If you have ever seen people flying in what looks like parachutes above a hill or mountain, you have seen people paragliding. Using the wind or hot air (thermals) to climb up in the sky, it is possible to soar like a bird without an engine, without noise and without having to spend too much on equipment.
One of the highest viewed paragliding videos on Youtube, this is a great video to get idea of what paragliding can feel like up in the sky.
Paragliding is an exhilarating experience. It is classed as an extreme sport and requires the proper training and an achievement of a paragliding exam to obtain a licence to safely fly on your own.
First, you’ll need instruction. This video gives a good idea of what a first experience of paragliding is like.
Once you’ve become a competent pilot, there are multiple ways to enjoy the sport. Paragliding is a progressing sport, people have and continue to push the boundaries of what is possible. Due to this there are now recognised categories of paragliding. Here are some examples below:
Cross Country Paragliding
Take your paraglider to the top of a hill, and aim to fly as far as you can. Records of 500km plus have been reached in single flights.
Hike and Fly
Paragliders can fold up small enough to put on your back as a back pack. This means that with specialist lightweight wings, many miles are possible to be covered to hike up hills and mountains, then fly on to further points from the top.
One of the most famous and possibly one of the most extreme adventure races in the world, the Red Bull X Alps is a race where athletes walk, run, climb and fly across the Alps in a monumental feat of skill and endurance.
Taking hike and fly one step further, taking food, water, and sometimes cooking equipment, Bivvy Paragliding allows you to sleep out and continue on the next day.
Pulling tricks in the air that can put a large amount of g-force on the pilot, Acro paragliding pushes the pilot and wing to the limits.
The newcomer to the sport, Speed Flying uses a smaller wing size, allowing faster flying, at a lower level.
Strap a motor to your back and you no longer need a mountain or hill to fly from
Want to give paragliding a go?
Take a look at the “Start Paragliding” page to see how you could begin your journey on becoming a paragliding pilot.