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by Brian Germain

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"Ground Launching"

You can ground launch any skydiving canopy if you have enough slope and enough up-slope wind. The heavier the wing-loading, the steeper the slope has to be. I don't recommend trying anything higher than 1.3 or so until you get more experience. As for the technique, it's fairly straight-forward.

First, choose a location that is smooth, steep and without obstacles. The wind MUST be flowing directly upslope, and must be less than 10mph. If you fly in high winds or turbulence you will probably die a horrible death. Make sure the owner of the land gives your permission, or cannot see you fly. ;)

  1. Remove the pilot-chute and stow the slider all the way down.
  2. Unstow the brakes
  3. Lay the canopy out upslope from your container, in a horse-shoe shape with the end-cells closer to the rig than the center cell. The nose must face up, but the canopy should be on its back. Check all the lines for sticks and for continuity.
  4. Put the rig on, while facing downhill.
  5. Drape your risers over your arms, and grab the toggles, paying careful attention to the continuity.
  6. Reaching under the risers, grab the front risers at the connector link.
  7. If there is very little wind, you will need to get a bit of running speed before you hit the end of the lines and bring the canopy up, so start by backing up toward the canopy.
  8. When you are ready to fly, run AGGRESSIVELY downhill with your hands up in front of you, with no slack in the front risers.
  9. When you hit the end of the lines, the canopy will go "WHOMP!" and will pull your shoulders back a bit. Keep running!
  10. When the parachute is fully over your head, release your grip on the front risers.
  11. Do not apply your brakes until you have lots of speed, otherwise the parachute will retreat behind you like airbrakes.
  12. If the canopy drifts to one side, do not try to steer it back over your head. Run slightly toward the side that the parachute has drifted toward so that you end up back under the canopy.
  13. Look up at the canopy as you run straight downhill to check for proper inflation and line continuity. If something looks wrong, stop running and pull your toggles all the way down.
  14. When you have adequate running speed apply the brakes to 1/4 or so.
  15. Look straight downhill as you run to assure a straight take-off run, and to avoid rocks and other obstacles.
  16. Keep running as fast as you can until you find yourself running in the air.
  17. Never do a 180 back at the hill, always land across the slope or downhill (if the slope flattens out)
  18. Do not fly into a tree, ski lift or other object.
  19. You may still die.
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