Paragliding is a frivolous and an aggressive airborne sport. A foot launched, free flying aircraft is called a paraglider. Below the fabric wing is a harness suspended where the pilot sits. The shape of it is formed by the suspension lines as well as the air pressure which enters into the front wing’s vent.
Wishing to fly in the air like a bird is a dream of everyone. Paragliding is thus the most suitable mean to experience this and be at such a great height. It provides us an ideal channel to conquer the mighty high sky. It is an adventurous activity and is earning fame like a wild jungle fire. It has always charmed mankind and is a soothing experience as well. Moreover, it is an incredible combination of hang gliding and skydiving.
A detail description about paraglider:
Under carriage: In order to launch and to land pilot uses his feet.
Structure of wings: wings are completely flexible and the shape is designed in such a way that it allows maximum air to pass through the tension lines and through the wings.
Position of pilot: The pilot should sit flat in a harness.
The range of speed (measured between maximum and stall speed) is slower in case of paraglider. This slower speed makes it easier to launch as well as fly in light winds but if the wind picks up it can cause trouble. Also, wind penetration is poor as well as does not pitch control. Although diving for speed is difficult, variations in pitch can still be achieved with the speed bar.
Space needed for landing: a very small piece of space or land is needed to land. Make sure where you land there should not be any tree as it will be a big problem.
Learning: are very easy to learn and most of the workouts are learned while doing practice i.e. it can’t be learned only by having oral guidance. So make sure while practising you should work out with an instructor with you in the air.
Convenience: they are very much small in size. They are also very light in weigh and provide us with an advantage to carry it easily from one place to another.
Cost: these paragliders are very cost effective but because of this are less durable.
How to Learn Paragliding:
Paragliding is known to be the most basic way to fly in an open air like other birds do but in a controlled manner. It can also be a very energetic sport for people of all age group. In order to have a perfect flight it is necessary to have proper fitness and technique. While going for paragliding make sure you have proper training because if not done precaution, can lead to fatal injuries resulting in death sometimes. Following are the basic steps which can be adopted to make a perfect fly:
1- Look for an expert. In order to know and learn about various techniques on how to take off or how to land with perfection you need to have an expert who can guide you as it can’t be self-taught.
2- Choose the most suitable place for you. It is up to you that you select a place nearby your residence or you prefer a paragliding site. It will be better to opt for site training as it will provide you will exact feel.
3- Always go for the quality equipments and make your habit to check equipment before going for a flight. Basic and vital gears that are needed for paragliding are as follows:
b- A parachute (reserve)
e- Make sure the harness you purchase must fit perfectly. You can check it at the time of purchasing. Not only this but you will also need some other protective equipments for your safety that includes boots to support your ankle, a knife (hook knife) in case of any emergency and to attain a constant body temperature you need to have a flight suite. Make sure you buy a bag in which you put all your equipment when they are not in use.
4- To start off with the training make sure you learn the basic rules of paragliding which are as follows, under the supervision of an expert instructor:
a- How to land
b- How to turn( in both sides)
c- How to launch
In order to know how to launch, move fast or run in the direction of the wind towards a slope with your aircraft behind you. It is known as “hopping”. When air with strike your aircraft it will give you a lift with then enables your paraglider to fly. When you are done with it to control direction, elevation and speed of your craft or paraglider make use of hand brakes. If you want to turn, pull the hand brake in that particular direction. In order to slow down your speed simultaneously pull both hand brakes. Look for suitable place to land and make a smooth landing.
5- Once you are done with landing make sure you gather your equipments quickly so that if some other paraglider wants to land he or she can land with safety. After landing make your habit to pack your kite in order to shield it from harm full rays like ultraviolet rays.
6- You can also enroll in a school in order to learn paragliding successfully.
a. Search for a well known paragliding institute. Look for high ranking institute. Take help of internet to find the list of paragliding institute in your area. Opt for reputable institute as they can only teach you with perfection. Don’t waste your money by having guidance from an ordinary or low ranking institute. Search engines can be ideal for finding a high ranking institute. You can also judge the ranking by the customer’s views. Make sure you read customers corner before making any decision.
b. Ask as many questions as you can but they should be related to what you are practicing. Make sure you are completely satisfied.
c. Never ever try to make things done faster. Moreover keep that in mind as paragliding is completely dependent over the weather so training can be prolonged from weeks to months.
7- Be patient. Make sure you are patient enough and don’t lose hope. Remember proper training along with practice will help you learn well.
How to forward launch and land:
• First you should check the paraglider position. For this, lay it on a horseshoe pattern such that the wings are facing into the wind. Make sure the body is facing forward when doing a forward launch.
• Put your A riser in your arm and grab the brakes. After this, you will need to reach under and then back if you are so that A riser is placed in your palm.
• Once gotten hold of risers, pull them. Once the correct position of brake as well as A risers is achieved, you will then pull of the A risers. Quickly take a glance backwards to ensure that everything is in correct position.
• Now by taking half (or small step) back, forward launch. Remember you will need to take small step in order to perform forward launching. Start running with maximum speed with hips pulling forward. You will now be able to launch easily without having the need of high winds.
• In order to land, you need to know how to do flare. Flare is a necessary technique and is done following a certain procedure. For flaring, you should make a hold of brakes in your hands and then pull brakes to your sides. Hold it in this position. This will allow the surface area of paraglider to be reducing, thus allowing it to descend.
• The landing site should be pre-decided. Make sure the site has enough space to allow for you to land. You should also make sure to follow rules and regulations of the landing area,; if there are any.
• When landing you should be facing the wind. Wind is an important factor in controlling the descending rate towards the ground and hence allows for a soft landing.
• Landing should be done keeping specific procedure in mind. When you are 20 feet above the ground, you should hang out with legs together from harness. Your knees should be bending. Grab the brakes and when you are just 5 feet above the ground you should do flaring fast enough to minimize the paraglider. As soon as you hit the ground run a few steps.
• You should quickly gather your paraglider in case there are other fliers who will be landing and so you need to clear out. You should also inspect your paraglider by laying it out in an open space for tears or snags.
• Always wear helmet, even if you are an expert or a beginner as injuries can occur anytime.
• Wear strong light sturdy boots which provides good support to the ankle.
• While purchasing paraglider makes sure you buy the best available quality as your life depends upon the paraglider you purchase. Any mishap during flight can put you in big trouble. Consult your instructor at the time of purchasing. Your life will depend on your paraglider, so ask your instructor what they recommend before you invest in your first purchase.
• Keep your equipments in safe place.
• Prefer to replace your old paraglider with the new after every 4 years.
• Make sure you don’t have any breathing problem. If so consult a doctor whether you are eligible to paraglide or not.
• While going for a flight make sure you are well equipped.
How much difficult it is to learn paragliding?
To become a master of normal paragliding is just like a kid’s play but if you want to become an expert and advanced paragliding that involves various techniques and style it requires a lot of hard work. For that you have to be a good pilot, i.e. you have to have excellent pilot skills including know how about aerodynamics and weather.
What are the distance and height limits?
Distance and height mainly depends upon the conditions. It is up to you how much long you fly in normal condition ranging from a flight of 30 min to 3 hours and up to an altitude of 15,000. The world record till now is a flight of around 11 hours covering the distance of 200 miles.
When the condition allows, flights of 1-3 hours are not uncommon, with altitudes up to 15,000’ being gained. The record is over 11 hours in the air with nearly 200 miles being reached.
What are the age limits?
There are no age limits if you are above 18 years but if your age is less than 18 years then you have to have your parents’ permission. Otherwise you won’t be allowed or eligible for paragliding.
Is launching place fixed?
No, any elevated slope can be used for launch but make sure no tree is in your path while launching.
What is the difference between parachuting, parasailing and paragliding?
Parasailing is done at beach. In parasailing a modified parachute which is tied with a boat, drags you around. In this case you don’t need to have a pilot.
Parachuting is very different from parasailing. In parachuting you have to jump from an aeroplane with a parachute tied to you. It is done with immense height.
Paragliding is to jump from any elevated slope with a paraglider behind you. It is very much aerodynamic and lighter as compared to parachuting and is designed in such a way that you can easily move around.
Straight distance – 502.9 km
Gain of height – 4526 m
Recently a flight of over 500 km was made by Nevil Hulett in excellent conditions in South Africa
Paragliding is a fun, exciting and adventurous sport. Once you are in the air you will feel how relaxing and peaceful it is up there. You would want it never to end and want to paraglide forever. But remember no matter how exciting and adventurous it may sound, proper safety measures should be taken and one should train properly before launching himself in the air.