Paragliding Skills: How to Topland Safely


This is where you’re going to have the Venturi
effect at the top of the ridge, and I would say it would start about at the fence line,
and you’ll have accelerated wind all the way over the top here, I would expect to have
10km/h extra on the wind, through to about those bushes at the back there, it’s as the
wind comes over the crest of the hill, it’s like an aerofoil, it accelerates through this
gap, and it starts expanding again at the back (where the cars are) the wind has got
a bit more space because the ridge drops down, so the air is slowed down, but through this
section here it is going to come whipping through. So you really don’t want to have
a glider up, standing, being here, just on the crest on the top. Looking at hazards, the road at the back is
a big one, if I start getting dragged by the glider, I know I’ve got to kill it just here
at the bushes, before I’ve got any risk of getting into the road. What this means is
I’ve got to avoid being lifted up and finding the wind is too strong, because there is really
not a lot of room there. [Toplanding approach #1]
The wind is quite strong, I’m going to come in for a toplanding there, I don’t want to
go too far back because I’ll be caught in the Venturi, there’s lots of lift in the front
here which is going to make it difficult to come in high, because the wind is strong,
so my best approach is to come in low from the other side, like really low, I’ve got
to get down on those bushes. So I’m going to come in from this side, I’m
slightly below takeoff, I’m going across the slope, allow the wind to push me back, get
my legs down early, stay pointing slightly into wind, keep my hands level, little bit
of a touch, and keep the wing across on the side like that so it doesn’t pull me. [toplanding approach #2]
Let’s put myself in a bit deeper this time, on top of the ridge line, don’t want to go
too far back, just somewhere over here, I’m staying out of the lift, going across, strong
landing, brakes in. Now that was hard because I’m just behind the crest and I’m in the sink
there, so just bear that in mind, if it was rocky that wouldn’t have been a nice landing
at all. [toplanding approach #3]
I’m going to do a toplanding over here, it’s a much easier area to land in, I’ve got a
lot more space, it’s obviously a better choice (if I had the choice) to topland here, but
again you don’t want to go too far to the back, you’re going to get a Venturi there,
the wind is going to accelerate just at the point where the wind is about to fall down
the back slope. And I’m going to get turbulence from this front ridge, there’s a front line
here with a little step. So to topland here I just want to find a place where I am out
of the lift, but not too far back. When I find that spot I come down onto quarter brakes
and just park and let myself slowly descend. That’s where I’m parking now, kind of hovering
in this dead spot, let it drift me slightly back, I’ve checked the wind speed, it’s not
too bad, so I can go a little bit deeper now, there’s a nice sink rate, so I’m just keeping
my brakes on like 1/4 to 1/3, keep myself pointing into wind, and now I’m shifting myself
back just drifting myself back to the back of the field, I going to shift across to the
right but I’m keeping my glider pointed mainly into wind, get my legs down nice and early,
I’m pointing into wind and I’m coming across the slope, and now I can pretty much choose
my spot, I don’t need lots of brakes, I can just keep it nice and steady, avoid the temptation
to put your hand in on the slope-side, it often results in you getting an extra little
turn at the end, just keep your hands level and steady and wait for the slope to intersect
your glide path. [toplanding #4]
So this is downwind, you really don’t want to approach your toplanding downwind, you
want to come out to the side, like that, and rather come in like a ridge soaring pass,
I’m going around to the back of the launch, unfortunately I’m getting lift now, I’m swinging
around from the side, round to the back of the landing area.
OK I’ve had to bring myself quite far back to avoid the lift, I’ve got about the same
1/3 brakes on again to just position myself and hold myself in the sink, there I’m starting
to get out of the lift, so I must be careful that I don’t end up in the fence, I’ll stop
well before it if there’s a chance of that, about now you want to get your legs down just
in case of … that, OK over the fence, slowing it down so I don’t fly into the lift again.
Alright, touch-down! [toplanding #5]
It’s all about setup, I’m making sure I’m losing my altitude before I’m right in the
launch zone, coming across, I’m on a nice line now, my legs are down fairly early just
in case I hit turbulence, and I’m on quite a bit of brake, and just getting a nice steady
angle across, you can just refine that, coming closer to the front, get your touchdown point,
and keep your wing upslope, then you can drop it down and it won’t pull you so much. toplanding #6
right so setting up for toplanding again right at the top, there’s quite a lot of lift so
I’m coming in fairly low, coming over the crest, letting myself drift back while I’m
still reasonably high then I can turn myself into wind somewhere over here, still got an
option to bail out over here, it’s a bit lumpy, I don’t really like how lumpy it is, letting
myself drift across too low now so I’m going to fly forward now
and get some lift that’s better I can come in with that
drifting back my legs are down already
I’m waiting to land I’ve actually got the back risers down now
no need to force it as I touch down, back risers pulled, run around
the wing to stop the wind grabbing it, and now I can
run to that corner, run, run run, press down on it. disabled. job done!

31 thoughts on “Paragliding Skills: How to Topland Safely

  1. Hi Greg, I've learnt a lot from your videos, but half of the places where I've flown are much smaller than that field, we've been told to approach the LZ in a similar fashion, but using the brake on the side of the LZ while having the body weight a bit to the opposite side in case of needing to abort the landing. Another big thing, but I guess that deserves a dedicated chapter. Cheers!

  2. thanks for this lot o options… i think that is vital for a pilot understand what is happening and you show this in very clear way… most of the people don't see the venturi effect or worst don't understand that the wind speed will increase due compression effect… thanks for sharing… aways awesome

  3. What a cool flying spot! Have been to the White Horse years ago, but as a student I couldn't afford to continue flying. Nowadays, already been flying over castle Neu Schwanstein flying at the white horse would be a nice project

  4. Ты на Б-эшке в Вязниках попробуй такую манипуляцию сделать, а мы посмотрим )))
    У Вас тут целый аэродром посадок – тут и чайник легко сядет…
    1:25 бело-синий купол пролетает над стартом – посмотрите место старта/посадки.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZUELGu-Ufo&t=9s&index=10&list=PLVLn37QPFHe_sUg1yOXVN0eFII7CiE-dY

  5. dropping the wing to the side of you not directly behind is a great tip for venturi areas. while keeping level brake pressure during the landing!
    thanks for sharing

  6. Ive recently stumbled across these Flybubble vids, Greg is brilliant at explaining in detail the things you should look out for, thankyou for sharing this information, i cant stop watching these vids!

  7. so beautifully filmed…so true to the experience…I'm leaning and braking in my lounge seat. Awesome work thanks for the class.

  8. Hi Greg. Would it be possible to use a bit of 'Big Ears', to counter act the lift, if there's too much lift where you want to land?

  9. Thank you, I just started PG and your advice is really helpful. Just mentioning the venturi effect is a point to remember, especially when you start soaring on a beach with just little dunes (max. height approx. 20-30ft.). Fly safe, best wishes from the north coast of a tiny little Island….

  10. Look at how Ur carabiner is positionned at 2:54….. that's not good…Carabiners are not designed to provide maximum resistance with loops in the corner

  11. Good thing you are not promoting the ‘stall/release’ way of getting down. I’ve seen it going wrong too many times. But my question is: at the last Thermikmesse there was a presentation about controlling your glide path by simultaneously using speed and brakes. Kind of like using flaps on the commercial airplanes. Any thoughts?

  12. I am impressed with how skillfully, and with clear explanations, you managed landing with alternate approaches. Awesome. Thank you.

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