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Top Gun References

We recently graduated a   CF-18 Hornet Pilot from our Top Gun P2 Novice Paragliding Pilot program.  Read about his impressions of iParaglide.

iParaglide Location

We are the only paragliding resource center conveniently located in downtown Vancouver at 1238 Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, for all your paragliding needs.

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We are central to paragliding sites in the Vancouver, Chilliwack, Pemberton, Whistler, Bellingham and Seattle area so students enjoy maximum variety and we can work with weather to optimize selection of the best location each day.

Right Stuff Equipment

We regularly test fly the latest paragliding gear and select only the very finest for our iParaglide Right Stuff Paragliding Equipment Store. This ensures our paraglider pilots enjoy a state of the art performance and safety advantage to accelerate their learning curve.

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Saturday
Apr192014

Paragliding Discovery Theory

We had a great group of new student pilots at our recent Discovery Theory class. This course is designed to be the foundation of key concepts on which to build the paragliding pilots entire library of theory for flying.

As instructors, one of the most important things we can do is to teach core concepts in a classroom environment as a priori to other activity. In this manner, new pilots understand why paragliders work as they do and thereby are empowered to accelerate their progression when it comes time for practical application at the training hill and during high mountain flights.    

The evening began with the multimedia presentation of The Sky is Your Playground, originally shown at the 2013 Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival. Playground is a guided tour of paragliding, from taking your first steps off the ground to flying ever greater adventures in the sky.  With dramatic images from around the world and breathtaking videos to inspire all that seek to soar with hawks and eagles.

We had a break for the always delicious Romano's Pizza and the new pilots had the opportunity to mix and mingle.

Then we dove into the heart of paragliding with the key concepts:

  • Why Paragliders Fly - Basic Aerodynamics
  • Paragliding Control Positions and Flight Attitudes
  • Choosing Safe Wind Limits for Launch, Flight and Landing
  • 20 Point Paragliding Pre-Flight Checklist
  • Launch Run Sequencing and Commands
  • Stabilizing Pitch, Roll and Yaw
  • Transitioning to Flight and Sitting after Takeoff 
  • How to Turn Safely at Various Bank Angles
  • Reserve Deployment
  • Airspeed, Windspeed and Groundspeed
  • Optimum Flight Plans for Safety
  • Crabbing
  • 10 Key Rules for Great Landings
  • Standard Aircraft and Figure 8 Approach for Landing
  • Final and Flaring  

 

Lots of "aha" moment smiles emerged throughout the evening and we really enjoyed teaching this new group. 

By the end of the evening the new pilots were all fully prepared for their upcoming training hill and mountain flights. 

We thank all for their enthusiastic participation and look forward to their continuing education with upcoming training hill flights, mountain flights and the upcoming iP1 Theory night.

Wishing a great new season and many fun and safe flights to all!

 

Thursday
Apr032014

Virgin Kiting Video

Hello Pilots!

You may have a laugh at my expense!

I'm a new paragliding student with a little slope soaring, zero mountain launch but probably 25 hours or more of groundhandling time.

I've bought a new wing in a fun size! Something that will actually hold me up in the air: an Icaro Twice TE Small which is really a small tandem wing, but fits me perfectly!

Anyhoo... I was in Duncan yesterday (Wed, April 2nd) a beautiful sunny day so I took my paraglider with me as I knew I'd have a little time to do some ground handling and kite my new wing for the first time! It proved how important practice is as I found myself a little rusty: zigging when I should have zagged type of thing! :D

I've attached a little video of my adventure which was not only the first paraglider inflations but my first attempt at video & editing! I have to admit: my editing is better than my ground handling: that's how rusty I was!

Looking forward to the flying season!

Friday
Mar282014

Flight Club Season Opener April 4@18:30  

With spring apon us, we are kicking off the season with our traditional Flight Club season opener:

  • Friday night April 4 at 18:30 at the Yaletown Brew Pub (1111 Mainland Street @ Helmcken)

Great opportunity to meet up with like minded friends and plan new paragliding adventures.

An upbeat location in Yaletown's high energy district, enjoy a few drinks knowing you can get home safely by Skytrain at Roundhouse Station. 

 

At the hostess stand ask for paragliding "Flight Club" and we have a table reserved on the Pub side. 

We look forward to a flying Friday night!

Hope to see you all there. 

 

Thursday
Mar132014

Soaring at the Outdoor Adventure Show

Great time at the Outdoor Adventure Show at the Vancouver Convention Center this last weekend. Thanks to Degas for helping provide the audio hardware setup for The Sky is Your Playground, a multimedia presentation that had visitors minds soaring!

We had our paragliding simulator up for prospective pilots to try sitting in a harness and learn the basics of body posture in flight, weight shift and turns.

Thanks to the entire team of iParaglide students who volunteered their time at the booth: James, Ronan, Mark, Mike, Bill, Kevin, Andre, Degas and Camila.  Their enthusiasm for the sport showed through their positive energy and ability to answer new prospective pilots many questions.

Bill came through with his van to help us get moved out in record time.

With weather suitable for first time paraglider pilots just around the corner, we look forward to our first Discovery Solo Theory Session on March 26, Flight Club on April 4 and a full season of paragliding adventure to come!

See you all soon in the sky...

Monday
Mar032014

Addressing Fear

Monday, the Italian paragliding routine here in Bassano Del Grappa continues with one slight variation. The east wind from the evening before is persisting and requires a relocation in terms of launches. 

Which brings us to...

Costalunga.

This south east facing paragliding launch site is maybe five gliders wide and three gliders long with a steep grade, tall uncut grass, and framed at the bottom by thorned bushes and 10 meter tall trees.

What's there not to love about Costalunga?

Reality is, given a good wind, all I need is enough room to lay out and take two steps. That knowledge and confidence comes from experience. But experience gives the test first and the lesson afterwards.

Simply put, to the inexperienced, this site can be intimidating.

Costalunga is a test. One of many new pilots will face as they grow their experience base, reducing the need to fall though the overdraft flow of judgement->skill->luck->insurance. The test of the sort Costalunga provides has a. and b. answer options:

a. trust.
b. fear.

Do we trust our knowledge of wind interaction with terrain to chose the optimal layout location and orientation? Do we trust out knowledge of paraglider preparation to ensure the glider is laid out in such a manner that we have span wise tension on the leading edge and that the wing tips are arranged to ensure an even inflation? Do we trust our launch skills to the degree that we will bring glider up evenly, on heading, with surge check, and start an aggressive run. Do we trust our connection with the glider to the degree that we can sense something is off and have the ability to correct it or abort immediately?

If the answer to any of these is no, then fear begins to enter the equation. Fear, the insidious negator of skill, can quickly become a self fulfilling prophecy for a paraglider pilot.

Overcoming fear first requires identification. Is the fear rational or irrational. Irrational fear is a nervousness of the unknown masking our ability to accurately judge our skill level against the challenge standing  before us.

This fear can be quickly crushed by one simple question, "Why am I afraid?"

With this question, we change the fear into a rational one by identifying short comings in our skill and go about correcting them. If there are shortcomings, we need to ground ourselves for this flight and head back to the more controlled environment of a training hill, so we can polish our skills and come back empowered. Or alternatively, we may negate the fear by realizing that our judgment and skill bases are up to the task, we simply hadn't synergized our toolset to face this particular type of challenge before.

Fear, fear is important. It allows us to find holes in our skill base and correct them. Filling these holes enables us to build trust both in ourselves and our equipment, so that when we face the test again, we can confidently chose a. and get on with having an amazing flight.

So when faced with the unknown and doubt begins to creep in, ask "Why am I afraid?".

As for Costalunga, not so intimidating anymore.