A paraglider has an airspeed of about 20 mph and a glide ratio of anywhere from 7:1 – 10:1
depending on the particular design. It has no internal structure, so it can fold during flight.
It uses weight shift and modifications in the trailing edge to turn the aircraft.
Here is a modern high end hang glider. It enjoys a glide ratio of 10-15:1,
Trim speed around 25-40 mph, max speed 65 mph. It also uses weightshift to make turns.
This is a rigid wing. It is similar to a hang glider with a higher aspect ratio.
It uses flaps to control turns and not weight shift. It enjoys a glide ratio of 19:1,
has a trim speed of 40 mph, max speed of 75 mph.
A modern sailplane can be towed by another aircraft into the sky
and release from a cable or it can have a retractable propeller that can boost it into the sky.
Top end gliders enjoy a 55:1 glide ratio.
Here is a tandem skydiving parachute. It descends at a rate of 1000 feet per minute
compared to 200 feet per minute in a paraglider. Weight shift control is not used, only steering toggles.
Here is a BASE jumper diving from a cliff while a hang glider flies by.
BASE is an acronym for Buildings, Antennas, Spans (Bridges) and Earth (Cliffs).
The parachute is deployed after the jump and its main concern is an online opening away from hazards.
Paramotors can take off from flat ground. A 60 pound engine is worn as a backpack.
A pilot inflates the glider overhead and throttles up to take off. The tork of the engine requires constant brake
pressure on one side to fly straight and weight shift control is very limited at best.
Here a powered parachute uses a trike to carry its pilot aloft.
This requires a clear strip of asphalt, preferably a small airport.
Ultralights are motorized hang gliders.
Kiteboarding is ever increasing in popularity and combines kite skills with surfing.
Kite Buggying. Kites can pull trikes quite quickly depending on the speed of the wind.
Kiteskiing is very popular in the Alps and could be enjoyed anywhere there is snow and an open field.
Kitewings can pull roller blades or mountain boards around.
When the pilot turns the wing horizontally, flight is very possible.
Parasailing requires no skill whatsoever. Often because of ignorance, the media
and public refers to the sport of paragliding as parasailing and paraglider pilots
get a bit uppity about the nomenclature. Not a big deal.
© Circling Hawk Paragliding • Santa Barbara, California • Bo Criss • 805-403-5848 • Bo@CirclingHawk.com