How to Preflight a Paraglider

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 that the paraglider is ready for flight.

The pre-flight 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 pre-flighted at the start of the session or when something occurs that may have damaged the paraglider.

I break down the pre-flight routine into 4 sections:

  • Preparation
    • Spread the paraglider out in the normal fashion (on its back with lines upwind) for launching, 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.

    • preflight1


  • Lines
    • Walk into the center of the lines. Look for any clusters that could form a cravat (bunch knot). Clear any twigs that are in this area. Check for any cut or frayed lines.
  • Fabric
    • Next, circle the airfoil and inspect the wing for any signs of damage. Look at each of the following as you inspect the wing:
      • As much of the top fabric of thw wing by lifting the leading edge and looking as far back as you can see.
      • The seams on the bottom surface of the paraglider.
      • The lines that are laying on top of the bottom surface.
    • 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. During ground handling, the wing diving into the ground can cause wear and sometimes tears on this area, so look here with some extra effort.)

    • preflight2


  • Hardware
    • The final checks are the hardware connections at the paraglider’s risers.
      • Begin by checking the layering of the risers. At the beginning, 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 (As on top, next Bs, then Cs, Ds 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 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.

      • preflight3

    •  

If you find anything in any of the above checks you should repair 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, consult your instructor or local paragliding pro.

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