Instructor demostration on inflation and forward launch. Sprinting start with wing overhead without using the brakes and then with brakes. Student practice under instructor’s supervision.
More practice with accurate handling of maneuvers. Instructor demostration on launch abort technique, deflating wing prior to launch and during landing due to gusty conditions. ReverseDay Three: On-site slope
Launch and landing demonstration by the instructor. Dos and don’ts session, short flight practice and 45º turns.
Student guided on first low altitude flight from a hill. Progress onto a higher altitude. Turns of 90º.
Altitude flying with 90º and 180º turns. Description and attempt for small big ears technique. Applying brakes to adjust speed. Instructions with VHF by the instructor.
Higher altitude flying with 360º turns, big ears and handling. Forward launch and turns using shifting of body weight. Demonstration by the instructor of reverse inflation launch.
Theory as well as practice has to be taught along the lines of what this handbook deals with:
4. Practical flight
5. Problems in flight, and
It is up to the instructor to determine the syllabus, and up to the students which level they want to reach.
The beginner’s course teaches you how to launch, land, control airspeed and turn, as well as safety and theory. At the secondary level, on-site instruction ought to include soaring, thermaling and maneuvers such as B-stalls, asymmetric collapse, frontal collapse, ground handling in use of reverse inflation launch. Students commonly perfect their technique by doing ground control on their own paragliders. However, you never really stop learning.
Most countries have their own pilot rating standards. One is Student Pilot, Club Pilot, Pilot and Advanced Pilot. Another is Level I to IV of piloting skill. The CIVL (International body governing all hang gliding and paragliding) has an international system which any country can adopt, and more importantly is used as a license to allow pilots to fly in foreign countries. This system is known as Parapro :
The history of paragliding has been written in a few years, where new barriers have been broken virtually every day. Today it may suffer from a hard case of the "Icarus Syndrome." It has developed into a full-blooded aviation activity, which means that it is no longer simple and easy to learn. It has become complex and potentially more dangerous for the "self-learners", while the opposite may be true for the ones that receive proper training.In the race for more efficient gliders and new developments (high aspect-ratio wings, power, thermal and cross country flying), one seems to forget too often that human nature needs time to learn to perform new tasks in a safe manner. The training methods are very often on the "ground skimming level", while reality calls for cross country and thermal flying.
If one looks at the history of paragliding with respect to the levels of flying that have been reached (limited to foot launched, no power paragliding), we see 5 distinct stages, similar to those involved in flight in hang gliders. However, in paragliding, the lowest two levels are combined, due to the greater ease of takeoff and landing and lower flight speeds in paragliders.
Accidents are most likely to happen when the pilot takes the step up to a higher stage. Each stage is followed by a more complex stage (a building block system) requiring new knowledge and skills. It is a natural "ladder" where a student should climb to progress safely in his paragliding career.We have additional stages like Aerobatic, Experimental and Power, all of which I personally consider unsafe for the general pilots at the present time. They should therefore only be performed by specialists using a strict professional program until safe methods are found to make them available to everyone.In addition to the stage system above, there are also other stages or steps a pilot may take, such as changing to another harness system, or learning to fly a new site or a new paraglider.Each time new stages are pioneered, or are being reached by the "self learning" pilots, there are an increase in accidents. Some of those accidents are unavoidable because of the pioneering nature of it (Lillienthal was the first one), while others could have been avoided simply by proper training.If one analyzes why most accidents caused by "pilot error" happen, one finds that they happen either because the pilot tries to perform a task or meet a condition he/she is not able to master, or he/she simply does something that should not be done.
Today we have all the material necessary to avoid most such accidents, either by the knowledge the paragliding community has collected itself or by the available knowledge through other aviation activities. Either we know how a task should be performed correctly or we know that there are clear limitations that we cannot safely exceed. (One sample of the latter is cloud flying. Any sane motor or paraglider pilot knows that this is dangerous, and it is hence unnecessary for paraglider pilots to rediscover this fact by killing themselves).Today, paragliding, along with other aviation activities, has most of the information needed to progress safely through the flying stages. All that is needed is to put all together in a training system.Let us have a closer look at the model of the stages:
The 5 stages of paragliding:
Accidents are most likely to happen when the pilot takes the step up to a higher stage. A training system should be designed to smooth out these steps with a natural progression to higher pilot ability. We fill in these steps with instruction.
GROUND SKIMMING (combined with stage 2) "Don't fly higher than you would care to fall!"
ALTITUDE GLIDING (Orange) "Altitude and space to maneuver, no soaring"
RIDGE SOARING (Green) "Soaring in non turbulent conditions"
THERMAL SOARING (Blue) "Soaring in turbulent conditions."
CROSS COUNTRY (Brown)
SKILL: Since paragliding is a practical activity, a pilot's ability can best be measured by his skill, which means his way of performing maneuvers, links of maneuvers and tasks, and how he masters flying conditions and new situations. He certainly also must show good AIRMANSHIP but that is not easily measured and difficult to diagram. A good instructor however is able to spot good airmanship often before the pilot is even in the air.KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE are only "tools" used to improve a pilot's SKILL and AIRMANSHIP and hence his ABILITY as a pilot. They are however of good value in the learning process and their value as such can hardly be overestimated. Left alone by themselves they are meaningless in measuring the pilot ABILITY.BASED on the above "facts" or statements, I have developed a training system, built on the 5 STAGES of PARAGLIDING as a natural progression for a pilot. I have also based the system mainly on the development and measurement of the pilot's SKILL, although the other 3 qualities have found their place.For instance, AIRMANSHIP is expressed by the fact that the pilot has either a STUDENT LICENCE, which means that he lacks the necessary AIRMANSHIP to take care of his own and others’ safety, or he has a PILOT LICENCE, showing he has the necessary AIRMANSHIP. In other words, a student pilot is one that is under a training system, controlled by an instructor, and all his flying shall be in accordance with the instructor guidelines. A pilot license shows that the holder is a pilot that is mature enough to take care of his own flying, seeking further instruction when he feels he needs it.
A pilot license does not mean that the holder is someone who does not need more instruction because "he knows it all", but merely that he can take care of himself at the stage he is at. When he wants to progress to a higher stage he seeks instruction, before he goes out on his own flying at that stage.
THE COLOR CODES (or "Black belt in Paragliding"): The stages in the system are color coded for easy identification. The idea is that the pilot (or student) will wear visible markings that identify him as a Student or a Pilot, as well as the stage he is on "signed off by an instructor". Apart from being a good site control system it has its values as a training aid. It is motivating and it gives the students and pilots insight in what they are up to by breaking down the way to the top into easily identifiable stages or blocks that seem attainable by most people.Note: The stages are given colors from yellow to brown. A "black" grade or Master grade may be considered as the top level. This grade should express the ultimate in Airmanship, Skill, Knowledge and Experience.
PARA PRO, general description
The objective of this program is to aid and assist the participants to progress safely in, enjoy the sport of paragliding, and become true airmen.This means that they must be able to enjoy the beauty and freedom of the sport, and not risk injury or restrictions due to their own and others’ lack of will and ability to take care of their safety, enjoyment and freedom.The ability of an airman is based on knowledge, skill, experience, personal qualities and attitudes, which take time to develop to a standard where one is able to operate alone within the objective above.The development of this ability is a matter of education, which is done most efficiently, enjoyably and safely through a planned program which motivates the student and pilots by helping them to reach easily definable and natural stages or goals, which gradually expands the operational freedom without jeopardizing safety.
The program consists of 5 natural stages, based on the development of the sport, and which give an excellent progression after the building block principle of learning. One progresses from the easy to the more difficult, from low to high, from basic to advanced, from simple to complicated, being careful not to leave any gaps on the way.The program also divides the participants into students and pilots which indicated whether they are able to operate alone or not.
1,2. Altitude gliding Orange Student
3. Ridge Soaring Green Pilot
4. Thermal Soaring Blue Pilot
5. Cross Country Brown Pilot
A student pilot is, as the name suggests, under training to become a pilot. He is considered to have limited ability to take care of his own and other people's safety.This means that he has not developed enough ability to evaluate all elements involved with regard to safety and based on this, make safe and sound decisions and act accordingly, without the supervision of an instructor.
A pilot should be able to take care of his own and other people's safety within applicable rules, regulations and code of good practice. When operating alone a pilot may encounter situations beyond his ability or judgement. This means that he must be able to evaluate all the elements involved with regard to safety, and based on this make safe and sound decisions and act accordingly, on his own, or to obtain further instruction, information and assistance at his own discretion.
Recommended training and safety limitationsStudents should always fly under the supervision of an instructor. Before all the rating requirements are met they should always fly under the direct supervision of an instructor.Students should only fly paragliders and harnesses suitable for students and which on they have been checked out on by the instructor. They should only do tuning and repairs when approved by the instructor.Students should only fly demonstration or competition flying at the stages they are rated for and always under the direct supervision of an instructor.
Pilots are expected to be familiar with and to follow all applicable national aeronautical regulations and local
flying site rules.
Pilots should not participate in demonstration, competition or other organized flying which requires higher standards than they are rated for.
Minimum age: To fly paraglider: the minimum recommended age is 16 years old, with the written permission of parent or guardian when below 18 years.
Students stage 1, 2 and 3 should be given the necessary lectures, briefings, oral discussions and written tests to ensure that the required knowledge needed to meet the objectives of the applicable stage, is acquired. The listed requirements are a guide to meet those objectives. They should not restrict anybody from giving additional instruction if found necessary. The methods of instruction may vary and are left to the discretion of the organizer/instructor.
Stage 3. Before a student is signed off to become a pilot, he should pass a written test on air law, applicable rules and regulations and code of good practice, to ensure that he has all the necessary knowledge to operate alone, safely and correctly at sites and in the air.Pilots stage 4 and 5, may at their own discretion acquire the required knowledge, either through attendance of lectures, briefings or through oral discussions and group or personal study.Before a student or a pilot is signed off at an applicable stage, the instructor or observer must be convinced that he meets the required standard of knowledge.
Students stage 1,2 & 3, should be given the necessary instruction in each of the practical skills. Before a skill is actually performed, the student should be given a theoretical briefing in the basic theory, the purpose, normal procedures, mistakes, faults and dangers and their corrections, as well as the acceptable safe criteria of performance.
Each skill should be practiced until the instructor is convinced that it is mastered within correct and safe procedures and limitations for the applicable stage. The skills may be signed off progressively as the above criteria is met. A special flight test is hence not necessary.Pilots stage 4 & 5, may at their own discretion, within acceptable safe methods, acquire the necessary instruction for each practical skill. Before the skills are signed off, they should be demonstrated to an instructor or observer, who should be convinced that they are mastered within safe procedures and limitations.
Experience is not, by itself, a measurement of pilot ability. It shall, however, ensure that the knowledge, skills and airmanship have been practiced a minimum number of times in various situations. Exercise, drill and practice are important in the learning process to meet the objective of all true learning which is: to effect behavioral changes.The experience requirements should be documented by a logbook or reliable witnesses. The instructor or observer should be convinced that the minimum requirements are met or he/she must require further proof.
The instructor or observer should be convinced that the student or pilot has the ability to take care of his own and others’ safety at the applicable stage, within applicable rules, regulations, recommended safety limitations and code of good practice.