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Paraglider Preflight

© Jeff Greenbaum

Here's how to do a thorough paraglider preflight inspection.

At the beginning of each flying day, you need to carefully inspect your glider and harness. In any form of flying, you never include assumptions in your checks.

The checks are done to ensure your safety and ensure the paraglider is ready to fly.

The preflight of the paraglider wing is not the same as a reverse harness connection preflight. Every time you launch you need to do the harness connection checks.

During a training session, the wing is preflighted at the start of the session or when something occurs that may have damaged the paraglider. I break down the preflight routine into 4 sections:

Preparation

Spread the paraglider out in the normal fashion for launching, on its back with lines upwind. But if there is light wind, you need not yet build the arch. You will do this as part of the preflight. If there is wind, you can build a wall to help clear the lines and make sure the stacking of the risers is correct. If there is light or no wind, organize the risers so that they A risers are on top and not twisted between line and the carabiner. In the final phase, when everything is better sorted, you will check your riser stacking.

Lines

Walk into the center of the lines. Look for any clusters that could form a cravat, or 'bunch knot'. Clear any twigs that are in this area. Check for any cut or frayed lines.

Fabric

Next, walk around the paraglider and inspect the wing for any signs of damage. Look for rips or damage to seams or line attachment points.

If the wing was not already built into a wall, you will arch the wing as you inspect the leading edge.

As you arch the wing, lift and inspect the fabric at the curve area that is the leading edge. This area is where the highest stress is during flight.

Going through this phase you can continue to look for any cut lines or lines with fraying.



Hardware

The final checks in the paraglider preflight are the hardware connections at the risers.

  • Start by checking the layering of the risers. When you started, you just made sure that the A risers were on top. Now that the lines have been organized a bit, it will be easier to see that the risers are stacked correctly. A's on top, next the B's, then C's, D's and Brake Lines.
  • Next, check each of the quick links. Make sure the gates are at least hand tight and that the line keepers are in place.
  • Look at the stitching of the risers and make sure it all looks sound.
  • Inspect the brake lines and pulleys. Make sure that the brake lines are not getting worn out and that the pulleys are functioning properly.

If you find anything interesting in any of the above checks you should repair it prior to flying. A slightly frayed line sheathing might not be enough to prevent you from flying or training that day, but get it fixed as soon as possible. Fabric tears, seam problems or any hardware issue should be repaired prior to flying. If any issue comes along that you are not sure of, talk to your instructor or local paragliding pro.




'Paraglider Preflight' was reproduced from the original article 'How to Preflight the Paraglider' by Jeff Greenbaum, with permission. Jeff is the paragliding instructor behind Airtime of San Francisco.


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