Paragliding Porterville and Surrounds

Paragliding Porterville offers a variety of flying to many types of pilots.  Nil-wind winter top-to-bottoms, late afternoon ridge soaring and thermic cross country flying are all possible but not all reliably so.
Non thermic ridge soaring days occur with slow moving frontal off season days.
Late afternoon restitution flights are also uncommon.  Magic when they happen but restricted to a handful of days.  The dominant "blown out" sea breeze is the main culprit.  Planning a paragliding holiday around that in this area is unwise.
Paragliding Porterville - Pilots thermalling in front of take off.Paragliding Porterville is probably best known for thermic cross country flying.  Its reputation in this regard is quite justifiable.  Superb reliability is offered from December to March where flying four days or more per week is the norm.  Seven days per week is entirely possible during January and February.
For Capetonians, the reliably flyable South Eastern days in Porterville when everything else is blown out, is often why they make the mini pilgrimage.
Ultimately the key to enjoyable Paragliding in Porterville is not sunshine & blue skies or braais but rather the lapse rate.  It is the driving force behind quality flying days.  It is also the reason why we have so many blue flying days in the area.
During the winter months the inversion regularly sits at or below take off at about 800m ASL.  As the sun moves South the inversion lifts to its peak in summer where +2000m days are common and +3000m ASL days become possible at least a  few days per year.  As the sun moves North again the inversion starts dropping.  Late February and March offers very reliable flying but height gains are restricted by the thick, disorganised and ever lowering inversion.  +50km flights are still very achievable but Clanwilliam flights become more rare.

Winter inversion from the top of Dasklip Pass.
Paragliding Porterville - Winter Inversion.

Understand the inversion and pick your days.  Flying day in, day out in a low inversion is not particularly enjoyable or satisfying.  Air mass changes/fronts tend to reset the inversion.  Best XC days are "just" post frontal South Westerlies.  Pre frontal flights usually see increasing wind strength so take care when it is North West.
Did you know?

Porterville Paragliding - Porterville's Jan Danckaert museum.

Porterville’s museum is named after Jan Danckaert who led the first exploratory expedition that travelled across the Olifants River Mountains in 1660.

Built in 1879 it was initially used as a courthouse and prison, only becoming a museum in 1979. The original prison cells are still visible.

The Slave Bell situated outside the museum was formerly used to mark the beginning and end of work periods and punctuate the day during the time when slavery was still practised in the Cape Colonies.


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