Just what a typical paragliding pilot? The short answer is & # 39; there is none & # 39;. The slightly longer answer might be: “ Well, many of them seem to be boys in their 30s or 40s. & # 39; & # 39 ;. Surprised? Isn't paragliding one of those scary, risky and exaggerated activities in vogue with the young and daring? No, it really is not, although there is some danger potential as in any form of flight.
So don't expect to go to a paragliding place and find pilots that fit some kind of extreme sports stereotype. Being more of an aviation sport, and relatively cheap and easy to practice, paragliding attracts a wide variety of participants. You could also learn to paraglide and surprise your friends!
Europe is where it all began, and it is there that you are most likely to discover some interesting extremes, umm, in sports. In that corner of the world, children's camps sometimes include paragliding as an activity! At the other end of the spectrum, there are many older pilots. That is, those who have already passed the retirement age! What better way to keep life interesting.
Heck, I've even seen a video clip of a dog go for a walk, hooked in a special dog harness next to the pilot. I wonder how much flight time a German shepherd needs to log in before going alone. Hey, don't laugh, paragliding is almost as easy!
Pilots from many angles
Just for fun, let's quickly review some possible categories for paragliding pilots.
Years It is one, definitely. I have already mentioned how they can fly from very small to very old. Weight is another one. Small men or ladies of thin complexion who fly their lower-range XXS wings. It seems that the size of a shirt does not … Even substantial people who are too much for nothing more than a tandem paraglider. Yes, a wing really built for two. What else? nationality Of course, since this is a global sport. Although he was born in Europe and is the most popular there, all the continents of the planet have paragliding fans.
What happens disability ? Probably not! Oh yes, some companies are actively helping people in a wheelchair in the air. All that is needed is a pair of work arms, after all, to use the paragliding brake levers. Maybe just one more category, gender It's obvious. As usual in flying sports, there are many more men than women in paragliding despite the fact that the genre does not offer any special benefits for flying. In any case, women are quicker to choose the careful and precise style of using the controls.
That almost covers the main angles of the variety found in paragliding pilots. Now for some real examples, some details.
Particularly in Europe, you can observe people in a wide range of age groups that fly paragliding. Even in 1994 there were some young pilots. In that year, a 14-year-old boy in Bulgaria became his youngest paraglider pilot. He had 29 flights to his credit at that tender age.
In Israel, the paraglider has some history, beginning with the pioneering efforts of Yair Shachar's Zoom Club. In turn, he taught a certain Baruch Gurwitz to fly at the age of 70! In fact, in 1998 Baruch obtained an entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest paragliding pilot in the world. He was 77 years old. However, that record has not lasted! Since then, a short film has been made about the exploits of a 79-year-old Polish pilot. Miroslaw Dembinski produced the film, winning an award at the Banff Mountain Film Festival.
Being a pilot is one thing, but, of course, age is an even smaller barrier when you're just a passenger! I found a paragliding school that registered the names of two exceptional passengers. Hannes Taugwalder, 95, for one, and also a certain Zoe Schmid, a 2½ lady!
Just to give you an idea of the weight range available for paragliding pilots, here are a couple of real paragliding designs to illustrate. First, the Nova Rookie wing is available in 5 different sizes. The smallest is the XXS. Extra extra small. Just for a featherweight pilot, probably a woman, weighing 55 kilograms (approximately 120 pounds) ready to fly. That's right, that weight includes harness, helmet and any other equipment you can use.
At the other end of the scale, really large pilots can use a tandem paraglider that is normally used to carry passengers. So, in theory, Big Bertha or Gigantic Joe, which weighs 200 kilograms (about 440 pounds), could put 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of flight equipment and float smoothly in the Bio-Air Bi-Bio 42. This It is a typical tandem paraglider.
Now for a little trivia. The greatest sports paraglider of all time was a unique design with a wingspan of 20 meters (66 feet), used to film a car commercial! This very special reinforced wing had to transport a whopping 600 kilograms (more than 1300 pounds), after being thrown from a Lama heavy-loaded helicopter. A true Audi A6 Allroad vehicle was filmed floating in the sky under this paraglider, against a spectacular mountain landscape.
These days, it is difficult to think of a continent that has no paragliding activity. There are excellent schools and flight locations throughout the world. Also, I know that my paragliding website attracts visitors from more than 60 countries.
Paragliding is particularly known and visible as a sport in England, France, Germany and South Korea. Of course there are others, but these 4 have highlighted me so far.
Organized paragliding for the disabled exists in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, the United States and probably also in some other countries. Not surprisingly, tandem paragliders are widely used in this area.
The English seem to have done a very good job promoting paragliding for the disabled. Just look at the activities of Airways Airports, they are not hard to find! This company sometimes uses specially modified paragliding & # 39; cars & # 39; to give access to fly to a wide range of people with disabilities.
Another notable company is Handiconcept, which offers a variety of activities for the disabled, including paragliding. They operate from a Swiss alpine resort and serve the physically and mentally disabled.
By moving to the United States, an innovative company called Team Thor has established itself as a public charity. They especially serve the physically disabled and focus on tandem paragliding coastal flights. Not just any old coastal flight, but the very impressive and well-known crest flight experience of Torrey Pines, on the Pacific coast.
The paraglider does not offer barriers for female participants. The minor problem of very light weight, in some cases, is easily solved by wearing ballast. Some of the largest paragliding schools even offer paragliding courses specifically for women. An example is the peak-to-peak paraglider that operates from Boulder, Colorado in the US. UU.
Particularly in Europe, a few select women have reached the highest standards in the sport by becoming active competition drivers. Such is the participation rate there, there are even events only for women in the CIVL sports calendar. CIVL is an international organization that governs aspects of paragliding and hang gliding, such as the FAI in general aviation.
Now for a quick mention of 2 notable women in paragliding. First, Azar Mazru & # 39; ii Farahani of Iran is the director of the Women's Air Sports Federation of Tehran. Professional paragliding instructor, glides through the air with greater ease with traditional Islamic dress. That is different.
Second, one of the best female drivers in the United Kingdom is Nicky Moss. It was good enough to win the women's event of the British Open Paragliding Championship when it was held in Àger, Spain. Not only that, Nicky also has a British paragliding record.
You may never have the opportunity to become a professional pilot. But the paraglider, even if only as a passenger, is surely within your reach!