Paragliding Skills: Master Strong Wind Launching

It’s another beautiful evening to fly
but it is quite strong When the wind’s strong it can make launching
dangerous and scary if you don’t have the right skills In this video, how to cope with strong wind
how to launch flawlessly and some tips and tricks to keep you safe Before we start it’s good to know
how to bundle up the wing on a windy day If we mushroom our wing in the standard way it can inflate around us
and become difficult to control To avoid this, take in some
extra rear riser before bundling the lines That way, as you bundle the wing
you’ll have less leading edge under tension and you’ll find it a lot easier to move around launch If it’s windy it’s important
that we get hold of our brakes as soon as we’ve clipped
in to the harness This is particularly important
on a strong day where the wind could
inflate our glider Some pilots almost always have to
untangle their brakes from their risers after launching That’s either because they did not
take enough care when getting ready or they don’t have a
fool-proof method Here’s how to take hold of your
brakes correctly, every time We start at the hang point
so we don’t miss any hidden twists
or riser rotations Once the karabiner is correctly oriented we need to check that there are
no twists on the riser its self I usually run my hand down the riser
to check before taking hold of the brake I then pull the brake out to the side if it’s correct you’ll have
a clean triangle of air with the brakes running freely It’s important to check both sides properly Now we’re getting ready
to set up for launch Tangled lines when it’s windy
can be very annoying To avoid tangled lines,
rather than just dropping them… …carefully feed them out
loop after loop as you walk away from the wing With the standard reverse launch
we need to build a wall You can make this easy by stepping in to wind
and putting some tension on the lines If necessary you can pop the wing
by pulling assertively on the As always being ready to kill the wing
with the brakes One common mistake is
wrapping too much brake when it’s windy This allows the wind to get under
the trailing edge of the canopy making it impossible to control Assuming it’s not too windy
simply brace yourself against the wing having some tension on the As
will help force the wing including the trailing edge
to sit on the ground If the wind picks up we can use
the rear risers to kill the wing simply reach high up along the rear risers and then pull them hard behind you
for ultimate control this has the effect of killing most
of the canopy sometimes the B risers
can also work but it’s important not to be half-hearted reach up high
and pull far behind you the wing might flap around but
importantly it can no longer inflate When getting ready we need to move
to the centre of the wing and start with our body balanced
nice and square to the canopy Now let’s look at the
five phases of a reverse launch With the initial lift we’re aiming
to have the wing inflate and lift off the ground from the middle it’s therefore important that we give
the wing some proper encouragement if we’re too hesitant the wing
can be sluggish to inflate and less likely to
lift from the middle After the initial oomph
we need to inflate the wing overhead this phase is all about
energy management remember not to anchor yourself rather remain ready to
either give more energy or release some if the wing is climbing slowly
add more energy by stepping back if the wing is climbing quickly
let it pull you towards it to release some of that energy don’t be tempted to add the brakes
in this phase rather use your body to either
add or release energy as required Many pilots miss out the third phase and try to turn before
controlling the wing leading to out of control
takeoffs controlling the wing means having
it exactly overhead before you turn to do that we need to manage
the wing on all axes most importantly we need to manage
the wing on its pitch axis that means stopping the wing from flying:
catching it we also need to manage the roll quite simply that means moving laterally
to the left or right to get under the middle of the canopy In the fourth phase, once we’ve
controlled the canopy then we can turn if we turn before we’ve
controlled the wing we can inadvertently
weight one side of the glider causing the wing to
roll away from us remember as you turn
to stay in touch wth the glider by maintaining brake contact the final phase of our reverse launch
is all about commitment here it’s important
to load the wing quickly by sinking on to it and
pushing forwards on the chest strap even on the ground
your body and harness position will affect the wing during the inflation
and control phases of the launch we should already be
moving to the centre of the wing and whilst most pilots understand this many pilots fail to undertstand
how to move to the centre and how our body position and twist
can affect the roll of the wing when it’s windy inflating a huge
piece of cloth can be challenging kite-surfers will be well aware of
the wind window the power zone is where the wing
acts like a spinnaker sail pulling hard on the pilot
during the inflation here are some alternative
techniques and ideas to help you cheat
the power zone I call this the Ball Launch it reduces the area of wing
that’s exposed to the power zone as the wing inflates start by exposing the
centre 20% of cells it’s also impotant
to clear the wingtips you can even fold the wingtip
slightly and temporarily hold them in place with
small rocks take the centre As
and gently pull them towards you until the wing
starts to catch the wind pull less As
as the wing starts to inflate and now as the wing
is half inflated keep pulling the As
but start to feel more of the energy of the wing through the risers
with your body make sure you inflate the whole wing if necessary clearing the ears
as the wing comes overhead this launch is not without risk be extra-vigilant with your lines being sure they’re untangled before
attempting this technique Launching from a flat place
in strong wind can get you unceremoniously
hoisted and dumped rather than a flat area too far back
go forwards to use the slope a steep slope will help release
energy from the gliider as it inflates you can release energy
by not only moving towards the wing but also up the slope if it’s windy
but there isn’t much of a slope you can simulate one by crouching down slightly
as you start to inflate you can release some energy
by standing up as you move towards the wing another way to avoid
inflating the whole wing through the power zone is to bring it up on the roll axis on the side of the wind window this is called
the Cobra Launch with the Cobra Launch
we’re essentially teasing the wing up using one wingtip the key is to let the tip climb
at around 10 degrees from the verticle it’s a fine balance between
pulling the A riser and adding or releasing the brake
for the same side so as to keep the wing tip
just off the verticle too verticle
and it’ll collapse too low
and it’ll fall to the ground it’s important to be patient the wing will only climb
when the wing is strong enough if the conditions are a bit gusty
just allow the wing to climb when it’s ready once the wing has climbed
all the way up then we can get in touch
with the last brake as the wing climbs overhead if you want to get good at this stuff if you want to increase your confidence with strong with launches
you need to practise and you need to practise
on, ideally some smooth hills and also ground-handle
every time you get the chance if this video was useful
please give it the thumbs up you can like and subscribe until next time… happy landings so here we are on a windy hill [wind] here we are, uuuh
on the hill something happening in the background
wasn’t it ping! [laughter]
[screams] get this as an out-take
you’ve got to have this as an out-take take….take tennnnn [laughter] hey!
welcome to Morocco you can like and subscribe
somewhere below OK [laughs]

100 thoughts on “Paragliding Skills: Master Strong Wind Launching

  1. Why do these videos never show launching in actual strong winds? That looked like 12mph max, not 20mph in compression which is when it gets tasty.

  2. Would be cool if you actually included some high wind launches in your video. These are in SUPER light conditions

  3. Great vid… very pertinent! For those that live in light wind places you can get will into an 'advanced' paragliding career without ever mastering these basics. Nice job as always Kieran hope all is well with you guys!

  4. Great video. Thanks for the tip on mushrooming, I have never heard the fix of taking in the C's/d's and have had the problem of the leading edge catching the wind. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

  5. I often use the A's and C's method, but you don't go over that. Also it is clear that you are slowing the wing down with one pull of the brake, but you don't explain what you are doing. Great video!

  6. Another new subscriber. This is a great instructional video. It's too advanced for me… for now, but I will keep watching your videos because some of this knowledge may seep into my leaky brain and stay. I'm still 40 pounds (3 stone?) too fat to try flying. Until then I am going to practice ground handling on a too small wing. Since I will be kiting for about a year, do you think it unwise to buy a higher performance wing– say a hot EN-B wing– to start. Or should I just go with the A wing. I am a patient guy, but I don't want to bite off more than I can chew (sorry for the platitude).

    Thanks for the videos.

  7. Great video. Normally I don't have much trouble while launching. But I like your explanations, very calm, good film material of the scenes paired with clear explanations. I take home some very useful tips. This video is already more than only an overview. Thank you for sharing. Where did you grab the clip? Is it "at home" in Wales? I had already a view on your offered trips. Very tempting!

  8. what a nice content…. so educative…. thanks for this master piece for strong winds…. is this a gin explorer?

  9. Going throug the brakes with gloves is very dangerous. I hope you will never be twisted and in a spiral and need to pull your reserve. But the rest of the video is great. 🙂

  10. I'm curious why, with the advent of paramotor, do people still paraglide? Or do paragliders also paramotor? These seem very similar but it seems like Paramotor gives more versatility? thanks. btw I've never done either.

  11. Clear and technical training video! Want to see the second part: launch with the a+с lines, and only two central A'-lines, and others methods. And will see the methods of how to landed the wing in a strong wind – is also very important.

  12. great vidio !,very well explained 🤗 as like the out takes😜 still very well explained even though you make it look easy 😃 as im know its not

  13. Greate instructions ! 🙂 I found some small errors in my lunching, I could correct them now. Thanks

  14. finally, someone made proper video about launching in strong wind. Thank you very much from ukrainian paragliding instructor.

  15. A risers in one hand, C in other is the best way to control wing in strong wind !
    Sad why not show that tehnic but nice video anyway.. !! 👏

  16. I always use the A’s and D’s to launch in strong winds with a scissor action to control the wing as it comes over head. If it’s gets out of whack, just pull the d’s to your chest and it will kill the wing. This scissor method works great for kiting back up the hill if you sidehill land and need to get back to the hop of the hill. Great video!

  17. Having been a pilot for nearly 50 years and having flown all types of aircraft (including hang and paragliders) I can, with high confidence, say that the best method for handling high wind conditions is to pack up your wing and go to a bar. You can always fly another day, if you live to see it!

  18. A wrap of ears is good when its strong, take them first, then the A's and just launch and release the ears when you are happy, all the time steering with weight shift – when you are ready to fly just load the lines, pump the ears out and lift off vertically, its fun too and looks real pro and you stay planted until you are happy to go and not until – very safe, no involuntary launches… During the lift, the overall key is constant weight on the lines, as in, line tension = wing speed, so manage the line tension and you now have control of the wing speed, very easy and intuitive.

  19. As a former PG instructor I found this video to be excellent. However, I would wouldn't like to have to take my wing to that kind of rocky takeoff. I would hate to think of the wear and tear to your wing and its shortened life launching at such sites.
    Another brilliant strong wind launch which I use when flying tandem is the big ears launch, where the ears are applied as the glider inflates. It kills all the energy and stops you from being dragged or boosted up.
    From a cinematic perspective, the video are beautifully done and edited. Great work.

  20. Awesome how easily you control your glide. It's really informative video. Thank you for brilliant presentation of your technique! 🙂

  21. Great video! I have been practicing the Cobra quite a bit and it's a good thing to know. Also running to the wing works perfectly even in very strong winds. Collapsing with the A's needs a lot of pull (not as much as B's tho) so be expecting that 😉

  22. nice movie…pity not all! What about the reverse launch? When you take of flying backwards…dont tell me You dont know it….

    would choose a more grassy field…better for canopy…

  23. Very good video, wish I had this 3 years ago when i started paragliding :), but still I enjoyed now very much and learn one or few new tricks 🙂

  24. new pilot here….I never clip into the harness while getting ready; before i learned to fly, I watched hundreds of launches, good ones and bad ones. First i kite the wing while my harness is away from the testing area; if I am able to kite the wing and I don't feel it trying to pick me straight up, then I am confident to go ahead and set the lines and harness, not attached to the harness yet, then once everything appears right, while holding the risers, I go ahead and clip the risers to the carabiners. My preferred method is to hold the two risers carabiners eyelets parallel, turn them upside-down 180degrees, and then clip them one. Big No-No is to have the helmet camera attached while getting the lines ready. i don't use any gear and clothing or boots that could "grab" my lines. Do not follow my suggestions!

  25. Some great tips in this video, for example the one about getting more rear-risers in hand when balling up the wing, and to carefully loop the lines out when stepping away from the ball.
    Where we fly in the USA desert South West, relying on brakes to keep the wing on the ground or kill it is a recipe for being plucked and/or dragged. Before stepping away from the balled-up wing, after getting the brakes in hand, the next step is to get the C's one hand and then the A's in the other – yes, the Mitsos technique. Glad you went into detail on that! If the wind is anything above 15 Mph, brakes will just lift the pilot off the ground as the wing come up – many of our launches don't allow for a lot of running under the wing to control the energy. Plenty of force on the C's will not only moderate the inflation, it's the only reliable way to kill the wing if it gets away. Only after the wing is overhead and stable will I let go of the brakes – either to turn, or to control the wing if I am already flying with my back to the wind. If, after I have turned and I'm getting lifted back and am unable to move forward, pulling on the C's will keep my feet planted.

  26. I like this video. I've learned these techniques and demonstrated them flawlessly about 4 years ago. I've since forgotten some as I primarily fly paramotor. Thank you for the tips for strong winds. I needed that.

  27. Great video, well explained and examplified. I recognize the place, Aguergour, Morocco…..I love the place….a "must" when paragliding in Morocco….

  28. Sorry to be a bore, but flew an Airwave Black Magic in the early 90s & am envious of the current gliders with superior performance of the the rocket ships of the day & all the safety you crave. Even though I am now 68, I would love to fly again. My first flight after training was off a ridge flown for the first time ever & we popped like champagne corks, stunning but with a very nasty rotor if you got too far back. For anyone considering paragliding, it is a glorious experience

  29. Bravo pour votre vidéo très pédagogique. J'ai tourné une vidéo qui montre ô combien le décollage n'est pas facile par grand vent, là voici, si celà peut apporter à votre démonstration:
    Au plaisir. From French.

  30. Valeu amigo. Me inscrevi no canal e deixei o like. 👍🏽
    Sou aluno de vôo livre.
    Pratico no Guarujá, São Paulo – Brasil.
    Genilson Oliveira

  31. Pay for personal hands on instruction. I'm still alive, 20yrs later. It's your life, follow your own foolish dreams. Just be prepared to meet death at any moment. I don't fly anymore. Don't even know how I got here. I do yoga and fly in my etheral body. No equipment needed, anyplace anytime and it's free.

  32. I feel it is a bit negligent of them to not talk about using the A's and C's at the same time (don't remember the name of this technique). You have your A's in one hand and your C's in the other and you use the A's to inflate the wing and the C's to control the power of the wing through the power zone and then stop it overhead instead of the brakes so you don't get 'plucked'. It is probably the best way to do a reverse launch as it gives you incredible control over the wing one you get the technique down, and can be used in any wind conditions you would be doing a reverse in. It is a very common practice here in the USA southwest.

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