Cross Country Magazine Tuesday Tip

This week's tip comes from reader Chris Scammell

Switching gears

When flying XC I like to think that my paraglider has three gears:

First, or crawler gear, is for staying aloft. In this mode I am super tuned in to finding any lift because if I fail to find some quickly I will soon be on the deck. I am not thinking about getting anywhere, just getting up.

Second gear is for travelling. I have some height and there is a good chance that I will find more lift en route. I am still not sitting pretty though and am ready to change back down to first gear and stop travelling if necessary. In this mode I fly conservatively until I am confident of my position.

Third gear. I am in a good position under a good sky. It's time to be decisive and travel fast. I am ignoring the weaker climbs and using plenty of bar to make progress.

It is easy to change up gears but difficult to remember to change down again. I have landed early under many good skies by flying in third gear all the way to the ground. I now consciously ask myself which gear I should be flying in for conditions and my position.

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Photo: Marcus King