We bang on about safety, safety, safety… but how many times have you seen someone taken off with something dangling, a twisted brake line or their harness left open… or worse, their reserve handle hanging off.
Take your Time
Remember to go through your mental checklist BEFORE you jump into the saddle. It only takes minutes to check your lines are clear and not twisted, or your vario is on among other things! There is nothing worse than watching everyone sky out while you have to land to adjust something you should have done the first time.
Check your reserve before you take off
If you don’t carry one, WHY NOT!? (No excuses. Don’t say it’s because you never get high enough to use it, what happens on that fateful day you get lofted in a freak gust and something bad happens… touch wood it doesn’t). You CAN afford it. This is your life. Stuff your bank balance.
SAFETY is a factor worth constantly thinking about. Safety is more than just about what equipment you have, the knowledge you have acquired or what conditions are like when you take off.
SOMETIMES… it’s simply about ATTITUDE.
From the novice, who was too confident and pushes ahead, ignoring good advice (It's like it's all been easy so far, and nothing has ever gone wrong), to more experienced pilots who can find themselves in trouble from pushing the limits of their own ability and/or equipment. (Due to their experience they probably know the risks they are taking, but do it anyway in pursuit of a racing goal, a record or maybe just some personal achievement). Anyone can find themselves in a risky situation where the joy of flying can sometimes override the pilot's better judgement!
Sometimes flying in a paraglider seems so serene, placid and utterly safe that pilots are not as attentive to the flying environment as they should be.
What about the thought: Can I squeeze in another final point? Worth thinking twice about?
Paragliding safety, in fact soaring safety in general, depends so much on the attitude of the individual pilot.
'Good equipment' ...is also a safety factor.
The fact is, any modern paraglider design that passes the latest DHV-1 certification is pretty darn safe. Good safe handling, hardly turns after a minor collapse, quickly recovers from bad situations if you let go both brake toggles and so on. The best way to think about it is if you feel safe on your glider you will fly better. Be happy with the glider you are flying. Jump up a rating when you outfly the glider. Not the other way round.
Really, the simple solution is to buy new equipment if you want to maximize safety overall. And if you fly often, get it all inspected each year or every 100 hours!
Paragliders are the slowest of all gliders and they are also very stable by nature. So it's actually one of the safest and easiest ways to experience what we all dreamed of when we were kids. FLYING! The combination of good training, good judgement and good equipment provides a very high level of safety these days, as long as you don't get too gung-ho!