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Paragliding is a sport that requires basic knowledge and skills in physics, aerodynamics and aeronautical meteorology. In order for a person to engage in paragliding, he should have intensive training with an experienced trainer and appropriate equipment on adequate terrain provided for paragliding. Paragliding is a recreational activity and competitive sport that requires flying paragliders – light aircraft that are launched with the movement of the foot. Paraglider aircraft do not have a solid structure. The pilot sits on straps that support him and are located under the padded wing. The para-glider flies with aerodynamic forces. It is controlled by directing air through the vents on the front of the wing. At different heights.
Most paragliding flights take about 15 minutes. Flyers fly less than ten kilometres. Para-glider production technology has advanced. Ten years ago, over 25,000 pilots and aircraft were registered in France. Today, there are combinations of paragliding with water skiing, alpine skiing and with built-in engines.
The theoretical part of the training includes the basics of flying, aeronautical meteorology and introduction to the aircraft, parts of the aircraft and the functions it performs. The second part of the training contains ground classes where paragliding management is taught. After that we go to the smaller hills where we try short flights for the first time. After mastering the skill, the pilots go to steeper hills and longer flights. The longest paragliding flight lasted 11 hours when the pilot flew 461.6 kilometres. In 1954, Walter Neumark wrote in Flight Magazine that the time would come when a para-glider pilot would be able to launch himself and the spacecraft by running off a rock or hill. The author was right.
During the so-called tandem flights, the instructor and the student perform management in unexpected situations and changing weather conditions. Flights are performed with the help of GPS devices, radio devices and variometers (altimeter). The variometer helps the pilot to find and stay in the “core” of thermal energy in order to increase the flight altitude. The variometer is also important when the height drops because the pilot needs to find the rising air current. Modern variometers can detect an ascent or sink rate of 1 centimeter per second. The variometer shows the speed of ascent or sinking with a short audible signal, and altitude. Radio communication is used in training with other pilots and reporting should arrive. These devices normally operate at different frequencies in different states. Some local authorities or Aero clubs offer periodic automated time updates on these frequencies. In rare cases, pilots use the radio to make conversations with airport towers or air traffic controllers. Many pilots use mobile phones because the landing site is not always predictable, so they call the team to wait for them at the landing site. A GPS device or Global Positioning System is a necessary accessory for flights and paragliding competitions. Each flight has its own GPS coordinates. The flight is analyzed according to the coordinates. A technique that contributes to better competition results can be concluded. The recorded GPS flight record can be shared with other pilots who want to fly on the same terrain and is used for educational purposes. GPS is built into some types of variometers, so you get a fuller picture of a particular flight. Until the advent of GPS technology, proof of a particular flight was photo documentation.
If you already know how to fly, it takes ten minutes to unpack equipment weighing about 15 kilograms. The classic form of competition for paragliders is flying over beautiful landscapes. There are slightly more challenging versions of this sport. Air acrobatics or aerobatics require certain maneuvers. When it comes to team flights, flight synchronization is important. A beautiful view is provided to the spectators who watch the team paragliding performance from the earth’s surface.
The combination of hiking and paragliding is a sport in which the competitor has to cover a certain distance, hiking and climbing mountain peaks and partly flying a paraglider. Some paragliders have engines that speed up and prolong enjoyment even though the feeling of free bird flight is lost. The paraglider landing is specific. Pilots gradually lose altitude by flying and descending, making the number 8 in the air until they reach a certain altitude by the end of the flight. Paragliders stop to finish flying when they are about 1 meter away from the ground. By enrolling in paragliding courses and trainings, you can become a paraglider instructor or pilot.