Paragliding Faqs


Get to know all about paragliding

instructor at fly nirvana.jpg

What is paragliding? What is a paraglider? How does it fly? How high and fast can it fly? Find out all this and more in our Paragliding FAQs section:


Paragliding is the closest humans can get to the feeling of flying like a bird. It is a fun, safe way to
experience flight in its simplest form. You simply lay out a wing on a hill side or mountain, inflate it
over your head like a kite, run a few steps and before you know it you’ve stepped off into the sky!

Once in the air, a pilot is able to maintain and even gain altitude using lifting air currents and
thermals. Landing a paraglider is extremely easy. A pilot simply steers it into the landing area, and
glides down for a very gentle touch down back on to earth.

Paragliding Faqs

A paraglider is a foot-launched, ram-air, airfoil canopy, flown and landed
with no other energy than the wind, gravity, and the pilot’s muscle
power. It gets lift from the wind and sun, providing a way to soar along
a ridge or to rise in the warm air of invisible thermal currents.

Paragliders are an advanced evolutionary aircraft that can go places and
do things unlike any other vehicle. The equipment is non-rigid fabric
construction. High-performance fabrics coupled with a growing
comprehension of our micro-metereology have permitted the development
of this incredible sport. The entire paragliding set-up (wing, harness,
helmet) wights less than 20 kilos and easily fits into a backpack.

Paragliding Faqs

Paragliders are aircrafts that fly by the same aerodynamic principles that
keep Boeings in the sky. However, unlike Boeings, paragliders are
delightfully slow aircraft, with a very small speed range.

You can inflate it in nil wind, stabilize it overhead with a touch of the
brakes, launch it at a steady trot, and yet it will also fly forward in quite
strong breeze. It turns with a gentle pull on a single handle, or will fly
straight with a little more than an occasional shift of your shoulders. It
is far easier to handle a paraglider in the air than on the ground.

Paragliders are restricted from flying above 18000 feet (oxygen is normally used above 10000 feet).
Paragliders have been launched from the highest mountains of the world, including Everest.

Paragliding Faqs

Paragliding is often confused with hang-gliding.

Paragliders are non-powered aircrafts weighing around 12 to 15 kilos,
and can be carried in a backpack to any flyable site. It is made of double
layered Ribstop Nylon cloth (reinforced and polyurethane coated to make
it non-porous) with no rigid parts whatsoever.

It is inflated and maintained purely by the movement of air across its
surface. The pilot sits below the wing, in a harness that is connected to
the wing by suspension lines made of kevlar or De enema. He steers by
pulling on one of the two lines known as brake lines.

Hang Gliders too are non-powered aircrafts weighing more and bulkier. They are fixed wing aircraft and take more time to rig-up and dismantle, and are physically more demanding while training.

Being bulky they cannot be carried by one person or put into the boot of a car, and need to be strapped onto the roof of a vehicle. The pilot lies in a prone position and manoeuvres with the help of a bar that he holds onto during the flight. Hang Gliders have more speed than Paragliders, and being rigid can consequently take off in stronder wind conditions.

Paragliding Faqs

If you are interested in the joys of a paragliding flight without having to
learn flying, you can try a tandem flight. The tandem flights use a wing
large enough to hold two people, a pilot and a passenger. Each person
has his own harness, which is attached together, with the passenger in
the front, and the pilot right behind. This is a great way to experience
what it is like to fly an un-powered aircraft.

Paragliding Faqs

A paraglider is similar to a modern skydiving canopy, but differs in
several important ways. The paraglider is foot-launched from the ground
either by running down a hill or being towed into the air. The construcion
is generally much lighter, as it doesn’t have to withstand the sudden
shock of opening at high velocities.

Paragliding Faqs

A paraglider is similar to a modern skydiving canopy, but differs in
several important ways. The paraglider is foot-launched from the ground
either by running down a hill or being towed into the air. The construcion
is generally much lighter, as it doesn’t have to withstand the sudden
shock of opening at high velocities.

Paragliding Faqs

A parasail is something that you ride at the beach. It’s a modified
parachute connected by a rope to a boat. The driver of the boat
determines where you go and where you land. Paragliders fly free. In a
parasail you are a passenger, while in a paraglider you are a pilot.

Quite simply it is the ability to fly freely like a bird. No machines. Other names for free flight are
foot-launched flight, and human aviation. Paragliding and Hang Gliding are two aviation sports that
come under this category of foot-launched free flight.


Just about anyone can learn paragliding. Training classes are not very strenuous, and it doesn’t take
any unusual strength or skill to learn to fly (the most physical part of training is walking up the hill
for another flight!). In fact, it requires about the same effort as you need to learn driving or cycling.
But the pleasure of flying is to be experienced to be believed. You don’t have to be super fit, but you
probably won’t enjoy it if you are really unfit. There will be a fair amount of walking uphill. Also,
ground-handling calls for some exertion especially in the early days.

Learning to fly is a gentle step-by-step process. Lessons begin on flat ground with your instructor
reassuringly by your side. You will be strapped into the equipment (harness, helmet and wing) and
taught how to inflate the wing and kit it overhead. As you get familiar with the controls and gain
confidence you will be moved up to gentle slopes for small skimming flights where you learn to
launch and land before attempting high flights. Once you master the basics you will be longing to go
in and attempt higher and longer flights.

Paragliding is a new form of sport aviation, and no claim is made or implied herein that all sources of
potential danger to the pilot have or can be identified. No one should participate in paragliding who
does not recognize and wish to personally assume the associated risks.

Paragliding is an outdoor sport in which you are trying to harmonize with the forces of nature. Like
any other adventure sport it is exciting because of that little element of risk, but no more than
climbing or swimming. Personal judgement and attitude are of fundamental importance. Gain pilot
attitude, obey instructions and use of safe equipment. If these conditions are met the slow speeds
and inherent stability of paragliders can provide a safe and exhilarating way to experience the
realization of mankind’s oldest and greatest dream – personal flight.

A question most people ask. The answer has to be ‘NO’. Floating gently under your canopy you feel
totally at ease, knowing that you have more or less complete control over where you are going. It is
a gentle adventure, once airborne the experience can be serene, quiet and peaceful. There is an
element of potential risk involved, but if you are prepared to learn paragliding properly, stick to the
rules, respect the elements of nature and understand your own limitations, the risk involved is very
small indeed.

No, you don’t have to jump off anything. Paragliders are usually launched by running off moderate
slopes with the glider inflated, until it lifts you off your feet. If the glider does not inflate properly
the take-off is aborted.

General athletic ability seems to help as it requires a little hiking, but once airborne, the physical
effort is minimal. Being overweight and out of shape will put you at a disadvantage while hiking or
executing a hard landing, but during airborne there is an efficiency of scale and being heavy could
be good.

In training you will start out just skimming the ground. As you progress and become more skilled
and confident, you wil probably want to go higher. Paragliders have reached over 18000 feet above
sea level.

There is no age limit, but it’s important to have the maturity to respect the hazards. Participants’ age ranges from students in their teens to seasoned pilots in their 70s. The bulk of the active pilots seem to be little under 30 through to a bit over 50.

How do I get started?

Although paragliding can be taught on flat topography if there are no hills with the help of towing
gear, to enjoy the full essence and continue the sport one has to head for the hills.

In India most of the training happens in the hills. Fly Nirvana is a paragliding school permanently
located in the Western Ghats (the western mountain range), 110 kms out of Mumbai city and 45 kms
from Pune, running Paragliding courses, offering paragliding joyrides and organizing paragliding and
other adventure holidays on a full-time basis, from their base at Native Place – an eco-friendly
guesthouse in Kamshet.

When you sign-up for a course with Nirvana Adventures, we provide you with a paraglider that is
suitable for your weight range and skill level, a harness, helmet and radios during the lessons. No
special clothing is required, although we do suggest that you wear full-length pants and shirts as
well as comfortable running shoes with ankle support. We recommend you buy your own gear once
you are well entrenched in the CP course.

The best way to start is with our Elementary Pilot Course (EP), designed to give you a taste of real
flying. Under radio supervision, you will fly solo from the training hill and progress to higher flights,
all in a few days a the basic techniques of paragliding – launching, turning, landing are fairly easy
to learn. If after your Beginner flights you want to continue with paragliding, the next step is to enrol
in our Club Pilot Course (CP), which will teach you different launch styles, flying techniques, site
assessment, weather, safety procedures, etc., which will enable you to fly without direct instructor

If it is a one-off solo flying experience that you are looking for, then our 3-Day Intro Course is what
you need.

Check Paragliding Courses for more details on our courses.

Check Why Choose Nirvana for clarity on our course offerings and our credentials.

Although you begin with low-level flights by day 2 of your paragliding course, to acquire the basic
skills necessary to fly safely on your own without instructor supervision you need time and practice.
If you are looking at taking up paragliding as a sport, plan 10 course days to complete the 5-day
Elementary Pilot Course (EP), and the 5-day Club Pilot Course (CP), as well as a few more days to
complete the tasks and number of flights to achieve each rating. In this way you will complete the
mandated amount of ground-school time, flights, and flying days within a course program that is
geared at making safe, confident and knowledgeable pilots.

In training you will start out just skimming the ground. As you progress and become more skilled and
confident you will learn how to go higher and stay up for longer durations.

Once you complete the Club Pilot Course, you are eligible to join the Nirvana Flying Club. Our team of
instructors and senior pilots will help you make the transition from school to flying on your own and
taking your own decisions.

We will help you continue with paragliding by offering you subsidized rates on glider rental, flight
supervision, as well as accommodation at Native Place – our guesthouse by the lake.

We give you advice and help you purchase a wing suited to your need. Our website and periodic
newsletters will keep you informed about the weather, who is visiting, interesting developments in
the sport and flying trips within the country and overseas.

Nirvana Adventures has created a community atmosphere and a sense of camaraderie among our
students and pilots. You will find that we are always around and willing to lend a helping hand or go
flying with you. We fly as a group almost every weekend, and take former students on trips to new
flying sites.

Across the world, Paragliding is regulated by associations of pilots, schools and clubs that have
taken active part in development of the standards in areas such as safety, training procedure and
practice, equipment certification and testing, governing of sites, and pilot ratings. Licenses are
issued by the relevant association through local clubs and insurance can only be procured if one has
a valid license. In India, we do not yet have a regulatory body and licenses are not needed.

We at Nirvana Adventures follow a training pattern that is compatible with international systems. We
have a system in place to facilitate our students (Indian and foreign) to get their memberships and
licenses when they choose to fly abroad / want to pursue the sport back in their home country.

Nirvana Adventures follows the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association’s (BHPA) training
pattern and rating system, which is a comprehensive, tried-and-tested paragliding training program,
designed to teach the necessary flying skills in a logical, progressive way, together with imparting
the essential knowledge and skills which you need to continue flying safely.

How to go about buying paragliding equipment?

State-of-the-art gear would cost around 1.50 lakh Indian Rupees – This is for brand new paraglider
and harness. One also requires a reserve parachute, a good helmet, ankle-length boots, and gloves.

In addition, if you are investing in your own paragliding gear, you would like to own a variometer
(an instrument that gives you the altitude, rate of sink/lift), a two-way radio, and later a GPS device
when you are ready to leave the ridge and attempt cross-country flights.

Nirvana Adventures is a dealer for several quality paragliding equipment manufacturers, and are always
willing to help you choose equipment that are suitable for your flying needs.

A glider’s life is calculated by the number of hours it spends out in the sun as UV deteriorates the
fabric, making it porous, thereby, losing its flying characteristics. So, depending on how and where
it is used, 300-500 hours of exposure is considered an average life.

In tropical countries, such as India, the sun’s effect on the wing can be pretty harsh. This is why
new types of fabrics are being introduced that are harder wearing. Canopies are routinely tested for
strength. Long before they become unsafe for flying, their flying performance will indicate the need
for replacement.

At Nirvana Adventures, we encourage you to think about buying a wing only when are properly
entrenched in your course program. First, you need to know how to fly. We are dealers for a variety
of reputed brands, and will guide you in your choices, keeping your flying needs in mind. Paragliders
are rated by performance and safety factors. New pilots should fly only basic gliders until they gain
experience and judgement.

next steps

Checkout the Paragliding Courses from Basic to Advanced, that Nirvana Adventures offers you.

If you’re a paragliding enthusiast already, with some flying under your belt, learn how you can have
a rollicking time on a Paragliding Holiday with Nirvana Adventures.

If you’re keen on Corporate Adventures and Team-building activities, learn how Nirvana Adventures
can help you with it.

If you don’t want go through the hassles of learning paragliding but just wish to experience the sport,
then we recommend Tandem Paragliding for you.