Paragliding in competitions can be very intimidating and stressful for the inexperienced pilot but it can also be a very interesting and entertaining game played by the experienced and properly prepared pilot.

Preparation is probably the most important factor in ensuring a successful result in Paragliding competitions.

So where do we start?



Paragliding-Cape-Town-Comps-Barberton – Pic by Eugene Claase

1) Equipment

You have to be 100% familiar with your equipment, from your harness setup, the reserve, the electronic equipment setup to the most important piece of your equipment, the glider. You have to be 100% confident and comfortable with the complete speed range of your glider. Flying a glider which is too “hot” will just cause you to experience unnecessary stress and will influence your decision making during the Task

2) Familiarise

You have to familiarise yourself with the flying site. Take a look at previous tasks that have been flown at this site on Leonardo. Study the tracklogs. Try to memorise the altitude levels of all the peaks on the ridge or mountain.

Try to fly on the practice day before the comp. Speak to the local “Skygods”. Any advice from the locals can be extremely valuable.



3) Task briefing

Make sure that you understand the task and that it is correctly inserted into your gps. Look at the map and try to visualize the task. It is very important to know where all the turnpoints are as well as the sequence.



On your instrument:

1. Input all waypoints.
2. Verify the number of waypoints and total distance of the task are correct.
3. Verify all cylinder diameters.
4. Set up the start and verify start diameter, EXIT or ENTRY START, and start time.
5. Activate route

Write down the Task on a piece of masking tape and stick this on your GPS instrument. Also make sure to add the turnpoint cylinder diameters and the start cylinder parameters on this task sheet.

4) Window open

Make sure that you are ready to launch before the window opens. Check everything and by everything I mean :

Harness, glider lines, reserve handle, flight deck and instruments, spare batteries, water in your ballast bag ( if necceassary), Camelbak filled with water, in flight snacks like Energade jellys, gloves, balaclava, helmet, sunglasses and suncreen.



In the next article we will discuss the in flight tactics.

Stephan Kruger

Stephan Kruger

Owner & Founder of Fly Cape Town Paragliding at Fly Cape Town Paragliding
Stephan is the owner of Fly Cape Town Paragliding. He is an avid tandem, competition and aerobatics paragliding pilot He loves to share the joy of paragliding flight with anyone who is keen...He is also a qualified paragliding instructor and a paragliding endurance athlete.
Stephan Kruger