From Hang Gliding Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

First, About Paragliders:

Paragliders are derived from an original design strictly intended as short term use safety equipment, aka, parachutes. In disregard of the intended design origins of the technology, PGs have been put into use as long term flying apparatus. Doing so seriously extends, even violates the limits of such a short term emergency decent canopy concept.

The design changes involved in a modern paragliding canopy also magnify the (known) hazards inherent in the design by placing the device into the dynamic atmospheric environment for extended periods. An emergency use parachute would see minimal exposure to such an environment, on the order of minutes of time, and often seeing only a single use. However, paragliders remain in that same environment for, often, hours at a time and repeat that exposure multiple (~10 - 100) times a year.

While the materials used to construct a long term use paraglider can be modified for such longer use cycles, the dynamic atmospheric environment in which they are used simply can not be "modified". Any emergency decent canopy, or design directly derived from such a canopy, is subject to potential aerodynamic collapse as a result of very common atmospheric turbulence. In event of such a collapse, the pilot/wing combination are simply no longer flying, they are falling.

Interestingly, paraglider pilots typically carry a back-up parachute in case of just such an emergency. And it may be worth noting that this back-up parachute is a much less complex design. As such, it is, therefore, more likely to inflate, and remain inflated, bringing the previously falling pilot safely to the ground. This only becomes necessary when the PG pilot's much more complex and "sophisticated" wing fails to properly function in it's severely modified application to repeated, long term flight situations. There is a certain irony in, as well as a clear leason to be learned by this juxiposition.

Here you have original, simple, properly applied technology (the basic circular canopy emergency parachute)used to make up for the glaring defects in the much more complex, overly modified and improperly applied flight technology (aka, the modern "paraglider").