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Treat yourself to an unforgettable aerial view of Cape Town. Get ready for an exhilarating run off and launch from Table Mountain or Sir Lowry's Pass. A breathless experience. Paragliding (known in France, Spain and Portugal as parapente) is a recreational and competitive flying sport. A paraglider is a...

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Paragliding (known in France, Spain and Portugal as parapente) is a recreational and competitive flying sport. A paraglider is a free-flying, foot-launched aircraft. The pilot sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing, whose shape is formed by the pressure of air entering vents in the front of the wing.

Equipment

The paraglider wing (or ‘canopy†or parafoil) is a self-inflating structure consisting of a row of cells, most of them open at the front and all of them closed at the back, joined together side by side. Moving through the air keeps them inflated as air enters in the front but can't get out the back. In cross-section, the cells form an aerofoil shape to produce lift, just like an airplane wing.

The pilot is supported underneath the wing from a web of lines (each with the strength to support the pilot). The lines are then attached to strap-like risers that are attached to the pilot's harness.

Controls held in the pilotâ€s hands, which pull down the trailing edge (rear portion) of the wing, are used to control speed and to turn.

The pilot is strapped into the bucket-seat harness, which usually holds a reserve parachute, and includes a ‘speed system†which pulls down the leading edge for maximum flying speed. Modern recreational harnesses have a foam or air-bag back protector.

Paraglider wings typically have an area of 25–35 m² with a span of 8–12 m, and weigh 3–7 kg. Combined weight of wing, harness, reserve, instruments, helmet etc is around 12–18 kg.

Glide ratio ranges from 6:1 for recreational paragliders to about 10:1 for modern competition paragliders (compared with an average of 15:1 for hang gliders and up to 60:1 for some sailplanes), and speed range is typically 20–65 km/h (stall speed – max speed): though safe flying range is smaller.

Modern paraglider wings are made of high-performance non-porous fabrics such as Porcher Sport & Gelvenor, with Dyneema/Spectra or Kevlar/Aramid lines.

Tandem paragliders, designed to carry the pilot and one passenger, are larger but otherwise similar. They usually have higher trim speeds (fly faster), are more resistant to collapses and have a slightly higher sink rate compared to solo paragliders.

Parachutes including skydiving canopies are generally used for descending purposes (i.e. jumping out of an aircraft or for dropping cargo) while paragliders are generally used for ascending. Paragliders are categorized as "ascending" parachutes by canopy manufacturers worldwide and involve "free flying" (without a tether). However Paragliders can sometimes be tethered for a short period during towing to get airborne.

Flying

In unpowered flight, rising air is needed to keep a glider aloft. This rising air can come from two sources: When the sun heats features on the ground, columns of rising air known as thermals are generated when wind encounters a ridge in the landscape, the air is forced upwards, providing ridge lift. In mountainous environments, flying is mostly based around thermals, which can be used to stay aloft before heading for a landing field below the launch site. In hill environments, ridge lift is used for ridge soaring, and landing can be done either back at the launch site, or at a landing field at the bottom of the ridge. In either case, more experienced pilots can use thermals to go ‘cross countryâ€.

Location: Cape Town Availability: Paragliding takes place all year round depending on weather conditions. Who: You should have a moderate level of fitness and be in good health. You should not suffer from any critical physical condition(s). Maximum weight 100kgs. Children under 21 require written consent from their legal guardian. Numbers: This experience is for 1 person only. Groups can be accommodated. Weather: Paragliding can take place depending where the wind direction and wind speed fall within safety requirements. Paragliding vendor's only use SAHPA recognized flying sites, some of which have been tailor made for safe paragliding and hang-gliding take off. Paragliding is weather reliant, but have been able to fly almost 200 days a year, throughout summer and winter. Paragliding does not specifically need any wind to get airborne but most suitable conditions range from 10kms per hour to a max of 30kms per hour to launch and land safely. The direction of the wind is also a deciding factor, the wind should be blowing directly up the slope or launching site, with a tolerance of 15 degrees off centre being acceptable. Days where the weather is beautiful and clear with no clouds and good temperatures are not necessarily the most suitable conditions for paragliding, although these days often fall within our safe flying perimeters. What to take: You will need a warm jacket, a good pair of lace-up shoes, sunglasses and sun block. Don't forget your camera. Duration: Allow between 20 - 30 minutes for each flight, duration depends entirely on the winds etc. Additional Information: All equipment included. All paraglide pilots are professionally trained and qualified through SAHPA. Participation is entirely at your own risk. This experience also includes a booking fee and e-voucher.

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Experience Vouchers are emailed in 24-48hrs

For any queries about our Tandem Paraglide Flight | Lions Head CPT use the form below to pop us a quick email. Normal response time during business hours is 10-60 mins. If you would like to contact us via telephone please dial (011) 462 5482. Or tweet us at @MantalityZA


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