Frequently asked questions about Paragliding:
- • What is paragliding?
- • Is Paragliding for me?
- • What exactly is a paraglider?
- • How does it fly?
- • Is there an age limit?
- • Paragliding – is it scary?
- • Is Paragliding safe?
- • Do you have to jump off a cliff?
- • Do I have to be an athlete?
- • How high do you fly?
- • What equipment/gear will I need?
- • What is a tandem flight?
- • The difference between a Paraglider and a hang glider?
What is paragliding?
Paragliding is the closest humans can get to the feeling of flying like a bird. It is a fun, safe way to experience flight in its simplest form. You simply lay out a wing on a hillside or mountain, inflate it over your head like a kite, run a few steps and before you know it you’ve stepped off into the sky! Once in the air, a pilot is able to maintain and even gain altitude using lifting air currents and thermals. Landing a paraglider is extremely easy. A pilot simply steers it into the landing area, and glides down for a very gentle touch down back on to earth.
Is Paragliding for me?
Just about anyone can learn to paraglide. Training classes are not very strenuous, and it doesn’t take any unusual strength or skill to learn to fly (the most physical part of training is walking up the hill for another flight!). In fact it requires about the same effort as you need to learn driving or cycling. But the pleasure of flying is to be experienced to be believed. People of both sexes and all ages can take up the sport. All you need is a good pair of high ankle boots, We’ll supply the rest. You don’t have to be super-fit but you probably won’t enjoy it if you are really unfit. There will be a fair amount of walking uphill and ground-handling calls for some exertion especially in the early days.
What exactly is a paraglider?
Paragliders are an advanced evolutionary aircraft that can go places and do things unlike any other vehicle. The equipment is non – rigid fabric construction. High-performance fabrics coupled with a growing comprehension of our micro-metrology have permitted the development of our incredible sport. The entire paragliding set (wing, harness, helmet) up weighs less than twenty kilos and easily fits into a backpack.
How does it fly?
Paraglider’s are aircraft which fly by the same aerodynamic principles that keep Boeings in the sky. However, unlike Boeings, paragliders are delightfully slow aircraft, with a very small speed range. You can inflate it in nil wind, stabilize it overhead with a touch of the brakes, launch it at a steady trot, and yet it will also fly forward in quite a strong breeze. It turns with a gentle pull on a single handle, or will fly straight, with a little more than an occasional shift of your shoulders. It is far easier to handle a paraglider in the air than on the ground.
Is there an age limit?
There is no age limit, but it’s important to have the maturity to respect the hazards. Participant ages range from students in their teens to seasoned pilots in their 70′s. The bulk of the active pilots seem to be a little under 30 through a bit over 50.
Paragliding – is it scary?
A question most people ask, and the answer has to be “NO”. Floating gently under your canopy you feel totally at ease, knowing that you have more or less complete control over where you are going. It is a gentle adventure, once airborne the experience can be serene, quiet and peaceful. There is an element of potential risk involved, but if you are prepared to learn paragliding properly, stick to the rules, respect the elements and understand your own limitations the risk involved is very small indeed.
Is Paragliding safe?
Paragliding is an outdoor sport in which you are trying to harmonize with the forces of nature. Like any other adventure sport it is exciting because of that little element of risk but no more than climbing or swimming. Personal judgement and attitude are of fundamental importance. Gain pilot attitude, obey instructions and use of safe equipment. If these conditions are met the slow speeds and inherent stability of paragliders can provide a safe and exhilarating way to experience the realization of mankind’s oldest and greatest dream : personal flight
Do you have to jump off a cliff?
No, you don’t jump off anything. Paragliders are usually launched by running off moderate slopes with the glider inflated, until it lifts you off your feet. If the glider does not inflate properly, the take off is aborted.
Do I have to be an athlete?
General athletic ability seems to help as it requires a little hiking but once airborne the physical effort is minimal. Being overweight and out of shape will put you at a disadvantage when hiking or executing a hard landing, but airborne there is an efficiency of scale and it is good to be heavy.
How high do you fly?
In training you will start out just skimming the ground. As you progress and become more skilled and confident you will probably want to go higher. Paragliders have reached over 18000 ft above sea level.
What equipment/gear will I need?
We provide the paraglider, harness, helmet and radios during the lessons. No special clothing is required although we do suggest that you wear full length pants and comfortable running shoes with ankle support.
What is a tandem flight?
Tandem flights use a wing large enough to hold two people, a pilot and passenger. Each person has their own harness which are attached together, with the passenger in front, and the pilot right behind. This is a great way to experience what it is like to fly an unpowered craft.
The difference between a Paraglider and a hang glider?
Paragliding is often confused with Hang Gliding. Paragliders are non powered aircraft weighing around 12 to 15 kgs., and can be carried in a back pack to any flyable site. It is made of double layer Ribstop Nylon cloth (reinforced and polyurethane coated to make it non porous) with no rigid parts whatsoever. It is Inflated and maintained purely by the movement of air across its surface. The pilot ‘sits’ below the wing, in a harness that is connected to the wing by suspension lines made of kevlar or Deenema. He steers by pulling on one of two lines, known as brake lines. Hang Gliders too are non-powered aircraft weighing more and being bulkier need 2 people to carry them. They are fixed wing aircraft and take more time to rig-up and dismantle and are physically more demanding while training. Being bulky they cannot be carried by one person or put into the boot of a car but need to be strapped onto the roof of a vehicle. The pilot lies in a prone position and maneuvers with the help of a bar that he holds onto in-flight. Hang Gliders have more speed than paragliders and being rigid can consequently take off in stronger wind conditions.
October 11th, 2010 | Posted in |