Paragliding Safely: Understanding a site like Mount Caburn

cool let’s head up and have a look at the
site, we can talk about the hazards on the way, analyze the site and see how to fly
it safely. The landing field: you’ve got a
long line of trees, a beautiful big field area and we’ve got two hazards
a little ditch here then you’ve got a river ditch on the other side there
that’s full of water so you want to obviously land somewhere in this side.
It is really useful to have some idea of the wind direction on landing, I’ll put this up
here and we can use that later. Right so there you go, you have your wind
direction somewhere from over there long line of trees you obviously don’t
want to end up downwind of this big tree on this side so you do your landing setup
clearly along the line of trees there, coming to the back of the landing field
behind me and work your height off coming to land you could also choose to
come in on a downwind track come across and go into wind. Not a lot of hazards
down here a nice big landing area lots of space, don’t get too close to the cars. Cool, let’s head up and have a look at
the site, we can talk about the hazards on the way analyze the site and see how
to fly it safely. We’re a little way up the slope here and just gives you an
idea the line of trees before the landing that’s a landing field down
there. In this sort of situation you’d want to
avoid coming in here and turning low and then ending up getting the turbulence
from something like that which would put you down behind this tree line so the
idea is to come out ahead of a tree line like that and stay upwind of your
obstacles before coming into your landing. okay pretty simple stuff but
this is again another pretty simple site so it should be pretty clear what
to do and what not to do in a situation like this. You can see the slope it’s got
a beautiful curve at the top, again you’re gonna have that increase in wind
speed just as you go over the crest in that area and your best part for flying
is gonna be out in front up and above. There is a little bit of a hazard here on
the side you’ve got a line of trees here but usually because we’re soaring on the
far side of that when you get here you will turn well before a hazard like that. Somebody’s just pulled up at the top
looks like it’s flyable! let’s get up there. Cool,
so up on the slope on Mount Caburn now it’s definitely flyable. Let me give you an
idea of the site. We’ve got a little ledge here this is my preferred spot for
launching. Up to the top there, you’ll find most of the pilots setting
up on the top of the hill, to me that’s where the wind is gonna have a venturi,
you’re gonna have your strongest wind up there and okay if there’s very light
wind you want to be up there to get maximum lift but most of the time if
it’s horrible you don’t want to be up there. You make a mistake and you’re into
the venturi and you are stuck on the top of the hill. iIf you come down the slope to
this little spot here you’ve got much more room to maneuver time to get to the
wing up and it’s not as powerful. It’s also the angle of the slope that helps you if you’re pulling up. Something like that helps you get off the slope if
you’re pulling up and something like that tends to drag you back. Alright so
looking straight out I’m looking straight into wind at the moment you can
see this chap up here now you can watch the other pilots to see what the
wind speed is. Now he hasn’t got any brakes on I’m assuming he has no speed bar on and he’s tracking forward at about, I don’t know, it looks about 5 or 6 km/h
so from that I can deduce the wind up there is over 30
and wind on launch might be about 25 it’s going to be strong on the pull-up
you can see other pilot over there similar position there you can see he
hasn’t got much penetration so I’d be wary this sort of strength this is
normal for where we fly here and you’ve got to be careful that you don’t drift
yourself too far back and then have the accelerated wind that happens over the
top of the hill which will then push you back. we’ll go and look at the back in a
moment just looking at the hazards here I’m
gonna look over there there’s a row of trees and if the wind is coming from the
other side of those trees you can expect it to roll create some turbulence wash
down to the other tree and onto their slopes there so it’ll be a bit of a
dirty area nothing major but there’s a bit of dirty air to be expected on that
forest so I would want to keep my flying around here if you’re landing down on
the bottom here let’s turn you down to that but there if you’re landing down
here at the bottom I would be careful of landing setting up behind this whole
farm complex because you’ve got big trees there it’s big enough to create
rotor that can fold you wing in so if you’ve got that hazard and the wind’s
coming from there I would block that area off and say you don’t land in that
piece you go and land over there where you’ve got clean air flow coming in so
that’s your sort of emergency you’ve set it up and you know your landing,
main landding field is down this way you don’t want to come in low and then get
stuck behind this tree line you want to fly out and over to avoid that hazard
the main landing let’s just lifts you up here, the main landing field was around the corner like that way so that’s nice I’m going downwind so
I’ll get a good glide going that way be easy to get to that landing field. checking my pilot’s again
this guy’s circling so that means that the winds not too strong that’s nice
flying conditions looks like pretty much ideal. OK we’ve got two pilots up on the
top you’ll see they might run into trouble because they’re too high yeah
let’s go on the side and I’ll show you the hazards around the back you can make
up your mind whether it’s safe to fly so there’s the farm the wind will be coming
up this channel similar to Devils Dyke there’s a kink in the ridge it’s
going to force the air to all be going through that point there so that’s what
you’re gonna have the strongest wind and you don’t want to fly here and get stuck
because you’re going to get pushed back let’s look over the back and see what’s
there. good to see that
it’s looking like a nice day okay so now we’ve come round over the back of the
site you can see here what’s happening here is you’ve got a ridge that then
drops down into a back valley you really don’t want to get pushed over there and
be low because you’re gonna get rotor from the messy air in the bottom of
that bowl and if you do you want to kind of flick across to the other side and
turn into wind on the far side, get as far back as you can, don’t go down in
this pit. all right look to this side this is what will happen to you if you
pull up at the top and you get just clear of the ridge and you get pushed
over. you’ve got a nasty step there and then it goes flat. now that to me is a
nice escape route if you’ve got a little bit of height you can actually get clear
over this you’ve got enough height to do it to turn and run you get up and you
can turn and turn back in the other side of the cows you should be clear of any
rotor there. look at it again there so that’s my escape route there but I’m
pretty happy with that there are a few fences but I think if I get onto that
yellowy grass I’ve got a lovely clean clear area there to land on all right. so
that’s the back. you can see the guys soaring here nicely
in a very good position. none of them are right up against the slope because the
wind is giving them some lift they’ve moved right out to the front edge of the
lift and that gives them the most safety, lots of space room to maneuver. you can
still see the wind is about 30 Ks an hour up there given this lack of forward
speed but nobody’s on speed bar yet, the air looks reasonably stable, so I can
analyze the way the guys are moving and decide if it’s safe for me to fly. I’m
happy with that. if we move a little bit across there’s the slope of the main
slope there and if I was soaring in these conditions I wouldn’t want to go
past the edge of frame here because you’ll find the wind is going to start
accelerating on the side of the hill so you want to do your turns here and head
back into wind. so your hazards in this sort of situation this is really all
about strong wind launch control. you want to practice ground handling,
picking your wing up and controlling it nicely in these sort of conditions. you
want to be able to kill your wing. you definitely want to learn your back riser
control and being able to kill the wing on the back risers because that’s your
biggest risk here. there really aren’t many hazards on the slope, that is not going
to be turbulent you’ve got clean air flow in front of you, you’ve got lots of
landing options, you’ve got a decent escape route over the back. your hazard
is confined to pulling up the wing and getting dragged on the launch site so
there it’s a matter of laying up the wing nice and straight picking a
reasonably low launch spot so that you’re not in the teeth of the wind at,
the top bringing it up nice and straight, running at the wing to reduce the power,
controlling the wing either on your back risers will just by running and getting
rid of the power and getting off the hill nice and early, not letting it
tip over one way or the other. otherwise another one of these wonderful Sussex
sites that we’ve got here it’s so easy to fly that sometimes you
forget to do all your checks so I’m gonna be methodical about that. I’ll see you in the air. Cheers!

17 thoughts on “Paragliding Safely: Understanding a site like Mount Caburn

  1. Flying sites may be different, but they all work in the same way. Wind + terrain = lift + turbulence + venturi

  2. Great vid, again Greg.
    One question. You, at one point had your hands through the brake handles. Why is this? I've learned to take a wrap, so I have feel on the lines, but if I need to get my hands free [reserve throw, for instance] I can. I'd love your feedback. Keep up the great work brother. I, as many, appreciate what you're doing.

  3. Hi Greg very nice well explained video. I am just wondering about how can you judge if other pilots are on the speedbar, especially if the are in a good harness? Cheers, David

  4. Thanks for the great site prepping, of course I am light years away from taking any kind of leap!! It has been fun watching Andre and Gemma with their ground handling videos. You guys provide such invaluable help to those of of us in the learning stages, the downs bring back great memories of my schooling days around Lewis, all the best from the Bahamas.

  5. Another super informative and helpful video! Hey at the risk of being repetitive, please please do the part 2 of the Delta 3 review.

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