What is paragliding?

paraglidingParagliding is a new flying sport which began in the French Alps during the mid 80s. The French call it PARAPENTE (pronounced para-pont). Paragliders, as we call them in the u.S. are loosely based on the ram-air, square parachutes that skydivers use. The paraglider pilot carries the wing folded in a back pack to the launch site. It is then unfolded and carefully laid out on the ground behind the pilot. The pilot moves forward into the prevailing wind and the glider inflates and rises overhead like a big kite. After a few steps, the pilot is airborne. The pilot controls the speed and direction of the glider with right and left hand-held toggles. As the pilot gently sinks to earth, the paraglider is slowed almost to a full stop by the application of the toggles for a soft and easy landing.

What paragliding is not:

Paragliding is not B.A.S.E. jumping. B.A.S.E. jumping is a form of skydiving that involves an extended fall from a fixed object with the parachute unopened. Paragliding is also not parasailing. Parasailing is done with a round parachute that is usually towed behind a boat. Unlike paragliding, the person being towed has little control over the parasail. Paragliding is not hang gliding. Hang gliders have a metal frame and fly in faster winds with the pilot steering by pushing and pulling on a metal bar.

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