Sport Paragliding. Art of Flying
People have always sought to conquer the sky and fly like birds. There are numerous proofs of this, which have already become history. From the moment the para glider was created, the dream of all mankind began to be realized. We could not ignore sport paragliding, which has long been an independent and extremely popular sport.
Sport paragliding appeared in the 40th of the past century on the territory of America thanks to the scientist Rogallo. It was this man who managed to create a soft wing that allowed a man to hang in the air for a short time. True, the world’s first para glider recognized scientist Newmark from the UK. He raved about long hovering through the use of a parachute. Based on the discoveries made by Rogallo, Newmark managed to get his way and start a great sport paragliding.
There is also a version that the founder of this extreme sport paragliding is David Berish, an engineer working in the space industry, the homeland is the United States of America. 1956 is considered to be the year of its foundation, when David made his first flight to Bell Air, taking off from the mountains of Ket Hills.
The introduction of sport paragliding into the sports world began only in 1968. It was then that the first competitions in the art of soaring in the air at the expense of the soft wing. They passed in Lake Placid (America). After that, such competitions began to have an annual character. And only in 1980, sport paragliding was declared an independent sport.
The para glider is not endowed with a motor, but it has a large wing of soft material. The wing consists of two shells, one of which houses air intakes. Lift occurs as a result of the fact that a counter-flow of air flows around the wing profile. This force is able to maintain flight speed at a certain level, and its vector can be directed forward or upward.
This is not a jump with a controlled parachute, but a real flight on the wing using the energy of the ascending air flow. To climb, pilots use ascending air currents: thermal (arising from the difference in air temperature and air masses rising from the heated ground) and dynamic (arising from the collision of the wind with an obstacle, most often a mountain). Also, for the initial climb and exit to the heat flow zone, a pull on the winch is used. Passive (using vehicle speed) and active (having their own engine) winches are used.
Most often, pilots start on the slopes of hills or mountains, strictly against the wind, use an upward dynamic flow (speaker) and, gaining sufficient height (up to 3500 m), go to the route using thermal fluxes (thermals). The speed of flight is influenced by the following factors: wing resistance, lines and the pilot himself. The height initially gained gradually decreases due to the effect of the resistance force. This is the essence of planning – the slow reduction of the height initially gained. It is very important in sport paragliding. A reasonable question may arise: why is the speed reduction slow? This process is influenced by ascending air currents. The total weight of the para glider is from 6 to 20 kg, it is placed in an average backpack when assembled, and the preparation for the flight takes only 5 minutes.
Depending on their nature, there are three types of planning:
- flying in dynamics requires air movement towards the mountain;
- the flight in thermals is carried out due to the movement of warm air upwards;
- mixed flights are made at high altitude near the slope.
Sport paragliding can safely be called the easiest way to make long flights. To practice sport paragliding you need to fulfill a few conditions:
- find a suitable elevation with the required height;
- how to run up;
- take a jump;
- fly, making simple manipulations with the wing and your body;
- learn to feel the flow of air.
Like any other sport, sport paragliding is impossible without a number of mandatory equipment and the fulfillment of certain conditions. To do the flights for sport paragliding you need to be prepared, and for this you will need:
- The flight apparatus can be selected from an impressive range of models, which are created according to the athlete’s experience and planning complexity.
- Sport paragliding devices are a means of communication, sensors for determining the speed of movement (variometer), height above sea level (altimeter), ambient temperature, wind strength and direction. All these devices can be combined in one compact and convenient device.
- To practice sport paragliding, you must have the desire and lack of health problems. There are no special requirements for an athlete: neither special skills, nor developed muscles — none of this is required.
- Uniform of the athlete must be warm. Even if the weather forecast promises a warm day with air temperatures like +20, it can be much cooler at altitude. It all depends on the chosen terrain and the height to which you decide to climb. There are special clothes for practicing paragliding, but the usual sports uniforms with the appropriate characteristics are also excellent. Shoes should have a thick sole that will provide cushioning during landing and protect your feet from injury. Clothing must provide adequate air exchange, but must be tight to provide protection for the body when it fails to land. Helmet let it be better, but then you never know what can happen.
It is also very important to know the difference between a para glider and a parachute. Outside a para glider, of course, looks like a wing-type parachute, but the parachute has a rectangular shape, and the para glider is elliptical. The para glider is much narrower, longer than the parachute, that is, it has a much greater elongation of the dome. The para glider has a smooth aerodynamically clean surface with a small number of thin lines, and the parachute consists of a small number of sections and therefore does not have such a smooth surface. Sport paragliding area is usually larger than the parachute area.
The parachute is designed for jumping from an airplane, slowing down the speed of falling and soft landing on the ground. The design of the para glider is not designed for the opening of free fall, therefore, lighter and more rigid materials are used, which provide it with cleaner aerodynamic forms. The para glider with its aerodynamic qualities is rather similar to a glider and hang-glider, and the start takes place from a mountain or a hill. The para glider really flies, but does not fall down. The speed of descent for modern para gliders is less than 1 m / s, and the para glider will fly 7-10 meters in a horizontal plane per meter of descent, that is, the aerodynamic quality is 7-10 units. In this case, the parachute has a quality of 2-4 units and a minimum speed of descent of at least 4 m / s. The para glider is a steam boat. This means that under favorable weather conditions (the presence of ascending flows), the pilot can stay in the air for hours, gain altitude, make route flights. Sport paragliding is the younger brother of gliding and hang gliding, therefore it is more appropriate to compare it with them.
Sport paragliding is constantly evolving. In this discipline competitions are held. There are restrictions on the classes, the difference is in the technical characteristics of the aircraft, the length of the wing and others. In addition to the division into classes, in sport paragliding there are still differences in the complexity of the route. In 2008, the maximum flight distance by a citizen of South Africa Neville Hewlett was made, the distance was almost 503 meters.
Designers pay great attention to the comfort of flight, handling para glider. Because of this, the aircraft themselves are changing, control is becoming more and more convenient, increasing flight speed and, of course, safety. In this case there are mandatory elements that can not be removed when designing a para glider. In no case can one neglect the life and health of pilots, so the lines must be compulsory on the aircraft. Serious requirements are imposed on the quality of manufacture of all components, many of them must withstand special overload. Each para glider has a spare parachute. This is important in sport paragliding.
Competitions usually take place on mountain tops and slopes; athletes, using air currents, get on the route and masterfully overcome it. In addition to sporting excitement, the participants of the competition still enjoy the beautiful landscapes that open up to the height of bird flight. There are several types of routes, there are disciplines where you need to perform the farthest flight in sport paragliding, to go a distance through several control points and others.
Athletes must have excellent health, be well-oriented in space, experience overload. Movement occurs in three dimensions, it is possible, using air flow, to rise up. Each sport paragliding must have the appropriate equipment. Due to the fact that the temperature is lower at the height, the obligatory attribute of the flight is warm comfortable clothing. In addition, elbow pads, knee pads and helmets protect the athlete from minor injuries that may be caused during the flight. Special ammunition also includes: barometer, navigation system, altimeter and satellite phone.
Training courses for athletes in the sport paragliding discipline are also gaining popularity. Many schools open the door for fans to surf the air, and professional sport paragliding will quickly and efficiently teach you how to fly a para glider. During training, practical exercises are required, during the flight in tandem with an instructor, all the delights of this sport are revealed. There is a tendency to organize such training courses in coastal zones. If a novice athlete will have to fall, then it is better to land in the water. Especially since the rescue team will be on duty at the landing site.
Sport paragliding is very democratic. Due to its relative ease of operation, low landing speed and good stability, the para glider can be accessible to almost everyone with moderate health. When training and flying, you will have to run, withstanding the resistance of the para glider, to have tolerable coordination of movements and a good reaction. In many countries, paragliding is allowed from the age of 16. There are children’s sport paragliding schools, even children’s championships are held. You can fly without parental consent from the age of 18. Upper age limit not defined. There are many flying pilots who are over 60. Sometimes you can meet people with disabilities in sport paragliding, even wheelchairs – if a person wants to fly, it is difficult to stop them.
Not many people know that sport paragliding is possible all year round. Winter is the best time to learn. In winter, the atmosphere is stable, the wind does not have thermal turbulence, which is dangerous for a novice pilot, and therefore in winter the most pleasant flights for the development of a para glider. But summer is the time for high thermal flights, route flights, competitions. They are impossible without warm sunshine.
Sport paragliding has its own varieties, such as speed riding. The main difference from ordinary sport paragliding, is the presence of a ski on athlete. Every day this kind of extreme sport attracts more and more fans of free movement and discovery. In addition, it is not necessary to participate in competitions, pass along routes, as in any sport, you can fight with yourself, set new records.
Sport paragliding can not be called a complex sport, in which there are complex rules, but still there is always a risk for an athlete. In order to protect yourself from dangerous situations and approach prepared flights, it is necessary to study the theoretical course in full, listen to every word of the instructor and not start flying earlier than necessary.
Sport paragliding is the simplest and most democratic, but still real aircraft. In addition, paragliding is an opportunity to see new countries, places, meet new people, break out of the plane of gray everyday life and break into the world of new bright impressions, the world of free flight! When you have such desire to be closer to the sky, sport paragliding is exactly for you.