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5 paragliding stunts that you should know before practicing acro paragliding

Welcome to Overfly Tenerife once again! Today, we want to talk about the 5 paragliding stunts that you should know before practicing an acrobatic tandem paragliding flight with us in Costa Adeje (or anywhere else).

We have already talked about acro paragliding in our blog and we have already mentioned some of the existing paragliding stunts. However, we would like to make an examination of those paragliding stunts in more depth.  This is the post where you can find what acro paragliding is and more information related:

There are many other posts in Overfly Tenerife’s blog that may be of your interest:

Deep Spiral

Although it is not an acro paragliding stunt itself, every paraglider pilot must learn it first if they want to practice acro paragliding.

Deep Spiral is the most effective height-losing manoeuvre. While the leading edge is facing to the ground, the paraglider pilot is about at the same level as the paraglider during the manoeuvre. Then, the paraglider pilot turns very fast around a centre near to the wing. The sinking rate could be more than 20metres per second and the speed of the rotation of the pilot could be 110 kilometres per hour, which also generate a critical G-Force.

Enter

Shift your weight to the right and start to pull down the right brake gradually. Then, the glider will start to turn and accelerate into a spiral. If you pull more brake, the leading edge will start to face the ground and the descent rate will increase considerably.

You must learn the deep spiral manoeuvre gradually, so you need to practice a lot! At first, start practicing only by doing steep turns with less weight shifting and brake input to learn safely how to lead it out.

Exit

Because of the considerable high cross stability of the paraglider construction, the paraglider will frequently exit from the spiral automatically in a few turns if you centre yourself and release the brake. You can also help it by pulling the outer brake.

Dangers

The biggest danger of this paragliding stunt is when you can’t lead it out and you approach the ground at very high speed. In this case, you must throw your reserve parachute immediately if you are closer than 300 meters to the ground.

You can also get big collapses if you lead out the spiral too fast without bleeding out the energy gradually. You must control the situation right and be very careful. We strongly recommend you to learn this manoeuvre progressively!

Full Stall

The Full Stall is one of the most important paragliding stunts that you should learn if you are interested in acro paragliding. It is the same as stalling the whole glider. If you want to learn other acro paragliding stunts, first you must practice this one a lot. You will probably need to use it a lot!

Most of the times, there is no faster and safer way to get back the control over the paraglider when you make a mistake. It is quite important to get to know the limits of your wing too. You will definitely fly so much safer if you become confident with this paragliding stunt!

Preparation

You have to set your harness to sitting position, open the chest strap as much as possible and put your legs under the harness in order to prevent riser twisting. If the brake lines are too long, take one wrap.

Enter

We strongly recommend you to slow down your paraglider to the minimum speed. Immediately, pull down the brakes as much as you can once it is stabilized above you. The wing stalls and falls back behind you as the airflow on the whole paraglider is gone. You will feel like somebody is pulling you back, but you don’t have to be afraid. Then, keep the brakes locked, at least until you swing back under the paraglider.

At the beginning, the paraglider pulses heavily and it is difficult to control the full stall. Release the brakes around to the level of your elbows in order to stabilize it slowly, until you notice the wing calms down and it doesn’t pulse anymore. Now, while you are flying backward, the paraglider is mostly opened and only the wingtips are collapsed and facing to the front. You will need a lot of practice to find this point.

Exit

If the paraglider is not stabilized, it will be pulsing and the pilot also swinging a little bit underneath the wing during this paragliding stunt. When the glider is a little bit in front of or above you, you must quickly release the brakes up to the slightly braked position. As it picks up speed, the paraglider will start to reinflate and shoot forward.

Brake the paraglider carefully to prevent collapses after it starts to surge. The more violent it shoots forward, the stronger you have to brake to make it stop.

It is quite easy to exit from a stabilized full stall, due to the paraglider is gently over your head. Release the brakes quickly and control the following surge by gently braking. Brake just the faster side until the slower one accelerates and comes down to the same level if you see that the glider will shoot forward asymmetrically. Then, stop it with symmetrical braking.

Dangers

You will go further than your wing and it will be far behind you for a few seconds when the paraglider stalls because of your pendulum. It is extremely important that you NEVER release the brakes when the glider is behind you. If you do it, the following surge can be so strong that you may even fall into the wing.

The paraglider starts to fly and shoots forward very violently at the same time you swing back from a big pendulum. These two effects together generate a dynamic movement, which can be easily strong enough to fall into or behind the wing.

One of your hands could also go up accidentally because of the heavy brakes — especially if the glider is pulsing. To solve this, you can release the other brake immediately and lead out the full stall. You can also try to pull the brake back quickly. Nevertheless, if you are not fast enough, the glider will start to spin quite fast and you can easily end up in a riser twist.

The exit is the most dangerous part of this paragliding stunt. During the exit, the paraglider has no horizontal speed, and you have to accelerate. You must be careful! If you brake the glider too hard when it shoots forward, it can easily stall again. Nevertheless, you could get big collapses if you don’t brake enough! If you start to spiral downwards with a collapsed wing, don’t hesitate to throw your reserve parachute!

If your paraglider is overused and its porosity is bad, don’t practice paragliding stunts! Why? Because you can easily end up in deep stall after the exit — especially if you release the brakes too slow and you don’t let the paraglider to pick up speed.

Nevertheless, if that happens, you must pull out your speed bar. If it is not prepared, you better pull forward smoothly the “A” straps with your palms to accelerate the paraglider and get out from the deep stall.

Horseshoe

This paragliding stunt is quite easy, but it is spectacular — especially for a beginner.
While you are doing the manoeuvre, the shape of the paraglider is like a “U”, so people say it looks like a horseshoe while the paraglider wing is still inflated and the horizontal speed is gone.

The descent rate is about 6 metres per second, so it was instructed as a possible height-losing manoeuvre. Nevertheless, it was on the official aerobatics competition manoeuvres list till 2004.

Enter

Grab the two middlemost “A” lines as high as possible without releasing the brakes. Start to pull down the lines symmetrically and gently. Then, the middle of the leading edge should collapse. The wingtips start to approach as you continue the pulling and finally they touch each other in front of you.

Exit

Frequently, the paraglider opens automatically when you release the “A” lines. If it doesn’t happen, you must pull down both brakes gently. The paraglider has to pick up speed after it is reopened, so you better don’t brake too much. Anyway, the paraglider won’t surge, so you don’t have to brake at all.

Talking from our own experience, we have never had any problem during the execution of this paragliding stunt. If you can’t open your paraglider for any reason, you have to perform a full stall to return to a normal flight — but only if you are height enough.

Dangers

You better be careful because if you pull down the lines too fast at the beginning, you can get a frontal collapse. The paraglider is in deep stall figure for a few moments after the exit, so let it fly and handle the brakes very carefully. If not, the glider can easily stall!

Spin

During this paragliding stunt, one of the sides of the paraglider turns backward while the other is still flying forward by keeping the other side under stall point. During the spin, the paraglider frequently oscillates. Moreover, the pilot swings a bit forward and backward under the paraglider, and the tip of the negative side collapses to the front.

Preparation

Set your harness to sitting position, release the chest strap as much as possible, put your legs under the harness and be ready to turn with your paraglider in order to prevent riser twist. If the brake line is too long, take one wrap.

Enter

If you want to take a spin to the left, you can slow down the glider to a minimum speed by symmetrically and slowly braking. Then, wait until it is stabilized above you. At the same time, release the right brake, grab the right riser and pull down the left brake immediately, just as you would do a Full Stall, but only to one side. The paraglider will start spinning as the airflow of the left side is gone.

Another option is that, without slowing down the glider, you can grab the right riser and pull the left brake all the way down. This is due to you enter the spin from trim speed, so you swing out from under the paraglider, and it will spinning a little bit in front of you for 1 or 2 turns.

Exit

Pull down the right brake to a stall point and full stall the glider to return to normal flight. I advise using this technique at the beginning because it is so much easier and safer. This way, you can make a nice and symmetrical exit from this paragliding stunt.

Dangers

If your body cannot turn or stop as fast as the paraglider, you can easily end up in a riser twist. If that happens, you have to try to lead out the Spin as fast as possible. Furthermore, resolve the twisting by moving your legs or grabbing the lines over the twisting. Then, you have to try to turn back yourself.

The brake lines could become stuck if you are twisted in two or more times. Hence, you will completely lose control over the paraglider. Thereupon, your paraglider could continue spinning or full stalling, or start to spiral down.

Hence, you have to grab the brake lines above the twist, full stall the paraglider and try to untwist. Don’t hesitate to throw your reserve parachute if you don’t have many hundreds of meters below you. This way, you will solve the problem.

After the exit, the wing has to pick up speed, so don’t brake too hard. If not, the paraglider can easily stall again. Nevertheless, you could get big collapses if you don’t apply enough brake. You will be in trouble if you release the brake when the glider is far behind you and you don’t brake hard enough. The following surge can be so strong that you can fall into the wing, as in full stall paragliding stunt.

Do not try this paragliding stunt with a seated harness, due to it will extremely increase the danger of riser twisting. You better be very confident with full stalls before you try this paragliding stunt.

Tail Slide

While you are doing this paragliding stunt, the paraglider will fly backward and it will still be inflated. This paragliding stunt is the very narrow passage between the deep stall and the full stall. Nevertheless, although it is a very simple paragliding stunt, it needs a very precise control from the paraglider pilot to do it really nice.

It is probably the best paragliding stunt to check the ability of an acro paraglider pilot. That is the reason why the judges always put it into the compulsory paragliding stunts list for the qualification runs.

Preparation

You have to do the same as in the spin manoeuvre. Set your harness to sitting position, open the chest strap as much as possible and put your legs under the harness in order to prevent riser twisting. Then, take one wrap if the brake lines are very long.

Enter

You must slow down the paraglider to minimum speed. When it is stabilized over your head, you have to put your feet under the harness. Then, pull down the brakes just a little bit more. At this time, the brakes become lighter and you introduce a deep stall. Release the brakes only a few centimetres in order to stabilize it. Then, brake slowly (just a little bit), until the paraglider starts to fly backward. At this point, the wingtips should be slightly collapsed and facing to the front.

Exit

Release the brakes symmetrically and quickly. Then, brake the following surge as in the exit of a full stall.

Dangers

You can easily full stall the paraglider if you pull excessively the brake. Once again, you must be extremely confident with full stalls before trying this paragliding stunt. Don’t do this paragliding stunt if the porosity of your paraglider is bad, due to you can end up in a deep stall quite easily.

We hope that you have enjoyed this post about these amazing acro paragliding stunts and tricks, as well as we hope that all the information has been useful! If you have any doubt or you are interested in any of our paragliding tandem flights, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are waiting for you in the south of Tenerife!

Judith Escudero

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Judith Escudero

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