Paragliding, Parasailing, Hand Gliding

Are they all same? Here’s what you need to know

The term paragliding is awe-inspiring, adventurous and an exciting activity that’s practiced today. The rush of free-flying, the high altitude nearing almost 15,000 feet gives you an experience of the lifetime. It’s an exciting activity to engage and it invokes the interest of a lot of people in India which helps them plan their trip to the beautiful towns in Himachal Pradesh which is famous for Paragliding.

And if you have dreamt of flying, your dream will come true! Imaging a fabric wing that takes you to high altitude amidst the mountains and terrain, won’t it be a thrilling shot? Looking at them dancing up in the sky and swinging in the air will force you to try it at least one time in your life.

If it’s your first time, its common

  • To get scared of taking off
  • You might remember the failed flight stories
  • You may think of people getting hurt while landing
  • You may not trust your trainer
  • Fear of hitting a tree or getting stuck

But, the truth is…

  • Adventurous is safe as well as dangerous
  • It’s thrilling and of course, challenging
  • The view from the top (Few feet above the land) is amazing
  • Bird’s eye view, fly like a bird and know the beautiful things above and below you
  • Adrenaline rush
Facts to know: The Paragliding world cup in 2015 was held at Bir Billing in Himachal Pradesh

Is paragliding different from hand-gliding?

Well, yes, it is different though the purpose is same. The shape of the paraglider and hand glider is different. Hand-gliders comes with accurate and sharp structures in a V-shape that’s similar to the stealth bomber. The paragliders have wings that are soft in structure and there isn’t any internal framework. It’s elliptical and mostly used for slow speed flying. The paragliders can be easily folded into small carry bags and are very comfortable to carry while trekking. Mountaineers carry the paragliders on their trekking trail and once they reach the peak, they use the paragliders to fly down to the ground.

Facts to know: Gavin McClurg has made a record for flying 240 miles above 18,000 feet. He sailed at a speed of 30mph and he learned paragliding from his wife who was a paraglider pilot.

So, what’s parasailing?

Parasailing is an activity where only parachutes are involved, which are used by the people for towing in lakes or at beaches. The highest feet they move up to is around 100 feet. While the wings of the paragliders are around 747 more than the parachute. The wings are designed with thermal updrafts, which helps them rise as the air passes by, and doesn’t allow it to directly fall down on the ground. Paragliding comes with much more excitement and thrill as compared to parasailing. The gliders are henceforth called the pilots.

Is it dangerous?

As mentioned earlier, if you are trying it for the first time, you may have fears but it’s not as dangerous as you think. And since it’s an adventure sport, you cannot predict!

You may be impressed with the paragliding videos you watch on YouTube and on the other hand, there are many flights that have gone wrong and it would scare you. Trust your instinct and try the adventure, it’s really fun.

The Paragliders are made of a strong and durable material which can handle your weight. There are very few cases where the wings have failed to perform however the chances are very rare. The pilots will analyze the weather condition and will choose not to fly during inconvenient weather conditions. If you are flying for the first time, you’re going to have an expert pilot who’ll be flying with you so, you don’t have to worry about the situation. The pilots will wear a reserve parachute to ground you safely.

Safety measures

  • Wear your safety gear properly
  • Listen to the pilot/trainer
  • Keep your legs on the air, especially while landing
  • And most importantly enjoy the thrill.

Enjoy the comfort of the paraglider

The modern paragliding wings come with a chair that is similar to that available in the lounge, and the reserve parachute and other important things are stored. After you are ready with the leap precipice and the inflates of the glider, all you need to do is simply shift the chair below your bum and your comfortable ride is ready. You can now fly your Barcalounger wherever you want with the flow of the wind with ease.

You can control the paraglider

Yes, this is true. As a pilot, you can now control your glider, move it left or right, etc. The wings don’t have any combustion engine with it, but the pilots control it with the help of the brakes and the gas they are provided with which helps in controlling the speed and steering. The only thing the pilots on board cannot control is the ascent of the glider. This depends on the skills of the pilot as well as the luck he or she comes with which helps in getting rising columns with the help of thermal air that has the capability to drive the glider to any undesired distance.

You can travel a maximum distance

Surely this sentence would baffle you, but it is true that with the help of paragliding, one can travel to the maximum distance, in fact, you can travel all around a country. The paragliding facilities mostly provided with a drive of around 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the condition of the weather. Still, there are skilled and expert pilots who are found to be flying in the air by exploiting thermal columns in the air for long distances. The best example of this is Will Gadd, the champion of paragliding, who holds the world record as a longest route paraglider pilot by traveling 263 miles.

Paragliding is an adventure that mostly depends on the weather condition, gliding wings, take-off sites, landing sites, protective gear, etc. along with skills to become a glider pilot. This makes paragliding an activity which should be carried out with proper knowledge from the training classes, before stepping downwards.

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