Cross Country For Beginners

On 9th April 2019, Alistair gave a presentation to the South East Wales Hangliding and Paragliding Club for aspiring XC pilots. The aim of the talk was to encourage pilots to consider their flying as training, work as a team with some friends to achieve joint goals and analyze their performance on flights, much like you would in the gym or when playing other sports.

In order to fly XC, we need to fly in conditions that some pilots see as “dangerous”, often because we hear about accidents and rarely train EP or CP student pilots in these conditions because they are bumpy and more challenging than laminar, overcast days.

The thermal lift moving over our hills is actually what we need to get away and fly XC. We can mitigate the risk of flying in these conditions by acknowledging they are not the same as ridge soaring conditions, and using lift to gain height, and separation from the hill upwind before we start even considering 360 degree turns – we shouldn’t be “scratching”, close in to terrain, in these conditions!

We need to train and build up our wing control, ground handling and decision making over hundreds of hours, but a relatively low airtime pilot can still achieve fantastic XC flights.