While driving home from getting the sound on my computer restored today, I saw this sight which has become an unusual one. Now paragliders are more often seen, but not many of those either. At one stage there were a lot of them, because given the right wind conditions the lift provided by our hill is ideal.
In fact, I watched this flier cruise up and down the coast for ages, not losing any height. At one stage a couple of yellow-billed kites joined him, whether to keep him company or to dispute territory is not known.
I have always facied trying paragliding or hangliding. The hanglider seems to me more bird-like, somehow, and I think I prefer them. There are pros and cons for both, though. The pg is definitely more portable, and much easier to land in a tiny space. They can ‘fold’ in turbulent conditions, however, and are not as sturdy as the hg which can resist more Gs than a jet aircraft. The pg can cruise below ridge level where a hg would battle, but the hg is faster, in general. The configuration plus the modern supine position taken by the pilot (as in the picture) makes that a given.
The slanted-seat of the pg pilot is more comfortable still, and the view all round is better with the ‘wing’ so far above. Their cross-country record has been quite impressive, although I still think the superior speed of the hg makes it easier to ‘hop’ thermals in them.
If you had the money, courage, ability and opportunity to take up one or the other, which would you choose?
© Colonialist November 2013 (WordPress)