Landing a paraglider on a spot of your choosing is easier than one thinks.
Although one must be comfortable with ones wing, it is also important to know its glide and point of stall pretty well.
Most pilots want to land on the spot but do not spend enough time with the approach. This is critical, as is an understanding of the micro weather conditions, wind direction and strength, as well as the landing areas natural hazards. A good thought out approach, allowing wind change options is best.
No two landings are ever the same but the methodology applied is.
This goes with top landings as well.
A little trick I use is simple. I always keep my eye on the spot I wish to land on and using my knees as a “sight” almost – judge whether the spot is rising up above my knees or dropping below on my final glide. Keeping your eye on the spot also seems to make me concentrate more. Remember we normally hit what we look at (fixate upon). Here’s where we can use this human trait to our advantage.
Judging your glide and speed is simple if you give yourself some reference. This is where my knees or feet (if in a stirrup) provide that reference “sight”.
If my decided landing spot is rising up this means I will land short of it.
If it is dropping below then I am going to over fly it. This technique can also be used to access whether you will get to a geographical position if flying XC as well.
So how do I get to land on the spot? If I give myself a long approach with limited amounts of “S’ing” or “Figure-of-8” turns to lose altitude. If I keep the spot neither rising nor dropping technically I should land on it. This does not take into consideration ground rush due to wind gradient etc. These minor adjustments come with experience and knowing your wing.
I try to maintain a steady speed by gently slowing the glider down but maintaining an even brake pressure (about 25%) where I can allow the glider to speed up or slow down more should I need. I give myself some speed to play with. By allowing it to steadily glide to the touch down spot where I will flare just before it, I normally land on my designated spot time after time.
Another tip to landing on the spot is to approach the spot from the side. This aspect takes the wind speed out of the equation to a large extent and allows you to concentrate on maintaining the glide applying or releasing the brakes as required. Only minor directional adjustments would need to be made to hit the spot.
Note if one is flying with no brakes and then one pulls them, the glider can convert that airspeed into lift and vice versa. This subtle control comes with practice.
If you do this properly there should seldom be a need to butterfly-land your paraglider.
Give it a try and practice as much as possible. Understanding your wing and how it performs in differing conditions is key to successful spot landings time after time.