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Odd question, but...


DavidG4
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This.might seem odd so I'll give the background.  I've got thousands of hours as pilot, lots in small aeroplanes but the vast.majority, about 9 -10,000 hrs in heavy metal.  I've owned small planes and a flexing in my time.  I also have a CP slope and winch paragliding which I enjoyed and I still own but dont fly my wing (too popular, too many idiots on the slopes). What I found scared the hell out of my was my imagination.

 

Coming off the winch was great till i sat in my seat, then every time the same thing...as the straps went loose and I settles to say I thought...oh dear...what if i FALL OUT???!!?

 

I know this is irrational, or at least rational but misplaced, fear, but how possible is falling out?  My brain says its quite impossible, but after a life time of being under tight straps, the paraglider felt very insecure.   Strangely I dont remember this sensation bumbling around Rhossili...so maybe i had the seat rigged badly? Or maybe sloping was occupying my mind more?

 

I wish i could just tell myself to get over it, but it might be something I either work through or have to surrender to.  And unless youve been scared of heights like this you have no idea... 

 

So...how secure are those flying machines I do very much want to fly?

David

 

 

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I am scared of heights. And since I started flying PPG I have found I am not scared of heights, I am scared of falling off a height. I can't fall off my paramotor, so I feel completely safe, not scared at all. Not long ago I was visiting an old church on top of a cliff. Even though there was a wall, I found was still really scared...because there was nothing to stop me falling over the wall!!!! 

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Andy...true, it's the fear of falling not of heights per se.  I think I have this irrational fear of toppling head over tail and fallling OUT of the harness.  Like i said, whilst slope soaring I didnt get it.

 

Simon W must have been this before.  

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Every now and again, I have a flight where my imagination runs away and I get the ‘fear’, but it passes after about ten minutes and the next one is always better. I find it only happens when I have time to let my mind wonder so it helps distract myself with a task.

Its the fear of dropping and falling rather than height. But let me reassure, you can’t fall out of a harness.

Paragliders like a nice loose harness so you can use weight shift more effectively but when I was learning, my instructor encouraged us to tighten things up if it makes you feel better and loosen over time.

Incidently, my main belt buckle once popped open at nearly 2000 feet in the alps but it was no big deal, I had leg straps and my arms behind the risers 😇

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I'm from a GA background too (currently just over halfway through my PPL training - nowhere near the experience you have!!). I'm also pretty new to paramotoring but just like when you are in a plane, I find the key to mitigating fear is doing proper pre-flight checks. 

 

Check, double check and triple check you're hooked into the wing correctly with no twists and the carabiners are locked. Be absolutely certain your leg and waist straps are hooked in with no twists - give them a good yank just like the guys on a rollercoaster do with the safety bar. :)  As long as you've done your checks fully you should have absolute confidence that you're not going to fall out.

Get an instructor to help you with a hang test to make sure your harness is set up correctly. Your leg straps shouldn't be so tight that you can't get out of the seat. I find with my own setup somewhere between fitting a hand and fitting a fist between the strap is about right. The straps are obviously only needed for the climb out and approach/landing stages of flight so should be set correctly for those. When you are in the air the seat should be reclined just enough (but not too much - see riser twist) to comfortably hold you in without the need to keep re-shuffling into the seat. 

If you are still getting the irrational fear of falling out, go to Thorpe Park for the day and absolutely session every mental ride you can. You may have brown pants by the end of it but you'll also become acclimatised to being thrown around at high G force whilst your harness holds you in. 

I hope this helps & happy flighting ;)

 

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