Paragliding Simulation

Simulated Flights in France and the USA

Who says paragliding tales have to be about real flights? A paragliding simulation can be the source of some interesting tales!

Some time ago, I bought myself a copy of thw Micro Flight 5 paraglider simulator and went through a simulated flying phase for a few weeks. It's awesome flying around in the southern French Alps, in a Spider paraglider! All of France is modeled. Large areas of the U.S. too, although I never tried flying there.

You have to be pretty keen on non-powered flying to really get much out of a simulation such as this. There's nothing to shoot, no scoring, and very little choice of paragliders in the version I used. The air noise sound loop is terrible, particularly at high air-speeds when the looping becomes very obvious.

On the plus side, weather is modeled quite well for this sort of flying. Most impressively, you can make realistic downwind dashes to slope lift and work your way up mountain faces just like in real life. Go around the corner a bit, or upwind of the lift region and the lift strength drops off, and so on.

Thermals are modeled very well too, although they seem to be unrealistically strong, with no provisions for specifying maximum lift strength. I might contact the author about it.

Just to summarize my activities in this paragliding simulation, I basically went ridge-hopping (mountain-hopping?) in the south of France. Occasionally I'd take a thermal to 3000m (10,000ft) if the next likely-looking ridge seemed too far away.

The mountains of the Alps here conveniently line up East-West, so I went ridge-soaring in a light southerly airstream, hopping downwind to the next mountain face after gaining enough height. The fun part was executing close 'saves' after arriving almost too low at the next ridge, then working the really light lift in the foothills before eventually sailing up the main face, up to 2500m (8,000ft) or so. Very enjoyable stuff if you have un-powered flight in your blood!


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