We call him: a paraglider pilot. Doesn't it make sense? But do you know where the name paragliding comes from? Question may be more interesting. Conceived in the 1965's and derived from the parachute, paragliding comes from the contraction of 2 words: para and glide. Dave Barish developed the "sailwing" a sail that resembles today's paraglider wing and created a new discipline: “slope soaring”. That's where paragliding originated.
When you see a folded paragliding wing in your bag you really wonder how this piece of cloth can fly. In fact, paragliding pilots start on the ground with their paraglider already deployed, and they need wind or initial speed in order to inflate the paraglider its aerodynamic shape. After, it works with airflow to create lift. Air flows over both the top and the bottom of the glider and meets at the edge. Aerodynamics predict that the pressure on the bottom of the glider is higher than on the top of the glider. That’s how they fly!
Generally, conventional paragliders fly at a speed of 22 mph (without brake and accelerator). This speed can be increased in flight if necessary, by operating the accelerator to reach 28 or even 31 mph. Some competition models even reach speeds of up to 37 mph.
There is no real age limit because in paragliding it's more the weight than the age that is important to make your first tandem flight. The tandem paraglider is open to anyone weighing more than 25kg and less than 110kg.
It's a highly charged question. The answer is: NO! Otherwise our business would have been in jeopardy for a while. Vertigo only exists when your body is in contact with the ground at a height and your eyes are looking at the void. Your brain is then a little disoriented, hence the feeling of imbalance. This is no longer the case in the air, since you have no more reference points with the ground.
You no longer have any excuse not to come paragliding!
The Puy de Dôme is located in the commune of Orcines, 63870, Puy de Dôme, France.
To get to the top, several solutions are possible:
Once at the top of the Puy de Dôme, you have to go to the take-off site. It varies according to the weather conditions. However, it is very easy to find it with the indications and the number of paragliders there.
Concerning the time of arrival, you must arrive, at the latest, at the time of the appointment you have been given. In case of delay, in order not to penalize your flight and those of the following customers, we may be forced to cancel the flight and postpone it to a later date.
Be careful, some busy days (usually in August), the train is full and you have to wait for the next one. We therefore advise you to book the train 40 minutes to 1 hour in advance.
In fact, few things... It is possible to take your personal belongings (keys, wallets, phone, ...); best in a closed pocket.
If you are accompanied, you can leave your backpack and any other bulky objects during the flight to this person.
Several weather factors can prevent us from flying:
If the weather conditions are not suitable for paragliding, we will contact you either by phone or by message to cancel the flight the night before or early in the morning. It is then up to you to contact us again to reschedule.
Paragliding is directly related to the weather. It is therefore, of course, neither your fault nor ours.
We will then resume later on, another appointment according to everyone's availability.
If you are planning to do a tandem paragliding experience you can bring a windproof jacket and sunglasses. You can complete your equipment with a pair of thin gloves and possibly a down jacket if the weather is cold.
In France you can learn to pilot a paraglider independently from the age of 12 with parental consent. In school, supervised by experienced professional trainers and assisted by radio, young pilots often prove to be very good students with a surprising learning ability!
Also, there is no maximum age to learn paragliding and fortunately! Above all, you need to be motivated and in good physical shape in order to be able to run and pilot your paragliding wing. You need a medical certificate of no contraindication to paragliding that is less than 6 months old.
The most effective and safest way to learn paragliding is to do a training course in paragliding school supervised by professional instructors. This will allow you to learn the basics and good reflexes, understand why and how a paraglider flies, the influence of the weather on the flight and everything that makes paragliding flight as magical as it is complex.
The Air Civil Liability insurance is required in paragliding in order to cover possible damages caused to third parties.
Here are the different prices of the insurance and the FFVL license:
Total price for the license
|License youthful practitioner - under 21 years old
|License patent practitioner
|License initial patent practitioner
|License non-patented practitioner
|License associative tandem practitioner
|License practicing tandem instructor teacher
|License 9-day course
|License supervised activity PP, D, SR
|License youth group 12 to 25 years old
The advantage of paragliding is that you can do it all year round: from winter on the snow for great “plop” to powerful summer thermals for endless flights. There is always a way to fly with a paraglider.
We can however describe 4 great flying seasons:
With the structuring and the quality of the current training, the evolution of the material and the generalization of the rescue parachutes, the risk in flight is now limited. If you are high enough, in case of a problem you have either the time to regain control of your wing through piloting manoeuvres or the time to pull the rescue parachute. The risk of an accident is more likely when you are close to the ground and especially during the take-off and landing phases.
It is therefore important to have perfect control of the wing, hence the need to inflate regularly to develop reflexes and automatisms. But it is perhaps even more important to listen to your feelings and to be aware of your technical limits, because it is not because a pilot takes off, in front of you, in strong winds or high thermals conditions that you can follow him with your eyes closed. So be careful of the group effect. Never forget that the pilot is you, and only you!
Also be careful of the changes in weather conditions during the day. A good knowledge of the weather and aerology is important. We evolve in an aerial environment that must be learned and respected. A beginner can very well do a back to back dive in the middle of the morning and be out of his technical flying level one hour later because the thermal activity has set up.
If you are a keen pilot and intend to become a regular pilot, invest in a real breathable Gore Tex top and pants, a thin down jacket, several pairs of gloves depending on the season, a pair of sturdy shoes with a good grip, a hood and/or neck warmer and above all a good pair of sunglasses as paragliding is above all a flying sport. A clear and precise sight is essential to evolve safely in the air.
When leaving school, it is generally advisable to start on an A approved glider. This type of paraglider has maximum passive safety and a high tolerance. Its controls are longer to avoid over-piloting and involuntary stalls. A approved paraglider also has a high tolerance for exiting the flight envelope. In the event of a problem, a high arm reaction allows you to regain control of the glider.
The size of a paraglider wing is defined in relation to the weight of the pilot. The heavier the pilot is, the bigger the glider will have to be in order to keep him in flight with a correct sink rate. Flying overweight results in a higher wing speed and a much better response than normal. Conversely, the lighter the glider, the more the pilot will have to lower the wing's surface area to avoid over-canopy flight. An oversized wing is likely to collapse more frequently and abnormally.
It is therefore necessary to refer to the TWF index (Total Weight in Flight) which is the sum of the pilot weight with clothing, the wing, the reserve parachute and the harness and everything it contains (water bottle, change of clothes). Once you have defined your TWF, all you have to do is select the corresponding wing size and try to stay in the middle of the TWF range given by the manufacturer.
The TWF index takes into account the weight of the pilot and all the flying equipment including the wing itself. It allows you not to fly overloaded or with an oversized paraglider wing. It is generally recommended to aim for the middle of the range. This will allow you to carry a little more weight in winter with more clothing and water, and to lighten up in summer when flying in a T-shirt on hot days.
As in any action sport, the Go Pro mini-camera is a real ally. It is easily fixed to the helmet or at the end of a pole and allows breath-taking shots in flight. After, for the resolution, it's your choice, Full HD, 4K, 8K, let your desires run wild! The technologies are constantly evolving for an ever more accurate rendering. For the fans of the helmet attachment, beware of the hangers that will quickly play a trick on you if you are not careful.
In France it is possible to use free flight VHF (Very High Frequency) radios operating from 136 to 174Mhz as well as dual band VHF-UHF radios which allow to be on both the FFVL and PMR446 channels. As a reminder, the FFVL frequency is 143.9875Mhz and the FFVL frequency is the only on which we are tolerated.
For maximum longevity, it is advisable to store your paraglider at ambient temperature in a dry and dark place. For long term storage, it is also preferable to deploy the glider to the maximum to avoid folding and premature wear and tear.
It is forbidden to exceed the height of 5850m in paragliding according to the aviation regulations (FL195). Paragliders are in fact visual flight rules aircraft (VFR). Beyond 5850m the airspace is reserved for aircraft with instrument flight rules (IFR). However, this maximum height is also regulated in France according to geographical areas. In the plains, for example, the maximum altitude is 3500m (FL115). In the Pyrenees and the Alps some areas are classified E and allow to reach the maximum ceiling of 5850m.
Beyond the regulations, paragliding is above all an aircraft subject to meteorological hazards such as thermals and updrafts. That's why the height record for paragliding is 32000 feet or more than 9753 meters after the pilot has been caught in a thunderstorm!
For more information : https://federation.ffvl.fr/sites/ffvl.fr/files/2016_Reglementation_aerienne_VL_version_SERA_2014-2-def.pdf
It all depends on his level. A beginner will start to inflate without wind on a school slope in order to feel the sensations of the wing above him, its centering, the ventral support...
A more experienced pilot will opt for a wind speed of 6 to 13 mph in order to improve their technique and control the speed of the wing, which will rise very quickly.
The most experienced paragliders pilots will take advantage of winds of 19 mph to practice inflating and taking off in strong winds by mastering techniques such as the Cobra, …