The Top Six Paragliding Misconceptions

You hear a lot of crap when you spend as much time as we do in the sport of paragliding. We were motivated to straighten up a few things today.

1. Paragliding Does Not Take Place In The Presence Of A Boat.

That’s what parasailing is all about (and you would not believe how often we have to explain that).

2. To Fly A Paraglider, You’ll Need A Lot Of Wind – A Lot Of Wind.

Wind isn’t required to fly a paraglider strictly speaking. Sure, we use the wind to remain aloft longer than we would in no-wind circumstances on our brief “sled runs” from the top to the foot of the hill.

Non-pilots often believe that gliders need a lot of wind to inflate and fly, but the fact is that too much wind may make launching difficult (or impossible). It may also drive unsuspecting gliders to the incorrect side of the hill/mountain/ridge, putting them in peril. As a result, knowledgeable pilots launch their paragliders in a limited range of circumstances, including winds that seem calm to non-pilots.

3. Paragliding Is Very Risky.

Danger? Pah. We put a little bit of risk in our morning smoothies. Danger, Danger, Danger, Danger, Danger, Danger, Danger, Danger

Paragliding is a sport that may be as hazardous as you want it to be. Many of the pilots we know have been flying for more than a quarter-century and have never suffered anything more serious than a twisted ankle. Other pilots we know purchased their gear on Ebay and then tried to fly off a hilltop into a rainstorm (or tie themselves to a pickup truck and have a friend mash the gas pedal).

The golden laws of paragliding, like many other sports, are to acquire good paragliding training from someone who knows what they’re doing (like, say, us) and to always fly within your boundaries. When both items are ticked, the chances of suffering a paragliding-related accident are greatly decreased.

This isn’t even close to paragliding. (However, it’s fantastic and you should try it.)

4. Paragliders Are Indestructible.

A paraglider isn’t like a large metal aircraft that you can polish and send out year after year. It’s made of nylon (which, by the way, makes it oh-so-much-easier to trek with than a Cessna), and its flyable-glider days are drawing to a close.

Depending on how frequently you fly, paragliders may last anywhere from 3-6 flying seasons. Old paragliders become more difficult to launch, less sensitive, and more prone to sinking after that. (All of this is in addition to the irritation and cost of patching and relining.) We’re aware that certain old-school specimens are circulating on the internet (and, in some cases, boating geriatrically around the sky). But, truly, would you rather fly or battle your gear for every foot of lift?

5. The Cost Of Paragliding Is Unreasonably High.

A paraglider is the world’s cheapest and most basic aircraft. A full set of equipment costs between $3,000 and $6,000, and training for a basic license (USHPA’s P2, which allows a learner to fly without the assistance of a tandem pilot) costs roughly $1,000.

Paragliding is virtually free after you have the necessary equipment and instruction. There are no further fees to continue participating in the sport: no flights to skydiving height, no gasoline, and no equipment storage charges (as it fits in a closet). While you may find yourself going to many different locations to explore, paragliding is one of the most cost-effective sports on the globe – considerably more so than its greatness would imply. Which leads us to…

6. Paragliding Is A Great Way To Meet New People.

That is, in fact, somewhat accurate.

Take things into your own hands and share this message if you hear this nonsense as frequently as we do.