PARAGLIDING is a relatively new form of hang gliding. The wing is an easily maneuverable glider launched by a short run down a hillside. Pulling handles, with lines attached to the glider controls the flight speed and direction. The wing is a lightweight glider, which is easily carried in a backpack.
Paragliding is a very pure and seductive method of personal flight. Flight speeds are slow & controlled. Industry professionals agree that Paragliders are the easiest aircraft to become airborne in, yet require the greatest amount of judgment and skill to fly safely due to their being held inflated by the air that they fly through.
Paragliding is NOT Parasailing! Parasailing is when one is towed behind a boat under a vented circular parachute canopy. Paragliders do not depend on being towed to be able to fly.
Paragliding is NOT Skydiving! Skydiving is when one jumps out of a plane and free fall is the primary goal. The paraglider does look a lot like the canopy skydivers use to slow their descent.
Paragliding is NOT Base Jumping! Base Jumping is like skydiving only from a fixed position like the top of a building.
A Paraglider Pilot takes flight by "inflating" the paraglider canopy over their head and then running down the slope of a hill, into the prevailing breeze, until the canopy lifts them away from the surface of the earth.
A Pilot with advanced experience and knowledge will be able to launch into soaring conditions, where rising parcels of sun heated air can carry one aloft. Sometimes one can rise thousands of feet above the point of launch and allow sustained flights of several hours.
One of the best features paragliding offers is its portability and low weight. The wing or canopy of a paraglider weighs around 15 pounds which attaches to a harness. A harness is a simple sling of webbing and fabric, fitted with buckles and special clips to secure the pilot in the harness and attach itself to the wing. With a lightweight helmet and some other gear, the pilot is ready to fly. The entire system will fit in a corner of the trunk of your car, or onto the backpack that you can take with you on a hike.
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