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How to get good at paragliding

Friday 2 August, 2013
Paragliding coach Pat Dower. Photo: Ruth Churchill-Dower

Paragliding coach Pat Dower. Photo: Ruth Churchill-Dower

Learning is straightforward, but becoming a good pilot is a blend of art, science and attitude. In issue 148 paragliding coach Pat Dower speaks to some top pilots and looks at the free-flight learning curve.

Can you fast-track your progression? What are the dangers of going too far too fast? How did the best pilots get to be the best?

How can we push our boundaries without putting ourselves in hospital or worse? At least part of the answer is to make progress in lots of small steps rather than giant leaps. Take for example learning which clouds are safe to fly close to and which are not.

The way to approach that is to gain as much knowledge as you can about what to expect and how to deal with it, and then make a really conservative start. Provided everything goes ok, next time try a slightly bigger cloud and so on. Much better than circling up to a big black monster, when you’ve never been to base before!

The full in-depth article, illustrated with the brilliant photography of Alexandre Buisse is in Cross Country 148.

Read more in issue 148

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