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Launching & Shoulder problems


Phil_P
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A few weeks ago, I had an aborted launch which resulted in a subluxed (partially dislocated) right shoulder. I know for certain that's what it was from previous medical experience, and experience of full dislocations of both shoulders in the past.

On Friday of last week, I had a couple of failed launches, and during the second one, just the action of a forward launch caused a much less extreme sublux that popped back almost instantly.

My third attempt of the day saw me airborne for the first time (wooohoo), but prior to the launch I had jury rigged a shoulder brace from a webbing belt. This proved remarkable effective but did leave me with a seriously bruised upper arm.

Over the weekend, I have done some work on an old scuba wetsuit, and I think I've made a fairly effective device to help relieve the pressure, and support the shoulder joint. I will probably suplement this with wide sticky tape.

Currently, I'm thinking that in a forward launch situation, I can improve the situation by extending my arms forward rather than out to the sides which is the posture that creates the risk of dislocation. Obviously this will extend the period that the lines are in contact with the cage, and thus at risk from catching in the prop. Other than that risk though, I can't see any other issues with this proposed technique.

Other than converting to a permanent reverse launch, does anyone have any thoughts on my problem? Please don't say 'stop flying till it's better'. I know from experience that I almost certainly have an ongoing problem, and whilst rest might provide a short term solution to the pain, I will continue to have a weakness in this area (I also can't bear the thought of NOT flying for a period, having just broken my duck). With this in mind, I need to work round the problem, so advice is sought.

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Yes. change your forward launch completely. Girls have difficulty with the technique you are using as their arms dont seem to articulate the same way? Or it might be a strength thing. Anyway, have the risers over your shoulders. Push forward with your belly not your arms. Your elbows out in front of you your palms open, facing forward and upward.

try it without the motor until you are brilliant at it. It should place no starin at all on your shoulders. Also your upper arms will not be bruised at all (another problem when girls use your old technique) the risers stay over the shoulders.

What motor do you have? Why would the lines contact the prop ever?

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Yes. change your forward launch completely. Girls have difficulty with the technique you are using as their arms dont seem to articulate the same way? Or it might be a strength thing. Anyway, have the risers over your shoulders. Push forward with your belly not your arms. Your elbows out in front of you your palms open, facing forward and upward.

try it without the motor until you are brilliant at it. It should place no starin at all on your shoulders. Also your upper arms will not be bruised at all (another problem when girls use your old technique) the risers stay over the shoulders.

What motor do you have? Why would the lines contact the prop ever?

Thanks for that Francis. The lines 'shouldn't' contact the prop ever, but as they run round the cage during a launch, they presumably are pretty close to the prop, and I was under the impression that the 'arms sideways' stance was an attempt to reduce the likelihood of an interface of the two (happy to learn otherwise).

My motor is an Adventure F3 with a GSC adjustable prop. In order to fit the prop, I have had to fit a spacer moving the prop rearwards by the best part of an inch, which means that the prop disc isn't fully enclosed by the cage. I don't know if this is an issue.

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Although it opens a whole new can of worms to resolve have you considered flying a trike? Some trike set ups require no holding of the lines at all and therefore no shoulder strain. Alternatively perhaps applying the principle of the line holders from a trike (usually made by taping heavy duty cable ties to the cage sides) to a strong enough cage (may need to fit a horizontal cage brace). There are some wings that launch very nicely without hauling on the A's. Eric Dufour in the US sometimes demonstrates forward take offs holding nothing but the throttle. Having said that he is also the idiot that strapped on a motor to his front and flew a circuit backwards for no good reason whatsoever. He also crashed the Epac demonstrator at Basse-Ham.

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I have trawled the web for a picture of the forward launch technique I described above but to no avail. Are we really the onlly people in the world who teach this?

I will take some photos or a vid, as it is COMPLETELY different to the arms out to the sides technique.

The lines should not be able to reach the prop in any circumstance. Even if the prop runs behind the rim, the rim should be a bigger diameter to compensate.

Is the A3 a high hang point hraness? i.e. carabiners at the shoulders?

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The F3 is a high hang point unit Francis, with rigid low bars. The way the harness then transfers the load directly down to the bars, I have wondered if it behaves a little like a low hang point system.

I think I understand what you are describing Francis, and it makes sense. As you say, it will avoid the pull that puts stress on the shoulder joint.

Can anyone tell me why ANYONE teaches arms out to the sides then? Because it's so darned uncomfortable and difficult for ANY human body to exert a strong pull with the levers extended like that! Even someone without my inherent weakness is putting themselves at risk of dislocation if a gust suddenly takes the wing back.

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Hi Phil.

Like you I find it hard to hold my arms out to the side, I gained a shoulder injury about 40 years ago and it still gives me trouble now and again.

I did see on a video that a guy with a trike has a type of bungie strap attached to the A risers and as he moves forward it keeps a constant tention on the risers until they are verticale then it remaine without tention in flight, I thought I might try this when I get my new wing in the next couple of weeks.

I will see if I can find the video clip again, hope this helps you a bit.

David ( Coggie49 )

Its better up there

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A number of points here.

The arms out technique works well for paragliding where the hang points are at your hips and you are leaning well forward (torpedo). But not everyone has shoulder joints to permit this. Stronger arms can resist and not get pulled back so far. Techniques take time to evolve and then become entrenched. Higher hang points mean leaning forward is not so easy and the shoulder straining is worse. The paragliding technioque does not transfer so well to paramotoring.

We have rethought the problem for our paragliding students wher upper arm bruising and strained shoulders have prevented students from progressing. We have found that the technique also works well for some paramotoring students.

Do try to solve the problem without resorting to extra equipment (wetsuits, bungies, rope guides) as these may introduce hazards of their own. I would be surprised if it didnt work for you but it probably needs to be demonstrated for you to really understand what I mean. I will try to do a vid as soon as I can.

re Gusts during forward launch? umm that sounds like a day too gusty for flying or a reverse launch day. Reverse launches can be executed at very low wind speeds if your progression into wind is swift and you maintain progression during the turn. i call this the "reverse alpine" as many alpine pilots want to see the wing inflate before turning and stepping into the abyss. maybe I do a vid of this too? it might also solve your problem but a swift moving turn with a motor ticking over requires deft footwork.

re low "hang points" this usually refers to a system that is not just hung at the hips but also involves some articulation of the suspension bars. Your low bars do not articulate but work to distrubute the load between the pilot and the motor. True High Hang Point machines the pilot carries the weight of the motor until the whole lot is flying. In your system the risers are kept a little further forward and a bit lower than a high hanger, so controls are in a better position. I do not think you can expect much weight shift ability until the suspension bars articulate.

Edited by Guest
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I agree with Francis.

I was taught that for a forward launch you can start with the risers over the forearms and the A's in the open upturned palms of your hands with your arms out to the sides initially so that when you walk forwards you can feel that you are in the centre of the wing and so going to put equal pressure on the risers.

As you move forward for launch, the hands move to a position just in front of the shoulders with the palms upturned and thumbs facing inwards cradling the A's in the V between your thumb and first finger. As the wing comes up you push your hands up to exert an upward pressure on the A's until the wing is overhead.

No pulled shoulders and no bruised forearms!

Best regards,

Ian.

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