Paragliding – Overview

Complete Python Prime Pack

Paragliding is a sport in which the players fly in the air using paragliders. These paragliders are light in weight and are foot launched. There is a harness in the glider on which the paraglider sits. This harness is interconnected to the glider with baffled cells. We will learn various aspects of this adventurous in the chapters that follow.

To compete in this sport, the player must have adequate license for paragliding and all other related documents present with him before the competition. The distance covered by the player is transformed into points through computer in IGC format.

Paraglider

A Brief History of Paragliding

The passion of paragliding was started by Garvit Sharma, who designed advanced gliding parachutes. Later in 1961, it was modified technically and soon the phase of para commander started. In the same line, sail wing was modified by David Barish which was used for recovering NASA space capsules. After 1980’s, equipment started to modernise and this sport got a new dimension.

World’s first paragliding championship (unofficial) was organised at Switzerland in the year 1987. Soon after that Federation of Aeronautic International (FAI) sport gave official nod to paragliding and organised first official world championship in Kossen, Austria in 1989.

Participating Countries

PMA (Paraglider manufacturer association) published an interesting fact according to which currently there are 1, 27,000 paragliders all over the world. The sport has its huge fan following in Europe, followed by Asia and Latin America.

The countries that participate in this sport include Japan, Germany, Australia, France, New Zealand, Switzerland, South Korea, Brazil, China, Mexico, Taiwan, USA, India, Canada, Indonesia, Russia, Malaysia, and South Africa.

Paragliding – Environment

Paragliding demands jumping from high heels and to ski in the air for long hours. Therefore, a hill station having a stiff peak and a wide area for surfing in the air will be a suitable environment. If it will be played in any normal crowded area, then it is obvious that the user will face difficulty while paragliding.

The area must also be free from any airline path so that the player should not face any emergency landing system due to an airplane approach. Adequate safety and protection must be taken care of before flying so that player can fly comfortably for long hours.

How can paragliders fly?

Understand Aerodynamic of Paragliding

You’ve probably been wondering what makes these pieces of fabric fly or why all of the gliders typically have the same shape or even how this flexible structure manages to stay aloft above the pilot’s head. Our focus on flight mechanics in this chapter will attempt to provide answers to all of these questions at the very least it will give you the basic understanding you’ll need to pilot this peculiar aircraft: a paraglider.

The paraglider’s aerodynamic profile

Let’s start by looking at the basic shape of our paragliders. We will demonstrate the importance of the wing’s profile the goal is to optimize its penetration through the air and reduce drag as much as possible.

We’re going to see what happens to the air have it flows over these three profiles: looking at the first profile, a simple plate, the molecules of air contained in the air stream are
completely blocked in the middle, the air that flows beyond the plate is turbulent which significantly increases drag. The airflow over this profile is similar to what happens when rowing a boat the oar needs enough force to displace water and have it displaces the water small swirls form behind it.

The second profile penetrates the air a lot better. As we can see here the result is much
smoother airflow, the molecules of airflow smoothly over the front of the profile. However, too much drag is still created by this profile.

The third profile has been improved so that the airflow is smooth from start to finish our profile will travel through the air with little resistance, thanks to its cambered shape.
It will also reduce drag by replacing the air in its wake. This is an ideal aerodynamic profile.

How a paraglider creates lift

If you were to cut the paraglide in half you’ll find this cambered shape along the entire wingspan, from the leading to the trailing edge. This is how manufacturers optimize the
wings penetration and movement through the air, but this doesn’t explain what makes a paraglider fly.

Let’s move on to a phenomenon that you’ve probably already heard of: lift.

Let’s take another simplified cross-section of our wing and observe what happens as air flows over its profile in flight: the angle created by the paraglider swing and the relative
wind is called the angle of attack. As the molecules of the air come into contact with the wing they are separated into two streams by the leading edge the first stream flows along the upper surface of the wing, the other along its lower surface even though. The upper surface is longer than the lower surface. Experiments have shown that both air streams reach the trailing edge at the same time: there’s only one way for the molecules taking the longer route along the upper surface to arrive at the same time, they have to accelerate.

Thanks to a principle formulated by Swiss mathematician and physician, Bernoulli, in 1738, we know that half the speed of a fluid increases its pressure decreases. In other words, the faster-moving air over the upper surface of the profile creates a low-pressure zone on top of the wing which is the source of lift. On the other side of the wing, air molecules push against the lower surface, creating a high-pressure zone. This is also a source of lift. About 3/4 of the lift results from the low pressure above the wing and 1/4 from the high pressure under it. Most of the lift occurs near the profiles leading edge.

Read Post  Types Of Motorcycle Helmets

This simplified explanation of what causes lift should help you understand why our wings fly.

Aerodynamic forces in a paraglider

Lift is thus created by the flow of air over the profile, but how is this phenomenon is sustained when there isn’t any wind? what is the paraglider’s motor?

In order to answer these questions will turn to the science of mechanics. This science deals with the action of forces on bodies. The forces we’re interested in are those that act upon the pilot and paraglider.

Let’s start with a simplified model of the low and high-pressure zones lift. This force acts upon a point known as the center of pressure. This point is merely an average of the lift forces acting upon the paraglider. When travelling through the air a paraglider encounters resistance and creates turbulence in its wake the force that opposes its forward movement is known as drag. Since these are the two main forces that act upon the profile we can add them: their sum gives us the resultant.

The altitude is the “fuel” of a paraglider

How do we obtain the relative airflow necessary to create lifts when there isn’t any wind? By simply transferring his weight to the wing, the pilot pulls it towards the ground forcing it to move forward through the air. This movement we call airspeed and this creates the relative airflow required to reduce lift.

Altitude, therefore, is the paragliders energy reserve and by using our weight to draw on his reserve we’re able to fly.

The angle of attack in a paraglider

As mentioned before the angle of attack is the angle at which the relative wind meets the profile this angle should not be confused with the angle to the horizon, learners attitude.

As it’s possible to have a relatively high angle of attack with the wing at any attitude, in normal flight the paraglider remains at a constant angle of attack and at a constant airspeed. The pilot can influence the angle of attack and thus the speed by using the brakes or speed system. The angle of attack and airspeed are very much related: if you change the
angle of attack the airspeed too will change until a new equilibrium is achieved. The angle of attack can be increased by applying the brakes, evenly this causes a corresponding decrease in airspeed. The greater the angle of attack, the more lift is produced, however,
more drag is also produced. If too much brake is applied then the smooth airflow over the profile cannot be maintained and the airflow breaks away from the top surface: This is known as a stall.

Being aware of the stall is very important when learning to fly since inadvertent stalls are very dangerous and should be avoided, always keep your hands high and make sure you feel good airspeed on your face whilst trying to avoid the stall.
Only when making the landing flare should you use deep brake inputs.

The angle of attack can be decreased using the accelerator system, as the angle
decreases drag is reduced and the speed increases. The glider continues to accelerate until a new equilibrium is found, the wing then stabilizes at this new speed and sync rate.

At low angles of attack, paragliders are more prone to collapse. This is why you should not use the speed system when close to the ground or flying in turbulent air.

Lift to Drag ratio in a paraglider

Let’s turn to the concepts of lift-to-drag and glide ratios. The lift-to-drag ratio is the angle at which the paraglider glides. These concepts will help you understand why a student barely manages to lift off from a slope. There are simply ratios that measure the glide capability of your wing, these ratios are obtained by dividing the horizontal distance covered by the vertical distance lost. In an example, 750 meters divided by 100 meters gives us a ratio of seven and a half.

As you may have guessed, the greater the horizontal distance is the greater this ratio will be and the longer your glide. This is called your lift-to-drag ratio, it’s a technical specification of your wing. The lift-to-drag ratio doesn’t change unless the wing is damaged.

We’ll see later on in the flight chapter that the wind or micrometeorology can influence the trajectory the distance covered will vary and in this case, would refer to its glide ratio.

Let’s go back to the example with our student: he can’t lift off because his lift-to-drag ratio is too close to the angle of the slope. The launches will need a hill whose slope is steeper than the lift-to-drag ratio of our wings.

Modern paragliders have a lift to drag ratio between six and ten to one. For reference, you can compare this with a lift to drag ratio of 15 to one for hang gliders and almost sixty to
one for sale planes.

Speed to fly in paragliding

Paragliders have a large speed range and knowing when to use these different speeds is very important. You have control of the speed with the brakes and the speed bar. This
is known as speed to fly.

Knowing to fly at the right speed depending on conditions or the site is the basis of safe and efficient piloting. Understanding different flying speeds will make you a better pilot, the correct speed and just the right timing makes it possible for the student to make a smooth landing.

As a general rule when in lift slow down and when in lift or headwind speed up. This increases your efficiency and prolongs your glide performance. Flying at trim-speed your glider will achieve its best glide angle in calm air. The pilot’s arms are high with no pressure on the brake handles. At this speed, the profile isn’t warped in any way and therefore create the least amount of drag flying like this will allow you to cover the maximum distance. Most modern paragliders have a trim speed of around 36 or 37 km/h. When learning the main reason for flying at such a speed is to accelerate before landing and build up energy that will eventually be converted into a flare. This makes a soft landing possible flying at trim speed also reduces the likelihood of problems caused by the wind gradient, such as inadvertent stalls or sudden altitude
last near the ground.

Read Post  What Does the SAT Stand For?

Applied the brakes approximately 30 to 40 centimetres to reach the minimum sink rate. The pilot’s arms are about level with his shoulders or just below and there is a positive pressure through the brake handles. Applying pressure to the brake handles will also improve your sensitivity to the wings movements and increases the internal pressure and
angle of attack of the wing which reduces the likelihood of collapses. Flying at min sink increases the angle of attack and significantly increases drag which reduces the ability to glide and consequently reduces the distance that can be covered. However flying like this gives you the slowest vertical speed, in other words, you sink at the slowest rate. You can
take advantage of this when flying in lifting air.

Note also that other than the landing flare it is never necessary to fly slower than the minimum sink rate.

This post is a transcription of the video “Learn to Fly” (Kitchen Productions)

Paragliding – Overview

Complete Python Prime Pack

Paragliding is a sport in which the players fly in the air using paragliders. These paragliders are light in weight and are foot launched. There is a harness in the glider on which the paraglider sits. This harness is interconnected to the glider with baffled cells. We will learn various aspects of this adventurous in the chapters that follow.

To compete in this sport, the player must have adequate license for paragliding and all other related documents present with him before the competition. The distance covered by the player is transformed into points through computer in IGC format.

Paraglider

A Brief History of Paragliding

The passion of paragliding was started by Garvit Sharma, who designed advanced gliding parachutes. Later in 1961, it was modified technically and soon the phase of para commander started. In the same line, sail wing was modified by David Barish which was used for recovering NASA space capsules. After 1980’s, equipment started to modernise and this sport got a new dimension.

World’s first paragliding championship (unofficial) was organised at Switzerland in the year 1987. Soon after that Federation of Aeronautic International (FAI) sport gave official nod to paragliding and organised first official world championship in Kossen, Austria in 1989.

Participating Countries

PMA (Paraglider manufacturer association) published an interesting fact according to which currently there are 1, 27,000 paragliders all over the world. The sport has its huge fan following in Europe, followed by Asia and Latin America.

The countries that participate in this sport include Japan, Germany, Australia, France, New Zealand, Switzerland, South Korea, Brazil, China, Mexico, Taiwan, USA, India, Canada, Indonesia, Russia, Malaysia, and South Africa.

Paragliding – Environment

Paragliding demands jumping from high heels and to ski in the air for long hours. Therefore, a hill station having a stiff peak and a wide area for surfing in the air will be a suitable environment. If it will be played in any normal crowded area, then it is obvious that the user will face difficulty while paragliding.

The area must also be free from any airline path so that the player should not face any emergency landing system due to an airplane approach. Adequate safety and protection must be taken care of before flying so that player can fly comfortably for long hours.

Paragliding – Equipment

In this chapter, we will discuss about the equipment used in paragliding.

The wing or canopy of the paraglide is also known as ram air airfoil in aeronautical engineering. There are two sets of fabric on a canopy and it is connected in such a way that it forms an internal support material by forming row cells. The wings are made either of rips ton polyester or of nylon fabric.

Harness

Harness is attached to the wing through baffled cells. The pilot use the harness to stand or sit and cover long distances. Nowadays harness also work as a backpack so pilots do not have to carry one. Airbag protectors or foam is below the seat which provides protection during failed launch or landing.

Variometer

The variometer helps a pilot to gain height and also to get the location of rising air when he is sinking. As pilots cannot detect the rising and sinking air, variometers can do the job through short audio signals like beep. It also displays the altitudes.

Radio

Radio is needed to communicate with other pilots and other assistants to paragliding. Different countries have different range of frequencies based on their system. In certain situation the pilots talk with the airport control and air traffic controller.

The GPS or Global Positioning System is a must in paragliding as it helps the pilot to check for the area geographically and also other pilots track the movement of each other hich helps them to track each other and learn each other movements.

Paragliding – Launching

In paragliding launching and the landing is done with the wind. The wind is used as an airstream by running, being pulled or with the help of existing wind. The pilots are moved in a place from where they can be lifted.

There are three different launching techniques: Forward Launch, Reverse Launch, and Towed Launch.

Forward launch

In this type of launch, the pilot has to run forward with the wings hanging behind. This process inflates the wing due to air pressure.

It is the easiest method of launch as in this case the pilot will only have to run forward and doesn’t have to look backward. He can only notice the wing when it will launch upon his head.

Reverse launch

In this method the pilot runs facing the wing and bring it into the position of flying. The pilot then turns around to launch the glider. In reverse flying the pilot can inspect the condition and position of the wing. This method also helps the pilot to resist the force of wind during running.

Reverse Launch

Towed launch

In this method, the pilot gets towed while launching. The pilot will be towed and when reaching the optimum mark, the pilot will be released. But this type of launch need separate training.

Towed Launch

Paragliding – Landing

Landing in paragliding requires special techniques and patterns of traffic.

Traffic pattern

In comparison to launch, landing needs coordination among pilots and they have to land in a group.

Traffic Pattern

All the pilots land at the same time, as it is very important in the pattern. They have to follow the light path in a pattern of rectangle till the landing zone. This requires sync between the pilots as it is very important for a pilot to know what will be the next move of his fellow pilot.

Read Post  Paragliding Best Time To Fly (TIPS)

Techniques

The technique of landing comprises of approaching the wind and at the point before touching down, the wing is flared to minimize the speed from both axes. Before arriving on ground, the brake is shifted from 0% to 100% before touching the ground.

When the wind is light then landing can be done by running mildly. In faster wind landing is done without the forward speed and sometimes the pilot has to go backward.

Two methods of landing are flapping the wing to lose the performance and descend faster by using alternate braking. It is a professional technique so should be used only by experienced paraglider. Second method is collapsing the wing at the moment of touchdown.

Paragliding – Control

Brakes

The pilot hold the brakes in his hand and it is connected to the edge of the trail on the both sides of the wing. They provide the control in paragliding as controlling is the most important part when it comes to aerodynamics. These brakes are used to adjust the speed, shifting weight, and also helps in flare during the landing.

Weight Shift

Apart from manipulation of the brakes, the pilot has to lean to steer the paraglide properly. Such shifting of weights helps in eliminating various moves when brakes cannot be used, which eventually helps in limiting the steering. Weight shifting is also helpful during controlling all advance techniques.

Speed Bar

Speed bar is the word as similar to accelerator. It is a type of foot controller attached to the harness through which a pilot takes the paraglider to a new speed. It decreases the angle of attack of the wing which gives the paraglider a boost of speed. One can’t apply brakes as it will slow down the wing.

Some of the advanced move is to manipulate the risers of the paragliders. By using the BIG EAR technique, which involves the rate of the descent can be increased by folding under the wingtips by inducing the wing’s leading edge with the line connecting on the outermost of the par gliders.

Paragliding – Fast Descents

Fast descents are the condition of getting down during unexpected change of weather or when the situation of lift is very good. There are three types of fast descent methods.

Big ears

In this technique the out A-lines are pulled out when there is no acceleration, the flight will fold the wing in an inward manner which will then reduce the angle of glide while mildly decreasing the forward speed.

As the wing area gets reduced, the loading of wind increases and then the wing becomes more stable. But this method will increase the angle of attack and the craft will go into a stall speed and it will then increase the descent rate but that can be rectified by applying the speed bar which will help the descent rate to increase and the wing will re-inflate.

B-line stall

In this method, the riser of the second set is pulled out from the leading edge or the front of the B-lines independently from the others. It puts a crease in the wing and then it separates the airflow from the surface of upper part of the wing. It reduces the lift which were being produced from the canopy and increases the rate of descent.

Spiral dive

This is the most fast and effective method of fast descent. It can give up to a sink rate of 25m/s. This method holds all forward progress and left the craft to air down and then the pilot pulls the brakes and shifts his weight on one side and then take a sharp turn. After few turns the wing reaches pointing directly towards ground. When the driver reaches his desired height, he then slowly pulls the brakes and shifts his height towards outside.

Spiral Dive

Paragliding – Flying Types

In this chapter, we will discuss about the types of flying in paragliding.

Soaring

This kind of flight is done with the help of wind which is directed upward with the help of a fixed object like ridge or dune. In this kind of slope soaring, the pilot flies by help of air lift. The pilot flies along with the slope and the lift is being provided by the air. Slope soaring totally depends upon the steady wind along with the speed of the wind and the skill of the pilot.

Cross-country flying

Cross-country flying is moving from one thermal to the next available thermal. A pilot has to recognize the thermal by the land features and also by identifying a cumulus cloud where humid air reaches and cumulates to a cloud.

Cross-country Flying

Cross-country flying needs extreme knowledge of air law, flying regulation, and aviation maps which show any restricted airspace etc.

Thermal Flying

The ground and the surrounds becomes hot due to sunlight. These surroundings include buildings, rocks, and many others. Due to this, the thermals are set up which rise with air. While rising, these thermals are detached from their source and form a new thermal. These thermals help a paraglider to fly in circle and tries to reach the center of the circle as the speed of wind is faster at the center. This speed helps a paraglider to rise.

Thermal Flying

Thermal flying is a technique which needs precision, persistence and time to learn. A good pilot can fly with the core up through the cloud.

Paragliding – Championships

Federation of Aeronautic International (FAI) is the governing body who conducts fair play of this sport all over the world. In the same way, all participating nations have their own governing body too those who organise championships within their nation.

FAI

Some of the major championships of paragliding are −

  • FAI World Paragliding Championship
  • European Paragliding Accuracy Championship
  • British Paragliding Competition
  • Australian Paragliding Championships
  • Swiss Paragliding Championship

Players such as Frank Brown from Brazil, Nevil Hulett from South Africa, Aijas Valic from Slovenia, hold world records in paragliding. Peggy McAlpine is the oldest paraglider who glided from 2400 ft. at the age of 104.

Source https://www.tutorialspoint.com/paragliding/paragliding_overview.htm#:~:text=Paragliding%20is%20a%20sport%20in%20which%20the%20players,in%20the%20glider%20on%20which%20the%20paraglider%20sits.

Source https://www.paraglidingspain.eu/beginners-paragliding-courses/understand-aerodynamic-of-paragliding/

Source https://www.tutorialspoint.com/paragliding/paragliding_quick_guide.htm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *