The thrill of speed flying and paragliding creates passion in those who yearn to explore. However, for skydivers-turned- speed flyers or paragliders who may not have a dedicated flying location nearby, staying current takes on a unique shape and significance. In this blog, we'll talk about the importance of staying current in these disciplines, especially for those facing geographical constraints, and explore how kiting and ground practice become invaluable allies.
Evolution of Paragliding/Speed Flying Equipment:
Staying current in equipment knowledge is paramount, regardless of your proximity to a flying site. These days there are many different styles of wings that serve different purposes. Even if you can't take to the skies regularly, keeping up with advancements in gear remains crucial. For skydivers turned speed flyers or paragliders in remote areas, understanding the latest developments in equipment ensures you are equipped with the safest and most efficient tools when you finally get airborne. I often see people buying older speed wings and harnesses that do not have back protection or an airbag. Talk to your mentor/instructor about where you will be flying about the type of flying you will be doing. They will help you get into the right type of wing needed and the safety equipment necessary as mistakes can happen.
Weather Conditions and Meteorological Knowledge:
Living far from a flying location doesn't exempt you from the impact of weather on your flights. Stay abreast of meteorological conditions, as they significantly affect flying, even during ground practice. Monitoring weather forecasts and understanding local conditions helps you make informed decisions, whether you're soaring through the air or practicing kiting.
Paragliding and Speed Flying Skill Maintenance and Training:
Geographical constraints or free time may limit your actual flying, but they shouldn't hinder your commitment to skill maintenance. If you can't take to the skies regularly, engage in consistent kiting sessions and ground practice. Simulating flight scenarios, refreshing emergency procedures, and attending online courses contribute to maintaining proficiency and confidence, even when your feet are firmly on the ground. SKYDIVERS you typically have large wide open areas where you jump at and these are perfect areas for breaking out the wing for some kiting in between jumps.
Community Engagement and Ground Practice:
For those in remote areas, community engagement becomes a lifeline. Connect with the speed flying and paragliding community through online forums, discussions, and events. Even if you can't take part in regular flights, participating in the community provides a wealth of knowledge and support. Additionally, ground practice, such as kiting, launching drills, and simulated take-offs, becomes a vital means of staying connected with the sport and honing your skills, even when your usual flying site is out of reach.
Whether you're temporarily grounded by geographic limitations, free time, or weather, staying current in speed flying and paragliding require dedication. Kiting and ground practice serve as a continuous connection with the sport. This commitment not only refines your skills but also ensures you're ready to launch safely. It's crucial to dispel the notion that transitioning from skydiving to speed flying or paragliding is a casual leap. This isn't a sport where you can simply pack your wings for a vacation and expect to navigate the skies safely. The distinctions between skydiving and these disciplines, especially considering the differences of the wings involved, require a keen understanding. Very few skills transfer between these sports. Speed flying and paragliding demand respect — they are pursuits that necessitate commitment, passion, and a relentless dedication to safety. In this, success isn't just about the flight; it's about the ongoing journey and the responsible respect of the skies.