Launching A Speedwing
Launching a speed wing is more difficult than that of a regular paragliding wing as it’s design is intended for descent. The ram-air speedwing canopy is smaller than a typical paraglider, ranging in a size anywhere from 8m2 to 14m2. It takes practice to launch and land the speedwings as their high wing loading requires constant pressure to keep the wing loaded correctly for flight due to their high take off and landing speed.
The ability to foot launch this wing instead can be tricky as it doesn’t require higher speeds needed for older skiing wings but still needs maximum effort on every takeoff attempt. Speedwings have opened up several different flying categories from high wind soaring to proximity flying at newly pioneered locations previously not attractive to traditional pilots.
Speedflying at sites suitable for training, like this ridge near Grand Junction, Colorado allow a pilot to build their confidence safely. In this video of me at Otto’s Ridge I have a headwind to help pressurize the wing and increase the airspeed. The cliff serves as an ideal practice location for feeling out how much ground speed is required for proper flight. Always when speedflying, fly well away from the hillside as spinal injuries are common in this sport.
You will notice in also as I sit back into the harness the wing dives before picking up speed to level off. This is where the feel of the toggles comes into play to decrease your sink rate as you separate yourself from the terrain. Since these wings are designed for quick descent plan on a hot landing! Build your speed on the way in so you can maximize your flair before touching down to slow your momentum and lighten your first step back to terrafirma.