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Avoiding Blowback

by on 20/03/2014

© Jeff Greenbaum

Being blown behind a ridge or a mountain is one of the greatest hazards of Paragliding. Once you get into a blow-back situation, the penalties include power lines, extreme rotor turbulence, tree landings, and possible death or injuries from any of these. Prevention is the best way to avoid such a scenario. Jeff Greenbaum discusses the prevention techniques in his article on the Airtime of San Francisco website.

Here is a summary, but we recommend reading the full article.

  • If you are new to a site, get a full introduction from the locals.
  • Check the Wind Speeds with an anemometer before you fly.
  • Have a speed system ready on your glider. This means connected, adjusted, and ready for use.
  • Know that the winds can be dramatically stronger and dangerous as you ascend at any flying site.
  • Continuously monitor the wind speeds as you fly. Do this via your crab angle and lateral ground speed along the ridge.
  • Avoid flying higher on windy days.
  • If you do fly higher in strong winds, fly well upwind of the cliffs as you ascend and traverse the cliff or ridge.
  • Know how and when to penetrate out in front and how to descend to lower winds.
  • Penetrate and get down as soon as you notice that the wind is getting strong. When you get on your speed bar, your purpose should be getting down, not staying up in the strong winds.
  • Avoid the area above and behind the top of the cliff at all times.

Full article