Paragliding Explained


So what is paragliding exactly? Some people are confusing it with base jumping,
skydiving or wingsuit flying, because when they open their parachutes, it looks something
like a paraglider wing. If you squint your eyes and look from really
far, you can mistake them, but from closer the difference is imminent. Paraglider wings are inflated on the ground
and the pilot only starts to take off when the wing is generating lift. The equipment contains a Wing, this is made out of sailcloth sewn
together in a way that when it inflates with the lines properly in place, it creates a
stable profile. the pilot sits in a harness that is connected
to the glider with carabiners Inside the harness there is a Reserve parachute.
in case of emergency this is your last chance to get the best out of a bad situation. A paragliders is controlled with breaks, If
you pull the right break it turns right and if you pull the left break it turns left. A biggest advantage of paragliding is that you
can pack everything together in a backpack, the average equipment is around 10 kgs and
pretty easy to assemble so 10 minutes after arriving to takeoff, you can be in the air
if the conditions are suitable. Now let’s talk about glide ratio. It means when a glider is travelling through
the air as it moves forward, it loses height. An average paraglider loses 1 meter of height
every 10 meters it goes forward, that is a 10 to 1 glide ratio. Competition paragliders are reaching 12 to
1. It is getting closer to the 17:1 ratio of
hang gliders, but it’s really far from the sailplanes 50 to 1. Altough it is safe to say that the last 2 will
not fit in a backpack So how does a paraglider stays in the air,
while it is constantly losing height gliding? Paragliding pilots are searching for areas
where the air is lifting faster, than they are going down inside of it. One kind of lift is ridge lift
When the wind is reaching rising terrain, there is no other way for it to go than up. Another kind is thermal lift
The sun heats up the earth’s surface, that does the same to the air over it what rises
up, creating a column of rising air. Gliders are rising in lifts and as they reach
the top, they go for the next one, this way on day when whether conditions are good they
can stay in the air 10+ hours and travel huge distances, the current world record is 564 kms.

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