Monday, October 20, 2008

Flight Checklist

Above, a checklist I keep on my left arm during paraglider flights (the image is stiched together from two video frames taken duing a recent flight; I'm at about 800 feet over the desert terrain of Eastern Oregon). The items will change with my experience and the circumstances; for example, in the Arctic, this coming winter, a few items will be added, and many of these removed.

'7-point check'; before takeoff, check both leg straps buckled (1,2), torso buckle (3), both riser carabiners attached and locked (4,5), helmet strap buckled (6) and proper kind of helmet on head (7); to this I've added 'reserve handle' (check I can reach emergency parachute deployment handle and that it is unobstructed), radio (be sure it's on, and on correct channel), and variometer (be sure it's on; this device uses and audio signal to give me information about climb and descent rates).

'No Seat on TO'
means to stabilize my flight just after takeoff, rather than worry about comfort and getting straight into the proper, seated position.

'Clear Turns'
means to look where I'm going to turn, both to avoid collision with other paragliders and to signal my intention to nearby pilots.

'Fly Actively'
means to always be aware of what the wing is doing, and to be 'trimming' it with weight shift and brake control as eneded.

'Let Wing Fly'
is, in a way, counter to 'Fly Actively'; it means that while I want to be sensing the wing's actions and what that means about the wind, I don't want to overdo it; if the wing is flying well, let it be.

'T-Approach 45 degrees'
refers to my final approach and landing setup.

'PLF Ready'
reminds me to be prepared for a Parachute Landing Fall in case I come in too fast. Although a paraglider isn't a parachute, some aspects of landing one have similarities to landing a parachute.

And below, a photo (by Chris Barton), of me flying my ITV "Nunki"; it's an ancient wing (1992) but it flies and for the moment, that's all that matters.

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