Paragliding Sports Categories
Since the first FAI World Paragliding Accuracy Championships held in the UK in 2000, this comparatively new CIVL discipline has been increasing steadily in popularity. Today some 1000 pilots from more than 20 countries are logged on the CIVL Paragliding Accuracy database and WPRS.
Over the past few years, we have seen FAI Category 2 competitions running in Japan, Kazakstan, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Korea. The number of competitions worldwide is increasing steadily too. In 2010, more than 35 Category 2 competitions were sanctioned and many countries run additional non-sanctioned national and regional events. – FAI.org
Although its roots are in parachuting and parascending, today’s Paragliding Accuracy competitions, both hill and tow launch, are flown on certified paragliders. The FAI rules are set out in Section 7C of the Sporting Code.
Competitions are generally both individual and team events. Often several ‘rounds’ can be flown in a day, in which case, a weekend event can comprise up to 6 scores or more, giving a highly satisfying competition.
Although weather conditions play a critical role, generally, Paragliding Accuracy competition is less weather dependent than cross country events.
Standard equipment in a Paragliding Accuracy competition is an electronic target pad: a pressure sensitive device measuring 30cm in diameter. (The same equipment is used in Parachuting Accuracy)
The point of firmest pressure is measured and displayed, from 0 to 15cm. Around the pad, circles are market out at 0.5m, 5m and 10m. Landings made off the pad are marked by ‘fichet’ Judges and then measured manually.
In a Category 1 competition, the Judging team comprises: Chief Judge, Event Judge, 3 fichet Judges, 2 strike Judges, scorer/recorder and wind speed monitor.
In a Category 2 event, some of these roles can be combined. While the fichet Judges mark the exact spot where the pilot landed, the strike Judges confirm the first point of contact (which foot, or maybe a ‘bum’ strike if the pilot is skimming in low).
Unlike parachuting and parascending, Paragliding Accuracy pilots must land on their feet and stay on their feet.
If you fall over before your wing is on the ground, you will be penalised and receive the maximum score. (Remember, the winner has the lowest score in Accuracy).
If a pilot approaches the target dangerously, stalling the wing, spinning or performing any aerobatic manoeuvres close to the ground, a penalty system is implemented (warning, maximum score, disqualification).
Practicing Paragliding Accuracy is an excellent skill for all pilots, whether cross country flying or hill soaring. You never know when you might have to make a landing in a very small field, avoiding obstacles such as power lines and trees.
Paragliding Accuracy can help you understand how to control your wing in difficult situations, such as landing when strong thermals are triggered, and how to judge your glide to a potential landing field.
But more than that – Paragliding Accuracy can be great fun! Especially on days that are not ideal for cross country flying, or if there is a group of you soaring on a hill at the end of the afternoon. Even a top-to-bottom flight can be a learning opportunity if there is a target in the landing field.
Source from fai.org/paragliding accuracy
Doing cross-country XC flying will require pilots to fine-tuning their thermalling skills on more advanced thermalling techniques as well as some of the following:
Understanding the weather and how to predict a good XC day.
Good decision making. This is the key in successful XC flights.
Reading the sky and reading the ground….and when to do which.
Speeds to Fly – Flying with maximum efficiency.
Keeping safe in the mountains – Really understanding leeside thermals and not ending up in one.
How to fly in turbulent air.
Landing-out techniques. (too many people want to fly XC but are not competent at landing anywhere).
Once you comfortable flying long XC routes, some pilots choose to kick it up another notch and start to take up Cross-county XC competition.
The paraglider community has held paragliding competitions since the sport caught on in the 80’s. Early wings had atrocious performance and even worse flying characteristics, so these comps were true thrill-sporting events. The modern paraglider is much safer and has the performance to fly long distances at high speeds relative to the early days of the sport. Generally speaking, most XC Comps are events that have a defined task, over turnpoints, to a goal; with points accrued for distance flown and speed-to-goal. – Source-Tim O’neill
Here is what feels like to fly in Paragliding XC competition by our very own Malaysia XC pilot Haqimy Ismail on his recent International PRE-PWC 2016 in Indonesia.
Cross-country (XC) flying is a form of long distance paragliding, in which pilot are using thermals to climb upwards in the sky to get as much altitude as possible, and then setting off and gliding in the desired direction you want to go until you can find another thermal climb to continue the whole process again. Flights of 100-300 kilometers (60-180 miles) are not uncommon in some areas, and pilots can stay in the air up to 7-8 hours or more!
Tandem paragliding flights involve a passenger being securely strapped into a comfortable flying harness positioned in front of the pilot and connected to the pilot and the glider by spreader bars. A tandem paraglider is specially designed to carry two people and is nearly twice the size of a regular solo paraglider.
Once this configuration is soaring, the pilot can easily talk to the passenger and explain how to control the paraglider. If the conditions are right and the passenger is willing, the pilot may turn the controls over to the passenger and let them experience what it is like to fly an unpowered craft. Bring your camera, because this is an experience you won’t ever forget!
As a tandem paragliding passenger you do not require any previous knowledge of paragliding at all. Your pilot will brief you on everything you need to know shortly before the flight.
It is important that you listen to the instructions of the pilot and to have total confidence in his abilities.
Take offs are easy (just a few steps usually depending on wind conditions) and landings are generally soft (most often we land on large grassy fields with no obstacles or dangers.
Tandem paragliding for reward can only be done by a certified Tandem Professional Pilots. Professional tandem paragliding can only be done on the basis that the flight is an instructional flight and therefore the pilot must either be a certified paragliding instructor or an assistant instructor with at least a T2 – Tandem professional Pilot Rating. Tandem Professional or also known as Tandem master, are required to provide you with their Paragliding Tandem Qualification/Licensed before conducting a tandem session or you can simply ask them just to be sure.
Anyone can fly!
Children under the age of 18 must be signed off by a parent or legal guardian.
If you have a medical condition that you think may affect your ability to come paragliding then please consult with your doctor beforehand.
You must weigh less than 110kg.
Tandem pilots have years of experience behind them and uses only the certified and safe paragliding equipment. Pilots make decisions based on their own safety as well as yours. Paragliding is inherently dangerous sport like any other sports.
Paragliding Tandem experience in Kuala Kubu, Selangor, Malaysia.