This is a list of the commands we will be using during your first day of paragliding lessons. Please read these and become familiar with their meanings, as we will be using them over and over during your training.
Build a Wall
Use your "A's" and "Rears" to spread the wing out, clearing the lines from tangles, sticks, etc. You only need to bring the wing three feet off the ground to do this - NOT all the way overhead! Make sure you are positioned directly upwind of your glider for the best inflation.
Preflight is as easy as 123-ABCD
1 - Helmet strap buckled.
We won't actually add these to the list, but they are worth reviewing:
This word means bring the wing over your head by inflating it. Think about a kite when you pull on it to bring it up. Here you are going to bring your arms up, pulling on the A risers very symmetrically at the same time. The motion of your arms forces the wing to move forward and inflate. You may have to slow down your glider as it comes overhead, or it will overshoot you.
This is a very important term that you will hear a lot. "Contact" means that you are going to establish brake toggle control with your glider. When the glider is above your head, let go of the risers and keep the toggles in your hands. This allows you to feel the pressure in the brake lines and apply to correct amount of tension to keep the wing balanced overhead as you kite it.
There are two main issues: timing and quantity. The most important is the timing. It is important to establish "contact " at the right moment:
- If too early, when the glider is not above your head, will stop it and force it to fall on the ground.
- If too late, the glider will overshoot you (very likely inducing a frontal collapse).
The term "contact" also applies during kiting and launching. A good pilot is always "listening", "feeling" his glider ie. is always in contact with his glider. The pilot needs to make sure that the glider is always inflated. In practice that means that if you feel no tension in the lines or very little, pull on the toggle(s). Inversely, if you feel like your arm(s) is (are) being lifted, there is more tension in the line(s) and you need to lift the corresponding arm(s).
This expression refers to a very simple action. When the glider is above your head and stabilized, you can turn around and face the direction where you want to fly. Just rotate your body in the proper direction not to twist your risers. We recommend choosing one direction during your initial training and stick with it, so that you don' take the risk of confusion and find yourself with twisted risers just when you should be ready to launch. While you rotate, keep your hands out of the risers and keep your head back far enough to be behind the risers. As soon as you are facing the direction you want, lean forward through the risers into the "torpedo position" (see below).
This term refers to your glider and how it should stay above your head when you are taking off. During a flight, gravity is the force that keeps you underneath your glider in a stable pendulum. When you are still on the ground gravity cannot act and you have to compensate for it. You will be controlling the wing by moving laterally left or right under the glider while using the toggles to control the glider, as well as managing the wing's forward surge and falling back towards the ground. Practice will help you acquiring the sense of much correction you need to apply to achieve a good balance. See our Reverse Kiting Visualization for more on this.
This word refers to your body's position used when launching the glider. Lean forward on the chest strap, head and chin to the ground, driving the glider forward by running smoothly with bent knees, hands back, feeling brake pressure. Picture a torpedo - it pushes forward always, does not deviate from its target, and in our case, explodes into flight! A torpedo does not stand upright.
"Run" refers to running forward in torpedo position, controlling glider direction, usually during launch.
STOP running, launching or any other activity. Control your glider as necessary, and depending on conditions may include flare and/or turning to face the glider.
Find your sturrup
After launching and flying away from the hill for a few seconds, look down and locate your sturip then place one, then both feet on the stirrup. Look forward again before pushing and make sure you are in control of the direction you are flying.
Get back in your seat
Gently press your feet out and slide your butt back onto the seat, then roll your torso back into the comfortable support of your harness.
Look, lean, add brake
This command is given to start a turn and maintain the turn.
The instructor gives the command for a left turn, "LOOK LEFT, LEAN LEFT" and then as needed "ADD LEFT BRAKE" . The command for a right turn would be, "LOOK RIGHT, LEAN RIGHT" and then as needed "ADD RIGHT BRAKE".
First LOOK in the direction of the turn to make sure the area is clear. Then LEAN your body in the direction of the turn for a safe and efficient turn. ADD BRAKE by smoothly pulling down the brake toggle on the side to which you are turning. Increased brake pressure will steepen the turn. Do not pull the brake down past the carabiner!
Roll Out to level flight
This command is given to exit a turn and return to straight flight. Turn your head forward and look straight ahead, visually clearing the area of the new flight path. Then ease the pressure from the brake toggle, return to an upright seated position and center your weight in the harness. Brake pressure is eased until there is fairly even pressure on both brakes.
This command is given to provide you with the opportunity to take a deep breath, look around and enjoy the experience the flight.
When appropriate, the instructor can say "RELAX, TAKE A DEEP BREATH, LOOK UP AT YOUR WING FOR A MOMENT, THEN LOOK AROUND AND ENJOY YOUR FLIGHT". With all of the sensory overload this new experience can throw at a new pilot, the beauty of the moment can be missed if not given this simple command.
If you are still in a turn or considering one, Roll Out once again to level flight and look at the clear space ahead of you where you want to land. Do not focus on any person, vehicle, tree or other obstacle, because your focus will draw you towards that. Look at where you want to land.
Out of Your Seat
Slide your butt forward in the harness until you feel the legstraps hold your legs, and push your legs towards the ground by slightly arching your back. Then lean forward again in the Torpedo position, ready for landing. It will sometimes help some body types to put one foot forward and one back, simulating a frozen running position in the air. The idea here is you want your landing gear down when you come in to land. We like to see you do this at around 30 feet of altitude, well before you are near the ground so you can get balanced in the landing position before the Flare.
When you hear this command, pull your brake toggles all the way down and hold them below your seat. The timing on the flare is critical, and often you will want to squeeze the flare instead of slamming it. If you have made a good approach, have some energy in your glider as you land and are landing into a light headwind, you will be able to squeeze the flare over 3 to 5 seconds, holding your feet just a foot or two off the ground as you complete pulling the toggles under the seat. However, if you have just completed a turn and are surprised by the ground coming up quickly, or if you unexpectedly hit a parcel of sinking air, or you are not controlling the surging of your glider, it may be necessary to flare quickly - slamming the brakes immediately all the way down below your seat and holding them there until you contact the ground.
Gather Your Wing
First, stow your brake toggles by clipping or snapping them to the risers. Always do a Turn, that is, bring one side of your risers and lines over your head and turn toward the glider. Do this even if the glider has fallen to the side, or overflown you and landed in front of you. We will sort out any tangles when you return to the top of the hill. DO NOT step over any lines or risers! If the lines have fallen all around you, stay in one place and bring all of the lines over your head to one side, then face the glider. Gather the glider as described in your First Day Lesson.