To succeed in paragliding, it is not necessary to be in exceptional physical condition. However, it is essential to master the techniques of flight and to have good quality equipment. A good physical and technical preparation and a good learning of safety rules allow paragliders to practice their passion in safety.
What are the possible problems in paragliding?
Even if they are minimised through good practice, the risks associated with paragliding are real. Being aware of them allows paragliders to reduce them and prevent certain problems.
Bad weather represents a great danger that should not be neglected. A strong gust of wind can cause you to pitch in mid-flight. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to check the weather forecast before flying. In addition, an anemometer is essential to estimate the wind strength and direction. This will give you a clear idea of the risk of turbulence. Beware, spring conditions are not the same as those you may have experienced in the autumn before packing up your paraglider for the winter, it's really much stronger, and you probably didn't fly again...
The site of the flight is one of the risk factors. If you are flying from rocky or rough terrain, emergency landing areas will be limited. Sites without wind indicators should also be avoided.
Beware of crowded sites, and just because there are wings in the air does not mean that conditions are good for you! Moreover, if the site is overcrowded, be careful to respect the priority rules...
Many pilots take great risks in mid-air without having the necessary technical expertise to succeed in these manoeuvres. Therefore, it is recommended to start flying on easy sites or safe areas that require very simple techniques. Depending on your level of paragliding, we recommend that you start by flying a tandem paraglider with an experienced pilot. He will be able to share his advice and analysis with you during the flight, which will certainly benefit you during your first solo flights.
How to react in case of incidents?
Avoid flying close to other aircraft to prevent wake drag. It is recommended that you hold your canopy tightly to prevent it from collapsing. If you have a problem with the brake controls, it is advisable to steer in the harness or fly with the rear risers. Some pilots may take off without having fastened their leg straps. This can cause them to fall too low in their harnesses. In this case, they must find support with their feet to regain the right position.
How to practice this sport safely?
To prevent the risks associated with paragliding, it is advisable to wear adequate protection such as helmets, back protectors on the harnesses, foam, air bags... emergency parachutes in good condition, air it and have it serviced from time to time. It is advisable to exercise, especially in the legs, to keep in good physical condition. Running on uneven ground will help to strengthen your ankles. Don't forget to hydrate continuously every 45 minutes. Take courses on weather and air conditions to minimise the risks associated with this activity.
If the weather doesn't seem to be on your side, or the wind is too strong, then wait, or give up, it's the best gift you can give yourself, not to be in the sky when you don't want to be there!
But the biggest risk of this activity, is to get a taste for it and therefore to want to do only that !