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Task Setting - Step by Step

A guideline for safe paragliding tasks.


Paragliding competition tasks demand careful planning to ensure the safety and satisfaction of the pilots. This document serves as a resource for task committees, meet directors, safety committees and every pilot, providing a systematic approach to task setting.

We believe in the power of collaboration. This document is open to feedback and contributions from the community. If you have insights, ideas, or concerns that can enhance this guideline, please don’t hesitate to reach out or directly contribute to this document.

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The task committee process

There should be three experts on the task committee to ensure diversity of options, risk analysis and a compromise framework for discussion. The meet director should be available in an advisory role, but should not be a member of the committee. Together with a safety committee of two other pilots, the meet director reviews the task prepared by the task committee. They pass on tips, ideas and concerns to the task committee for evaluation. The task committee adjusts the task and releases it for further review. This process continues until agreement is reached.

Task Creation Flow

Set the important task parameters

Minimum Distance

From which shortest distance onwards, differentiated scoring takes place. This distance should correspond to a straight down glide from the highest used take-off point with headwind. Standard is 7 km.

Nominal Distance

The average distance of a task in this area, at this pilot level. If it is set too low, there will be too little difference in points for ranking. The task will be devalued if fewer than half of the field flies less than half of the nominal distance. This approach is used to devalue tasks that are too short and too easy in sporting terms.

Nominal Time

The minimum time that should be flown to have a sporting task. It is not related to the Nominal Distance. If the fastest pilot is able to complete the task in less time than the nominal time, then the task is considered too easy and will be devalued sportingly.


The discard is given in %. In a competition of 4 tasks or more, FTV 25% can result in a complete discard if each task is worth 1000 points for the task winner. Therefore, the use of FTV with 25% is only recommended for competitions of 5 days or more. From 10 days onwards 20% FTV is recommended. Not using FTV rewards consistent flying and can also be an option.

Setting the task

Defining the task length

tS: Define earliest possible race airstart taking into account weather conditions and organizational requirements such as take-off site and transportation.
tE: The latest possible landing at the goal should as well be defined based on weather forecast and/or organizational reasons, such as the need for retrieval, evening events, or a rescue mission (2h prior to sunset)
vL: Determine the minimum average speed required for the final pilot to reach the goal, taking into account the weather conditions and the skill level of the pilots.
Task time [h] = tE - tS
Task length [km] = (tE - tS) * vL

Race Format

Race to Goal: If it is possible for all pilots to safely wait in the air between Window Open (ground departure possible) and Airstart, this option should always be preferred.

Elapsed Time: Waiting until Airstart is not possible in the air.

Race with Gates: Waiting is possible for individuals until the Airstart in the air. For Elapsed Time and Race with Gates, it is recommended to reduce the Leading Points or replace them with Departure Points.

It is always more sporting to set a task deadline than to have to stop the task.

Defining the rough route

A rough route is defined based on the calculated task distance and the weather forecast. The safety of the pilots is a primary concern. Rough leeward areas, high wind areas, airspaces and non-landable areas should be avoided. Retrieval must be considered. Variety for the pilots and unusual routes, away from standard XC routes, increase the fun factor. Difficulties should only be incorporated between 30% and 60% of the task distance. Attention should be paid to manageability for the slowest pilots. They may fly alone and with less powerful gliders. In order not to diminish the motivation of the weaker ones, difficulties should not be right at the beginning of the task. For the purpose of sportsmanship, difficulties should also not be placed shortly before the goal, otherwise the best pilots can no longer compensate a small mistake.

Defining all turnpoints

A variety of options is desirable, but care should be taken to ensure a common race course. If the route options are so divided that they cannot be changed for the most part of the race, different races will quickly be flown. Ideally, there are many route options that intersect each other regularly so that the route options can be changed.

Large radiuses create opportunities. Small radiuses concentrate pilots in one area. This makes it possible to avoid lee side areas but increases the risk of collision. Also, the route is more fixed and pilots are less able to react to changes in the weather. The greater the instability and difficulty of the weather, the more safe options there should be at the turnpoints for the pilots.

Long glide distances over areas without thermals reduce the sportiness. If these distances cannot be avoided, at least several thermal options at the end of the glide path should be made interesting in order to spread out the field more.

Every turn and route between cylinders must be checked for the following points:

  • What happens if the valley wind reaches higher than currently thought?
  • What happens if the wind is +/- 30° different than currently expected?
  • What happens if the wind is weaker/stronger than expected?
  • What time will the pilots arrive there, and what effect does the position of the sun have?
  • What happens to the leeward situation when everything is shaded?
  • Is the turnpoint reachable when everything is shaded?
  • What happens if the base is lower than currently expected?
  • Can the cylinder be reached when the pilots are all just gliding out?
  • Are there obstacles on the way there and back (cable cars, power lines, air spaces, lee edges)?

Start of Speed Section

The SSS should spread the pilots out from the beginning to avoid collisions. This can be achieved by having several thermal sources attractive to wait for the airstart. Care should be taken to ensure that the approach direction to the SSS is very similar for all, or that groups taking the SSS from different directions do not meet. The continuation of the flight to the first turnpoint must be designed in such a way that the pilots do not have to make more than 120° course changes at the cylinder. A turn at the SSS leads to an increased risk of collision.

After the SSS, pilots should have many thermal options so that the group is spread out. It should be possible to skip the first thermals without the risk of bombing out. So some will turn and some will not. A direct approach to a ridge should be avoided so that the concentrated group doesn’t have to soar close to the ground at high speed. Flying high over a ridge is fine.

The preferred choice should be an ENTER cylinder so that there are many ideal points for starting. With a classic small EXIT cylinder there is only one ideal point on which the group is concentrated. If you do not choose the same waypoint as for the SSS as the first waypoint, more options can result (Enter example). With an ENTER cylinder, care should be taken that the ideal point for the shortest optimized route is not on the opposite side of the turnpoint. Waiting there would require starting to fly very early, effectively starting the race on the ground. By using diagonal cylinders, pilots can be attracted to non-thermal areas so that they have a shorter distance but lose more altitude to reach the SSS (Exit example).


End of Speed Section

The ESS and also the turnpoints, which must be passed during the final approach to the Goal, should never be so high that you have to soar again in the group to reach the turnpoint.

Strong thermal areas should be avoided on the final approach to the ESS, if a high entry is expected. Flying at full speed along the slope should also be avoided. It makes sense to be able to start the final approach very low but fly less fast in order to be able to fly into the goal with a higher required glide ratio.

To minimize the risk of collision at the ESS, a turn of almost 180° into the goal should be avoided.

The route from the ESS to the Goal should be completed with a tailwind. A tailwind landing in 40 km/h wind is less dangerous than an accelerated glider close to the ground, when pilots have to accelerate to improve the glide ratio in order to still reach the goal in a headwind. In addition, the distance between ESS and Goal should offer many landing options, so that pilots coming in too low do not have to turn away or take increased risks even though they still have some altitude left.

The distance between ESS and Goal should be kept short, so that in the event of a task stop, pilots who reached the ESS can still make the Goal. In addition, the task distance minimizes if the ESS is too far away from the Goal. However, the distance should be set significant enough that the pilots still reach the ESS at least 200m above ground. This way, there is enough remaining altitude for a collapse at full speed.

Defining the Goal

A line is to be preferred, even if no physical line is laid out. The direction from the last turnpoint should be almost parallel to the optimised line so that the goalline is at the correct angle. The goalline/goal cylinder should be free of obstacles (forest, houses, fences, wires, roads) and be landable. If pilots approach from an unexpected direction, it must still be possible to do so safely.

Task setting check list

Rough route:

Race Format:


Turnpoint and radius checks (each turnpoint individually and in combination!):

Start of Speed Section:

End of Speed Section:



Initial version written by Ferdinand Vogel

  • Ramona Eckert
  • Stephan Schöpe