Paragliding Frequently Asked Questions

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General Questions

What is a paraglider?

A paraglider is a foot-launched, ram-air, aerofoil canopy, designed to be flown and landed with no other energy requirements than the wind and gravity.

What are the main component parts of a paraglider?

A canopy (the actual “wing”), risers (the cords by which the pilot is suspended below the canopy) and a harness. In addition, the brake cords provide speed and directional control and carabiners are used to connect the risers and the harness together.

Is a paraglider the same thing as a parachute?

No. A paraglider is similar to a modern, steerable skydiving canopy, but different in several important ways.

The paraglider is a foot-launched device, so there is no “drouge” ‘chute or “slider”, and the construction is generally much lighter, as it doesn’t have to withstand the sudden shock of opening at high velocities.

The paraglider usually has more cells and thinner risers than a parachute.

What is the difference between a hang glider and a paraglider?

A hang glider has a rigid frame maintaining the shape of the wing, with the pilot usually flying in a prone position.

The paraglider canopy shape is maintained only by air pressure and the pilot is suspended in a sitting or supine position.

How much does a paraglider cost?

This varies between makers, models, countries, but a middle of the range canopy and harness will normally cost somewhere in the region of $4000 to $5000

How long does a paraglider last?

General wear and tear (especially the latter) and deterioration from exposure to ultra-violet usually limit the useful lifetime of a canopy to somewhere in the region of 200 to 300 hours of airtime. This obviously depends strongly on use.

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