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A paragliding logbook : Why is that ?

During your paragliding training, you must fill out your first flights on your logbook. In France, only four pages in your FFVL passport are dedicated to this.

Once these pages are filled in, the habit is quickly lost: in France, keeping a flight logbook is not mandatory, no more than having a paragliding "permit" for that matter!
Keeping a flight logbook is, however, a requirement in many other countries. If you don't keep track of your flights, then you are required to return to a paragliding school to certify your level!

Why should you keep a paragliding logbook ?

Keep track of your airtime

One of the advantages of tracking your flights is to know your airtime. From one year to the next, depending on your availability, your health, and so on... you are more or less committed. This has an impact on your flying abilities. Knowing your paragliding airtime can be a good way to see if you can reasonably switch to a more demanding wing, or on the contrary, come back to a quieter wing. Food for thought when you consider buying a paraglider!

Debrief yourself and improve your flying skills

At the beginning of the season, if you want to progress, it is important to set goals. After each flight, fill in your logbook to debrief yourself. For each flight, try to note the "mistakes" you may have made.

These are all points of improvement that you will have to work on. For example: bad preflight (brake twist, harness twist), hazardous takeoff, carelessness error, lack of observation. Impatience that makes you neglect a thermal....

Then there's that cross country paragliding flight you've been wanting to do for a long time and have been missing: Take note of the weather conditions that day. You will then know that when there is no such wind condition, such cloudbase it is useless. Reviewing your flight allows you to analyze your flight, with statistics (average speed for example), compare your options with those of the other pilots, and see which ones paid off.

Maintenance of your paraglider

As you clock up airtime, your paraglider ages. Each manufacturer recommends its own frequency for maintenance, but how can you know where it stands if you don't keep track of the hours you have flown? Keep in mind that inflating tends to damage the glider, and more than in flight. It would be necessary to count these hours as well.

Second-hand sale

A well-kept logbook reassures a buyer when purchasing a used paraglider, much like the maintenance invoices for your vehicle.

What should a logbook contain?

  • date and time
  • flight take-off and landing location
  • flight duration
  • paragliding route
  • A description (notes / weather of the day)

How to keep a paragliding log book ?

A physical flightlog

This is still the most basic method: A "paper" flight logbook.
Some people sell ready-made flight logs on Amazon. Slipping a small schoolboy notebook into your paraglider will do the trick just fine.

Excel

Nowadays everybody (or almost) has a smartphone. You can replace your paper logbook by a simple excel sheet (Google Spreadsheet will do very well). A few formulas allow you to add up the number of flights at the bottom of the column, and to know your cumulated flight time.

Paragliding dedicated apps

You own a Vario / GPS?
If you want to declare your flights from your vario/gps, you'll probably have to plug it into your PC, go through that good old GPSDump , to retrieve the file before declaring it. In short, it's quite laborious, but it's still the most universal thing.

Once the tracklog (*.igc file) is recovered, it is possible to read it on your PC/Mac with a software like logfly, but even more simply on dedicated websites.

Among the online paragliding flight logs are:

CFD

The "Coupe Fédérale de Distance" is a cross-country competition that runs from September 1 to August 31 of the following year. All flights over 15 kilometers can be declared. This addresses French pilots as long as at least the take-off must be in France. The flights must be validated by a moderator to count for the ranking (respect of airspace).
There is a mobile version, if you want to declare from your smartphone.
It is less restrictive than the classic version. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

flightlog.org

Originally created by Norwegians, this site has a very clean, if a bit dated, design. But it does the job.

Syride

The French brand of vario / gps offers a quite advanced flight logbook, but unfortunately reserved for owners of paragliding gps of this brand (AFAIK).

XCTrack + XContest : The winning formula

XContest is the international equivalent of the CFD. Except that it is valid everywhere and for everyone, without restrictions, but there are others: Leonardo, XCGlobe....

In addition to the "flight log" aspect, the interest of XContest is to automatically identify other pilots who have shared a part of the flight with you, as long as they have also declared it on the same site of course. This is the social network side of the site. You are free to view his track, his stats, contact him...

XCTrack is an android application, which relies on the GPS of your phone. It was developed by the creators of XContest.

The application is fantastic. I've been using it for years in both cross country and competition. It is possible to configure its screens, load maps, airspaces... You can find an excellent tutorial (in french) on skyriding.fr.

However this tutorial does not detail a little known feature, which is very useful :
In preferences > pilot, you just have to fill in your login and password of your account on xcontest.org. This implies that you have previously created this account on XContest.
Synchro XCTrack-Xcontest

At the end of your flight, you just have to click on a button to save your flight on xcontest.org.

  1. Click on "tracklogs"
  2. select the track to save
  3. click on XContest

Déclarer un vol depuis XC track sur XContest

Depending on the length of the track, it may take a few minutes to be visible on
XContest

Conclusion

We have seen that there are several good reasons to keep a logbook for paragliding.
There are several solutions available, online logbooks are numerous and free, and it is now possible to upload your track quickly from your smartphone.
We have detailed the procedure for XCtrack on XContest, but alternatives exist:

  • Flyme + XCGlobe.com
  • Paralog  + paraglidinglogbook.com
  • For Mac, FlySkyHy allows you to save it on leonardo
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