Paraglider Control: Catching Thermals With Both Hands

So because I’m trying to feel the lift I’m using very little brake. Just a touch on either side. Just enough to feel the glider, what it’s doing. I’m inclined, all the way. That’s quite good and if I turn to the right I can feel that it’s soft that side. Alright, so I’m not going to go that way. Put it back this way. And keep flying sometimes the lift is just a line, it isn’t actually a thermal, it’s just microlift, so, I’m just, just working. Now, what I’m doing with the brakes here is I’m keeping some tension on all the time so when it goes slack, I’m coming down on the brakes a bit, but not too much, you’re not holding it down like this and stalling the wing. It’s just a bit of reaction. What you’re trying to do is you’re trying to stop the glider diving ahead of you. Okay, best way to do it turn If you’re just putting the brake you see it lifts on the brake hand side and makes the corner actually slower, so I’m going round, with my weight shift away from the turn. And a better way to setup that whole turn cycle, first, hands up, then weight shift and then turn and see how quick the turn is now, ok. Ok, not a lot out here. A little bit of pressure there, so I’m pulling to the right, that’s a nice thermal, my left side is slack, right side’s got a bit of lift ok, pull, turning well, there’s the pressure so I’m tightening up on the thermal. And now I’m leaning out, pressure is not so strong, there it is again it’s kicking me so I’m leaning into the thermal, keeping my weight on the inside and there’s the pressure, that’s where I tighten up everytime I feel more pressure, I’m tightening up on the brake. Good, my inside brake does the turn. And I use my outside brake just to widen the turn occasionally and to make sure the outside tip doesn’t collapse. There’s a bit of a core so I’m pulling on the brake, I’m leaning into the thermal, I’m letting the glider come right And now, when the outside…….and round we go. And I’ve built up a little tension with the outside wing. So, if I need to whip it around, release the outside, get a 90 degree quick turn. And then get back into the core.

18 thoughts on “Paraglider Control: Catching Thermals With Both Hands

  1. Great Video as always or though i found it hard to hear what you was saying in this video but thumbs up from me 

  2. great video, thanks a lot for your work!! but it's difficult to hear/understand you. especially for non-native english people… FlyBubble worths sub-titles!!

  3. These videos are getting better and better as you get onto the more advanced topics, can't wait for the next one!

  4. Very interesting video, and pleased to see I'm getting my turns right. 🙂 Greg, if it helps, I have a suggestion which might improve the audio if you are using a GoPro. Go to DealExtreme (website) and look for the case with side opening.  It's very cheap, and having the side opening will allow you to plug in an external mike (and also external power, if you find the battery doesn't last long enough). There is an increase in wind noise with the extra gap – but I have an excellent tip for that too!  Hope this helps:

  5. Definitely learned how to react to some feels the glider has been sending my way that I didn't know how to respond to.


  6. Maybe point out to watch grabbing the risers for balance or steadiness though, that's a nasty little habit to have. I grew accustomed to doing that early in my career, and it took a long time to grow out of. There are a couple problems with it IMO. 1) is that in rough air, you certainly cannot fly that way, so why practice a way that will not serve you when things really turn on and get hectic? I would suggest to practice the way you will need to fly under stressful conditions, so that you are most familiar with that technique and don't have a habit of wanting to revert back to your "comfort zone or home base" which simply doesn't work when you need to constantly give your glider large and active inputs in strong conditions. And 2) when your hands are on the risers, I find that your reaction time to feeling, reacting to, and catching collapses is considerably less sensitive and consequently considerably slower to react, and also slower because you have been at "rest" in a static position, rather than moving constantly and tracking the constant change of pressure of the canopy in active thermic air, making you significantly more prone to getting more frequent and also larger collapses because you simply are not feeling the glider. And 3) you tend to not ride with enough feel or pressure on the brakes (which is partially associated with #2) to keep the glider from biting and frontalling. I'm certainly not knocking your video Greg as I find them to be a great asset to the community, but as you are putting them out, might as well be careful with the details and instill the best habits early on in people's career's as I know you intend to do. I was quite uncomfortable in my first few years without a hand touching the riser for balance and steadiness, but ultimately, once I weaned off that habit, which was like a security blanket, it opened the door for far better communication from my glider and for me to become a far better thermal pilot and now had numerous 300k XC flights, including a 384k, and flown in lots and lots of comps, and never once noticed a top level pilot holding their risers, but I have taught and noticed many students doing it, and seen the problems that it can lead to including too often collapses for the reasons I mentioned above. I'm sure that was just particularly smooth day when it absolutely mattered not, but I'm just pointing out that it is not a scalable habit to larger air or top level flying and probably should not be advocated purposefully. Keep up the great videos!

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