I am a 20-something geologist, pilot, and outdoor enthusiast. I started paragliding in 2008, but really got more involved in 2012. Flying has become my love and obsession. I think about it nearly every minute of every day. When I'm on the ground I want to be in the air. When I'm in the air, I want to be higher above the ground. I have no comprehension as to why others do not want to fly. This blog mainly serves as an outlet for me vent all the thoughts I have about flying while sparing others from the my one track mind.
What is a "Paraglider"?
A paraglider is a soft inflatable wing that can be foot launched off a hill side or mountain to achieve flight. The general public tends to have a hard time recognizing paragliders. There is a lot of confusion between hang gliders (Figure A), which are more common in media, and paragliders. Many think of parasailing (Figure B), which involves being towed by a boat. Again, not paragliding. Others think of a skydiving parachute (Figure C). Nope.
|(A) Not a Paraglider|
|(B) Not a Paraglider|
|(C) Still not a Paraglider|
|(D) A Paraglider!|
To be fair, most paragliding pilots had not heard of a paraglider until days, probably, before they started flying them. And, yes, you are right, sometimes people do strap small motors to the backs of these gliders, but you do not need to to fly. Many do not. I never have and have no immediate plans to do so, though I know many a fine folk who do and they have a blast on them. To each their own. Some day, for me, maybe. The difference, I take, is a lot like the difference between a sailboat and a motorboat. Different types of fun. Both fun.
So... Paragliders Fly?
|A paraglider, once inflated, performs as a wing that produces lift if enough airflow passes over the wing.|
|A thermal is a rising column of air|
|Air is forced up and over a ridge|