Frequently Asked Questions
You may have a lot of questions about paragliding. Hopefully, we can answer some of them here. If not, please give us a call. We're happy to take the time in helping you make your decisions on whether or not to pursue this amazing sport.
Is paragliding the same as parasailing? NO! Parasailing uses a round parachute that is typically towed behind a boat, rarely more than a couple hundred feet high. The parasail (and you) are always tethered to the tow boat. Only the boat and tow operator have control over what happens to you and the chute while in the air. In paragliding, you are in control. You can fly as high or as far as your skills and the conditions will allow.
Is paragliding safe? With proper training and equipment, paragliding is the safest of all forms of personal aviation. But like anything, you are responsible for making it as safe, or as dangerous you want it to be. You are more likely to get injured riding a bike (well, crashing a bike) than while paragliding.
Do you jump off a cliff? NO! When launching a paraglider, with both feet firmly on the ground, the glider is brought up overhead. After checking the glider is fully inflated and ready to go, you will run down a slope until the glider takes flight and you leave the ground flying forward and away from the slope. Sometimes you will be airborne within a few steps, and others it may take a little more. It all depends on the amount of wind coming up the slope and launch technique. Unlike a parachute, a paraglider is fully inflated and acts as a wing before you ever leave the ground. This makes paragliding much safer.
Is paragliding an "extreme" sport? Well, that depends on your definition of "extreme". Paragliding is the safest form of personal aviation. The injury rate for paragliders per-capita is less than softball! Some schools like to sell you on the fact that paragliding is "extreme" and that accidents are inevitable. They want you to believe that by paragliding you will join some elite group of adventure athletes. At Paraglide Washington and most other reputable schools, we don't feel that way. The truth is, paragliding is a very docile sport, that puts you at one with the sky. It requires more mental ability than physical. We feel with proper training, proper equipment, and a good mental outlook, paragliding can be as safe as you want it to be. If after learning to paraglide, you want to call yourself "extreme", well, that's your call. Just remember, you're joining an elite group of eight year olds that just got their first skateboard at Wal-Mart.
What is powered paragliding or a paramotor? Powered paragliding (or PPG) is a great form of aviation. With the addition of gas powered paramotor, you can launch from level ground, fly as high as ten thousand feet or more, and land much the same as a regular paraglider. For the most part, the same equipment is used, with exception to the paramotor. PPG offers extended flights of several hours. You are able to fly low and slow or quite high. You can shut the motor off for thermalling, or a nice glide back down. PPG requires additional training and equipment that we here at Paraglide Washington are happy to provide.
Do I have to be in top physical condition? Paraglding is not a physically demanding sport. It just requires that you have some agility and the ability to run a little. If you choose to hike up the mountain with your equipment, well, that requires some good physical condition. If you don't have it, don't worry, you'll get it.
Can I just go and learn on my own? Not likely. Sure, you could get some used equipment, go to hill and do what you think you need. Chances are though, you would get too scared as soon as your feet leave the ground. By that time, it may be too late to wish you then knew what to do. Without proper training and the skills that come with it, you will never fly with confidence and likely quit after your first attempt at flight. Paragliding requires skills that can only be learned through a qualified instructor. Once you have them, paragliding is a rich and wonderful sport. Without them, you will just be a danger to yourself and others in the air.
How much does it cost? You can check on our Lessons page for course cost. Equipment can run anywhere from $1000 and up for used equipment and $3000 or more for new equipment.
|Copyright © 2008 Paraglide Washington - All Rights Reserved|