Match the wind conditions with the flying site and your level.
Paragliding is very weather dependent. You need the weather to be dry and winds lower than 18mph. For beginners ideal conditions are from 2 mph - 15mph. You don't need it to be sunny as a soaring site will still work well on a cloudy day if there is wind as the air is forced over the top and we can use the updraft to fly in.
Thermic conditions are created when the sun heats the air and creates cumulus cloud which can sometimes allow us to circle up to the base of the clouds.
Conditions can change throughout the day, it is important to get a good weather forecast - we use several different sources. Look at our weather links page. We also have weather stations around the Isle of Arran to monitor the current wind and weather.
Flying in winds or conditions that are too strong create a hazard for paragliding pilots and are a large cause of accidents
Weather Hazards - Strong winds
We also use tandem flights to introduce students to soaring coastal sites in stronger winds.
Groundhandling in strong winds with your paraglider or a miniwing can be great fun and also teach you essential skills.
Dangerous weather conditions for paragliding can be site specific so if you don't know the area talk to the locals in the reverse just because the locals are flying doesn't mean it is good for flying use your own judgement.-
Orographic Cloud - This can form around the hillside and create poor to no visibility it is dangerous as you might hit the hillside or another pilot. As paraglider pilots we legally have to fly in full VMC (Visual meteorological conditions) Below 3000 feet this means clear of cloud, in sight of the ground and in flight visibility of 1.5km.
Lenticular Clouds and Foehn winds Lenticular clouds show strong winds up high and show that wave has developed in the atmosphere. The air goes up a hill and descends and heats on the other side. This can mean some areas are very winds and some are calm. Wave rotor clouds can exist that at first glance look similar to cumulus but are showing were the wave is breaking - further study shows the turbulence that is circling round.
Cumulonimbus - can cause cloud suck and turbulence and strong gust fronts on landing. The updrafts and down drafts inside can be upto 200mph. Aeroplanes avoid them by 10 nautical miles. So don't go near them if you need convinced watch these videos.
Watch our tutorial
Weather Hazards - Cumulonimbus Avoidance