How Long Does a Paraglider Last? – 9 Ways to Make Your Paraglider Last Longer!

You’ve passed the lessons and tests and now you’ve purchased your first paraglider. Now is a good time to learn a bit about paraglider care and how to make your paraglider last longer. I’ll go over a few tips I’ve learnt from years of paraglider ownership. Hopefully this will help you to get more return on your purchase and avoid things breaking while you’re in the sky!

The main reasons which paragliders wear and break are due to environmental and mechanical wear and tear. Some of these factors are unavoidable and will simply occur over time from use of your paraglider, others can be controlled and avoided. Making smart decisions in how and when you paraglide and how you care for your paraglider after flying can make a big difference in the lifespan of your paraglider wing and lines.

A paraglider wing which has been looked after, should last for about 300 hours. The following tips below will help you to achieve this level of duration and get the most value from your wing, as well as other key components such as your lines and risers.

Avoid Excessive Strong Sunlight

This is a hard one, as the activity of paragliding in itself will expose your paraglider to sunlight. Most wings, harnesses and lines are made from petrol-based synthetic materials. Thin paraglider wings are particularly susceptible to sunlight wear.

Unfortunately there’s not much you can do about sunlight. The main thing to remember is when you’ve finished your flight, either clean it or take it home, clean it and put it away once it’s dry. Don’t leave it sitting under a verandah where it might get sun at certain times of the day or in the back of your car or truck.

Those who do use their paragliders frequently may wish to consider avoiding a thin wing and purchase something a little thicker and durable. Many regular pilots love paragliding and simply accept that regular upgrading of their gear is part of the sport.

Don’t Let Moisture Built-Up

Paragliding in the rain isn’t great anyway, but avoid getting it wet. This can easily happen when laying a wing and lines out before launching or letting it sit on the ground after landing.

One thing pilots should avoid is packing and storing a paraglider when it’s wet or damp. Always completely dry your paraglider after each use.

If it gets wet, moisture can lead to mould growth, which can easily occur when the wing is packed away between flights. Moisture can cause dust and other particles to sink deep into the wing and cause wear and tear. Moisture can also cause lines to shrink.

If you paraglide at a beach, make sure any salt water which comes into contact is washed off with fresh water.

Avoid Ultra High Temperatures

Don’t worry we’re not going to recommend you stop paragliding on hot, sunny days! But when you land, don’t let the wing sit on the ground for too long and don’t leave it in the back of the car for hours. Extreme heat can cause plastics in the wing to become deformed.

Clean Your Paraglider Regularly

Spread your wing out and give it a gentle wipe for dirt, sand, dust, insects, grass or any other loose particles.

Avoid Abrasive Cleaning Products

When cleaning dirt, salt water or anything else off your paraglider, avoid soaps or any cleaning products. They’re not necessary and the chemicals can often penetrate the thin, delicate surface of the paraglider wing.

Read Post  The best paragliding launch techniques you need to know

Also avoid using any hard scrubbing. Scrubbing hard may not cause visible damage straight away but it can speed up the rate of wear. A soft cloth or light sponge is all you should need. Also avoid having anything underneath the wing which may cause abrasion while you scrub it such as rocks or nail heads sticking up from outdoor decking.

Be Careful Where You Launch & Land

If you use a dedicated, managed launch site it’s likely that it will have clear grass areas to stretch out your wing and take off without getting it caught on sticks, rocks or other items which could tear the wing.

Landing is the same, if you’re able to plan and follow through on a smooth landing this will help. However if you need to land suddenly, you’re main priority should always be safety rather the longevity of your paraglider.

Also when landing, avoid letting your wing land on the leading edge, as this can break the wing cells.

Fold the Wing Cell-By-Cell

Keep the rigid parts of the wing parallel and without too much bending when rolling the wing. Don’t use the same central cell which you fold the other cells onto as this can cause the fabric to age from bending. Make sure you change the central cell each time you re-pack the paraglider.

Repairing Paraglider Wing Damage

Small rips less than 10cm (less than the palm of your hand) should be repaired before your next flight. Repair tape can be placed over the tear on both sides of the wing.

Bigger tears can be stiched up but if it gets much bigger it’s best to replace the wing. You need to consider your safety if the repair-work was to fall out mid-flight. The most dangerous part of the wing to suffer rips and damage is the top part near the leading edge. This area is subjected to significant aerodynamic force as it’s placed under high wing loadings. In most circumstances, damage to this part of the wing means the best option is replacement.

One Final Thought – Handle With Care But Replace When Safety is Compromised

Some pilots who’ve been around the paragliding community for a number of years may have heard tales about the cowboy pilot who fixed their broken line by tying a knot in it. We’re not playing croquet here, this is a dangerous activity if you’ve got damaged equipment.

Broken lines, torn or worn out risers or speed system elements must be replaced.

How does a paraglider stay in the air?

During a paragliding experience, especially in the afternoon, you will surely feel it.

An invisible force can keep you in the air or lift you up and allow you to gain altitude. As Fabien would say “it’s magic! It’s nature’s gift to us!

There are actually two ways to stay aloft. The first is through warm air masses called “thermals”, and the second is through the so-called “dynamic” weather wind.

For a thermal to occur, the sun must heat the ground sufficiently. Let’s take the example of a rocky mountain.

The sun heats the rock by radiation, the heated air above the rock rises in temperature compared to the ambient air. This temperature difference of about 4 degrees expands the air and makes a warm air bubble that will rise. If the sun warms up several parts of this mountain at the same time, all the little bubbles will join together and form a fairly large rising zone (the thermal). This will rise until it cools down to the same temperature as the surrounding air, only to be warmed up again, this is the cycle of convection… and of the day.

This is the reason why the best ascents are during the hottest part of the day in summer. Hence our afternoon flights called “thermal flight“!

schéma tournette

Credit: Lorenza Bertaud, view on the Tournette

As the sunshine declines at the end of the day, the heating decreases and so does the temperature contrast, making the air mass more homogeneous. For us pilots, this phenomenon is commonly known in french as “restit” (for restitution). It will make all pilots happy because it can sometimes last for hours and can cover a whole valley!

This makes it possible to optimise the flying days. The pilots “roll” the thermals, i.e. circle them to stay where the warm air rises the most. They glide from thermal to thermal and let you discover the Annécian massifs all day long!

soaring au puy de Dome

Credit: Florent Callon. Pilot: Lorenza Bertaud. Soaring au Puy de Dôme

Associated with the terrain, the wind will also allow you to stay in the air and fly for a long time.

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It goes up and around the mountain, allowing us to fly close to the slope. But this only works at a certain speed, usually between 20 and 35 km/h.

By always keeping in mind where the wind is coming from, paragliders avoid flying behind the mountain. This is because of the turbulence and vortices in the air. This part of the flight, known as “downwind”, is sometimes unpleasant.

This way of flying close to the terrain and thanks to the wind is called “soaring“. Unlike thermals, there is no need to circle. You just have to fly back and forth in front of the terrain, respecting the flight priorities (Why does no one collide with a paraglider? ).

By combining these thermodynamic phenomena, it is therefore possible to stay in the air for a long time, but also to cover long distances. Without setting foot on the ground, pilots can fly several kilometres. This discipline in paragliding is called cross country. There is nothing more satisfying for a paraglider pilot than to take off, fly around the Bauges massif or Lake Annecy and come back to the starting point.

You now know all the conditions (or almost!) that allow a paraglider to fly for a long time.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments.

And if you want to fly with Flyeo , our tandem flights and training course are available here.

” See you soon in the air!

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How Long Does a Paraglider Last? – 9 Ways to Make Your Paraglider Last Longer!

You’ve passed the lessons and tests and now you’ve purchased your first paraglider. Now is a good time to learn a bit about paraglider care and how to make your paraglider last longer. I’ll go over a few tips I’ve learnt from years of paraglider ownership. Hopefully this will help you to get more return on your purchase and avoid things breaking while you’re in the sky!

The main reasons which paragliders wear and break are due to environmental and mechanical wear and tear. Some of these factors are unavoidable and will simply occur over time from use of your paraglider, others can be controlled and avoided. Making smart decisions in how and when you paraglide and how you care for your paraglider after flying can make a big difference in the lifespan of your paraglider wing and lines.

A paraglider wing which has been looked after, should last for about 300 hours. The following tips below will help you to achieve this level of duration and get the most value from your wing, as well as other key components such as your lines and risers.

Avoid Excessive Strong Sunlight

This is a hard one, as the activity of paragliding in itself will expose your paraglider to sunlight. Most wings, harnesses and lines are made from petrol-based synthetic materials. Thin paraglider wings are particularly susceptible to sunlight wear.

Unfortunately there’s not much you can do about sunlight. The main thing to remember is when you’ve finished your flight, either clean it or take it home, clean it and put it away once it’s dry. Don’t leave it sitting under a verandah where it might get sun at certain times of the day or in the back of your car or truck.

Read Post  Best Paragliding Vario Under 200 in 2022 - According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

Those who do use their paragliders frequently may wish to consider avoiding a thin wing and purchase something a little thicker and durable. Many regular pilots love paragliding and simply accept that regular upgrading of their gear is part of the sport.

Don’t Let Moisture Built-Up

Paragliding in the rain isn’t great anyway, but avoid getting it wet. This can easily happen when laying a wing and lines out before launching or letting it sit on the ground after landing.

One thing pilots should avoid is packing and storing a paraglider when it’s wet or damp. Always completely dry your paraglider after each use.

If it gets wet, moisture can lead to mould growth, which can easily occur when the wing is packed away between flights. Moisture can cause dust and other particles to sink deep into the wing and cause wear and tear. Moisture can also cause lines to shrink.

If you paraglide at a beach, make sure any salt water which comes into contact is washed off with fresh water.

Avoid Ultra High Temperatures

Don’t worry we’re not going to recommend you stop paragliding on hot, sunny days! But when you land, don’t let the wing sit on the ground for too long and don’t leave it in the back of the car for hours. Extreme heat can cause plastics in the wing to become deformed.

Clean Your Paraglider Regularly

Spread your wing out and give it a gentle wipe for dirt, sand, dust, insects, grass or any other loose particles.

Avoid Abrasive Cleaning Products

When cleaning dirt, salt water or anything else off your paraglider, avoid soaps or any cleaning products. They’re not necessary and the chemicals can often penetrate the thin, delicate surface of the paraglider wing.

Also avoid using any hard scrubbing. Scrubbing hard may not cause visible damage straight away but it can speed up the rate of wear. A soft cloth or light sponge is all you should need. Also avoid having anything underneath the wing which may cause abrasion while you scrub it such as rocks or nail heads sticking up from outdoor decking.

Be Careful Where You Launch & Land

If you use a dedicated, managed launch site it’s likely that it will have clear grass areas to stretch out your wing and take off without getting it caught on sticks, rocks or other items which could tear the wing.

Landing is the same, if you’re able to plan and follow through on a smooth landing this will help. However if you need to land suddenly, you’re main priority should always be safety rather the longevity of your paraglider.

Also when landing, avoid letting your wing land on the leading edge, as this can break the wing cells.

Fold the Wing Cell-By-Cell

Keep the rigid parts of the wing parallel and without too much bending when rolling the wing. Don’t use the same central cell which you fold the other cells onto as this can cause the fabric to age from bending. Make sure you change the central cell each time you re-pack the paraglider.

Repairing Paraglider Wing Damage

Small rips less than 10cm (less than the palm of your hand) should be repaired before your next flight. Repair tape can be placed over the tear on both sides of the wing.

Bigger tears can be stiched up but if it gets much bigger it’s best to replace the wing. You need to consider your safety if the repair-work was to fall out mid-flight. The most dangerous part of the wing to suffer rips and damage is the top part near the leading edge. This area is subjected to significant aerodynamic force as it’s placed under high wing loadings. In most circumstances, damage to this part of the wing means the best option is replacement.

One Final Thought – Handle With Care But Replace When Safety is Compromised

Some pilots who’ve been around the paragliding community for a number of years may have heard tales about the cowboy pilot who fixed their broken line by tying a knot in it. We’re not playing croquet here, this is a dangerous activity if you’ve got damaged equipment.

Broken lines, torn or worn out risers or speed system elements must be replaced.

Source https://globalparagliding.com/paraglider-last-longer/

Source https://flyeo.com/en/how-does-a-paraglider-stay-in-the-air/

Source https://globalparagliding.com/paraglider-last-longer/

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