In light of some flights and comments last week. Some of which I was a little disappointed in reading. I wanted to remind everyone that this sport is dangerous and often times elicits very strong opinions. These can attack our Egos and it is very hard to respond to those if you feel you are the one being judged. I wanted to just relay a concept I often tell people new to getting into the sport. That’s the concept of a risk tolerance scale. Everyone’s is different and we have to respect that. I feel a lot of the people who have been flying for a long time understand this. They may also may question newer people if they truly understand their own personal scale. In my opinion this is where mentorship comes in. It takes the first 300 flights at different sites and different conditions. Reading the weather, observing actually what happens and going back again and again to refine your picture of what the days is going to-do. This is all very important to have a solid basis for making decisions. Also Taking SIV’s in a controlled environment can help this when things go bad but It can also give a false sense of security. Sometimes we make decisions and have a great flight that was marginal and “get away with it”. This has a dangerous consequence of positive re-enforcement in our risk scale.
Also, for those pilots that “get after it” and are willing to have a different risk profile then others, good for you. These are the ones pushing the envelopes of what’s possible and frankly I love to watch. I think as a community it’s hard to ride a fine line of mentorship and judgement when we all have different “risk scales”. Let’s be honest getting up into the westerlies in the front range can be dangerous for paragliders. With enough altitude and depending on their strength it may be manageable for an advanced pilot. Let’s not be afraid to admit that so the newer pilots may form good opinions of the risks that were taken to have an epic flight.The best thing we can do is try and point out how much dedication and time some people have put in to be able to push their limits that others may find dangerous. Some people are naturally talented, have previous experience in sports and are gifted. High five to you guys. We all at one time or another have or will get into pushing our limits on our flying. This may elicit strong opinions by those who may have experienced trauma from loosing a friend or witnessing an injury. Lets all remember were all here to fly and the community is stronger as a whole.
For the newer pilots less than 500 flights (high fives to you too) remember there is a lot of knowledge in this community. There are pilots who have amassed enough hours to stop keeping track. People who have been flying for 20 years or more. Stay open to their opinions. Learn and grow and use their knowledge base to take your flying further and safer. Remember we are not professional communicators and everyone comes from diverse backgrounds. The message is not the best and stings sometimes. It helps to understand the root of the message or judgement is coming from a place of caring for your safety. You may think its jealousy or competition it’s not. Everyone’s goal is to be flying for a long time to come, high fives to everyone at the end of the day and talk long into the night reveling about the days flying.
Thanks for reading
P.S. whats app is great for communicating short items but is horrible place for discussions, In person or on the forum is a better place.