If youve ever looked at paragliders soaring high above the ground and thought I could never do something like that!, then this weeks post is for you. At Fly Cape Town, paragliding is our livelihood and safety is our top concern. After all, how could we share the joy of this sport with others if we were putting them at risk?
The truth is that taking to the skies isnt nearly as scary as it might appear. You can rest easy knowing why:
1) Paragliding is the calmest way to fly
Though its commonly labeled as an extreme sport, paragliding doesnt have the sort of physical intensity of, say, wingsuit flying or kiteboarding. Its actually a quite serene experience theres no free-falling sensation, no need for lightning-quick reaction times, and no wrestling of your craft against powerful wind forces. Gentle pulls on the suspension lines alter the shape of the wing above us, changing direction and pitch and we simply glide on towards the next thermal pocket (or the landing zone).
2) Incidents are exceedingly rare
Any airborne sport (any sport at all, really) comes with a certain level of risk, but statistically paragliding is one of the safest ways to get around. Incidents (which include everything from major malfunctions to slight irregularities that result in scrapes and bumps) happen on the scale of a dozen or so annually and thats across the entire country of South Africa according to the South African Hang Gliding & Paraglidings reports. Statistics also indicate that the majority of these occurrences involve international pilots who are visiting the country, who may be unfamiliar with regional topography and weather conditions. Thats not a problem youll have with local companies like Fly Cape Town.
3) We take every precaution
Paragliding is really as safe as you make it and at Fly Cape Town, we prepare accordingly. Were licensed by the South African Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association, as is required by the Civil Aviation Act. Our gear is top-notch and painstakingly maintained, and our pilots are trained extensively in on-the-fly safety decision-making.
We can also easily recognize weather conditions that may put pilots in danger, and plan around them. Theres simply no reason to launch with unnecessarily elevated risk factors so we dont.