Low flights is gliding near the ground over smooth terrain, normally not
above 5 meters. Altitude gliding is gliding with enough height and distance
from the terrain to be able to maneuver relatively freely.
INSTRUCTIONAL AND SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS:
The objectives of this stage are to introduce the student to paragliding by
a progression through first low flights (the first stage) and then altitude
gliding (the second stage) and make him able to practice and enjoy this
within safe limitations, as well as to prepare him for the next stage.
This stage is probably the most important in the whole progression of the
student, since it is here the basis for good "or bad" habits is founded. One
shall in safe closeness to the ground, fly easy equipment, in easy hills and
conditions, to gain confidence in flying, the equipment and also oneself and
practice and learn the basic skills.
The student shall then gradually become accustomed to flying well clear off
the ground, and lose possible height anxiety (allow for individual
progression). One must now plan and prepare for each flight and one finds
that one is actually safer with altitude that gives time and space to
maneuver and correct for possible mistakes.
One learns and practices the basic maneuvers, such as speed control
including slow flying, coordinated turns, and combinations of those,
correction for wind drift and precision approaches and landings. The latter
proves that one has mastered the other maneuvers with sufficient planning
and precision. The key word is planning that starts even before takeoff and
continues all the time. One must be ahead of the events, observe, evaluate,
decide and act accordingly. This "process of flying" is vital in all
aviation, also at the higher stages.
Warning must be given against attempts to take off in cross-, down-, gusty
or strong winds and to fly in unstable or turbulent conditions or in lift.
At the beginner hill, one should not practice slow flight and stalls (except
for landings) or more than gentle turns with only small diversions form the
In the intermediate hill, poor planning, preparations and takeoff techniques
may have the most serious consequences. All maneuvers should be done into
the wind to avoid drifting into the hill or too far off and hence not be
able to reach the landing area. Advanced maneuvers, like 360° turns, pylon
flying and slow flying should be performed with extra caution and sufficient
height and distance to the terrain to allow for corrections or recovery if
control is lost. Turns, downwind flying and airspeed below speed for best
glide angle close to the ground should be avoided. Approach should be
planned in good time, and started with good height.
After all rating requirements have been met: The student should, when flying
without the direct supervision of an instructor only fly in beginner or
intermediate hills with light to medium (0-3 m/s, 0-15 km/h, 0-10 mph),
smooth winds. Takeoffs should only be done in approximately headwind. Lift
or turbulence should be avoided, or if this is not possible, flown straight
through (away from the hill) to calmer conditions in order to land in the
ordinary landing area. One should also avoid flying alone.
A beginner hill is a hill with smooth terrain, preferable snow, sand, grass
or gravel, with a profile that allow for low flights with the type of
paraglider in use. The takeoff and landing areas and the area between should
be free of obstacles and other hazards with a good margin to either side. It
should be possible to do the whole flight in close to a straight line.
An intermediate hill is a hill where takeoff, landing area and the flight
path between them is considered to be easy and with good margins to any
obstacle or other safety hazards. The takeoff area should be smooth with a
profile that allows for acceleration to flying speed before getting airborne
(no cliff launch). The landing area should be large and easy to reach by
normal maneuvering with a good margin of height. There should be established
two-way communication between takeoff and landing if the landing area cannot
be seen from takeoff.
Before progressing to the next stage it is of vital importance that the
student knows the theory as well as mastering all practical skills,
especially airspeed control in the lower speed range and that he is able to
recognize and correct for nearness to stalls. This applies to both straight
flight and turns.
To gain a minimum of experience, the student is recommended to practice a
minimum of 4 flying days and 20 flights, after all rating requirements are
1. Lift: Difference in pressure created by: profile, airspeed and angle of
attack. Low pressure over the wing, high pressure under the wing. Definition
of: relative wind, even "laminar" airflow.
2. Lift factors: airfoils "wing profile", area, aspect ratio, air density,
airspeed, angle of attack. Internal pressure in the wing, how influenced by
use of brakes.
3. Resistance/Drag: Parasitic, induced, relation to airspeed and angle of
attack. More drag when paraglider is behind the pilot on the ground than
4. The nature of flying: One is always dependent on continuous forward
airspeed in order to keep flying, one can not stop or reverse.
5. Load: Weight, G-force. Forces in turns, lift gradients gusts and
turbulence. Opening shocks.
6. Driving forces:
a. On the ground: By running.
b. In the air: The principle of the inclined plane: In flying without engine
one is always going down (related to the air around you) because gravity is
the driving force.
7. Airspeed versus Groundspeed. Wind effects: Why to take off and land into
the wind. Head or tail wind, wind drift and crabbing, drift and corrections
8. Stalls: Description, dangers, recognition, avoidance and recovery. In
turns, accelerated, secondary, in wind and lift gradients, downwind, in
gusts and turbulence.
9. Frontal collapses: Both asymmetrical (one wingtip)" and symmetrical (both
wingtips or entire leading edge). Description, dangers, recognition,
avoidance and recovery. In turns, gusts and turbulence.
10. Spins, Spirals, Skids and Slips. Negative spins: Description,
recognition, avoidance and recovery.
11. Wing tip vortices: Turbulence behind all aircraft, how to avoid
collapses therefrom. Ground effect.
12. Control movements and principles: Airspeed control and turning. Use of
brakes versus weight-shift.
13. Airspeeds and speed polars: Minimum sink and best glide angle, relation
between airspeeds in head-and tail-wind and varied wing loading.
Micrometeorology (site conditions) and meteorology:
1. Wind, description and creation: Airflow from high to low pressure.
Created by uneven heating of the surface. "Samples: Water flow. The sea
2. Wind measurement, wind meters, natural indicators and signs:
a. Velocity: Knots, MPH or m/s.
b. Directions: Compass and quadrant (head or up, tail or down, crosswind).
3. The wind force: Increases proportionally with the square of the wind
velocity increase. Effects, dangers.
4. Wind gradient: Effect, dangers, corrections.
5. Uneven wind/gusts, turbulence and lift: Causes, signs, dangers.
a. Mechanical turbulence: Behind or lee of obstructions, trees, buildings,
b. Thermal turbulence: Instability, uneven heating, dangers, recognition.
c. Wind shifts: Gusts and dangers.
d. Wind shears: Descriptions, dangers.
6. Local conditions: Terrain effects, valleys, around obstructions and
7. Weather: Creation, heat and pressure differences, stability/ instability,
circulation, wind systems.
8. Sea breeze: Creation, effects.
9. Waves: Rotors. Behind mountains, signs and dangers.
10. Ridge effects: Descriptions, kinds, gradients, dangers.
11. Thermals: Description, instability, turbulence, signs.
12. Clouds: Cumulus, cumulonimbus, rotor clouds, dangers.
13. Air masses and Fronts: Cold fronts, warm fronts, signs and conditions.
14. Weather reports and evaluation:
a. Weather reports: Signs, interpretation.
b. Reading wind: direction and force, at takeoff and landing, along the
flight path, indicators.
c. Recognition of safe and dangerous conditions.
1. Construction and Terminology: Materials and parts.
2. Airworthiness standards and requirements: Design and certification,
purpose and need. Design maximum loads, maneuvering limitations, stability,
stall characteristics, maneuverability, speed range, pilot weight and
3. Handling: Control response. Roll, pitch and yaw coupling. Stability, slow
flight and stalls, B-lining, takeoff and landing characteristics. Effect of
accelerators or speed systems.
4. Maintenance: Daily and periodical inspection and care, qualified tuning
5. Selection of gliders: Rating and experience, type of flying, performance,
handling and weight range. Use and ambitions. Appropriate model rating for
students: Standard rating (not Performance or Competition rating).
6. Selection of harnesses: Types of harnesses, weight-shift or classic, use
of cross-bracing. Rating and experience.
7. Performance: Minimum sink, maximum glide, maximum speed, penetration,
8. Safety equipment: Helmet, boots, gloves, clothing. Dorsal protection and
hip protection. Airbags.
1. Physical factors: Fitness, strength, exhaustion. Drugs and alcohol.
2. Psychological factors: Anxiety and fear of height. Recognition of own
ability and limitations versus natural and equipment limitations. Confidence
versus overconfidence (The Icarus syndrome). Group and personal pressures
and approval, saying no, the walk down. Self discipline.
3. The learning process and environment: The training system, objectives,
description, safety, motivation, individual progress.
4. Conduct/ Airmanship:
a. The nature of flying: One is always dependent on continuous forward
airspeed in order to keep flying, one can not stop or reverse.
b. The process of flying: Insight, continuous evaluations, decisions,
actions. With regard to the nature of flying, being ahead.
c. The commando principle: The necessity of completing every started flight.
The danger of panic.
1. Government or other official authorities.
a. Airspace and Air traffic: Controlled and uncontrolled airspace and
airports, VFR/IFR traffic and rules, right of way rules.
b. Other rules.
2. National Paragliding Association.
3. School and training.
4. Local and sites.
5. Code of good practice.
6. Right of way rules.
1. Instructional and safety recommendations.
2. Flight planning: The process of flying: Information/observation,
evaluation, decisions and execution. Making a flight plan.
3. Preparations: Standard routines and checks, double checks of critical
4. Flying exercises: The practical skill requirements: Description,
intention, procedures, execution, errors and dangers.
5. Critical, dangerous and emergency situations: Their causes, avoidance,
recognition, corrections. Applicable training methods "simulations".
a. Poor preparation: Equipment failures and malfunctions.
b. Ground handling in gusts and strong winds: Loss of control. Being
dragged, avoidance, prevention.
c. Stalls: Level flight, in turns, low, high, in takeoff, in gradient, in
gusts, in turbulence, in "unexpected" lift, downwind, downwind turns in
d. Poor takeoff techniques: Poor control of paraglider, poor airspeed and
directional control. Over-control, turn back to hill. Getting into harness,
release of brakes to accomplish same.
e. Wind conditions: Wind strength, crosswind, gusts and turbulence,
unexpected lift, drift into hill, wind gradient.
f. Crashing/ Emergency landings: Avoidance, preparations.
g. Takeoffs above 1500m: Air density decreases. True airspeed increases.
h. Critical maneuvers: Flying close to terrain and obstructions, stalls and
slow flight, 360? turns, spins, spiral dives, pylon flying. Takeoff in wind
without assistance, particularly near cliffs.
i. Unfamiliarity: With sites, conditions, paraglider or harness, maneuver or
j. Physical and Physiological factors: Stress, pressure, exhaustion, fear,
drugs and alcohol.
k. Poor airmanship: Overestimating own ability and/or underestimating sites,
conditions, equipment or task.
l. Vertigo: Flying with reduced visibility.
m. Combinations: Of two or more of the above multiplies the risk of
n. Emergency maneuver: Use of parachutes, prevention of down-planing of
paraglider after parachute deployment. Landings in water, trees, rough
terrain, obstructed areas, electrical wires.
o. Accidents: Assistance and reports.
First Aid: In accordance with appropriate authority's recommendations.
1. Transport, care and maintenance of paraglider and equipment. Accordion
vs. rolled fold up. Proper stowing of lines and risers.
2. Pre and post flight routines: Laying out, making a horseshoe, "building a
wall", adjustments, preflight checks, line and carabiner control, harness
control, attachment of cross-bracing and speed system. Packing up.
3. Takeoff position and final check: Position of risers and toggles. Body
and arm position. Final check.: Of carabiners and cross-bracing, conditions,
4. Takeoff exercises: The paraglider to flying position: Determined, correct
running to get the paraglider up. Checking the paraglider visually. Letting
go of front risers. Correcting problems. Continue running, smooth
acceleration, no jumping into harness.
5. Running with paraglider: Controlling position of paraglider and angle of
attack and roll, on flat ground and on a slope.
6. Stalling and stopping a run: On flat ground and on a slope. Correct
landing technique. Not flaring too soon.
7. Flight planning: Evaluating site and conditions. Decisions, giving a
8. Takeoff: Takeoff position. Smooth acceleration and lift off, with correct
airspeed and good directional control.
9. Speed control: Best glide angle speed, no tendency of slow flight or
10. Directional control: Maintaining heading, smooth course corrections,
avoidance of oscillations.
11. Shallow turns: Coordinated entry and recovery, small diversions from
12. Landings: Directly into wind.
1. Planning: Insight, evaluation of site and conditions, decisions, giving a
2. Preflight routines: Repetition of Part 1, spreading, adjustment,
3. Takeoffs: Start position, final check, smooth acceleration, lift off at
correct speed, good speed and directional control.
4. Speed control maneuvers: Best glide angle and minimum sink speed.
5. Turns: 90?-180?, gentle to medium bank, left and right, coordinated.
6. Slow flight: Recognition and recovery "at safe altitudes".
7. Ground reference maneuvers: Figure 8-turns and rectangular patterns,
correcting for wind-drift.
8. Traffic rules: Maneuvering according to other traffic.
9. Landing patterns: Following planned procedure. Approach with downwind,
base and final legs. Figure 8-turns. Control of gradient.
10. Turning and landing only by the use of the rear risers "simulation of
11. Precision approaches and landings: Safe and standing inside an area
preset by the instructor. Slow flight and mushing is not allowed.
1. A minimum of 6 flying days.
2. A minimum of 30 successful flights, of which at least 10 are altitude
The instructor should be convinced that the student is able to take care of
his own and others' safety, while flying low or altitude gliding within the
instructional and safety recommendations given.