Paraglider Control: How to use Speedbar

it’s a windy day we’ve got sailplanes up
so it’s a good day to talk about speedbar so because the wind is strong I’m right out at the front of the lift band. if I’m getting lift I don’t need to go back on
the ridge. so right in the beginning I’m gonna just test the ridge band. being
right out in the front here keeps me safe. I’m not going too high too fast and then getting stuck at the back. I’m still getting lift here. I’m still climbing. so that’s the first thing with flying in strong conditions: you want to
be right out in front on the lift band. I’m not using my bar and I can analyze
conditions and now I can slowly drift my way back just to stay in the lift band. The lift band will be out in front. the stronger the wind is the more that
band pushes out in front. you’re using speed bar to get yourself out of trouble.
I wouldn’t use speed bar just so that you can fly, that’s the first thing to say.
if the wind is that strong it’s not worth flying. if you have to be on bar. the
bar is only gonna give you 5 kilometers an hour maybe 10 kilometers
an hour max. it depends on your wing. all right so I’ve got up I’m a bit higher now
I’m getting into the upper wind which is often a bit stronger because there’s no
turbulence and no drag, the surface drag that slows down the lower layers. so this
upper layer is just running smoothly across from a long way, it picks up speed so I’ve got slightly less penetration up here. My forward speed I’m looking at my GPS I’ve got about 10, 11 at this position so that’s 12, 11 there. just going to that
position with my hands up takes it up to 20, 18 … that’s quite a change from there with
a little bit of feeling of the glider you know if you’re holding it back and
you go – to there. let’s put some music on. sounds good? yeah, so the speed bar you
want to use just to get you out of trouble. you’re only gonna get about five
kilometers an hour on your glider. seriously. most B gliders … maybe ten kilometers an
hour if you’re lucky and the conditions are smooth and you can keep the bar on
sustained, it doesn’t make a huge difference. so that’s your little safety
margin for when you’ve got things wrong and you need a little bit more oomph and
you’re going onto bar. So keep it there as your safety reserve. on a wing
like this, my lovely OMEGA XALPS, I’ve got close to 20 km/h to speed up. again I’m only using that extra last piece as a safety and
I’m expecting to get about 10 km/h usable. our trim speed is often about 35, it’s less than you think and on full bar that’s getting 45 maybe maybe 50 okay, don’t expect to get 60 so now going on to the bar I want
to be sure my glider is fairly stable I don’t want to just push the bar when the glider is jumping around like this so make sure even if you need the brakes just get
the glider settled and then ease it up and let it stabilize. okay now you want to
get your first foot on I’ve got one foot on. I usually put my fingers against the
inside of the risers just to stabilize my body and stop yaw. I’m then pushing
down half bar that’s nice and easy I’m now on half bar. now once it’s stable and settled I get my other foot my second foot back onto
the second loop and I push down onto full bar. Now I’m on full bar racing along . I’m gonna come off the bar. I come back with one foot, let it stabilize, second foot, let it ease out wait a second and then turn.
the way it works on the risers: there is my A’s there is my B’s, on your glider these Bs are in the middle. You’re pulling the front down on the speedbar, and your wing tilts nose down. when you do that your angle of
attack decreases and your wing gets closer to the relative air flow that’s coming onto the nose, and you are closer to having a collapse from turbulence. so you only want to do it when the air
is reasonably smooth and when you are on bar you need to be very vigilant about
the turbulence. If you’ve got a speed brake riser system where your back
risers are connected through the B risers to the A’s or a 2 liner like mine you can
use the back risers just to keep contact with the wing while you are on speed bar and you can pull down on them a little bit as you are guiding out the bar. so here I’ve
got my hands on the back risers (this is a 2 liner glider) so now I can go out
onto the bar, first step, second step and now if I wanted to slow down I can pull
on the back just to control the wing and stop pitch movements. my foot is still
on full bar and this allows me to come back off the bar without moving my feet.
if it gets really rowdy I’m gonna back off and just go back onto normal flying.
if you feel that things are getting bumpy don’t use the brakes make sure
that you’re coming off the bar to get back to trim speed. when using big ears
it’s very good to use the speed bar as well to give yourself a little bit more
tolerance for stall so check out our big ears video and you’ll learn more about
that there. the other situation when you could use speed bar is to optimize your
glide angle. check out our article on speed to fly there’s quite a lot of
theory behind it but I wouldn’t worry too much about using your bar if you’re
going downwind. It’s not really gonna make much difference, it’s only when you’re
going into wind and you’re trying to get your best glide angle against the wind
over the ground. it increases your ground speed. usually half bar is a good position to go onto to optimize your glide and if you’re in
very strong wind full bar but unless you are on something like this kind of high aspect wing your full bar performance is gonna be pretty dire. be very careful of this
if you haven’t got that speed brake riser system, don’t use your brakes while you’ve got your speed bar. The on the reason for that is you’re forcing a very big camber in your wing: the trailing edge is going down and
the leading edge is going down and you can make your glider collapse, so when
you’re on full speed bar if you feel turbulence you want to immediately come
off the bar with your foot — a quick reaction. you need to move in and out
with that foot so that you’re backing off the bar and not letting the glider
collapse. don’t use the brakes be very careful of that. there used to be a
technique that some guys recommended by sort of pulling the brakes down first
and then pushing the bar out and then easing up on the brakes. I don’t
recommend that because of the problem of the collapse on your wing make sure that
you just stay on the bar when you’re on bar and only use the back risers if
you’ve got that speed brake system. so things that can go wrong on speed bar.
well if you jam on the speed bar too hard too fast you can get a rapid
acceleration that might cause a collapse because you just dive through into some
turbulence, so take your time and ease onto the bar. the other problem that pilots
can make is coming off the bar from full bar (I’m fully accelerated) coming off
too quickly and then putting in a turn. you can cause a spin on your glider
because you’ve got such a high angle of attack and then you try and turn it, so
make sure rather if you’re on bar you come off and you wait one two three
and your glider will come overhead again before you put in a gentle turn
input. We’ve got some sailplanes joining us. whoohoo! check that out. Just to mention that not all gliders are as good on speed bar.
there’s a noticeable difference between the classes the higher class wings go a
lot faster and the the state of your wing makes a big difference. if your
glider is out of trim like if you haven’t had a trim check on your glider
in the last two years it’s quite likely that the glider is going to be out of
trim. That could make a big difference on the safety when you’re on speed bar you
can actually start getting collapses when you don’t expect them and you can
end up with a wing that either accelerates too hard or doesn’t really
accelerate much at all. and it can be skew, you can get pulled to the one side
because your lines are shrunk on one side. So make sure you get your glider trim
checked. I can recommend the loft workshop, the guys that we use
down in the South. They will take your wing, use their courier
service it’s nice and cheap it’s very easy so wherever you are you can send
your wing to them and they’ll fix it for you. Otherwise get your local service centre to sort it out, but do get your trim checked, it’ll make a huge
difference on your safety overall and it might be affecting your speed bar too.
another safety thing to check with your speed bar is these little guys: Flybubble Brummel Covers. They are really cheap, and well worth getting because it means that when you have just launched and you push out on your bar you don’t suddenly find that one of your brummells has disconnected.
if you can’t get these you can just use rubber o-rings but make sure
you secure those little brummels. it’s a pretty common problem with speed
bars. the other problem you can have is your speed bar line that runs down
through some pulleys, make sure you include that in your preflight checks,
make sure it’s running free and that you don’t need to replace that line. at some
point you’re gonna have to replace that line to stop it fraying and wearing out.
be careful when you’re on speed bar that you don’t let the glider drive into
some hard sinking edge of the thermal and you’re gonna get a big collapse because on the speed bar you’re gonna have more rotation and loss of height when you
have a collapse. your reaction should be straight off the bar if you have a
collapse. Feet come off the bar and then weight shift a little, a bit of brake
to counter-steer, take your time with the glider, let it settle and then pump out the
collapse. you want to be sure that you’re not doing speed bar through a very
turbulent area particularly like when you’re coming into land and you’re near
the trees. If you’re coming in below the tree height back off the bar. Also don’t use the bar too low and too early like right up just near your launch site. okay what happens if your speed bar
breaks? you’re in the air, and the speed bar line snaps and you need to accelerate. it
is possible to do this: you can hang on the front risers and by front risers I
mean A’s and B’s you need to be able to grab hold of basically where the speed
bar connects and hang on to that and you can accelerate the glider a bit. it’s
very risky to do this if you are in a turbulent area. just as you would
with a speed bar so make sure you’ve got clear space because now you’re letting
go the brakes and you’re basically hanging on the wing you’ve got to be
pretty sure that you’re not going to collapse on the wing. it’s possible to do
this in smooth conditions let’s say you’re coastal soaring and you’ve got a snap on your speed bar, you can hang on the A’s+B’s and the way you do it, I’ll show you here … on my glider it’s easy because I just have to hang on here. so you do it
the same way you’re doing the big-ears your hand that way, not this way,
you’ve got no strength that way you’re not gonna hold yourself up but that way
you can hold there, you can grab and twist just above the maillon, grab hold
twist and hang like that. good luck with that, I’ve managed about two minutes like that. it’s a pretty hard challenge: see how
long you can do a pull-up for with the twisted grip. it’s not going to give you
much but hey, it might save your butt one day, so just have that there as one of your
options. so when I’m going onto the speed bar I’m stabilizing with my hands here.
I’m going onto the first step waiting a second … one, two, three … getting a little
bumpy so I’m using my back risers just to stabilize that and straighten up and now
I’m going on the second step here. now it’s superfast. It’s the OMEGA XALPS.
I don’t know if you can hear me I’m very ready on these back risers to jam down if I feel any twitches of the wing that I don’t
like I’m gonna slow it down a little bit. now I’m easing off the bar,
stepping out, give it a second or two and now I can weight shift and turn. Happy
Days! cool, so thanks for watching. I hope that helps you and keeps you safe when you need your speed bar. remember to not use the brakes make sure you gliders nice and level ease out on the speed bar, if you feel
turbulence back off the bar or use your speed brake risers if you’ve got them
and don’t use too much bar when you are close to the ground in turbulent areas
back off the bar a little bit. thanks again to our patrons, you guys
rock! consider joining us there it makes a huge difference to this channel
it means we can keep doing these kind of instructional videos. let’s be honest it
doesn’t have much appeal on YouTube except for amongst us pilots so that’s
how we fund the channel partly and the other way is by supporting us on flybubble. We will give you great service it’s what this whole business is built around
so I hope to see you in the shop sometime. Keep yourself safe when you’re
flying and have fun when you blatting out on speed bar: let’s go!

37 thoughts on “Paraglider Control: How to use Speedbar

  1. Awesome video, Greg. Learned something new today, while on speed bar I used to pull on the brakes for small direction corrections, now I know I should't do that.

  2. Nice explanation!

    In ridge soaring, when the wind angle is increasing, you use the speedbar when you're facing the wind. The problem is, you're often close to the ground in ridge soaring. The closer you get from the ground the bigger risk you take in case of a collapse. High up I don't mind to fly fullbar even in bumpy conditions.
    If you see competitors videos, like Teo Bouvard and Damien Lacaze, they are fullbar all the time under CCC wings, except in thermalling. I would say, don't try this at home 😉

  3. Cool video! The tip about what to do if the bar snaps is mind-blowing, I had never heard of it. I doubt I will ever have to use it, but it's good to know about this option.

    By the way, is this a new camera?

  4. Nice in-depth tutorial on basic and even advanced function. I'd like your take on how competitors can best use the speed bar in tactical situations where they are attempting to out-fly other pilots. Your delay of turn input coming off bar is golden advice, but is that what really happens when time or money is on the line? Maybe some discussion on how motor slalom competition times can vary with proper vs. less than optimal bar use. Perhaps an example or two on topics like staying ahead of venturi over ridges or maybe even using bar almost all the way to landing for safety sake.

  5. As always enjoyed your excellent videos.
    Just can’t get over the apparent …( um…difficult conditions that you seem to thrive in….low over cast with no sunshine ???)
    Never the less good show !

  6. You said that people come off the bar and then turn too quickly and it causes.. a SPOO? Couldn't hear what you said. Thanks!!! Love your channel.

  7. Im really enjoying these begginer skill breakdowns. Each one has a little point or 2 ive missed somehow in last 7 years of flying. Thank you

  8. We were having a debate the other day if it was worth using the back risers to steer with on a wing with A,B and C risers without a B/C bridge (while on bar). Your thoughts ?

  9. I fly mostly in the Swiss alps and flying slow and nervous in strong turbulence can leave you too little air speed and too little internal pressure to avoid stalls and collapses. I keep enough speed bar to feel my leading edge and keep weight on my rear risers on the Zeno to be able to react even faster than my legs can get off speed.

  10. Thanks for this video, i have a small question. I kind of expected something else from this video, what i expected was more 'when' to use it, like when crossing gaps in headwinds etc. And how much to push in what kind of situations. Is it possible to make another video going more in depth to this?

  11. Hey Greg,

    thanks for the Video again! They are well done and help pilots to fly better.

    One thing I would like to add: If you PULL the brakes FIRST and THEN PUSH the SPEEDBAR you increase the camber of your profile very strong (like you mentioned). Its like setting flaps on an airplane. Your Glider performance is getting really bad – but the tolerance for collapse and stall INCREASES on most of the wings. So your glider gets somehow more "stable". Thats a pretty nice thing for toplanding! Give it a try! But take care: If you go on fullbar first and then pull the brakes you will get a balloning effect or a strong move of CP. This can cause a collapse. We (DHV) tested this with a lot of gliders on the market and it works pretty awesome.

    Another thing: If you get a collapse on a modern wing more than 50% of the trailingedge and if you weightshift to the open side this will cause a much more demanding glider reaction! Here is the main key to brake the shooting and flying side first and strong. So what to do with your body? Keep the upper body straight and tiny bit to your open/flying side but let your hips fall to the collapse side. This decreases the shoot and the tendency of shockreinflations.

    Thanks and keep going your nice tutorials!


    Simon Winkler
    Testpilot (DHV) and SIV Instructor

  12. Great video but Im not sure you explained what the speed bar is used for? Going faster yes, getting out of trouble yes, but what exactly do those things mean? How does it affect the wing? Also, some risers have trims. What the heck is going on there – why dont all wings have trims?

  13. I gotta find a hill like that. I motor but I want to learn freeflight and would love to ridge a big hill like that.

  14. If it starts raining , when you're up there!🤔 dangerous that paragliding stuff yours . I prefer skydiving less stressful and get adrenaline make sense.

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