Paraglider

Paragliding is in my point of view the cheapest way of flying for real. No wonder it is becoming so popular. 

More advantages

  • very silent type of flight
  • very easy controls
  • open air (if you want to feel the elements of nature)
  • each flight is a challenge. If you don't find the updrafts, you sink and your flight ends quickly. So ...you need to work for your air hours. And that is fun.

More disadvantages (see bottom for most common mistakes)

  • landing on feet
  • when there is too much wind, you are the first one that stops flying, if not ridge soaring
  • open air (when temperature drops)

Explaining the graph

Speed

Paragliders are the slowest fliers. That is good for beginners as the landings are easier to do.

Low Cost

Paragliding is the cheapest way to fly. If you respect your material, you might fly a long time with the same material. Sails and sacks scraping over the ground get damaged.

If start/land on grass, all your stuff gets green. Strong herbs can puncture your sail. If you start/land on concrete or other stone, all your stuff gets like sanded with sandpaper (sails and sacks wear off easier when sanded). 

Range

Range is not the goal of paragliding. Many people use paragliding to start from A and land on A or downhill A. You can go cross-country if the weather is good. But don't expect to go hundreds of km or miles, unless ...you are reaaaaally good.

Open air

Open air is a disadvantage in winter. Flying at low temperatures is only for the die-hards. But ...when flying in warm weather, you can really enjoy the feeling you have with the elements of nature.

Keep in mind that normally the higher you go, the colder it gets. On the ground a T-shirt and during high flight a extra windstopper or sweater is pretty normal in other open air aviation sports. But ...you need to decide before taking off. Putting extra clothes on seems to be impossible to me for paragliders.



Picture by Jeroen Boekhoorn

Flying in rain

You don't want to fly in rain with a paraglider. Your sails gets wet and starts to weight more. Not sure yet what it does to the stability in flight. But i think it cannot be good. If you know more about flying paragliders in rain, please, tell your story. I like to know.

Are you a toy of the wind?

Pilots know there is a thing called turbulences. It is when the wind does things you would not expect in a steady wind. Suddenly you are thrown upwards or pulled downward. Or you get diverted to left or right. And ...you cannot predict it.

Some air-vehicles have not much trouble with those small turbulences. Reason: they are really heavy. They are harder to push around. Now ...paragliders are very very light. So ...if you are in a turbulence, you get shaken around. So, as a beginner you need to keep track of the weather. Weather with a lot of turbulences or areas with a lot of obstacles that create turbulences are to be avoided. Learn your weather forecast. Ask a expert if doubting.

Trailer

Do you need a trailer ??? Noooo way! You can transport your paraglider on a bike, on the backseat of your car. You can easily carry it on your back and go walking towards your starting point.

Hangar

No. Just slide it under your bed.

Group or solo

You can use your paraglider as a single person.

In some wind conditions (like when going for ridge soaring) you can need helping hands to keep your sail down or to help you from being blown away when the wind gets too hard while your sail is pulled up. So ...having people around you when you are still a beginner is good. 

Also, when you are in a group. You can hear how other pilots observe the weather and decide to fly or not. Follow the advise of the experts. One tip: that guy that makes loopings and flies when drinking is NOT the guy to ask safety tips.

Last but not least. Paragliding is one of the only air sports you can really fly in a bunch of friends. And that is fun. But ...use the same system like the others. Are thermals are taken in the same circular direction. Don't go in opposite direction!

Here you actually see a mid-air collision. Please, read the complete page before judging. https://vimeo.com/115863618

But ...lets keep it safety and lets enjoy it with friends like in the next video of Jeroen Boekhoorn.

 

MOST COMMON MISTAKES

  • trying to fly when the wind is too hard. It will only result in flying backwards. There is no way you will reach your intended landing spot. Strong winds can only be used when ridge soaring. And ...that is not for beginners.
  • buying a secondhand paraglider that is not intended for beginners. If it is not for beginners, it will be very nervous to control. Might be too speedy for easy landings too.
  • buying a secondhand paraglider without unfolding it from its pack. Paragliders are more sensitive to ground damage. Be sure to look good at the sail and ropes before you buy your first secondhand paraglider.

SCHOOLS FOR PARAGLIDING IN THE WORLD

FUN THINGS FOR PARAGLIDERS