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Flight Planning

Before you take off you should do a weather, site, equipment and self analysis and formulate a flight plan and create an objective for your flight.  Then be able to adapt your flight plan to changing conditions.

 

Self Analysis
You should know your own performance and currency level.  Assess how you are feeling that day physically and emotionally. 

Equipment Assess what equipment you are flying, is it the right level for you in these conditions?  is any of it new?  Changing your harness feels as different as changing your paraglider.  You should only ever introduce one new thing at a time.  (harness, glider, flying site, new exercise) This allows you to compare things accurately and has statistically proved a lot safer.  When more than one thing is new then exercise caution and plan a very safe flight well within your capabilities.

You are much better to fly 100% of a lower performing paraglider than to fly 20% of  a high performance one with the added risks.  What makes a good pilot is a good skill level and this takes time to build up safely.

There is no need to push yourself too hard,  stay within your safety limits and allow yourself to progress slowly as your confidence and ability grows.

Site Analysis
What kind of flights are possible from this site?  There may be a few different options depending on the weather conditions. Where are the landing fields?

Weather Analysis
What is the weather like? What is the forecast  How do you think it is going to develop.  What are the potential flights today with the weather conditions you have. Use other pilots and birds in the sky to see what the climb rates are like and where the lift is. Its no good planning a thermic XC flight from a low coastal soaring site on a cloudy day.  You will feel disappointed. Timing is very important.  If you take off just as the hill goes into shadow and the suns energy gets shut off then the thermals will die.  Sometimes launching early is best as soon as you know you can stay up - otherwise it can get too windy to takeoff.  You should know your own site or speak to a local.

You should know which direction you are going to head in as you take off.  If the wind is across the site your first soaring beat should be into wind. 

How crowded is the flying site? Is it suitable for your level?  If not just wait a bit until traffic dies down and you feel comfortable or fly away from the crowds and enjoy your own bit of the sky with a constant scanning.

You use the above elements to plan your flight and set an objective.  Even if it it a top to bottom.  This is your flight plan.