Paragliders and Paragliding.

What are paragliders and why do we fly them?

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This website is dedicated to the sport of paragliding. We are not linked with any schools or manufacturers. We are dedicated to sharing impartial information about paragliding, the equipment used(and where to buy it), paragliding organisations, how to find the right school for you, safety, specific skills, paragliding competitions and the history and evolution of the sport.


First, here is a general overview.

It is a very common misconception that paragliders are similar to parachutes. Yes they may look similar, but from an aerodynamic perspective, its like comparing a feather and a stick.

Im not trying to upset parachutists (I think that is a fantastic sport too), but the fundamantal difference is that parachutes are like an air brake designed to slow your descent in a controlled manner, while paragliders are actually an airfoil which flys though the air.


Some comparisons and images of various portable aircraft HERE.

Unless you are involved in the fantastic sport of paragliding, you may not be aware that paragliders (in the hands of a well trained and skilled pilot, can ride currents of air called thermals, and actually gain height just like an eagle. Its not just a matter of finding the tallest mountain and flying off it, a paraglider can actually ascend far higher than the launch height (all without a motor).

With this ability, Paragliders have been able to travel hundreds of miles from the launch site, flying purely on the wind.

Now that has to be the closest man has ever come to pure flight.

The sport of paragliding has evolved rapidly. The sport was invented in the early 80's, with its popularity and safety soaring in the 90's and into the new century. More Paragliding History HERE.

The new paraglider pilot today has a massive choice of equipment both new and secondhand, with the later gear naturally offering higher performance and higher safety than the older gear.

More on Paragliding Gear HERE.

Paragliding is a sport which involves leaving the ground(well duh) but I say this because if you leave the ground, there is always some risk of coming down too fast. It is essential, that BEFORE you rush out and buy some gear and hurtle yourself off a mountain, that you get some proper training. A little knowledge and a lot of enthusiasm can be very dangerous. This is the sole reason that paragliding  like hang-gliding has a somewhat checkered safety history. This is due to its accessibility to the average daredevil, and the media obviously love the story.

Here is a short demo video showing a simple "sleddy" a straight forward flight from the top of a hill to a nice landing at the bottom. This pilot is flying a small high speed paraglider and chooses to fly fairly close to the ground(not recommended for beginners).Enjoy

<1--gopro video-->

Paraglider, err...paraglides with a Helmet HERO Wide camera from GoPro from GoPro on Vimeo.

It is commonly joked amongst paraglider pilots that the most dangerous part of going flying, is the drive to the launch and the drive home. Statistics support this. Paragliding is typically safer than driving.(only if you get proper training, and dont do something silly)

Most developed countries have regulated the use of paragliders and have created excellent training guidelines.

More on Paraglider training HERE.

 The information in this guide is of a general nature only. Paragliding is a potentially dangerous sport. Get professionally qualified instruction before buying any gear and flying. Your professional advice superceeds anything on this site.