Archive for June, 2010

Paraglider Ground Handling at the beach

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

I live on the beachfront, so I have the advantage for pegging a flight at the right time.
Today was SW, but I noticed from my window an incoming squall. The tail end of a squall can be good because it can bring the direction more onshore and after the main squall has past, the rain has gone, and the wind dies but is often still strong enough for some dune flying.

I waited for the squall to pass, and sure enough the wind came in through my window, which faces SE. Off I go, across the road, to Shelly beach. Get the wing out, kite it up, turn around and crab backwards towards a dune, waiting for the moment I love, when I become weightless and levitate.
I feel my wing begin to lift me and take my weight, I step back a fraction toward the dune and I begin to float above the ground, easing on some brake to stop me flying forward, looking down at the sand as my feet levitate vertically. the wing begins to fly and move forward and I turn to go along the dune. I feel the gusts release then gently pull back the brakes, all instinctual now. A larger gusts comes and I gain height above the dune, the wind drops and I settle gently and perch on the top of the dune, wing hovering overhead waiting for the next gentle puff.
It comes and I hover along the dunes again, waiting for a larger gust so I can turn tightly and swoop the beach, my feet inches from the sand and then up and back to hover above the dune.
I love inland flying, and getting high, but this dune dancing, is something a longed to do as a child. To hover over dunes, go out and hover over the water, floating and levitating.
If any of you new guys have time to spend, take your wing down to a beach that has some dunes, small or large. And ground handle if it is possible. Or ground handle anywhere. Any time spent ground handling transfers to flight time. If you practice kiting your wing up, turning around and standing still while your wing fly’s above you. Then take the thing for a walk: forwards backwards, crabbing left and right. When this becomes instinctual, it feels like the wing is just another appendage. And then you can play on the dunes… if that is something that appeals. You can crab back to them, hop of them, fly for awhile. As you get better you can go in stronger winds and
do the hover. Playing with dunes, even just crabbing up and hovering down is all good top landing practice. It will make you a master of low flying, feeling your wing and responding instinctively.
As most of the danger in our sport is when we are close to the ground, these skills will pay off.

You don’t have to wait for the wind to be right to fly. You just need to find somewhere to ground handle.
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> > Bill.
A big Thank you to Bill, author of “Science of soul mates” and extreme Paragliding enthusiast for this little gem. visit