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Paragliding in South Africa

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by Darron Guberman

To enter the SAT, apply maximum weight shift to one side.  Let's say we go right.  Take a wrap on the right brake toggle and be sure not to pull any brake on the left side.  Push yourself away from the left risers with your left hand.  Start pulling the right brake like you would to enter a spiral.

This is where the timing and amount of pull gets important and challenging....

As the glider starts to turn and dive, your body will be swung to the outside.  It is important that your body's swing upward is smooth and continuous.  Not the kind of high swing you get from wing-overs where you are about to swing back the other way.  Do everything smoothly.

When the sideways g-forces start to build quickly, but before you are locked into a spiral dive, pull a lot more right brake.  The goal here is to almost spin the glider but only for a fraction of a second.  You need the leading edge to rotate (yaw) about 30 degrees past horizontal.  That will probably be about a 90 degree rotation from where it was before the hard brake pull.  In the middle of that very quick rotation you need to ease up on the right brake or it will go into a spin.  After the rotation has stopped, the right side of the wing will regain airspeed.  At that point you pull for all you are worth on the right brake to stay in the SAT.

It's important not to pull too hard or for too long when entering the SAT. If you do you will have spun the glider and will have to sort out that mess. If you don't pull hard or long enough you will be in a steep spiral dive. The timing and the amount of brake pull is a tricky thing to learn.  What is strange though is after you are in the SAT you can pull like crazy and not much happens.  The whole trick is in the transition from both you and glider going the same way, to you and the glider going opposite ways.

If you get it all right the leading edge will have turned about 30 degrees past horizontal.  Such that the right side (the side you pulled) will now be higher than the other side.  That's opposite what you see in a regular turn. The pilot will be flying backwards and the wing will be flying forwards. The pivot point is between the pilot and the glider.

The g-forces vary a lot with the degree past horizontal you get the leading edge.  The more past horizontal you go the less the force.  It is hard to enter the SAT with the leading edge going more than about 40 degrees past horizontal.  But once in it you can apply more right brake and push the risers down and in front with the left hand.  That turns the glider more.  I would guess the g-forces are somewhere between 1.5 and 4 depending on how you do the maneuver.  Sink rate corresponds with the g's.  Anywhere from 2+ m/s to probably 8 m/s?  It all depends on how the leading edge is pointed.

In order to get out of a SAT, stop weight shifting.  Ease up on the right brake and apply light left brake.  All of the actions can be done slowly and easily.  It does not take much effort to come out of a SAT.  Paragliders seem to want to automatically go from a SAT into a deep spiral.  Coming out to the spiral may require more input, but that is another topic.  Just remember to go easy on the opposite controls.  With all of that energy, switching directions could send you over the top if you are not careful.

Of course, if you are so inclined..... the SAT is a great set up for a loop!
How to do the SAT - entry
The point at which you either get it right .... or ....