No one argues that a great tandem paragliding flight is made up of an easy take off, gentle but exhilarating manoeuvres in the air, and soft landing. In this article, I will explain to you one of the unique landing techniques used by the man who in 2009 and 2011 was voted South Africa’s second best and best tandem paragliding pilot, respectively.
But before I introduce to you that man and his safe landing technique, let me quickly point out here that landing is one of the most dangerous part of any flight due to falling, tripping and hard landings that may result in serious injuries.
For over three years I’ve been working at the paragliding landing zone in Sea Point, Cape Town. I’ve witnessed some scaringly dangerous landings. In fact, I know a lot of potential clients who were scared away by the bad and terrible landings they witnessed. But I also know a lot of people who made special requests to paraglide with certain pilots having been impressed by the way these pilots land. This is where pilots like Jacques du Plessis enters the scene.
Jacques is the owner and founder of one of the best tandem paragliding companies in Cape Town – Icarus. As far as I know, he is the only tandem pilot in South Africa who use the side-by-side landing method.
When approaching the landing area, Jacques first ask his passenger to put their arms in front of the carabiners which is a great idea as this allows the passenger to use his hands to reduce the chances of face planting if the unexpected happens. Then Jacques position himself beside the passenger rather than as in normal flight when he is behind them. He does this by gently pushing the passenger out of their seat and position them alongside him. This allows Jacques to always land on his feet without tripping over the passenger and also allows him to be in full control of the glider without worrying much about the risk of hurting his passenger. And with this landing style, the passenger finds it easy to copy their pilot and softly land on their feet. Both the passenger and the pilot do it together in style and the result is awesome.
I therefore tend to disagree with whoever wrote that, “Any landing you could walk away from is a good landing”.
Written by Trymore Mukoko