Paragliding XC Flying: A rough guide to scratching

it’s early in the day, we’re flying at
Louchon in the French Pyrenees and I’m here with my friend Ceri. we’re gonna
get in tight! so let me show you what really goes on
in the mountains. now please bear in mind both Ceri and
I are highly experienced pilots we’ve been flying for years we’ve got very
fine control over our gliders and we’re used to proximity flying. so please don’t
try this if you’ve just started paragliding. the idea with this video is
for the advanced guys. we do a lot of basic instructional videos and I thought
I’d put something out there for the guys that have been flying a bit longer. it’s
out there for you to learn from to look at, to see what we do, but you need to
build up solid skills in glider control and proximity flying before you start
doing this sort of thing. why are we so close? why are we in here?
well this early in the day just this little patch that’s a sort of bare slope is
giving some lift and just outside of that lifting air, the air is
descending and over the forest is descending so unless we’re in really
really tight we’re gonna go down. so we’re doing this just to climb out and
get established in the day. okay because I’m very close
and the thermal is not completely solid so every time I’m trying to make sure
I’m not going into the slope and I’m trying to keep my turns as flat as
possible and tight as possible. The only way I can do that is turning on the lift. I’m trying to time it so there’s a little spike there, I’m trying to get a tight turn on that little core … come across to this little core and now … that one I’ve mis-timed I’m out the other side so I’m getting a sinky turn there
and I should have turned earlier so this one here this little slope seems to kick
nicely and I’m gonna put my turn in earlier now even though it feels like
it’s not really the right time. almost 360 and I’m going to do a figure of eight there. this way.
Then repeat the pattern, we’ll go in there turning around here not so much lift on that one, I’m keeping my flying speed high when I can. this thermal is gonna follow the slope so I’m trying to bring my turns back into the slope all the time a good bit of lift there but I can feel with
my right hand that there’s no pressure on the outside it’s only my inside tip
that’s in the thermal coming in close like this you leave
yourself very little room for sink and then turning out you’ve got to be really
careful there. So now I’m looking for the rest of the core because I seem to
have lost it, it’s a little bit that’s shifted around this corner.
nope, it’s gone dead there so let’s get back onto that face pronto! Big sinky turn there. Come back around on the slope Ceri is climbing out nicely above me so
I’ve just gotta hang in here. there’s a bit of lift all the way across and what’s
happening here … nothing there … a bit of lift a bit of lift there. trying to keep it super
flat on this corner back into the lift. It’s really light Still haven’t got
anything big but if I just hang around here and keep working on the average
I should be able to connect. I can go all the way around now, just fit it in. okay I
can just squeak another turn around point four on average there’s a good bit
of lift there just swing it around again just be careful of not diving over this
spine too low. A little bit of lift again, bring it around, be careful not getting
too close on this one. better lift that’s improving, just hold the circle, I might be able to stay in this as it releases from the
peak. that’s good with a bit of drift this way now. it’s drifting me over behind this peak which suggests some lift is coming up this big face. i’m falling
out the side there I can feel cold air! back into there. I still
don’t feel I can drive upwind on that so I just keeping the turn as tight as
I possibly can while I’m staying in this core I don’t care about climb rate so
much as holding onto this! So I’m banking, my tip is below the horizon. I’m very
careful that if I drop out of the thermal I’m gonna release the brake I’m
not gonna let it spiral. OK, I’m getting grumpy air, I think probably hitting an
inversion there I need to find the core again and I try going into wind I can’t really feel which way to go
so I’ll just go left yucky, very yucky there, slightly better
so I’ll extend one circle in that direction and turn now it feels like I’m
on the edge there. So somewhere around here is our core, tighten a little bit, keep it tight that’s the baby right now we are
established. now we doing good things! Out the side of the thermal there I’m
releasing a bit to keep my speed up into the core and a bit of a late turn around we go I’m starting to watch the glider just
for the climb rate to see if he does better than me as a bird on my side
there and there’s another bird, i’ve lost him now he was over here he’s doing better than me
so let’s follow him around. yeah, 20 million years of evolution can’t be
wrong, thanks mr. vulture! paragliding perfection

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