MD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13967 posts, RR: 63
Reply 1, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1708 times:
I did a bit when I was living in Ireland, actually I still own a glide chuute, but haven't used it for years and I wouldn't trust it anymore unless I got it checked and inspected by a qualified person.
The reason why I didn't fly anymore since I returned to Germany is that in Germany you'll need a licence and you are only allowed to fly in certain areas.
In Ireland nobody cares if you've got a licence or not (I actually got trained by a former colleague, who has lots of paragliding experience and now works as pilot for a big airline), and, at least in the rural areas, it is ok to fly as long as you've got the permission to get onto the land where you take off and where you land and as long as you don't do it in the vicinity of an airport.
Revelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12322 posts, RR: 25
Reply 3, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 1699 times:
I am a glider pilot, and have watched others paraglide.
If there was a paragliding operation nearby I'd try it till I got one good enjoyable flight then I'd quit.
To me, there's too much risk in paragliding. The words "non-rigid" and "wing" do not belong in the same sentence, IMHO.
But it looks to be a real blast, and would be worth the risk to at least experience it once, IMHO.
We have a lot of former hang glider pilots in our glider club. Most enjoyed it a lot, but either got injured themselves, or saw a good friend or two get serious injuries. The big problem seems to be that your landing gear is your legs, and what is just a hard bounce on landing in a glider can be a pretty serious injury in a hang glider.
Paragliding is easier on the legs because you can land at a slower speed.
So, in summary, paragliding is a slower flight that really lets you enjoy the scenery and provides an easier landing, but you (or your instructor) really need to have the skills to redeploy the wing if it should fold up while airborne. Ironically, the sources of lift usually have turbulence associated with them, which can cause the wing to fold. Also the takeoffs can be challenging too. So there's a good amount of skill needed, and in the case of the folded wing, there's a lot of risk if you can't resolve the problem.
Hang gliding has a frame to keep the wing deployed so it's not as much an issue, but as I've mentioned, you are flying a bit faster than paragliding (due to the stall speed of the wing) so takeoffs and landings occur with more speed which means more risk.
Gliders fly a bit faster still due to the stall speed of the wing, but the wing is rigid, has much better performance, and you have a fuselage with landing gear to protect you. In a glider you can make much longer flights and IMHO it's a safer proposition all around. The negative (to some) is that you are enclosed in a fuselage with a canopy so it's not as raw or natural an experience as paragliding or hang gliding.