I got the paragliding license!

On Friday, Jan 31, I finished my paragliding license. Winter is not that breathtaking period for photos, so for the best pictures, see this post. Photos here will be just recent updates.

Full sky of wings, thermals are active even during winter. Open the original image for the full detail.

How long was the practice?

My first high flight was on Apr 20, so it took me 3/4 of the year. I am happy that it took longer than I expected, as I could experience different flying conditions.

I now have 90 flights from 8 flying areas, with 5 instructors taking care of me except two unsupervised flights. I spend 1551 minutes (25.85 hours) in the air while descending 65794 meters (this does not include gaining altitude during flying). I experienced normal flights, thermalling and soaring in the wind, hike&fly, and most recently ski&fly.

Ski&fly in Lenk. I accidentally landed just by the hut on the photo on the previous flight. Only my ego was harmed, but I realized some more physics of thermals.

Was it a big deal?

Quite yes. The license requirements in Switzerland are the toughest in the world. Both the theory and practical exam were more demanding than driving license exams in CZ (which is more an issue with the driving license requirements).

I can fly as well.

For the theory, we were given ~700 questions from 5 areas, and for the exam, we got a selection of 20x5 from these known questions. To pass, we had to answer 80% correct from each area.

The practical part was examining launching skills, airspace theory, maneuvers, and landing in a circle od 20 m diameter. We had 3 attempts to do 2 perfect flights. As a requirement, we had to do at least 50 flights with the school. Although I had in the time of the exam 88 flights, I was far from being confident about the landing. Landing always depends on the wind situation, and I am somehow imprecise at the landing site in Interlaken, where the exam took place.

The circle where we have to land.

Conditions on Friday were favorable, a wind that I like for precise landings. I made no mistake and needed just 2 flights. Hooray!

“We did it” selfie.

Temporal licence is my flight log.

What’s next?

I can start flying on my own (legally). There is still a lot to learn, so I should not start doing crazy things. I am finally looking forward to doing more hike&fly, or during winter ski&fly. This should be a perfect opportunity to explore new areas. So far, I flew only around Interlaken (Bernese Oberland).

Hike&fly saves the boring way down and ads new perspectives.

For these events, I am planning to get a new wing. That will be some 2.5k CHF, so I will take some time to choose the best.

My current wing in different colors. The best option for training, but heavy for hike&fly.

I need to practice extreme situations to feel safer. I am on the waiting list for an SIV course (SIV stands for ‘Simulation d’Incident en Vol’ and roughly translated means simulating unstable situations in flight). This should give me more confidence for flying thermals and the slightly more challenging wing that I want to buy.

On the path to independent flying. (Actually, it is a picture from the exam).

Written on January 31, 2020