Introduction

Paragliding is the simplest form of flying and a natural way to get high 🙂

Paragliding is one of the most accessible flying sports. Floating from one thermal bubble to another, you can spend hours in the air and travel great distances with sufficient experience (distance record to date is 500 km !!!).

To “paraglide” you use a “screen” – a type of parachute specially developed for our sport. You sit comfortably in a harness and with the help of just two steering lines you decide where you are flying. Your entire equipment fits in one backpack: the only thing you need is a mountain to start from.

in case of lack of mountain you can start with the help of a winch; about 800 meters of cable that pulls you into the air like a glider. At the highest point you disconnect the cable and then the world is at your feet!

Air sports are known to many people as expensive, difficult and dangerous. But fortunately this does not apply to paragliding. Paragliding is very affordable , the basic skills can be learned quickly and the risks are manageable. You don’t have to buy equipment yourself – our Constance Adventures Training Academy has dozens of complete equipment that is used for both training and paragliding holidays in the mountains.

We cordially invite you to contact us to meet our enthusiastic instruction team or to hear from our students how they experienced the transition from ‘citizen’ to ‘pilot’.

Flying equipment

One of the charms of paragliding is that you can really fly with a minimum of material. Your entire outfit fits in a backpack. Full equipment can weigh around twenty kilos, but fortunately we have seen developments in recent years to reduce that weight. Sets that weigh less than ten kilos are now possible for the gram hunters.

Flight equipment consists of at least (weights for commonly used materials, lighter and heavier variants are possible):

  • screen (3.5 – 6.5 kg)
  • harness (2.5 – 6.0 kg)
  • spare parachute (1.5 – 2.5 kg)
  • helmet (<1 kg)
  • backpack (<1 kg)
  • altimeter and two-way radio (<1kg)

Optionally you can bring extra instruments (GPS), a cockpit and a camelbag with water.

Because it is always colder in the air than on the ground, sufficient (windproof) clothing is essential if you are going to make longer flights. Certainly in the mountains you have to be well prepared and take into account large temperature differences.

Good footwear (protecting your ankles) is definitely a must at the start of the training and gloves protect you from the cold and also against the lines that sometimes slip through your hands.

Paragliding Pilot

Because we use aircraft, the drivers are pilots. That may sound like it is very complicated, but the opposite is true: almost everyone can become a paraglider pilot. In our training you will find young (from 14 years) and older people, men and women, people with many different backgrounds. All our pilots have one thing in common though: the desire to enjoy flying with minimal means and enjoy sporting activities in nature without minimal fuss.

In France, where the parapente is ‘invented’, this sport can be practiced under a minimum of regulations: the so-called ‘vol libre’ (free flying). In Kenya it is bound by KCA policy, but the feeling of freedom is fantastic here too.

To be trained as a paragliding pilot, no special prior knowledge is required, after a short theoretical introduction you start the first day with practical exercises and sometimes you fly solo the second day of the training (if you want, of course). And yes, you read that right: on your own with full school equipment in the air! Talking about adventure ….

Don’t let the simplicity and speed deceive you: there is a long way to go before you can call yourself a pilot. Paragliding is counted among adventurous sports – that is a bit synonymous with dangerous sports. At Constance Adventures Training Academy, ‘safety’ and ‘responsibility’ are not empty words. Following the entire training course ensures that you always learn step by step and gain experience and learn to fly in such a way that the chance of accidents remains small.

Under the Tab Training you will find more information about our philosophy and our approach and possibilities.

Aspiring pilot

“live to fly!!”

Our motto is clear – we really love flying. The great thing about paragliding is that you can learn the basic skills very quickly: solo on the second course day is no exception! Although there is quite a bit of work to do before you can spread your wings as an independent pilot and can go out in the vicinity without your instructor, it is the rapid progress and practical approach in the early stages that make it fun and exciting from day one.

Rules of the air!!

  • Remember that gravity is not just a good idea, it’s the LAW. AND, it’s not subject to repeal!
  • Every takeoff is optional. Every landing is mandatory!
  • It’s always better to be down here wishing you were up there than to be up there wishing you were down here!
  • You start with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck!
  • Good judgement comes from experience. Unfortunately, the experience usually comes from bad judgement!
  • Learn from the mistakes of others. You won’t live long enough to make all of them yourself!
  • The air does not know you are an expert. Turbulence is Nature’s way of reminding us we are not birds!
  • You’re not a real pilot until you have to hitchhike back to the Landing Zone!
  • The site working really great today is always at least 100 kilometers away. You should have been here yesterday!
  •  Work is permanent, good flying weather is transitory. Work is for people who don’t fly paragliders!

Terms Used

Term Description
Pilot the driver of one of the aforementioned devices
passenger someone who flies along and is not involved in the control of one of the aforementioned devices
Tandem one of the above devices arranged so that two people can fly with it at the same time
Tandem Pilot a pilot authorized to take a passenger on one of the aforementioned aircraft
Parameter Motor a motor with propeller mounted on a frame with harness (usually gasoline, but electric is on the rise)

Frequently Asked Questions about Paragliding

Q. What is Paragliding?

A. Paragliding is a form of unpowered flying and uses the same principles as gliders (sailplanes) and hanggliders. The engine here is the gravity, which makes all of them descend (less than 1.5 m/s) through the air but also flying ahead (with more than 60 km/h). In still air a 1000 meter descent/gliding with a paraglider results in 9 km flight.

Q. So far so good but where is the Miracle?

A. The miracle is the SUN. Because of the energy it contributes to the earth’s surface and because of the wind’s energy (which is also result of the Sun’s activity). In the real atmosphere, during our gliding (and descending) flight, we meet surprisingly often and surprisingly many areas of lifting air. When this air is rising faster than the glider’s descending rate we can gain height of hundreds and even thousands of meters, this can extend the duration of our flight (6-7 hours and more) and aids cross-country flights of several hundred kilometers. Just like birds -without a drop of fuel and engine noise – only because of the free Sun energy!

Q. What is a Paraglider?

A. A Paraglider is actually the wing that gives us the freedom of unpowered flying. It consists of ram-air, aerofoil canopy and manylines (strong thin ropes/cords) and risers on which the pilot is suspended in his comfortable harness. The first paragliders were developed from parachutes and looked like a modern, steerable, skydiving canopy. Thus came the name paraglider (a gliding parachute), paragliding (gliding/flying with parachute). The shape, profile and characteristics of modern paragliders change and develop but will always use the same aerodynamics’ principles as the wing of any airplane.

Q. What are the main components of a Paraglider and how does it fly?

A. The canopy consists of two surfaces, connected with ribs, which divide it into 40-70 cells. There are openings at the leading edge, while the trailing edge of the canopy is closed. During the flight, part of the passing air fills and maintains a pressure in the cells (thus maintaining the wing-like shape of the canopy), while most of the air passes around both surfaces creating lift force. Because of this lift force we descend gently -not fall like a stone.

Q. How does a Paraglider launch?

A. Unlike the parachutes where you jump from an airplane or high object (rock, bridge, building – BASE jumping), you inflate and launch a paraglider whilst on your feet -after few steps running against the wind and down a hill (mountain) or towed by a winch or vehicle in flatlands.

Q. How do you control and land a paraglider?

A. Two “brake” lines/cords are controlling each half of the trailing edge of the wing. Pulling one of them deforms the same half of the trailing edge, creates drag and makes the wing turn the same direction. When landing we pull both brakes which reduces the speed of the paraglider, this converts most of its kinetic energy into potential (slower descent) and we land as soft as standing up from a chair.

Q. What is the difference between a Hangglider and a Paraglider?

A. A Hangglider has a rigid frame maintaining the shape of the wing, with the pilot usually flying in a prone position. The Paraglider canopy shape is maintained only by air pressure and the pilot is suspended in a sitting or supine position. Paragliders folds down fast (5 minutes) into a package the size of a large rucksack and can be carried easily (10-15 kg). Conversely, a Hangglider is bigger(3-6 meters), heavier (30-50 kg) and needs a vehicle with a roof rack for transportation to and from the flying site, as well as appreciable time to set-up and strip-down (20-30 minutes). Despite some advantages of hanggliders (faster air speed, better turbulence resistance, higher gliding ratio), it’s also somewhat easier to launch, land and learn to fly a Paraglider.

Q. Is Paragliding Safe?

A. With proper training and equipment, paragliding is one of the safest forms of personal flying. But like any other adventure sport, paragliding has its associated risks. In order to practice it safely everyone must strive at all times to minimize those risks. The most important pre-requisites to learning to fly safely are: pilot attitude, competent instruction, and safe equipment. If these conditions are met, the slow speeds and inherent stability of paragliders can provide a safe and easy way to fly.

Q. Can I teach myself Paragliding?

A. Paragliders are the most simple of aircraft. Most people can learn to launch, turn, and land in about an hour and a half of instruction. This is partly possible because we control the situation, assess the conditions and make safety decisions for our students. What cannot be taught in this period of time, however, are all the things necessary to make flight decisions on your own. In order to do this safely, it is necessary to have a comprehensive knowledge of aerodynamics, weather, equipment and safety procedures and most importantly anti-collision rules and air law. The pilot training program encompasses these things and is the fastest and safest possible way to learn Paragliding, while initial self teaching needs much more time and is the main reason for most accidents.

Q. How much does a Paraglider cost?

A. This varies between manufacturers, models, and mainly the countries it is sold. New paraglider cost from 1500 to 3000 €. Don’t forget that you also need a harness (4-600 €), a reserve parachute (4-600 €) and a helmet (100 €). Gloves, flying suit, good boots, sunglasses, variometer, GPS, radio, etc. are not obligatory but make flying more comfortable. The second hand equipment is much cheaper but an experienced pilot should choose it.

Q. How long does a Paraglider last?

A. General wear and tear (especially the latter) and deterioration from exposure to ultra-violet light, usually limits the useful lifetime of a canopy to somewhere in the region of 4-6 years. This obviously depends strongly on how much use and the exposure to UV light.