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History

Paragliders have originated in Europe and were initially developed from ram air parachutes but have evolved over the years into high performance flying wings. Today's Paraglider is an elliptically shaped wing made of special non-porous material usually rip-stop nylon or the like.

Mieussy (in the French Alps ) is the place where Paragliding first started . In early 80's . Jean Claude Betemps' was first along with . Andre Bohn and Gerard Bosson to do Paragliding in Mieussy, They were flying from 1010 meters in Mieussy which is considered to be the Mecca of Paragliding. MORE DETAILS>>> 
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COMMON Frequently Asked Questions

1.    What is paragliding?
2.    What are the main components of a Paraglider ?
3.    How is Paragliding different from Hanggliding , Parasailing , skydiving: & BASE jumping ?
4.    Do you jump of cliffs?
5.    O.K. I want to fly ! how should I go for the sport?
6.    How hard is it to learn paragliding?
7.    What about fitness ? do you have to be super fit and is the sport only for the young and athletic?
8.    Do pilots need to be of a certain age, weight or size range?
9.    Is it a sport for women?
10.  What are the dangers? How safe is it? 
11.  What happens if the wind stops?
12.  How do you tow a Paraglider or fly Paragliders in flat lands?
13.  Does it take any training to learn to fly a Paraglider under tow , if one is already a pilot?

14 What does the equipment cost?

 

1.    WHAT IS PARAGLIDING?

1. Paragliding is the latest , most elegant and simplest form of free flying, powered by wind and gravity.
It is the sport of flying in a special type of ram-air parachute which can be launched by running down a hill. Or In the absence of a hill, paragliders can also be towed aloft buy by a winch on land or water.

 

2.    WHAT ARE THE MAIN COMPONENTS OF A PARAGLIDER ?

2.A Paraglide kit consists of flexible wing ( which folds up like a sleeping bag) a harness ( a seat with straps -in which you sit in-flight) in its basic form. Apart from that you need a helmet . And above this basic configuration it really depends on how much money you want to spend - as there are flying instruments and all sorts of electric gizmo and fancy things.
The Paraglider is folded into in a ruck sack like bag and does not have to be rigged . It is very light the whole kit weighs about 10-12 Kgs .

 

3.    HOW IS PARAGLIDING DIFFERENT FROM HANGGLIDING , PARASAILING , SKYDIVING: & BASE JUMPING ?

3.Paragliding is the first cousin of HANG GLIDING they fly on the same principal except that hang gliders fly faster are more physical , have a better glide ratio , have to be rigged before flight and you have to have a car to carry it . While paragliding is very convenient can be carried easily and you can learn it in a very short time.
SKYDIVING is about free-falling from a plane or chopper before the parachute is opened . The main function of the canopy is to arrest the rapid rate of descent and allow a safe landing at a particular spot. While in paragliding, the main idea is gliding and soaring using the canopy as your aircraft at very slow speeds.
PARASAILING: is more like an amusement park joy ride, as it does not require any skill or control from the participant. . You are simply tied to a rope behind a jeep or boat suspended from a round parachute with vents .You go up as the jeep pulls you and come down as the pulling stops .Also you have no control while in Paragliding you are actively flying with all the controls and maneuvering is in the pilots hands .
B.A.S.E (stands for Building , Aerial , Spans and Earth ) falling from a great height or jumping from bridges etc is base jumping but Paragliding is about flying.

4.    DO YOU JUMP OF CLIFFS?

4.No we don't . There are two phases to launching. First the canopy is inflated into the wind and flown up over the pilot's head. Then, the pilot runs down the slope . so you don't take off before checking that every thing is ok. (probably answers the question - what will happen if the Paraglider does not open -then do we tumble down the mountain).

 

5.    O.K. I WANT TO FLY ! HOW SHOULD I GO FOR THE SPORT?

5.You need join a club/school that has a suitably qualified teacher. Don't let someone teach you unless they have adequate experience and hold a pilots licence at the minimum from a credited authority . Paragliding is not a do-it -yourself sport (however easy it may seem -seeing others fly ).
All necessary Equipment should be supplied by the club or flying school. Minimum recommended equipment as per international standards are a helmet, DHV (or likewise certified ) harness and a dhv certified Paraglider ( with a rating of DHV1 - to the latest norms ). Radio and if a winch is used it should be DHV certified or similar testing federation.

 

6.    HOW HARD IS IT TO LEARN PARAGLIDING?

6. Paragliding is almost certainly the easiest form of flying to get started in. In addition, a pilot needs to learn at least some basics about weather and the aerodynamic principles of flight.

 

7.    WHAT ABOUT FITNESS ? DO YOU HAVE TO BE SUPER FIT AND IS SPORT ONLY FOR THE YOUNG AND ATHLETIC ?

7.Certainly not , you don't have to be fighting fit or be a runner . if you can run a few yards without becoming exhausted , you can fly . Interestingly people at the age of 60 years and above are taking to paragliding. Not to Mention that ladies at 85 have also flown if you have a medical condition that can preclude you from engaging in this adventure sport - it should be first discussed with school . 
Normally a fitness certificate from a doctor is good enough .

8.    DO PILOTS NEED TO BE A CERTAIN AGE , WEIGHT OR SIZE RANGE?

8.A minimum age of 14 - 16 years (different for different countries ) is required The limits are more mental than physical. If someone is sufficiently mature to make decisions affecting their safety and has relatively good reflexes , then they probably are of a reasonable age for flying. Since flying depends more on logical approach ,balance and endurance than on brute strength, 
As far as the weight is concerned pilots of any size can fly, weight is no problem as there are gliders for each weight range .but yes you have to run at least a few yards with dedication , if you can do that you can fly. 
As far height is concerned there are harnesses of different sizes. There are special harnesses for children.

 

9.    IS IT A SPORT FOR WOMEN?

9.Yes it is and they have won world championships too . also some of Paragliding records have been set are by ladies. They fly very gracefully indeed . Ultimately Paragliding is not about brute strength but fine skills , technique and finesse'.

 

10.  WHAT ARE THE DANGERS ? HOW SAFE IS IT ? 

10.Well the safest way of practicing any adventure sport is watching it on TV But if you want to have fun and the thrill you have to experience it. Like all adventure sports it carries with it all inherent risk factors which are minimized using certified quality equipment , proper training technique , flying in right conditions and with adequate theory to back your understanding . Modern Paraglider is a sophisticated aircraft & has been computer designed, flight-tested and certified to an international standard. Ongoing R & D ensures that paragliders are sophisticated in design and very safe. 
e.g. a certified beginner glider (DHV1 ) is designed and tested that should anything go wrong in normal flying conditions and circumstances - it is supposed to resume normal flight in less than 4 seconds without any pilot input provided the pilot is not flying in thunderstorms or beyond the level or experience of the pilot . This is where the maturity comes handy . it is one of the most important factors for making Paragliding dangerous or safe as any sport can be. 
If flown in correct conditions and the right type of glider - Paragliding is a very special experience .

 

11.  WHAT HAPPENS IF THE WIND STOPS ?

11.Most loved question of pilots to tease the uninitiated - you will probably hear from most of them with big smiles and winks to another " you plummet man - or you fall man " - leaving the new pilot more nervous and scared .
Relax Flight in a Paraglider does not depend on the wind, and paragliders can be flown when there is no wind 
As the Paraglider flies because of the "relative wind" over the wing which creates the "lift" which counter acts against the gravity so you don't fall like a parachute you just glide down. 
You too in your flying career will be asked the same question and probably you might play the same trick.

 

12.  HOW DO YOU TOW A PARAGLIDER OR FLY PARAGLIDERS IN FLAT LANDS ?

12.There are a number of ways they include using a static line, a payout winch or a stationary winch . By the help of a special rope using any of the three options you are towed aloft where you disconnect and then fly free .

 

13.  DOES IT TAKE ANY TRAINING TO LEARN TO FL A PARAGLIDER UNDER TOW , IF ONE IS ALREADY A PILOT ?

13.Yes a mountain pilot can learn to fly under a tow in about half a day , under instruction. As the technique for take off is little different. It is advised people without adequate tow experience should not attempt to fly under tow.

More History of Paragliding

These were the words from an individual who had a desire to fly. Human beings from a long time has a life long dream to fly and the motivation came from the free soaring bird’s touching the blue sky higher and higher. For convenience it didn’t took much time to invent “Wheel”, but to fly took a long time before understanding the science of aviation. The stories we heard of Icarus & his father Daedalus from ancient Greece, the scientific experiments of Leonardo da Vinci, the vague stories of magic carpets in Arabia, Chinamen flying man-carrying Kites, or the stories from Ramayan of “Pushpak Viman” bringing back Ram, Sita, Lakshman and the famous Himalayan trip of Hanuman with power to fly. All these stories have cropped out of human mind for the strong fascination of flying free, like a bird in open sky. The modern age of aviation began in 1891 with Otto Lillienthal , who developed bat like wings & managed to complete two thousand flights. His publication “the flight of Birds and the fundamentals of Aviation” made considerable contribution to Wright Brothers who developed practical aircraft. Later during the World War I a parachute type device was used for controlled landings of Army personnel’s, supplies and tanks to remote places where aircraft landings were not possible. Significantly during World War II modifications were done on the parachute which can now be land towed, in places such as Germany & Holland. The round parachute required a lot of tow force to stay aloft and weren’t very controllable. A new style parachute “Para commander” with a more oblonged shape, cut outs and longer panels & vents to increase the glide angle and more steering capability. This revolution was developed by Pioneer Parachute Corporation in late 1950’s. the Para commander had a glide ratio of 2.5 as against the conventional round vertically falling parachute. David Barish in 1963 did some serious work for NASA (National Aerospace Administration), for experimentation in rocket recovery devices. Francis Rogallo is one of the pioneer in developing both hang gliding & paragliders. Domina Jalbert a Canadian made a new type of parachute, where between two layers of cloth a vertical webbing was done to hold it’s shape like a airplane wing. It was called as “Parafoil”. A constant development work was happening through the early seventies and eighties, but the attention got diverted by hang gliding in early seventies from parachutes. In 1978 in Micussy France that became the first Mecca of Paragliding. Many pilots started coming to this place for flights of over 1000 meters in height. Races began to be organized with its increasing popularity against the heavy, risky and cumbersome Hang gliding.

Paragliding Equipment
Before you look for the cost of paragliding equipment, let me tell you that you don't need to buy any paragliding equipment for your training course with paragliding schools thay provide all the required stuff. Some paragliding schools ( temple pilots) also provides flying hours even after you complete your course. Buying paragliding equipmentis to be considered only when you have completed your basic course & have been bitten by the bug.& only if you want to fly regularly. Be warned that this is a extreamly addictive sport.

There are official dealers for most brands of paragliding equipment in india but before you make your choice speak to your instructor or school.

approximate cost of equipment in India. Glider (Canopy): From Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 1,20,000 [$1775 to $2660]. My 'Gin Zulu' glider came for Rs. 1,04,400 Harness: From Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 30,000 [$222 to $666] depending on the brand. My 'Supair EVO - XC sports' came for Rs. 31,500 Helmet: From Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 13,000 [$22 to $288]. Please buy a good helmet. My 'Charlie Insider' came for Rs. 12,500 Reserve Parachute(MUST): From Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000 [$444 to $666]. My 'Gin Reserve' came for Rs. 28,000

 




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