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What is Paragliding?

Many people admit to a bit of confusion regarding the difference between hang gliding and paragliding. A paraglider is a free-flying, foot-launched aircraft wherein the pilot sits in a harness suspended below the fabric wing, whose shape is formed by the pressure of air entering vents in the front of the wing. It's basically an ascending "parachute" wing with no frame and has an oblong shape when viewed from above or below. Tandem paragliders, designed to carry the pilot and one passenger, are larger but otherwise similar.

A hang glider has an aluminum frame inside a shaped sail that typically has a pointed nose and a V-shape when observed from above or below. A paraglider is rather lightweight and can be carried in a large backpack, making it easy to check it in on a bus or an airplane. A hang glider can fold into relatively compact packages but weighs between 70-100 pounds.

How Does Paragliding Work?


The paraglider pilot carries the wing folded in a back pack to the launch site. It is then unfolded and is carefully spread out on the ground behind the pilot. As the pilot moves forward into the prevailing wind, the paraglider inflates and rises skyward like a giant kite. After a few steps, the pilot is airborne! The paraglider soars on wind currents, and pilots can stay aloft for quite a long time, with the record for longest flight being 11 hours, and the distance record is 186 miles. However, the average flight for the typical enthusiast is about 3 hours, with heights reaching up to 15,000 feet.

The pilot controls the speed and direction of the glider with right and left hand-held toggles. When he is ready to land, the pilot slows the paraglider almost to a full stop by the application of the toggles, and gently sinks to earth for a soft and easy landing.

Call 1-800-615-9086 to find out more about Wisconsin paragliding and hangliding, Wisconsin!

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