

Don't underestimate the importance of fundamental skills work. Go back on your training hill and make sure you have your kiting skills in both reverse and forward position finely tuned. Do so in as many wind speeds as you can, from nil up to whatever is your comfort level. This will help you to focus on your flight plan and not have to worry about taking off when you show up on launch.

Start by flying in calm conditions, like morning flights and during late afternoons. Focus on small exercises like pitch, roll, and easy 360s. Also make sure you get your approach nicely controlled in all different wind directions.

Before you start to go back to flying in stronger and more turbulent conditions, you want your hand-feeling to be finely tuned and efficiently control all the three axises (pitch, roll, and yaw), and have all the feeling in your hips, abs, legs, back really connected with the feedback of the harness.

If you feel uncomfortable, over-stressed or unsure it's always a good idea to go back to your favorite school and take a day or two to practice. It's a good demonstration of mental strength and motivation. Furthermore, taking extra classes at the beginning of the season is an investment in your safety and comfort - and this is as good as any safety device or accessories you can buy.

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