Power on landings …By …Beery

First, you really need to have access to very smooth laminar winds. It’s easy here at the beach. Initially, I tell people to start learning foot drags in smooth laminar winds. This develops the fine skills to be able to maintain level flight over long stretches of ground. If you can find wind conditions of 10 mph with a beach, this is some of the most perfect conditions you can have. After you have mastered flying your unit and being able to drag your feet for a hundred yards or more (Here in Houston we can drag them for a mile or more on the beach without lifting our feet), then you are ready for the next step. Myself, just to be safe, when I say footdrag, I mean flatfooted with the sole of your shoe dragging the ground. That way, should you get just a bit too low, you can run it out and with a 10 mph wind in your face, it isn’t that hard. After you are doing well at the 10 mph winds, gradually start doing foot drags in less and less winds until you can do a foot drag in 0 mph winds. After you have mastered foot drags in 0 mph winds, you are ready to move now to powered on landings. Landing with engine running in a 10 mph wind should really be a non-issue for pilots that have developed good landing skills. If you don’t feel comfortable just doing a regular motor (idling) on landing in 10 mph winds, then you are better off not even considering a powered on landing. Now with powered on landing, I would start with the 10 mph wind condition day. As you come in doing literally another foot drag, while doing the foot drag, begin adding more and more brake/flare. As you are adding more brake/flare, to maintain flying level, you will need to add a bit more power. As you apply more brake/flare, you will need to continue adding more power. At a point while doing that foot drag, you will have basically reached a point you have added sufficient brake that your next step and input on the brake puts you at a speed of “0” and you have landed. After you have this going well, then start working in conditions with lighter and lighter winds doing foot drag approaches. As an example about 3 weeks ago, I landed at the beach in about 1-2 mph winds. It was going to be a bit fast. I approached into the wind, started my foot drag, and started flaring but adding power. After 75′ of dragging my feet, I had then slowed things down to the point I walked off very nicely in 2 or 3 steps the remaining speed. Another point to make here is that while doing your foot drags and powered on landing approaches, drag with one foot, but keep the other foot out in front of you ready to take a step. Don’t drag two feet as it puts you in a poorer position to recover if you suddenly need to run something out. Myself, I think being able to fly inches off the ground or dragging feet for extended periods of distance is a skill that everyone should try and master. What it does is develop the hand/eye/wing/throttle coordination to respond tithe most minor of air disturbances and leads to a pilot that can actively fly. There are a lot of times I fly with other pilots and they complain about it being bumpy and it isn’t to me as they aren’t actively flying their wing. The finer your control of the wing, the more you can dampen out the bumps and oscillations and the more enjoyable the flight. That’s my 2 cents. Beery

Author: JoeO

Powered Paraglider pilot since 2005

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