Incidents
Previous Home Next

Whether you like it or not, incidents are an important part of paragliding. They come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from harmless hiccups to serious disasters and death. Incidents are easy to avoid, if you can see them coming. Unfortunately, incidents tend to sneak up on you from behind and stab you in the back in a surprise attack. To complicate the matter even further, a chain of seemingly minor and unharmful incidents might finally accumulate into an accident.

Helicopter on a rescue mission.Being aware of the risk involved in paragliding, is a major contributor to your safety. Being aware of what could happen to you, allows you to counter incidents. Being aware of what is going on around you, is one of the key characteristics of good piloting. By noticing a risk before the corresponding accident ambushes you, you are mentally prepared to deal with it and thus less likely to end up in trouble. By being prepared, you change from reactive, often panicking incident management, to pro-active, planned and controlled risk management. You change from being bullied by the circumstances, to being in control of your destiny. When flying, hiking, or whatever risky activity you have in mind, be sure that it is you that chooses the scenario. Do not wait for nature, since she is likely to choose a far more challenging one.

The overwhelming majority of incidents, especially in paragliding, originates form human failure. Pilots however, often describe incidents as something happening to them. Something they could not foresee, nor prevent. The word incident is often used to cover up our mistakes by blaming them on the circumstances, on other people, or on anything else rather than ourselves. From a psychological point of view, there is probably a valid reason for the habit of hiding our mistakes. Some people even manage to make a full-time profession out of it. However, politics is very different from paragliding and you better not fall into this trap if you want to fly safely. By giving attention to all incidents during your flight, including the unharmful ones, you will be able to tell whether you are flying safely or not. If you have too many (little) incidents, you better land before the big one gets you.

There is a lot more to say about incidents, but this already has been said in the corresponding links given above. I won't make the mistake of repeating myself here.

Previous Home Next
2010-01-23