What if you could fly in the sky for hours on end, using the wind currents to climb higher and higher, viewing the world like an eagle from above?
It would give you a new look on not only the planet, but life in general, right?
When skydiving, you’ve got a massive adrenaline rush, and about a minute worth of insane free fall until your parachute opens, and you can “slow down” to take it all in for around 4 minutes…but 4 minutes go by really fast when you are heading back down to earth at skydiving speeds.
Imagine, soaring through the air over mountains, canyons, sandy ocean beaches, forests, open spaces, or anywhere else in the world? You could see things first hand that very few people can say they saw with their own eyes, not through the lens of a camera.
Seems like a dream. But it’s real – and it’s called paragliding.
While paragliding doesn’t carry the instant adrenaline pumped free fall like skydiving, it’s no less extreme. You are up thousands of feet in the air anywhere from 10 minutes to three hours or more, with a massive kite-like instrument as your “wings” to carry you.
Using different wind currents, you can go where you want when you want to, using the wind to guide and literally fly. And there’s no traffic up there – perhaps Paragliding is the real-time flying car we’ve all been waiting for!
The Ins and Outs of Paragliding
Paragliding is a whole different experience from skydiving. Instead of jumping out of a plane thousand of feet in the air you’ll be running down a sloping hill, gaining speed as you run and then leap into the air to start flying. Paragliders use the rising currents located on a hill or mountain slope to lift them higher into the air, and the moments from stepping off the ground and into the sky feels like stepping into another world.
Another big difference is that instead of falling towards a designated landing zone like when skydiving, paragliders flow and find wind currents that will help you stay afloat in the sky above.
First, you have to take the paragliding wing and the rest of your gear to the hill that will serve as your take-off location. You’ll need to make sure that the area is like an open field, without trees or bushes to block your path. You won’t need to run too fast as you might think, as the wind will be on your side and will quickly pick you up, as the type of parachute used is made specially for easier paragliding take-offs.
Go Higher In Different Directions
Once you are in the sky, you’ll need to use your knowledge and skills learned on the ground to properly maneuver and work with the wind currents to go higher, and in different directions. There are countless beautiful and breathtaking locations across the globe, and many of those same destinations have near-by paragliding instructors or schools that teach you all you need to know to safely paraglide while have intense fun.
As with many sports, it’s always a good idea to learn from someone who is already advanced in the ports and knows the ins and outs.
In short: Skydiving moves in a vertical direction, towards the ground. Whereas paragliding has a horizontal movement across the sky, while also trying to go higher into the sky, while skydiving you start at the highest point and literally “dive to the ground.”
While both sports take place in the air, as you can see, they are quite different.
Different Kinds of Paragliding
You might think Paragliding is just Paragliding, but you’d be wrong. There are several kinds of paragliding, and the main two are: soaring and thermal flying.
- Thermal flights are a type of flight that allow you to go to greater heights, lasting for from just a few minutes to a number of hours. This type of para gliding is dependent on the geographical location and season, as the sun’s rays can heat up rock faces, which can create hot pockets of air that rise and can disrupt your flight.
- Soaring style flights usually have the same take-off and landing point. Generally taking place over sea cliffs, ridges and sand dunes, with take-offs from low heights and coastal winds are perfect to help gain height.
Top 5 Paragliding Rules You Must ALWAYS Follow
- WIND: you need to understand the wind, it’s currents, and how it operates at different heights. If you don’t pay attention to the wind, you can run into safety and parachute issues.
- VISIBILITY: Visibility during flight should not be less than 1800m.
- GEAR: Helmets must be worn on all flights, and you’ll need to have the proper clothing, ropes, harness, secondary parachute as welling as paragliding wing.
- TAKE OFF AREA: The selected flight areas should be suitable for flight, meaning there should be a clear zone without trees, shrubs or other possible hazards.
- WEIGHT: Anyone under 220 pounds can safely paraglide; except for pregnant women, people with asthma, heart disease or epilepsy.
Where’s the best places to paraglide, you ask? Generally, mountainous regions are one of the best places for paragliding, as the changing elevation has a big effect on the wind currents needed for the best paragliding experience – plus, the cool views are hard to beat!
Now that you’ve got the perfect intro to the world of paragliding, are you ready for the flight of a lifetime? The world and human experience is truly different when you are gliding through the sky, with a literal shaft in perspective – to put it simply, it’d a life altering experience that you don’t want to miss out on. Go WIDE open!
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