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last updated: Monday, January 7, 2008

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flying accessories

Accessories may not be the ideal term to use here as it does tend to read as optional extras, like when buying a new car. Although the following equipment may not necessarily be essential for a paraglider flight, the individual items themselves can be looked upon as personal safety gear, each with its own benefit to the pilot in command.

radio

A UHF/VHF two way transceiver is a portable communications device used to keep in contact with others in the air and on the ground and an essential item for paraglider pilots receiving practical flight instruction. When considering a radio, don't skimp on power - you may not always be line of sight!

In Australia, VHF radio operators require licensing through the HGFA.

epirb

A compact Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. When activated, an EPIRB transmits a distress signal which is picked up or relayed by satellites and transmitted via land earth stations to rescue services. The world market is divided into three different systems with three different modulation schemes and three different approaches on how to detect the incident. The three systems are mostly distinguished by their frequencies;

  • Homing beacons on 121.5 Mhz

  • COSPAS/SARSAT beacons on 406 Mhz

  • Inmarsat beacons in L-band (1.6 Ghz)

helmet

In Australia, a helmet is mandatory for student pilots whilst undertaking training yet it is not compulsory (however highly encouraged!) for certified pilots whilst free flying. Some safety officers however may insist on one, the site may warrant it! Even whilst ground handling on flat terrain, wearing a helmet is recommended.

It is not advisable to use head protection available from the other sports (cycling, horse riding, climbing etc). Use a helmet specifically designed for paragliding! The HGFA recommends that paragliding helmets have a rigid outer shell with an expanded foam inner lining for impact resistance, be adjustable without impeding the pilots movement or vision, be lightweight preferably leaving the ears exposed and be manufactured in accordance with an approved standard.

footwear

Suitable footwear is recommended. Sturdy boots with good grip and ankle support are encouraged - hooks instead of eyelets for laces are not (lines do snag!).

sunglasses

Afford your eyes some good UV protection and shield them from wind and glare. Squinting excessively with watery eyes is no fun whilst flying. A yellow/orange tint can help filter out blue light (the hardest wavelength to focus on) and aid against eye strain and fatigue.

flight suit

It can get cold up there! Constructed from windproof material and often lined with fleece for warmth, a paragliding flight suit has provisions for instruments built in. A one-piece alternative to conventional jackets and pants. Useful for winter, high altitude or cross country flying.

gloves

Protect your hands from line burn at launch and wind chill in flight. Highly recommended for ground handling exercises also.

emergency kit

A few items recommended for those "just in case" scenarios, perhaps in a small pack that's easy to store in the harness, containing the following:

  • hook knife

  • a good length of spare paraglider or marine line

  • whistle

  • small multi-tool or pliers

  • small saw with a folding rigid blade or a flexible "rope" saw

  • spare batteries for instruments and radio

  • antiseptic spray or cream and gauze

  • pain killer tablets

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Need paragliding stuff? We can provide you with the right stuff whilst airborne at flyingfysh.com!

wingtip

Avoid dehydration. Keep your fluid intake up before, during and after every flight. Avoid alcohol (obviously!), coffee, tea and excessively sweet drinks. An onboard water container with drinking tube is ideal and can always be used as ballast.

"an aircraft might disappoint any pilot but it'll never surprise a good one"

Len Morgan

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