Have you ever sat in the seat of the paraglider pilot? If you haven’t, it is very likely that you think a paraglider is simply a harness attached to a small parachute. Nevertheless, if you look them a bit closer, you will find out that these paragliders are much more complex than what they seem. This is the reason why today at Overfly Tenerife we are going to talk about the different parts of a paraglider.
So, before you consider the option of learning to paraglide or going up in the air as a part of a tandem paragliding with us in Costa Adeje — at the south of Tenerife — you should take a moment to read this post and get to know which are the parts of a paraglider and how they work together.
Furthermore, if you are interested in paragliding beyond the parts of a paraglider, you can also take a look at our blog and read many posts related to this topic, such as:
- Paragliding History ➞ Let’s take a look over the origins of this aerial sport
- Thermalling techniques: How to thermal your paraglider better
- What is acro paragliding? ➞ Everything you need to know about this sport!
Off we go!
Parts of a paraglider
The main parts of a paraglider are:
The Paraglider Wing or the Canopy
Whereas the wing of the paraglider — also known as the canopy — may look somehow like the idea we have of a parachute, their shapes are remarkably different. A normal parachute has a round shape and it is designed to capture the air, while the shape of a paragliding canopy is elliptical and it is carefully designed to allow the structure to stay floating in the air.
If we talk about the material of the canopies, we have to say that they are frequently made of extraordinarily durable and rip-resistant nylon. From the ground, it seems that there is only one single piece, but the canopy is actually made of two sheets of material that are separated by cells that inflate and trap the air.
This mechanism increases the paragliders ability to remain elevated. The front part of the wing is referred to as the leading edge, where the air enters the cells.
The Lines and the Risers
When you look carefully at a paraglider, you will have the chance to see that there are a lot of lines, even more than the lines that are necessary to simply connect the pilot to the wing. Indeed, there are numerous series of lines, which serve very important functions for the control of the glider. The approximately thirty (or even more) lines come together in clusters referred to as risers, on either side of the pilot.
The paraglider pilot uses the risers to control the speed of paragliding and the direction of the structure. The last series of lines is added to the trailing edge — in other words, the back part of the canopy. The paraglider pilot can slow the glider if desired by manipulating the trailing edge. There are other lines too added to either side of the wing, allowing the pilot to control the direction of the flight.
The Paragliding Harness
The risers mentioned previously are attached to the paragliding harness. Here is where the paraglider pilot and the tandem passengers — if any — are seated. In fact, these harnesses are often designed to be quite comfortable, although people normally think all the opposite. There are straps to keep the paraglider pilot safe and sound. In spite of that, the harness is a soft and auxiliary chair that makes this aerial sport even more enjoyable.
Other important parts of a paraglider — The Paragliding Safety Equipment
The wing, the risers, the lines, and the harness are not the only items that we need for a day of the best paragliding experience that Overfly Tenerife has to offer you. It is also quite important too that we have all of the safety equipment that we need to be 100% safe.
Some other parts of a paraglider are for instance the reserve parachute or the helmet. A reserve parachute is an item of paragliding equipment that every paraglider should use, with no excuse. Although it is highly unlikely that the wing collapses, it is not impossible. That could happen if the weather is really inadequate for paragliding. That is the reason why you must use a reserve parachute. It can bring a paraglider pilot safely to the ground.
And the last essential safety element that we are going to mention now is the paragliding helmet. You should be aware that it must be part of your paraglider and your paragliding equipment. It fulfills the function of protecting our head and face from any possible incident.
We hope that you have found this information about the different parts of a paraglider useful. If you need more information you can contact us and share your doubts or you can also take a look at our paragliding guide, where you will find many questions answered as “how safe is tandem paragliding?”, “what is paragliding?”, “how is paragliding take-off?”, “how much does tandem paragliding cost?” and so on!
At Overfly Tenerife, we want to fly with you — we want to be your wings.