Can You Paraglide Anywhere? Here’s 4 Things to Look Out For!

Paragliding is one of the most accessible forms of human flight. Paraglider’s are easy to transport, a paragliding wing and harness can pack up into a small bundle which can be carried with ease. Hang Gliders are heavy and take more effort to transport to those remote launch sites. Skydiving requires a plane and launching from extreme heights, so it’s far easier to find somewhere to paraglide than the alternative options.

So can you paraglide anywhere? While paragliding can be done in many accessible locations, you can’t paraglide anywhere. There are some places where you are not permitted to paraglide for your safety, the safety of others or for the privacy of landowners.

Hazards Which You Can’t Paraglide Close To

Paragliding in suburban, built-up areas presents hazards where paragliding must be done from a safe distance. Power lines, roads, tall trees, schools, shopping centres and large car parks must be avoided. Some countries have restrictions in place which don’t allow you to paraglide within a certain distance of these hazards. If your country doesn’t have these restrictions, it’s still worthwhile to be cautious and paraglide from a safe distance.

paragliding restrictions

You Can’t Paraglide Over No Fly Zones

Many areas of government owned land are no fly zones. These include military bases, police land, and the homes of distinguished government representatives. Paragliding over and landing in these areas is not allowed due to privacy reasons, and restrictions on public access.

You also can’t paraglide over or land on designated ‘no fly’ zones. These are usually located close to popular paragliding launch and landing zones. These are usually from home/landowners who seek privacy or have had negative experiences with pilots causing damage to their property. These locations can often be seen on paraglidingmap.com or by talking to a local paragliding club or pilots in the area. Take these into account when planning your flight and look for alternative close-by bombout areas in the event you need to land unexpectedly.

It’s important to take the approach that landowners who haven’t designated their property as a no-fly zone still may not be entirely happy about paragliders flying close over or landing on their property. Don’t fly so close that you compromise their privacy. If you do need to unexpectedly land on private property, quickly pack up your paraglider, ensure you have all your belongings and leave the property at the closest exit.

You Can’t Paraglide in Flight Paths

You can’t paraglide at high altitude in commercial plane flight paths. The reasons for this are fairly self-explanatory – no one wants to collide with a plane! Most paragliding pilots won’t be at risk of flying in these high-up restricted areas, however with excellent thermalling conditions and a bit of bravery, it is possible for an experienced paraglider to reach sufficient heights.

There may be restrictions within a certain radius of airports, as planes will be flying at lower altitude when taking off and landing.

These restrictions differ from country to country, it’s best to consult your local paragliding organisation.

paragliding restrictions

You Can’t Paraglide If You Can’t Launch

Another consideration when choosing where you can paraglide is the opportunities available to obtain lift. Lift is critical for launching and is not able to be achieved anywhere. Lift can be achieved in two ways, the easiest is from wind filling the wing with air. This method enables you to launch a paraglider without running, almost anywhere where wind and a lack of hazardous obstacles are present.

The second place you can obtain lift and paraglide is from a side of a steep hill or cliff. This involves the pilot running up to the ledge and obtaining lift from thermals.

You’ll need wind or thermal activity to launch your paraglider.

Conclusion

Ultimately you can paraglide in many places. It’s a highly accessible form of flight and a fun hobby which can be undertaken in many different places. There’s not too many places where you can’t paraglide, these main areas include flight paths, close proximity to airports, schools, roads, high trees and no-fly zones.

It’s recommended that you check the legalities in your country and the rules and recommendations in your local region, as these can differ greatly. Here are links to some of the national organisations:

  • The USHPA in the United States in Australia
  • The British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association in the United Kingdom

Also please remember to obey the rules and not paraglide in areas which are off-limits. Not only is yours or someone elses safety at risk, you risk giving paragliders a bad name. Paragliding pilots often depend on the generosity of private land owners who let us launch and land on their property. Let’s be grateful and respectful and not lose these privileges!

What is Paragliding?

What is paragliding? It’s one of the rawest and most pure forms of flight. It involves the use of a paraglider, where the pilot sits in a harness which is suspended by a large, curved fabric wing. There is no engine, pilots launch by running and obtaining lift. The curve in the wing enables a skilled pilot to glide over long distances and to climb to high altitudes. Steering is conducted by pulling handles which are located beside each shoulder.

Paragliding is one of the simplest forms of flight and easiest to get involved in. It’s a popular hobby for those who not only enjoy the skill and thrill of flight, but also enjoy the outdoors and the amazing overhead views obtainable.

However, like other forms of flight, paragliding takes time to learn and master. There are dangers involved and loss of control, sudden weather change, or mishandled equipment can result in death.

man launching a paraglider

What is the History of Paragliding?

Paragliding has a relatively short history, involving many people across the United States and France. Early versions of paragliding were derived from the preexisting parachute, which was round in shape, and designed to descent safely.

The earliest known paragliding was performed by the US military in their parachute landing training. Repeatedly flying soldiers back into the air to jump out of a plane was time consuming. It was less costly, less time consuming and enabled more jumps to be performed in the day if soldiers made their own way into the air through paragliding.

The first recorded history dates back to 1952 where American Domina Jailbert successfully patented a gliding parachute with multi-cells and controls to enable lateral gliding. In 1963, Domina invented and patented the Parafoil. It’s ‘ram-air’ design contains many cells which collect air and once full, enable the pilot to take off. The shape had evolved from a round parachute to a rectangular, slightly curved wing.

Also in the 1960’s David Barish was working with NASA space capsules in the development of a sail wing as a recovery system to bring astronauts back to Earth. He created a rectangular shaped parachute. Barish took this idea to ski resorts throughout the United States, trying to get “slope soaring” to take off. At the time it was simply seen as a way to race down grassy ski slopes in the summer, skimming above the ground. There was no intention to leverage thermals or dynamic wind and glide high in the sky.

In 1961, French engineer Pierre Lemongine also made advancements to help enable the possibility of paragliding. He developed a parachute design which could be towed into the air and steered.

It wasn’t until 1978 when paragliding started to gain momentum. The defining moment was on June 25th, when two French skydivers Jean-Claud Betemps and Andre Bohn ran down the sleep mountain slope of Mont Pertuiset in France and launched into the air. Betemps and Bohn were training for the national skydiving championships in France and couldn’t afford to pay for fuel for a plane to take them up and down the mountains. At the time they were not aware of David Barish’s earlier work on the other side of the world, but asked scientists if their plans were possible, receiving a somewhat cautious “yes”.

Their paragliding was shown in the media, which encouraged others to try the sport and led to Betemps who was first to paraglide on the day, to become known as the inventor of paragliding.

Read Post  Paragliding Best Time To Fly (TIPS)

From this moment on the popularity of paragliding steadily grew. In 1979 the first paragliding school was established, with Betemps as an instructor. The first paragliders become available for the public to buy in 1985. The wing fabric was stiffer than that of a parachute and the lines less elastic. This provided greater control and stability for the pilot.

What Components Make Up a Paraglider?

Paragliding Wing

The main part of the paraglider is called the wing. This looks similar to a parachute, however instead of being round, it’s rectangular in shape and curved. These wings have two layers of fabric, usually ripstop polyester or nylon, which are connected by cells. The curved shape of the wing and it’s cells enable it to collect and hold the wind on takeoff and in flight. This is known as the ram-air airfoil design. There are different types of paraglider wings to choose from, depending on the type of turbulence which may be expected, and the speed that the pilot desires.

Harness

The pilot sits in a harness that is suspended below the wing. These can vary from a basic harness setup which is little more than a series of straps, to something with significant protection, like a chair. These more advanced harnesses will hold a reserve parachute under the seat which can be quickly deployed by pulling a handle. These harnesses also provide benefits such as protection from cold air in high alpine altitudes, storage and foam or airbag protectors in the event of a failed takeoff or rough landing.

Reserve Parachute

Nowadays most paragliding pilots fly with a reserve. However this should only be used in when the pilot is completely sure they cannot regain control of the paraglider. Opening a reserve presents new risks such as not being able to control where you land, as well as candlesticking (where the main wing and parachute come into contact and twist into each other). In the possible event of candlesticking, many competitive pilots carry two reserves. As a paraglider it’s best to ensure that you have adequate training and can handle difficult conditions or avoid them completely, rather than fly through anything in the knowledge that you have a reserve.

Paraglider Tech (Variometer, GPS, Radio, Compass)

A variometer is important for measuring your vertical speed, as well as other variables such as relative altitude, actual altitude, air temperature and air speed. Most variometers can give you audio warning tones and record data from your flight which can be downloaded to your computer.

Some variometers also contain a GPS, otherwise pilots will use a separate GPS unit. GPS systems are very useful for paragliders as when your a mile above the ground, it’s harder to notice if changing weather conditions are causing you to slow down or drift backwards. Those who fly in high alpine conditions will carry a digital compass incase they fly through cloud, where GPS units are not effective.

Helmet for the Unexpected

Good paragliding helmets are made of kevlar for light weight and strength. Accidents can cause head trauma from any angle, therefore helmets contain full protection to the head. A large faceguard is particularly useful in the event that a launch does not go to plan.

Footwear Suitable for Landing

Believe it or not, the ankle is the most commonly injured part of the body in paragliding. For many people hiking boots will suffice, but regular advanced users will wear a specialist boot with high sides to protect the ankle from trauma. Paragliding boots are also designed not to have external lacing clips as these can snap on your lines.

Flying, controlling and Landing a Paraglider

Launching a Paraglider

There are three main forms of paraglider take off, the forward launch, reverse launch and a towed launch. The forward launch involved the pilots wing being spread out on the ground with the pilot running forward. This is done in an airstream, often on higher ground. Some pilots prefer this as they only have to run forward, and get the thrill of takeoff. However the disadvantage of this is that the wing is behind you, making it harder to check for correct inflation and no tangling of lines.

In strong winds, particularly at high altitudes, a pilot may choose a reverse launch. Little running from the pilot is required and the pilot can also watch the wing and lines as they leave the ground. However, skill is required to execute this launch successfully, requiring the pilot to hold the brakes, turn to the side and avoid tangling the lines.

A towed launch can involve the aid of a stationary object such as a winch, car or boat. This can make it easier to paraglide from flat ground with little wind.

Controlling the Paraglider

Pilots can increase speed by using the speed bar, which can be controlled using their feet. This is connected through the harness and decreases the wing’s angle of attack. Braking is controlled by two controls, one on each side of the pilot. These are used to adjust speed and a pilot can also use them to manipulate steering by shifting their body weight at the same time.

A skilled pilot can also use lines and risers to control the wing. This can be useful for speeding up the approach to a landing, slowing down if the brakes fail, or for retaining control in sudden changes of wind.

For the most part, the pilot can let the paraglider glide itself. A common mistake by beginners is to spend too much time overcorrecting and braking.

Landing

It’s important that a paraglider landing is well planned and performed gradually. Hitting the brakes hard early in the landing often results in a harder landing and injury. Pilots are taught to resist a poor landing and take their time to land in ideal conditions where possible. Landing with the wind can assist in a smooth landing, landing without wind can require the pilot to exercise some skill and ‘flare’ at the end of the landing. This involves speeding up as you get close to the ground to flare the wing and reduce the chance of a hard impact. Once your close to the ground, legs are down, wing is flared, and your final checks tell you that the ground is safe to land on, you’re then ready to hit the brakes.

If a more rapid landing is necessary, an experienced pilot may be able to perform a spiral dive, b-line stall or big ears landing, depending on the conditions and space available.

What are the Types of Paragliding?

The are different forms of competitive paragliding, to suit those with different interests and abilities. Most fall into three main categories: cross-country flying, aerobic paragliding competitions, and hike and fly paragliding competitions.

Soaring

Soaring is performed by using wind which is guided up by a large object like a mountain, cliff, ridge or large sand-dune. A constant and suitable level of wind is required to do this. If there’s not enough wind, the paraglider won’t make a clean takeoff. If there is too much wind, the paraglider can be blown back over the slope.

Thermal Flying

Thermal flying leverages the thermals which rise through the air from objects such as rocks which have been warmed in the sun. When pilots find a thermal, they will use a varioaltimeter or fly in a circle, to find the strongest part of the core of the thermal where the air is rising faster.

Cross-Country Flying

Cross-country paragliding involves gliding from one thermal to the next. Paragliders will glide towards land features which could generate thermals or look for cumulus clouds to fly under, as these are usually found at the top of a warm air thermal.

What Does Paragliding Feel Like?

Most people who have tried it will tell you that paragliding feels pretty amazing! Paragliding is flight in it’s rawest, simplest and most pure form. The limited structure and absence of walls and a floor enables you to feel at one with your surroundings. While it’s often lumped in the same category as extreme sports such as skydiving and bungee jumping, it’s actually much more relaxing and appeals to a wide variety of people. Paragliding is definitely not as scary!

If you’re scared of heights, you might still feel comfortable with paragliding. What scares most people about heights is being close to the edge, or jumping off (e.g. jumping off a platform when bungee jumping). Paragliding in this regards, is different. You gently take off and are lifted into the air. And if you’re a first-timer, you’ll probably start with tandem paragliding, where an experienced pilot will take control from takeoff to landing.

Who Does This and Where?

Paragliding has always been a popular pastime in the mountainous regions of Western Europe. There are a number of places in France such as Annecy, Chamonix, Plaine Joux and Dune of Pilat to name a few. Other popular places include Interlaken in Switzerland, Tyrol in Austria, Tuscany in Italy, Oludeniz in Turkey and Algodonales in the south of Spain. At these locations you’ll see experienced paraglider pilots as well as tourism operators offering short tandem paragliding adventures for first-timers.

Other popular paragliding locations around the world include:

However, there are many paragliding enthusiasts who have their own spots where they go to escape the crowds and not only enjoy the thrill of flight, but enjoy the serenity of peacefulness of nature too.

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How to get into Paragliding?

It’s a good idea to go on a couple of tandem flights with someone experienced and see if paragliding is something you want to invest your time and money in. If you’re keen on learning to paraglide, most countries and popular paragliding locations have providers who offer training courses. In comparison to other forms of human flight such as skydiving, the barriers to entry are low. Some courses can be conducted in as little as 8 days, where you are then free to fly by yourself.

While we are not against these courses, in such a short timeframe you may not get much experience in the wide range of conditions could be encountered. It’s a good idea after your training to continue flying with some experienced paragliders. They can help recommend places to fly in your local area which are suitable for your ability.

Many countries have paragliding clubs and associations where you can meet experienced pilots who are willing to offer advice.

  • The USHPA in the United States in Australia
  • The British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association in the United Kingdom

It’s also a good idea to brush up on your meteorology knowledge. Learn about different clouds and their effects on thermals.

Restrictions

In most countries paragliding is considered a ‘self regulated sport’ with no licence required for solo flying. However, some clubs and associations may ask to see some form of certification stating that you have undertaken training before you can join.

You are also required to abide by the laws in your country regarding restricted airspaces such as flight paths, airports and military bases. Pilots should also avoid flying too low over buildings and roads.

How to Purchase a Paraglider

If your careful what you’re buying, there’s nothing wrong with buying a used paragliding wing, lines and harness, and navigational equipment. To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to bring an experienced friend to view the equipment and check the wing, lines and harness for damage, or buy from someone reputable at your local association.

Two components which are worth purchasing brand new are the reserve parachute and the helmet. You’re life may depend on these at some point, it’s not worth purchasing damaged equipment to save a few dollars.

Paragliding wings are segmented into various EN ratings which act as a guide to help you purchase a paraglider which is suitable for your ability and type of flying you wish to perform. Those new to paragliding will start at the ‘first wings’ class (EN A rating) which are easier to manoeuvre and keep stable. The next level up from this is the ‘progression class which usually gets an EN B rating.

After this there are classes which offer high performance in certain characteristics such as:

What is Paragliding?

What is paragliding? It’s one of the rawest and most pure forms of flight. It involves the use of a paraglider, where the pilot sits in a harness which is suspended by a large, curved fabric wing. There is no engine, pilots launch by running and obtaining lift. The curve in the wing enables a skilled pilot to glide over long distances and to climb to high altitudes. Steering is conducted by pulling handles which are located beside each shoulder.

Paragliding is one of the simplest forms of flight and easiest to get involved in. It’s a popular hobby for those who not only enjoy the skill and thrill of flight, but also enjoy the outdoors and the amazing overhead views obtainable.

However, like other forms of flight, paragliding takes time to learn and master. There are dangers involved and loss of control, sudden weather change, or mishandled equipment can result in death.

man launching a paraglider

What is the History of Paragliding?

Paragliding has a relatively short history, involving many people across the United States and France. Early versions of paragliding were derived from the preexisting parachute, which was round in shape, and designed to descent safely.

The earliest known paragliding was performed by the US military in their parachute landing training. Repeatedly flying soldiers back into the air to jump out of a plane was time consuming. It was less costly, less time consuming and enabled more jumps to be performed in the day if soldiers made their own way into the air through paragliding.

The first recorded history dates back to 1952 where American Domina Jailbert successfully patented a gliding parachute with multi-cells and controls to enable lateral gliding. In 1963, Domina invented and patented the Parafoil. It’s ‘ram-air’ design contains many cells which collect air and once full, enable the pilot to take off. The shape had evolved from a round parachute to a rectangular, slightly curved wing.

Also in the 1960’s David Barish was working with NASA space capsules in the development of a sail wing as a recovery system to bring astronauts back to Earth. He created a rectangular shaped parachute. Barish took this idea to ski resorts throughout the United States, trying to get “slope soaring” to take off. At the time it was simply seen as a way to race down grassy ski slopes in the summer, skimming above the ground. There was no intention to leverage thermals or dynamic wind and glide high in the sky.

In 1961, French engineer Pierre Lemongine also made advancements to help enable the possibility of paragliding. He developed a parachute design which could be towed into the air and steered.

It wasn’t until 1978 when paragliding started to gain momentum. The defining moment was on June 25th, when two French skydivers Jean-Claud Betemps and Andre Bohn ran down the sleep mountain slope of Mont Pertuiset in France and launched into the air. Betemps and Bohn were training for the national skydiving championships in France and couldn’t afford to pay for fuel for a plane to take them up and down the mountains. At the time they were not aware of David Barish’s earlier work on the other side of the world, but asked scientists if their plans were possible, receiving a somewhat cautious “yes”.

Their paragliding was shown in the media, which encouraged others to try the sport and led to Betemps who was first to paraglide on the day, to become known as the inventor of paragliding.

From this moment on the popularity of paragliding steadily grew. In 1979 the first paragliding school was established, with Betemps as an instructor. The first paragliders become available for the public to buy in 1985. The wing fabric was stiffer than that of a parachute and the lines less elastic. This provided greater control and stability for the pilot.

What Components Make Up a Paraglider?

Paragliding Wing

The main part of the paraglider is called the wing. This looks similar to a parachute, however instead of being round, it’s rectangular in shape and curved. These wings have two layers of fabric, usually ripstop polyester or nylon, which are connected by cells. The curved shape of the wing and it’s cells enable it to collect and hold the wind on takeoff and in flight. This is known as the ram-air airfoil design. There are different types of paraglider wings to choose from, depending on the type of turbulence which may be expected, and the speed that the pilot desires.

Harness

The pilot sits in a harness that is suspended below the wing. These can vary from a basic harness setup which is little more than a series of straps, to something with significant protection, like a chair. These more advanced harnesses will hold a reserve parachute under the seat which can be quickly deployed by pulling a handle. These harnesses also provide benefits such as protection from cold air in high alpine altitudes, storage and foam or airbag protectors in the event of a failed takeoff or rough landing.

Reserve Parachute

Nowadays most paragliding pilots fly with a reserve. However this should only be used in when the pilot is completely sure they cannot regain control of the paraglider. Opening a reserve presents new risks such as not being able to control where you land, as well as candlesticking (where the main wing and parachute come into contact and twist into each other). In the possible event of candlesticking, many competitive pilots carry two reserves. As a paraglider it’s best to ensure that you have adequate training and can handle difficult conditions or avoid them completely, rather than fly through anything in the knowledge that you have a reserve.

Paraglider Tech (Variometer, GPS, Radio, Compass)

A variometer is important for measuring your vertical speed, as well as other variables such as relative altitude, actual altitude, air temperature and air speed. Most variometers can give you audio warning tones and record data from your flight which can be downloaded to your computer.

Some variometers also contain a GPS, otherwise pilots will use a separate GPS unit. GPS systems are very useful for paragliders as when your a mile above the ground, it’s harder to notice if changing weather conditions are causing you to slow down or drift backwards. Those who fly in high alpine conditions will carry a digital compass incase they fly through cloud, where GPS units are not effective.

Helmet for the Unexpected

Good paragliding helmets are made of kevlar for light weight and strength. Accidents can cause head trauma from any angle, therefore helmets contain full protection to the head. A large faceguard is particularly useful in the event that a launch does not go to plan.

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Footwear Suitable for Landing

Believe it or not, the ankle is the most commonly injured part of the body in paragliding. For many people hiking boots will suffice, but regular advanced users will wear a specialist boot with high sides to protect the ankle from trauma. Paragliding boots are also designed not to have external lacing clips as these can snap on your lines.

Flying, controlling and Landing a Paraglider

Launching a Paraglider

There are three main forms of paraglider take off, the forward launch, reverse launch and a towed launch. The forward launch involved the pilots wing being spread out on the ground with the pilot running forward. This is done in an airstream, often on higher ground. Some pilots prefer this as they only have to run forward, and get the thrill of takeoff. However the disadvantage of this is that the wing is behind you, making it harder to check for correct inflation and no tangling of lines.

In strong winds, particularly at high altitudes, a pilot may choose a reverse launch. Little running from the pilot is required and the pilot can also watch the wing and lines as they leave the ground. However, skill is required to execute this launch successfully, requiring the pilot to hold the brakes, turn to the side and avoid tangling the lines.

A towed launch can involve the aid of a stationary object such as a winch, car or boat. This can make it easier to paraglide from flat ground with little wind.

Controlling the Paraglider

Pilots can increase speed by using the speed bar, which can be controlled using their feet. This is connected through the harness and decreases the wing’s angle of attack. Braking is controlled by two controls, one on each side of the pilot. These are used to adjust speed and a pilot can also use them to manipulate steering by shifting their body weight at the same time.

A skilled pilot can also use lines and risers to control the wing. This can be useful for speeding up the approach to a landing, slowing down if the brakes fail, or for retaining control in sudden changes of wind.

For the most part, the pilot can let the paraglider glide itself. A common mistake by beginners is to spend too much time overcorrecting and braking.

Landing

It’s important that a paraglider landing is well planned and performed gradually. Hitting the brakes hard early in the landing often results in a harder landing and injury. Pilots are taught to resist a poor landing and take their time to land in ideal conditions where possible. Landing with the wind can assist in a smooth landing, landing without wind can require the pilot to exercise some skill and ‘flare’ at the end of the landing. This involves speeding up as you get close to the ground to flare the wing and reduce the chance of a hard impact. Once your close to the ground, legs are down, wing is flared, and your final checks tell you that the ground is safe to land on, you’re then ready to hit the brakes.

If a more rapid landing is necessary, an experienced pilot may be able to perform a spiral dive, b-line stall or big ears landing, depending on the conditions and space available.

What are the Types of Paragliding?

The are different forms of competitive paragliding, to suit those with different interests and abilities. Most fall into three main categories: cross-country flying, aerobic paragliding competitions, and hike and fly paragliding competitions.

Soaring

Soaring is performed by using wind which is guided up by a large object like a mountain, cliff, ridge or large sand-dune. A constant and suitable level of wind is required to do this. If there’s not enough wind, the paraglider won’t make a clean takeoff. If there is too much wind, the paraglider can be blown back over the slope.

Thermal Flying

Thermal flying leverages the thermals which rise through the air from objects such as rocks which have been warmed in the sun. When pilots find a thermal, they will use a varioaltimeter or fly in a circle, to find the strongest part of the core of the thermal where the air is rising faster.

Cross-Country Flying

Cross-country paragliding involves gliding from one thermal to the next. Paragliders will glide towards land features which could generate thermals or look for cumulus clouds to fly under, as these are usually found at the top of a warm air thermal.

What Does Paragliding Feel Like?

Most people who have tried it will tell you that paragliding feels pretty amazing! Paragliding is flight in it’s rawest, simplest and most pure form. The limited structure and absence of walls and a floor enables you to feel at one with your surroundings. While it’s often lumped in the same category as extreme sports such as skydiving and bungee jumping, it’s actually much more relaxing and appeals to a wide variety of people. Paragliding is definitely not as scary!

If you’re scared of heights, you might still feel comfortable with paragliding. What scares most people about heights is being close to the edge, or jumping off (e.g. jumping off a platform when bungee jumping). Paragliding in this regards, is different. You gently take off and are lifted into the air. And if you’re a first-timer, you’ll probably start with tandem paragliding, where an experienced pilot will take control from takeoff to landing.

Who Does This and Where?

Paragliding has always been a popular pastime in the mountainous regions of Western Europe. There are a number of places in France such as Annecy, Chamonix, Plaine Joux and Dune of Pilat to name a few. Other popular places include Interlaken in Switzerland, Tyrol in Austria, Tuscany in Italy, Oludeniz in Turkey and Algodonales in the south of Spain. At these locations you’ll see experienced paraglider pilots as well as tourism operators offering short tandem paragliding adventures for first-timers.

Other popular paragliding locations around the world include:

However, there are many paragliding enthusiasts who have their own spots where they go to escape the crowds and not only enjoy the thrill of flight, but enjoy the serenity of peacefulness of nature too.

How to get into Paragliding?

It’s a good idea to go on a couple of tandem flights with someone experienced and see if paragliding is something you want to invest your time and money in. If you’re keen on learning to paraglide, most countries and popular paragliding locations have providers who offer training courses. In comparison to other forms of human flight such as skydiving, the barriers to entry are low. Some courses can be conducted in as little as 8 days, where you are then free to fly by yourself.

While we are not against these courses, in such a short timeframe you may not get much experience in the wide range of conditions could be encountered. It’s a good idea after your training to continue flying with some experienced paragliders. They can help recommend places to fly in your local area which are suitable for your ability.

Many countries have paragliding clubs and associations where you can meet experienced pilots who are willing to offer advice.

  • The USHPA in the United States in Australia
  • The British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association in the United Kingdom

It’s also a good idea to brush up on your meteorology knowledge. Learn about different clouds and their effects on thermals.

Restrictions

In most countries paragliding is considered a ‘self regulated sport’ with no licence required for solo flying. However, some clubs and associations may ask to see some form of certification stating that you have undertaken training before you can join.

You are also required to abide by the laws in your country regarding restricted airspaces such as flight paths, airports and military bases. Pilots should also avoid flying too low over buildings and roads.

How to Purchase a Paraglider

If your careful what you’re buying, there’s nothing wrong with buying a used paragliding wing, lines and harness, and navigational equipment. To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to bring an experienced friend to view the equipment and check the wing, lines and harness for damage, or buy from someone reputable at your local association.

Two components which are worth purchasing brand new are the reserve parachute and the helmet. You’re life may depend on these at some point, it’s not worth purchasing damaged equipment to save a few dollars.

Paragliding wings are segmented into various EN ratings which act as a guide to help you purchase a paraglider which is suitable for your ability and type of flying you wish to perform. Those new to paragliding will start at the ‘first wings’ class (EN A rating) which are easier to manoeuvre and keep stable. The next level up from this is the ‘progression class which usually gets an EN B rating.

After this there are classes which offer high performance in certain characteristics such as:

Source https://globalparagliding.com/can-you-paraglide-anywhere/

Source https://globalparagliding.com/what-is-paragliding/

Source https://globalparagliding.com/what-is-paragliding/

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