The paraglider is considered a sport of flight by means of a parachute with some modifications in design that improve planning capabilities. Important is noted that this term is also used as a glider ultra lightweight and pliable , a device whose function is to delay the vertical descent having a body when it falls through the atmosphere or decrease the speed of the body moving so horizontal.


What is paragliding?

Paragliding is in addition to being an air sport simple and exciting, an ultra flexible and ultra light glider that uses complete flight equipment that takes off and lands with the feet. A lightweight, semi-rigid airship glider that is easy to handle.


What does it consist of

Paragliding is considered a fairly new discipline that has grown very quickly. The word is of French origin that comes from two words the first “parachute” which means parachute and the second “pente” which means slope . It is a sport whose function involves launching from an elevated area using the wind to be able to rise to the sky using a series of ascending or thermal air currents that are called dynamics . At the same time clothingAs used in this activity it is also known as paraglider and includes the harness , the sail and the flight chair and parachute used in emergencies.


Paragliding characteristics

The main characteristics of a paraglider are the following:

  • Paragliding is very different from other types of air sports because it does not have any rigid elements in its structure and it is made up of a series of fabric boxes placed from front to back.
  • The strings or lines connecting the pilot come out from between the drawers.
  • When you pull both at the same time, you get down to the edge of the exit ; when only one is thrown, it is lowered to only this side.
  • It has a flexible brim that can also be soft made of synthetic fabric .
  • The weight of the equipment is usually around 25 to 30 kilograms .
  • Both the pilot and the passenger must wear a team full of security that includes a helmet and parachute equipment, Radio and different instruments electronics .


The origins of paragliding tend to be a bit confusing and it is believed that its origin was born thanks to a host of factors that includes the studies of Leonardo da Vinci , the Wright Brothers , the works of Plath and many other investigations that drove the development of these flight instruments.


In 1978, a group of paratroopers in France began to train their landings of precision , peeling off the steeper slopes. With this they showed that it worked and also transformed the concept. Trying to plan better, they made modifications to the parachutes until they managed to discover a parachute that reached in a backpack, which was capable of taking off from any summit, and in this way, the paraglider went from being an experiment to an activity of great demand , both for mountaineers and those who practiced free flight.

With the passage of time, parachute, windsurf , deltas and mountain clothing manufacturers began to manufacture paragliders , each time improving their aerodynamics , performance , glide and safety and the duration and distance competitions began. Today, this aerial sport is practiced around the world and has become a relatively popular and easy flight.


The types of paragliding that we can find are the following:

  • Class A Standard : they are easy to use and very safe . They are able to regain normal flight without pilot action. It can be used by all types of pilot, mainly by beginners , school students and occasional .
  • Class B Standard easy : they are easy to use and pilot, they are a bit more complicated and are used by those beginners who have already finished the courses .
  • Class B High Standard : They are a bit more difficult to pilot. When they are folded they can have quick and easy reactions to be able to regain normal flight . It is used by experienced pilots who fly regularly or by Class B or expert pilots.
  • Class C Sport : they are very difficult to handle gliders and when they collapse they require a fairly quick action from the pilot to be able to regain normal flight . They are sensitive to errors of piloting and used by expert pilots , who have experience in turbulent conditions .
  • Class D Performance : they are even more difficult to pilot and do not forgive any type of error since they require the pilot to carry out precise actions . It is designed for very expert pilots and for competitors . It is also used for high performance distance flights.

Parts of a paraglider

The paraglider is made up of three main parts:

  • Wing : there are several types of paragliding wings but they are generally made of nylon or polyester fabrics which are covered by polyurethane or silicone that protects them against UV rays.  It consists of the extrados , intrados , the leading edge , the edge of leakage , the wingtip , rib , the drawer and its openings .
  • Suspension : it is an element that is responsible for uniting the pilot with the wing . They are a series of ropes also called Suspension lines , which are composed of many fine resistant ropes made of hydrocarbon derivatives such as polyester, polyethylene, vectram, etc.
  • Harness : is basically the Chair of the parasailing and you can find various types, from the ancients who were very light to the heavy grades and are very safe and provide greater protection. They have built- in emergency parachute , back protectors that inflate and foam . It also has straps that adjust to make the flight more comfortable as pockets for the radio, backpack and other objects.

They also have many small parts such as:

  • Leading edge or front of the wing.
  • Trailing edge or trailing edge.
  • Intradós and Intradós.
  • Ribs that are the divisions of the wing to achieve its structure.
  • Alveoli, which are holes made in the ribs to allow uniform air circulation.
  • Manholes or valves .
  • Brakes that are the commands that are tied to the trailing edge of the wing and that control the glider.

How a paraglider works

The paraglider can function properly using the principle of flight which is aerodynamic , and which is the same as that used by an airplane or a glider . It can fly by means of the lift force that originates when the air circulates around the profile of the wing. When the candle of the glider inflates , takes the same shape as the wing of an airplane allowing you to get the lift force as a result of the difference in pressure created between the upper surface and the soffit . This process is also explained using Bernoulli’s equationthat raises the relationship between the pressure and the velocity of the particles in a fluid.

Forms of flight

The main forms of flight practiced with paragliding are:

  • Flight on the slope : it is done within the current that rises which is caused by the deviation of the air upwards due to a wide obstacle in the terrain that causes the wind to rise and not surround it. It is also known as “dynamic descent” and is located on the slope that is in the mountain
  • Thermal flight : it takes advantage of the updrafts generated by convection which is caused by the heating of an air mass that is in contact with the ground, which has been previously heated by the sun . When the air heats up, its density decreases and begins to rise due to the difference in densities in relation to the mass of air that surrounds it. When a pilot is in these currents and wants to ascend, he must turn within it, to gain height until it weakens.
  • Drag flight : take-off is not carried out from a hill, but is carried out by the traction of the aircraft through the use of a rope and equipment placed on the ground, which can be a car with a winch winch , which releases the rope to as the car moves forward.
  • Paramotor : an engine is addedto the aircraft and it is no longer free flight as it has propulsion. The engine is placed on the back of the pilot , who manages its acceleration by means of a remote control that is attached to one of the hands.


The equipment needed to practice paragliding is the following:

  • Paragliding : it is the aircraft through which we can fly.
  • Chair : also known as a harness.
  • Emergency parachute : last resort in an emergency.
  • Helmet : as a means of production.
  • Radio set


When practicing the sport of paragliding, some basic safety tips should be followed to avoid being in danger. In general , the pilot should avoid flying in places that pose a great challenge to his skills as a pilot. You should avoid flying with unfavorable weather conditions , avoid flying with excessive wind , headwind and atmospheric instability, and you should have good reaction capacity and experience to recognize the weather.

Impact of meteorology

Meteorology plays a very important role in the paragliding activity, since the climate and its weather conditions are necessary to be able to make a simple flight without any type of setback.


Some curiosities of paragliding are the following:

  • The best season to be able to paraglide is actually all year round, although it is best to avoid the bad weather months .
  • A paraglider can travel and reach speeds of more than 50 km per hour.
  • If you don’t know how to fly a glider, you can fly in a two-seater , which basically makes you the co-pilot.

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