Recently i made a podcast with Cloudbase Mayham, thanks to Gavin McClurg !
I missed to understand the last question, and responded hastily. I think it’s an important one about what should i do if i want to rewind my flying career and also an advise to new comers to the sport.
Here it is :
Since i was pretty alone and new to the sport at that time, it was difficult to act differently. The best thing i did is that i kited my glider and played on the sea cliffs several hours every day, even when there was no wind to lift the glider.
At that time i purchased a movie “Flamengo dunes” and tried to discover little by little how to soar in strong wind. These were the old days without any proper guidance. I know it shouldn’t be done like that but it was my only way to move forward. It actually gave me lot of excitement and pleasure in discovering. I also bought “Gerald Delorme” illustrated first books about how to fly. Those were super cool, funny and by far my favorite books to read and read again every day…
Paragliding is an easy sport to learn. Its quite easy for a student to fly in the first days ! But that’s not the point and it’s not recommended if the pilot doesn’t know how to control his glider on the ground.
Any new comer must kite his glider for many hours in order to understand how it works. With a little bit of wind later, playing with the glider will never have to end.
Even for me after 30 years, my best spot is a small cliff with the right wind, i would float weightlessly and fly just a few centimeters from the ground.
“Mastering your glider in soaring and kiting is your strongest point in the air” (Patrick Berot)
Anyone taking the stairs down without looking carefully where to step, can fall with serious consequences. As paragliding is an easy sport to learn, there’s lots to understand before taking off into the sky. But once the teachings are understood by qualified instructors and also by serious passionate students, then flying will become safe, enjoyable, and the most beautiful dream you will ever have.
Low B gliders or gliders that has around 5 aspect ratio for 2019 which are marketed by their manufacturer as an easy intermediate B glider, will be mostly enough to begin your first XC, after your school glider.
Even in the hands of good pilots, those cool B’s will deliver impressive and long cross country flights.
So when to change a glider for a newcomer ?
When you have mastered your ‘first’ glider in every condition for two seasons or for more than 100 hours with the use of bar in turbulent air with your foot controlling the pitch, plus going XC, then considering getting a slightly hotter B will be a logical evolution.
No need to step further unless you do the same with your hot B. Then if the pilots wants more, a C certified glider will take you anywhere, not because it performs much better than your hot B. But because you will have the skills to fly it efficiently. Otherwise forget any C or D.
Any pilot stepping far from a beginner wing to a C will regress and loose interest in the sport. There are a few rare exceptions, but for the majority, it is better to move step by step.
For an educated pilot who flies regularly, C and D gliders will deliver more what the air in doing. The feel on the brakes is different and the movements of the glider in the air allows a very good pilot to enjoy surfing the air catching every thermal and also to guide the glider efficiently into long cross country flights.
Happy and safe flights,