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Paragliding (paragliding) is a sport in which competitions are held using a paraglider (ultralight (5-7 kg) non-motorized aircraft). A paraglider is a wing made of an airtight fabric (skitex, helvenor, etc.), consisting of two shells, between which special partitions (nevura) are stretched, equipped with holes for a more even distribution of air inside the aircraft.
Through the air intakes located in the front of the structure, the wing is filled with air (since the shells are tightly sewn from behind and from the sides), and thanks to nevura it takes on a certain shape (profile). This allows the aircraft to make long-term movements in ascending air currents (dynamic, formed in places where the wind collides with obstacles (for example, rocks) and thermal, resulting from the heating of a certain area of the earth by the sun's rays).
A sling system is attached to the lower part of the paraglider, connecting the wing and the harness (harness) for the pilot, equipped with a protector that absorbs most of the impact during landing.
Steve Snyder invented a similar design (initially a wing parachute that differed from a conventional parachute only in shape) in 1964. In the 70s of the last century, the aforementioned invention was used by French athletes-skiers to speed up the descent from the mountains.
The paraglider acquired its modern look only 10 years later - for this, the designers had to work a lot not only on changing the shape of the wing (from a single-layer canopy it turned into a two-layer elliptical structure), but also on modifying the line and suspension system.
The first paragliding competitions (European and World Championships) began to be held in the 80s of the twentieth century and are regularly held today. Pilots compete in the speed of overcoming the distance (most often along the route 25 km long), ascent height, duration of stay in the air, flight range (to the target, to the target with return, along the triangular route, to the open range - in this case, the pilot chooses the direction himself and trajectory of movement).
There is also acro (aerial acrobatics) - performing various tricks (turns, loops, rolls, slides, etc.) in the air. But competitions of this kind are held only in Europe and America.
In Russia and the CIS countries, acro is not considered a sport, and the achievements of athletes in this discipline are not taken into account.
Paragliding and parachute are one and the same thing. No, there is a significant difference between the mentioned constructions. The purpose of the parachute is to maximally secure the descent of a person from a certain height, therefore it is designed for a dynamic blow of great force that occurs when opening. A paraglider is an aircraft equipped with a control system and designed for long flights. The takeoff is carried out from the ground; accordingly, the structure, which is not designed for dynamic impacts, is inextensible and the wing has a more correct aerodynamic shape, as a result of which it has higher flying qualities than a parachute. However, outwardly, both of these designs are sometimes so similar that it is difficult for a layman to distinguish a paraglider from a parachute.
Aviators don't like paragliders. Yes it is. The fact is that paragliders (especially those equipped with motors) are extremely mobile, they can take off and land from small plots of land, moreover, they are almost not detected by airport ground service radars. Therefore, it can be quite difficult to prevent the appearance of a paraglider in the path of an aircraft. In some countries (for example, in Germany), paragliding is generally prohibited, in others (in France), in order to facilitate the identification of the intruder, numbers are applied to the wings of non-powered aircraft that are clearly visible from the ground and from the air.
The term "paraglider" is an abbreviated phrase "gliding parachute". There are several versions explaining the origin of this term. Some researchers believe that the word "paraglider" comes from fr. parapente ("soaring over the slope" or "preventing landing on the slope") or from the English paraplane ("parachute-wing").
Paragliders are used only for entertainment and sporting events. Misconception. Paragliders (especially motorized ones) are used for environmental inspections, checking the condition of power lines and pipelines, taking photographs and videos of the area. In addition, single-seat paramotors are used in agriculture and during the hunt for predators (for example, wolves), and double-seat ones are used in air tourism and for sightseeing flights.
Paragliders fly faster than hang gliders. Completely erroneous opinion. The speed of hang gliders is from 28 to 130 km / h, and the maximum speed that the paraglider can reach is 70 km / h (at this speed, this aircraft can begin to fold, which poses a considerable danger to the health and life of the athlete).
Paragliders are lighter than hang gliders because they climb faster than hang gliders. This is not entirely true. The weight of the paraglider (maximum - 7 kg) is really less than the weight of the hang glider (20-40 kg). However, the rate of descent, on which, in fact, the ability to quickly gain altitude depends, is approximately the same for a paraglider and a hang glider (about 0.7 m / s).
The paraglider is able to climb in a spiral of a small radius in a very narrow stream, inaccessible to the hang glider. It should be noted that the radius of the spiral trajectory of ascent is most strongly influenced by the speed of the aircraft and the angle of roll. Because both hang gliders and paragliders can "handle" very narrow thermals, they just have to move first at a certain angle. The speed of both devices is practically the same.
You can learn to fly a paraglider much faster than a hang glider. Yes, in many flight schools, they promise to teach paragliding in 5-7 days, and on a hang glider - in 10-15 days. In addition, paragliders immediately start flying from a high altitude, while hang-glider pilots initially work at a relatively low altitude, gradually increasing it as they successfully consolidate the various skills and abilities necessary for safe independent flight. As a result of this state of affairs, one gets the impression that paragliding can be mastered much faster than the art of hang gliding. In general, the pilots of both aircraft spend approximately the same amount of time to acquire skill and ability to act in an emergency situation.
It is best to start training in winter - it is not so painful to fall into snowdrifts. Indeed, in many paragliding schools, training for beginners is carried out precisely in the winter. However, it should be borne in mind that flights on this aircraft can only be carried out on days when the ambient temperature is not lower than -15 C. Stronger frost contributes to structural changes in the wing - airtight impregnation becomes fragile, which can lead to partial or complete destruction of the paraglider ...
The best psychological mood is among professional pilots who have devoted many years to paragliding. Not always. A professional pilot, burdened with a baggage of knowledge and skills that have repeatedly saved his life, is still sometimes capable of making mistakes, simply overestimating his capabilities. No less dangerous is the position of an inexperienced pilot-optimist, relying not so much on skills and knowledge as on his own luck. The plus is that paragliders with the aforementioned psychological attitude, in the event of a danger, take certain actions (perhaps not always correct and successful) and often achieve success. But the pilots, whom psychologists call pessimistic alarmists, are not confident in themselves, are afraid of the dangers that supposedly lie in wait for them at every moment of time, and, worst of all, in an emergency situation at best they react very slowly, at worst they completely lose the opportunity to act ("fall into a stupor"). This behavior can pose a considerable danger to the health and life of both the pilots themselves and everyone with whom they share the airspace. Therefore, experts believe that the most optimal for paragliding flights is such a psychological attitude that makes it possible to soberly assess the situation that has arisen (without losing self-confidence and not succumbing to panic) and quickly develop an algorithm of actions that is most suitable for solving a particular problem.
The advantage of a paraglider is the ability to land on a very small area. Other aircraft, such as a hang glider, cannot do this. A paraglider can indeed land on a very small landing area, but it should be noted that a hang glider, when using a braking parachute, is able to perform almost the same maneuver.
For paragliding flights, the same places are suitable where hang gliders prefer to climb into the sky. For example Laragne (France) - a place called "Mecca" by hang gliders, paragliding pilots bypass. The fact is that powerful thermal currents arising in this area are capable of lifting even a fully formed paraglider canopy to a very high altitude, and strong winds and a high level of turbulence lead to the fact that the behavior of this aircraft becomes completely unpredictable. This is very dangerous for the pilot's health and life.
A paraglider can gain more speed than a hang glider. No, both in aerodynamic qualities and in speed the paraglider is inferior to the hang glider. In addition, in turbulent conditions, the rigid wing of a hang glider is more stable than a paraglider, which, once in a zone of strong eddies, can simply collapse, which will lead to the pilot falling from a great height.
Over the long history of paragliders, their classification has undergone many changes. The classification of aircraft depends on the safety certification system. The first of these systems - ACPUL (French Association of Constructors of Non-Motorized Ultralight Vehicles, French Association des Constructeurs des Planeurs Ultra-Legers) has become widespread and used since 1991. It was replaced by AFNOR (French Association for Certification, French Association Francaise de NORmalization) - the French state standard for paragliders. Around the same time (mid-90s), the German system of airworthiness requirements (German Lufttüchtigkeitsforderungen, LTF), formerly called DHV (German Hangegleiter Verband - German Hang Gliding Association), was gaining more and more prestige and was developed from the mid-80s. -x years XX century exclusively for the needs of Germany. On the basis of the last two certification systems (AFNOR and DHV), at the beginning of the 21st century, CEN (French Comité Européen de Normalization or English European Committee for Standardization) was developed, which was supposed to become a single system for the countries that are members of the European Union. Applied since 2006.
According to one of the systems mentioned (AFNOR), single-seat paragliders are divided into 3 classes for safety:
• "Standart" - intended for novice athletes and pilots who fly very rarely;
• "Performance" - aircraft designed for experienced pilots;
• "Competition" - intended for professional athletes.
The two-seater paragliders were classified as "Biplace". Also, paragliders, depending on the purpose, are divided into:
• Training or school - used at the stage of mastering the mastery of paragliding control;
• Created for cross-country flights;
• Acro-wings - design features of these aircraft allow performing various aerobatics;
• Tandems - designed for two people flying at the same time. They are used both for training and for excursion flights;
• Motorized paragliders: paralets consisting of a titanium body with a motor and a wing; paramotors - a power pack used in conjunction with a paraglider (in some cases, paramotors are called any motorized paragliders).
The higher the class of the glider, the safer it is. No, the maximum level of safety is inherent in the Standard class wings, since in the event of collapse (due to turbulence or incorrect actions of the pilot), they acquire the lost configuration completely independently, without the pilot's intervention. Performance class wings are good safety - it will take some paragliding effort to get them to the desired shape, lost during the collapse. And, finally, there is sufficient safety in Competition class paragliders, which will not come out of folding without clear actions of the pilot, performed in a certain order. It should be noted that, according to safety standards, it will take no more than 4 seconds for the paraglider to get the desired configuration after folding any of the above aircraft.
If a future athlete plans to master paragliding, he will have to purchase an acro wing and learn the basics of piloting a paraglider on a specialized aircraft. All pilots pass the initial stage of training on training paragliders, which do not require special skills from the pilot and are designed so as to completely independently take the correct position in the air. And the basics of acrobatics can be mastered on ordinary paragliders, for example, Performance class or Competition class. And only after that it is recommended to switch to specialized "acro" wings, which are indispensable when performing some acrobatic figures. It should be borne in mind that some of them are designed "for a certain trick" (for example, the Infinity's ability to damp (dampen vibrations) is minimized), so initial training on paragliders of this kind is highly undesirable.
The wing of a paraglider, devoid of rigid elements, takes shape thanks to the nevura. This is not entirely true - some rigidity is still present in the design of this aircraft. Firstly, the leading edges of the nevure are made semi-rigid - this facilitates the process of filling the structure with air. Secondly, in the design of paragliders, especially those intended for competitions in flight speed, some rigid elements are included that ensure a stable wing shape even at high speed. Nevura, on the other hand, perform not only the function of defining the profile - some of them (the so-called power ones) also serve as a place for attaching the lines.
The paragliding line system resembles a parachute one. Outwardly - yes, but upon closer examination, you will notice that the paraglider's line system has many features. The parachute is usually connected to the harness with one row of lines attached to the perimeter of the structure. And the lines of the paraglider are located in 4 or 5 rows and are attached not only to the leading and trailing edge of the wing, but also to the power nevura, dividing the paraglider into sections.To reduce the drag of the system, the lines are branched into tiers: several of the thickest ones make up the lower tier, to each of them several thinner lines of the middle tier are attached, each of which, in turn, is connected to the wing by a certain number of the thinnest lines of the upper tier. In addition, the lines of a paraglider are thinner than parachute lines (their thickness is about 1.5 mm, while the thickness of parachute lines is about 4 mm), however, thanks to the use of modern materials (Kevlar, Dynim, Vectran, etc.) it is able to withstand the load 120-150 kg.
Pilot weight and flight weight are synonymous. In order to calculate the flight weight, the weight of the equipment that the paraglider plans to take with him (helmet, flying boots, overalls, harness with a reserve parachute, various devices, etc. - only about 10 kg) should be added to the pilot's body mass. taking into account the weight of the paraglider wing (5-7 kg). In total, this "increase" is about 15-17 kg, although there are cases of weight changes in the direction of increasing - for example, if the pilot is going to capture a video camera, first aid kit, food, water, etc.
The less the pilot's weight, the better his paraglider will fly. If there is a deviation from the parameters of the flight weight specified by the manufacturer for a particular paraglider, the device will not behave in the best way in the air. When the flying weight is less (the canopy is underloaded), the paraglider will not be able to move at the required speed and fly against the wind, it will be difficult to keep its shape ("play" or "walk"), as a result of which the maneuverability and the ability to exit the folds deteriorate. Also, aerodynamic performance decreases - an underloaded vehicle in terms of characteristics and behavior will very much resemble a parachute. If the flying weight is too high (the canopy is overloaded), the paraglider speed exceeds the design speed, as a result of which the wing maneuvers become excessively sharp, the transition from one movement to another becomes more difficult.
The more complex the design of the paraglider, the greater the range of weight it is able to lift without compromising its aerodynamic characteristics. This is not true. The "weight fork" (the difference between the minimum and maximum flight weight) is the less, the higher the class of the glider. If for training aircraft it is about 30 kg, then for sports aircraft it does not exceed 3-5 kg.
If the wing of the paraglider is folded, the pilot will inevitably fall to the ground. Firstly, each paraglider pilot has a reserve parachute that can be opened if needed. Secondly, modern paragliders, for whatever reason, formed in the air, can be expanded again and continue the interrupted flight. However, such actions require skill and, most importantly, time. If the pilot is at a low altitude while changing the aircraft configuration, it is best to use the reserve parachute.
The conversation of experienced paragliders is sometimes completely incomprehensible to a beginner. As in any kind of activity, in paragliding there are many terms and jargon words, the sound of which is familiar to everyone, but the meaning is clear only to experienced pilots. For example, an ascending stream, in which an athlete does not have to make any efforts to ascend, is called an "lift", athermal weather - "milk", a backpack, in which you can quickly pack a paraglider without folding it - a "donut". Certain types of aircraft behavior in the air have their own names: "butterfly" - the center of the paraglider goes back, the lateral parts (so-called "ears") move forward; "tie" - a part of the canopy gets entangled in the line system; "twist" - twisting of lines, etc. If the flight modes mentioned above (which pose a considerable danger to the health and life of the pilot) follow each other and lead to a loss of altitude, paragliders say: "disco".
Using the radio transmitter, the instructor can tell the novice paraglider how to act in a given situation. Radio communication is really used in training, but not in order to direct the actions of the pilot from the ground (after all, in the event of an emergency situation, the pilot, especially at a low altitude, simply will not have time to take advantage of the instructor's advice). If the instructor doubts that the student does not have enough knowledge and skills to carry out a training flight with a certain task, he simply simplifies the flight task, and the pilot will act independently in a given situation. However, in some cases, radio communication is quite useful. For example, a more experienced and observant instructor can inform a novice paraglider about the location of the thermal flow, using which the athlete can gain altitude and increase the time spent in the air.
The principles of movement of a group of aircraft in the air are similar to the rules of the road. In some cases, this is true. For example, when they meet, the pilots fly around each other on the left, if the courses intersect, the rule is "interference from the right" (ie, a paraglider who sees another athlete to his right moving along a perpendicular course must turn left to avoid a possible collision). But there are exceptions to some of the rules. For example, if the pilots meet on a slope, a paraglider who is farther from the slope than his opponent gives way. However, if a strong crosswind is blowing, the pilots, on the contrary, try to "snuggle" to the slope and the order of divergence is determined by mutual agreement.
Gliders and hang gliders should give way to paragliders. According to the priority system in force in aviation, aircraft equipped with motors must give way to non-motorized ones. Non-motorized ones are divided into groups depending on maneuverability and speed - the fastest and most mobile ones give way to slow-moving and low-maneuverable ones. In accordance with this rule, gliders and hang gliders really give way to a paraglider, but only if the wing is not equipped with a motor. A motorized paraglider becomes a type of aircraft equipped with motors, and, therefore, will have to give way not only to balloons (as all paragliders do without exception), but also to any non-motorized aircraft. If two aircraft of the same class meet, the one who flies higher should give way, since having a good view, he can better assess the situation, and it is easier for him to maneuver.
Experienced glider pilots try to make way for novice pilots. It really is. However, one should not think that the title of "teapot" automatically leads to the fact that all other aircraft will be removed from the pilot's path overnight. Indeed, in the sky, it is quite possible to meet with an equally inexperienced paraglider, and this may well lead to a collision.
You can enter the thermal flow in any way convenient for the pilot. Yes, if the pilot enters the stream first. If a group of hang gliders is already "processing" the thermal, moving in a certain direction, the pilot joining it should choose a spiral trajectory along which he can rotate in the same direction. Otherwise, the whole group will have to rebuild (according to the rules, paragliders who are in the stream at a higher level and, accordingly, have a greater view, height and room for maneuver, must "adjust" to the pilots below). Following this rule minimizes the possibility of collisions between vehicles that are on a collision course.
In order to best gain altitude in the thermal, you need to narrow the ascent spiral as much as possible. This technique can be used at a time when the readings of the variometer indicate that you are at the peak of the rise. It should be remembered that both insufficient and too strong narrowing of the spiral leads to undesirable consequences: in the first case, the pilot uses the flow force only partially, in the second, instead of continuing the ascent, he will descend in a deep spiral, and with a very large speed. Therefore, the narrowing of the spiral must be stopped at the moment when the ascent rate begins to fall. Note that the above technique is only used to stay in the center of one stream. If the pilot, according to some signs (a drop in the average level of ascent, a feeling of an increase in the upward flow on one side, etc.), feels that a new nucleus is forming next to him, he should not narrow, but expand the spiral, which will subsequently need to be narrowed again using the power of the new thermal center.
A tornado can be used to climb. Tornadoes (the most durable ones are sandy ones, sometimes having a diameter of up to 1 km, water or flat tornadoes "live" less) are best used as an indicator of the presence of thermals. It is necessary to gain height in these streams with the utmost care, since sometimes there is quite strong turbulence inside the tornado. Experienced pilots advise to enter the tornado at an altitude of at least 300 meters (and always above the upper limit of the visible part of the tornado) and build a flight path against the rotation of the air flow.
Paragliders on the landing rarely observe the rules of courtesy: they listen inattentively to the interlocutor, cut off the conversation in mid-sentence, etc. Such features of behavior on the landing site are not dictated by the low level of education of the pilots, and may seem impolite only to people who are not familiar with the peculiarities of paragliding. It should be noted that the main factor in a successful flight is constant observation of the weather. That is why the athlete devotes the first half hour to the aforementioned occupation, and only after that he greets those present. Conducting a conversation with someone, the paraglider continues to closely monitor the weather conditions, and if he notices the appearance of a strong thermal flow, he will try to use this factor, starting the flight as quickly as possible, even if for this he will have to interrupt communication with someone from his acquaintances. encountered on the airfield.
Passively waiting in the dynamic flow over the top of the hill is the best tactic, because a thermal over this place will definitely appear. Passive search tactics, i.e. Waiting for a flow over the place of the most probable appearance of a thermal (the so-called trigger - a plowed field, the top of a hill, etc.) is justified only if the thermal activity is weak, and if the updrafts are formed, they do not break away from the triggers. In other cases, the most correct behavior is to search for thermals and then climb using the found updraft.
Having tracked the descent of the thermal flow, the paraglider must immediately start. Experienced athletes advise to first "probe" the thermal, carefully observing the behavior of the canopy. If the wing, getting into the stream, rushes forward and upward, dragging the pilot along, you can safely start. If the paraglider falls back and in order to keep it in the stream, the pilot has to make considerable efforts, or a stable wind is blowing, it is better to postpone the start (since the aforementioned signs indicate that the descending air that accompanies the thermals has entered the flow).
The more often you start, the more likely you are to get into a good thermal flow. It should be noted that the frequency of flow descent depends on the time of day and weather, and the intervals between them can vary from 5 to 20 minutes (in some cases, for example, when the weather is very warm, the flows appear once a day, most often in the afternoon). Precisely in order to identify how often thermals appear, the paraglider, upon arrival at the airfield, devotes half an hour to observing the weather, and only then determines the frequency of starts, adjusting to the "schedule" of the flow.
The use of a parachute in the event of an emergency situation will ensure a soft landing. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The descent speed in this case is about 5-7 m / s, which suggests a rather hard landing. However, in some cases (collision with another aircraft, wing collapse, hitting a hard mode less than 100 m above the ground, etc.), using a spare wheel is the only way out.
Having collided with another aircraft in the air, you need to apply a spare wheel as soon as possible. But in some cases, it is better not to open the reserve parachute - for example, if the pilot gets entangled in the paraglider of another athlete who has already used the reserve. In such a situation, one should descend with one parachute (although the speed of approach to the ground will be somewhat higher). The fact is that two reserve parachutes open at the same time can get confused, which is completely undesirable and even dangerous for both pilots.
The reserve parachute must sometimes be re-stowed. To ensure maximum safety during an emergency, the spare tire should be re-fitted before each flight, and in winter this should be done in a room with a low air temperature. The fact is that a sharp temperature drop can cause condensation to appear on the reserve parachute, and during the flight, the released liquid freezes, as a result of which it is simply impossible to use the spare tire for its intended purpose.
The breakage of the control lines leads to the fact that the pilot completely loses control over the flight of the glider. The wing can be controlled by acting on the rear row lines.
Tangled lines can become an insurmountable obstacle to continuing the flight. In some cases, when a foreign body (most often - branches, twigs or thorns) entangled in the lines does not lead to wing deformation, the flight can be continued. If the aerodynamics of the paraglider has changed (for example, the wing rolls or turns heavily, and behaves atypically in dangerous modes), you can try to pull the lines to unravel them. If that doesn't help, go in for the landing.
It is best to land on level clearings, away from trees. Yes, if the landing takes place in the steppe or forest-steppe. But in the case of flying over marshy terrain, you should choose areas for landing where the vegetation is the thickest and highest. Indeed, in a swamp, the most swampy places look like "meadows" covered with bright green undersized grass.
Landing on a tree or power line is life-threatening. Landings on trees are often the least traumatic, especially in cases of full collapse of the canopy and failure of the reserve parachute. But power lines are best avoided. If it is impossible to evade landing on power lines, you need to land on the extreme wire, trying not to touch the rest.
The behavior of a paraglider who reaches the ground can alert observers of a failed landing. Indeed, the pilots who are in the air or on the mountain and watching the landing of one of the athletes will rush to help if the pilot lies motionless or is in no hurry to fold the canopy.
The slower the paraglider flies, the safer the flight. When flying at minimum speed, there is a danger of "stalling", which leads to a sharp drop in the lift of the wing. However, you should not give preference to the highest possible speeds (on modern paragliders you can accelerate to a speed of 55 km / h), since in this case the soft wing may lose its shape or even fold due to atmospheric turbulence. Therefore, the best speed is considered to be at which both acceleration and deceleration of flight are possible. This rate is usually not less than 10% and not more than 20% of the maximum possible. It is in this mode that not only beginners fly, but also professional athletes most often.
When paragliding, you can make sharp and quick turns.This aircraft really has a rather high level of mobility, but novice athletes should remember that a paraglider will need a certain time to enter a turn - 1-2 seconds. Inexperienced paragliders do not take this into account, they pull the toggles (control sticks of the aircraft) in different directions, as a result of which the wing gets lost from the trajectory of movement, loses stability and height. If you pull the toggle too hard and too sharply, the wing speed can increase excessively (up to 100 km / h), the overload (up to 3 G) and the descent speed (up to 18 m / s) can increase - the so-called deep spiral mode, which can only be controlled experienced pilots. For beginners, the flight in the mentioned mode can end very badly.
Oscillation of the paraglider during flight is not safe. And it's not just that they are accompanied by strong shaking and loss of height. The most dangerous thing is approaching the wing position, which can lead to stall (if the angle of attack is too large) or folding (angle of attack is too small). However, it should be remembered that the oscillation of a paraglider in the air is a common thing, it can be caused by even a slight wind or, say, a clumsy approach to landing. This is provided by the designers during the design of the wing - all paragliders (especially training ones) have a considerable margin of stability. Distinguish stability by roll, course and pitch, thanks to it, the apparatus, the position of which for some reason changes, returns to the flight mode at a given course after 1-2 oscillations.
Trying to reduce the amplitude of oscillations, you need to carefully monitor the dome in order to exert the correct influence on it in accordance with the situation that has developed at one time or another. It is possible to accelerate the damping (damping) of vibrations by implementing correct wing control. However, firstly, it is best for beginners to simply not take any action at all, as inept piloting they can only aggravate the situation. Inexperienced athletes, in the event of hesitation, can only hope for the ability of the paraglider to self-level. Secondly, shifting all his attention to the wing, the pilot is not able to keep track of other, equally important things, for example, is the flight altitude sufficient, are there other paragliders nearby, etc., which is fraught with the danger of a collision or unexpected (and hence, a rather hard and possibly traumatic) landing. Experienced athletes say that you don't need to constantly look at the canopy to successfully dampen vibrations. It is much more important to feel the behavior of the wing in the air, trying to maintain a constant load of the paraglider by manipulating the toggles (if some part of the wing is less loaded, it is likely that it will collapse).
If the tips ("ears") of the paraglider fold for some reason, the horizontal speed of the wing will increase, since its area will decrease. Yes, if we are talking about some models of sport paragliders. But training wings with folded "ears" will fly not faster, but slower.
The wind blowing from behind can tip the glider. No, the rollover of the aircraft can cause turbulence, i.e. unexpected gusts and eddies of the wind. For flights, both a tailwind, a headwind, and even a side wind are suitable. However, it should be remembered that in a crosswind, the glider will drift to the side, and the pilot will have to make a lot of effort to stay on course. Headwind is excellent for landing and takeoff, as the wing speed relative to the ground in this direction of air flow is minimal. A tailwind contributes to the maximum increase in speed, therefore, flying with the wind is best at high altitudes.
Paragliders fly best in a stable atmosphere. Stable wind (even flow, best of all not very strong - about 4-8 km / h, blowing at a constant speed) is really suitable for paragliding. But the stability of the atmosphere does not at all contribute to a long stay in the sky of non-powered aircraft, although it is ideal for traveling on motorized hang gliders or paragliders. It should be mentioned that stable is air that does not move in a vertical plane. It is this state of the atmosphere that does not contribute to the occurrence of thermal currents necessary for long paragliding flights. External indicators of atmospheric stability are the sky covered with clouds, poor visibility, fog and wind blowing at a constant speed. In an unstable atmosphere, on the contrary, there is an active movement of air masses up and down, which leads to the formation of thermals. Air instability is easily guessed by some external signs: gusty wind, staggered cumulus clouds, dusty tornadoes, good visibility.
Flying in a thunderstorm is very dangerous. Thunderclouds (at first looking like harmless cumulus clouds) have the property of "sucking" aircraft that come across in their path, and lift them up at a tremendous speed (about 160 km / h). Such a flight is very difficult to control due to the strongest turbulence that can lead to the complete destruction of the paraglider structure. In addition, quickly reaching high altitudes, the pilot will suffer from cold and lack of oxygen. Therefore, flights in the immediate vicinity of thunderclouds should be avoided if possible, since close acquaintance with them often leads to death.
Devices must be protected from moisture and sunlight. Many factors have a negative impact on various types of devices (variometer - measuring altitude, anemometer - providing data on air temperature and wind speed, GPS navigator, etc.) - both the above-mentioned sun rays (especially direct), dust, and snow , and dampness. But the greatest harm can be caused by sea water, therefore, if, nevertheless, it was not possible to avoid splashdown, the devices should be rinsed with fresh water as soon as possible and treated with a special compound that neutralizes the effect of salt water.
The main enemy of the paraglider is ultraviolet radiation. Yes, this is so - it is from exposure to sunlight that the fabric loses not only color, but also strength. However, dampness can do no less harm to the wing. The fact is that grass dust accumulates inside the glider after several flights, which in combination with moisture becomes an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. The acid they produce can contribute to tissue destruction. At times, the wing can be damaged by certain insects, such as grasshoppers. Getting inside the paraglider and not being able to get out, the little prisoners simply gnaw through the fabric, leaving small holes in it. To protect the wing and lines (losing strength in the event of landing, for example, on sharp stones or a plateau teeming with ice fragments) from damage, it is imperative to dry the glider after flights and repair it (cuts that do not exceed 7 cm in length can be sealed with a special cloth, and it is better from the inside; in other cases, the gaps will have to be sewn up).
New paragliders are quite expensive, so the most economical option is to buy a used one. Indeed, used paragliders are cheaper than new ones. However, when purchasing such an aircraft, you need to pay attention to some features. Firstly, it is not worth buying very old models, and not only because the aircraft become obsolete very quickly, but also because the wing (with careful operation) lasts no more than 4 years. Secondly, it is imperative (with the owner's permission) to check the strength of the wing fabric, because even after flying 200-300 hours, the paraglider loses almost half of its strength. To find out how badly the material of which the paraglider is made is damaged by ultraviolet light, it is quite simple: pull the fabric, holding it between the thumbs and forefingers of both hands (fingers should touch) and turn the hands. If the fabric is torn from this tension, you should refuse to purchase. In addition, pay attention to the condition of the lines (excessive stretching ability signals that their core is damaged, while the integral structure looks only due to the outer shell). Third, check the level of air tightness (experienced pilots say that it is quite easy to determine - just "kiss" a small area of fabric, trying to draw air through it). Also try to find out why the former owner is selling the wing, and make a purchase only if the person wants to get a newer model, because he has "outgrown" the old one, or simply wants to have the most modern paraglider. And most importantly, be sure to make a test flight, and only after evaluating the behavior of the aircraft in the air, make your final choice.
When buying your own aircraft, you should give preference to the model of the highest class - after all, the paraglider's abilities improve over time, this must be taken into account. This advice is suitable only for those pilots who have seriously decided to devote their lives to sports, and have set their main goal to achieve record results in paragliding. In other cases, completing training, you need to realistically assess your capabilities and aspirations. A paraglider, the features of which exceed your capabilities and skills, will bring a minimum of pleasure with a considerable amount of worries and stresses arising during the development of a "obstinate" aircraft. If your goal is flying for your own pleasure, you should opt for a Standard class paraglider, if you have some flying experience (at least 20 hours) and are very ambitious - choose Performance. Competition class paragliders are usually preferred by experienced athletes who fly very regularly and for more than one year.