Acro is becoming more and more popular amongst pilots and spectators alike and has become established as a discipline in its own right in the competition scene.
Today there are a series of 'easy' manoeuvres suitable for pretty much any glider and accessible to the majority of pilots. Others require a high level of piloting, specific gliders and many hours of training and form an entirely different discipline of free flight.
Acrobatics is potentially dangerous! Whilst it may seem easy when seen from the outside it requires a high degree of coordination and 'feel' for the glider.
The acro course is our most advanced training course, designed for those who want to experience and understand the tricks a paraglider can perform.
Due to the large variety of manoeuvres and varying pilot skill it is fully tailored to each individual pilot.
The focus of the course is on control.
The order of the manoeuvers is designed so that we move in a logical progression from one to another increasing knowledge and control by what we have already pracriced.
- Improve the level of piloting.
- Introduction to acrobatic flight
- Learn and control the fundemental manoevres of acrobatic flight
- Safety during acrobatic flight
What we do:
The first day will begin with a briefing explaining what we will do and how we do it and go over the programme for the course.
Each manoevre is explained before running it and corrected both during and after each flight.
In the briefings before and after each flight, we discuss the theoretical manoevres as well as analyse video footage of the flights.
As an option, outwith the course we offer, to practice and experience the manoevres on a tandem with one of our instructors. This can reinforce the learning experience and understanding for many pilots
Acro programme of manoevres:
The basic program of manoevres for the course is below, however the course is tailored to each individual pilot.
If the instructors feel that a pilot is not experienced enough or not yet ready to make a manoevre extra time will be given to practice before moving on to more exciting things!
Acrobatic flight is based on 3 manoevres: stall, wing-over and SAT
Depending on the level of the pilot we will practice and perfect each of these 3 manoevres to allow the pilot to develop and link manoevres.
The following is a simple list of manoevres and the order in which they may be taught. Each pilot will continue to the level that they are able to perform safely or that they want to achieve (in line with the previous comments about ability and safety).
For pilots starting acrobatic flight from scratch it is impossible to learn fully each manoevre in the list!
- Full-stall is the most important manoevre for safety in acro flying. Its a manoevre that each pilot must be able to do with their eyes closed before embarking on an acro course!
After that we learn the tail-slide, this is a controlled stall when the glider flies in a 'reverse' direction.
Parachutal stall: In the parachutal stall the glider is kept completely open but isn't 'flying' and has no pendulum nor rotation.
- Dynamic stall:
The dynamic full stall is instigated while the glider is as far bahind the pilot as possible. The aim is to recover flight maintaining the direction of flight before the manoevre.
Helicopter: The helicopter is actually a controlled spin. The glider is totally open, the pilot is straight under the wing and the rotation is stable. The wing turns like the rotor of a helicopter. This is one of the most difficult manouvres, and requires very precise brake handling from the pilot.
Wing over: The wing-over is a series of dynamic turns, where the pilot swings over the wing. It’s the basis of ALL acro paragliding, but is also a pretty difficult manouvre to learn. Its a manoevre that many pilots attempt but most underestimate how complicated it can be! The key to this trick is the perfect timing of weight shifting and braking.
Once the wingover has been mastered the pilot increases the bank-angle more and more until this exceeds 90°
Asymmetric spiral: The asymmetric spiral is actually a wingover, but only to one side. The timing of weight shifting and braking is pretty similar. The pilot doesn't swing as high as in a wing-Over but has more energy. This is the reason why the most powerful manouvres (such as Looping, Asymmetric SAT, Tumbling) are entered from the asymmetric spiral.
Looping: A loop is achieved after a sequence of asymmetric wing-overs which accumulate a large amount of energy. The turn direction is then reversed and the pilot passes over the glider.
SAT: The SAT was invented by Raúl Rodriguez in 1999. The name comes from his team, the 'Safety Acro Team'. The SAT was a major leap forward in the evolution of acro flying and has caused the development of previously unimagined sequences. SAT is a kind of spiral wherein the center of the rotation is between the glider and the pilot. It means, the glider turns forward (positive) while the pilot turns backwards (negative).
Combinations: Given the number of possibilities, here are just a few options:
Twister: 2 linked helcopters in opposite directions.
- MacTwist: Starting from dynamic movement (asymmetric spiral, wingover...) a negative spin is performed. Due to the big pendulum the pilot swings out from under the glider while it’s spinning extremely fast on it’s side at the same level with the pilot. The name comes from the huge number of times pilots ended up with lots of riser twists trying to develop this manoevre!
Misty Flip: A perfectly controled 360° spin at a high pitch angle with a very dynamic exit.
Asymmetric SAT: This manoevre was invented by Raúl Rodriguez in 2000. It’s a SAT lead in from an Asymmetric Spiral. The axis of the rotation is steep, so the pilot swings above and then under the level of the glider. Normally the energy runs out after few turns. The Asymmetric SAT is a perfect practice for tumbling, so if you want to learn that, you have to master this trick!
This list of tasks is only indicative. Each pilot has a different level of experience and progresses at a different rate.
Whether on the recommendation of the instructor or by personal choice, the pilot can decide not to practice some manoevres.
The basis of the course is control during acrobatic flight. Conditions of chaos are dangerous this is counter-productive to progress.
The course has a duration of 8 flights, usually taken over 4-5 days depending on the number of pilots and weather conditions.
If the weather causes delay we will extend the course for as long as necessary.
All pilots must be 100% able to carry out all the manoevres included in the Advanced SIV course.
No pilot will be accepted onto the acro course who is unable to
control all the advanced SIV manoevres, most particularly the full stall.s
A pilot who enrolls but is unqualified/unready for the acro course will be offered the opportunity to complete the advanced SIV course or given a 50% refund of the total course cost.
What is included in the course:
- Minimum 8 flights with instruction, feedback and analysis
- Waterproof radio bag
- Life jacket
- Commentary and analysis of flights including video footage
- Course video
- Theory and practical classes
You will need:
- Reserve parachute
- 2m Radio
- Medical repatriation insurance (bring a photocopy)
Cost: 680€ per pilot