Now that we have understood how to fly a paraglider and that we are aware of the different equipment that exist, it is now time to see how we can stir and how to control the paraglider.
Before taking off into the sky, we need to learn how to take off first !
The take off can be performed in two ways either off a cliff in a dynamic way or in a static way with the help of the wind in a specific area.
When taking off in a dynamic way, the pilot runs toward the edge of the cliff, so that the sail of the parachute gets inflated with air when facing the wind.
It is also possible to take off in a static way, solely thanks to wind whilst staying in place.
Before committing to taking off it is very important to check the conditions of the material and to take the time to get properly installed.
When the wind inflates the wing and therefore air can enter into the two parts of the wing and that it levitates over your head, you are ready to start (provided the rest of the conditions are met, etc.)!
Stirring the paraglider:
Now that you are in the air, it is now time to stir the paraglider, master the technique to turn left and right, the balance and the capacity to break and to accelerate.
How to control the speed:
The main element to control the speed of the paraglider is its handles on each side called breaks.
When the handles are loose (when you are not pulling on them) you are at your maximum speed. This speed can still be enhanced with accelerators or trims.
When you pull on the handles, the wing of the sail of the paraglider bends, which reduces the speed through the sky and makes you slow down.
Nevertheless, you have to beware not to pull too hard on the handles because then there is a risk of stalling due to the lack of lift.
The objective is to find the optimal speed; that is the best ratio between air speed and ground speed and the percentage of vertical drop.
How to control direction and turn:
In addition to the speed of the paraglider, it is essential to control its direction, especially through turns.
This is also possible with the handles, which also controls the speed. Furthermore, the harness can have an influence on the direction of the paraglider.
Weight has an influence on the paraglider. The harness is located in the middle of the wing. By shifting one's weight in the harness to one side or the other, it will have an effect on the wing since the harness is connected to it.
Moreover, by operating only one of the handles, you can pull on one side of the paraglider wing at the trailing edge. As with speed management, the angle of attack is altered, as well as the lift. One half of the wing is thus slowed down compared to the other, resulting in a turn.
After a successful takeoff and controlled flight, it's time to land.
Paragliding landings occur in open and leveled areas. There are designated landing zones, similar to takeoff zones, or somewhere else but you need permission from the landowners.
Nevertheless, the paragliding landing zone should ideally be defined in advance.
The landing process consists of two phases, known as the approach phase and the final phase. During the approach phase, the goal is to position oneself correctly in terms of trajectory, altitude, and distance from the chosen landing point. You should face into the wind and towards the landing point, taking into account various factors like terrain and weather conditions to assess the right approach.
Next comes the final phase, where you need to reduce your speed as much as possible relative to the ground, using the wind's effect. Safety is crucial here to avoid stalling. When just a few meters above the ground, you pull both brake lines simultaneously and gradually until you land smoothly, and the paraglider wing comes to rest on the ground.