A paraglider is an aircraft with no rigid structure. Its beauty is in its convenience and ease of flight. It can be carried in a backpack, set-up in moments and is capable of foot launching from a hillside and achieving soaring flight.
Paragliders fly because they glide through the air. Gravity means they are always gliding down. In perfectly still air the paraglider will descend at about 200 feet per minute. More importantly, they also glide forward through the air at about six feet for every foot of vertical drop (approx 6:1 glide ratio).
The only way to stay aloft or ascend in a paraglider is to soar in air that is rising (thermal or ridge lift) faster than the paraglider is sinking, or to attach a paramotor to the glider.
This remarkable new form of flight allows the pilot to carry in their trunk, a portable aircraft, capable of launching from flat ground, even when there is no wind blowing at all! In a powered paraglider, the motor pushes the pilot forward, raising the angle of attack of the wing relative to the ground, resulting in a gentle climb. When the engine stops pushing us, we simply glide down and land.
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