With paragliding, almost everything happens asymmetrically. This is a good thing because it means we get more information about how our wing is being influenced by the parcel of air we are flying through at any given moment.  In a paraglider, this communication is more nuanced than with any other aircraft.

These drawings are a view from above of an idealized thermal, core and pilot track.  These drawings represent opportunities lost and gained by pilots at different levels of experience related to thermalling. 

Elongation Poem

   by Wes Kilham, New South Wales, Australia


Come on buddy, don’t be late

Pull the brake and Elongate,

Map that thermal in your mind

Is it in front or now behind?


Every event in all creation,

Is just a form of information.

So when the glider starts to sink,

This is just to make you think!


Seems to me it can’t be fate,

I simply forgot to Elongate!

Come on buddy don’t get sore,

Just Elongate to find that core!


Squeeze the brake then let it go,

Not too fast but not too slow.

There’s no need to growl and mutter,

What the heck was that wingtip flutter?


Elongate….yes, Elongate,

Come on buddy, Hey! That was great!

Keep a little banking, don’t let it flatten out,

Skid a little longer if you have some doubt.


Some think of forms elliptical,

I like the word “ovoid”,

No matter what your language,

There’s a fact you can’t avoid.


If there’s anything conclusive,

When the thermal is elusive;

Man you have to have a plan,

To Elongate, just Elongate!


No need for more elucidation,

No quibbles on enunciation.


Coming soon to your TV,

Available on DVD

Ken’s quite thrilling demonstration,

Of the special art of Elongation!