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Become A Paraglider Pilot

Learn to Paraglide with Eagle Paragliding Most students are Novice rated in 8-10 days. After certification you're an Eagle student for life. Benefits include continuing education, and priority invitations to our world class tours. Find out what it takes to be a Paraglider Pilot.


Instructor of the year honor

Eagle Paragliding's chief Instructor Rob Sporrer received USHPA's Instructor of the Year Award in 2002. Every year USHPA issues the award to the person making the biggest contributions to our sport in the United States.



Paragliding equipment construction

PARAGLIDER CONSTRUCTION

Paragliders are constructed using different types of sailcloth, line material, and webbing. The glider itself is usually made from rip-stop nylon produced by one or more manufacturers. Different weights (g/m2) of material are used for the top and bottom surface, as well as the ribs and reinforcement points in the glider. Different fabric manufacturers produce fabrics with different strengths and weaknesses. Almost all of these fabrics have some sort of UV coating to increase longevity. It's a good idea to do some research on the type of material used in a particular glider before purchasing it. Paragliders will suffer ultraviolet degradation to the cloth sufficient to compromise your safety in some number of hours of total ultraviolet exposure that depends on the intensity of the radiation and the original quality of the fabric.

The lines can be made from either Kevlar (aka Aramid), or Spectra (aka Dyneema) in various diameters measured in mm. Kevlar seems to be the material of choice for most glider manufacturers; however, some glider companies choose to use Spectra as an alternative. Spectra line is about 40-percent stronger than Kevlar, but it does tend to shrink over time or when it has been exposed to water, thus requiring maintenance. Lines are made up of a core that provides the strength, and a sheath that provides UV exposure and abrasion protection. The core is either Kevlar or Spectra, and the sheath is usually made of polyester.

The lines connect to the glider at attachment points that are reinforced with Mylar, and at the other end to risers via triangular quick links made of stainless steel. The risers are generally made from pre-stretched nylon. Also attached to the risers is the speed system, usually located on the A riser. This is a system of pulleys that allows you to lower the angle of attack of the glider in order to gain air speed.

HARNESS CONSTRUCTION

The harness will most likely be constructed using a combination of Cordura, Neoprene, and webbing. Cordura is a tough nylon material that provides abrasion resistance. Neoprene can be used in small sections or for the majority of a harness. It has the ability to stretch and is form fitting, so it is generally used in competition style harnesses or for pockets and reserve parachute containers. Webbing will make up the support portion of the harness, consisting of leg, shoulder and chest straps along with the carabiner attachment points. Carabiners come in different styles, but you should only use those that are designed for paragliding and have a good locking mechanism. Most harnesses have a seat board that is made of wood, fiberglass, or sometimes composite materials that are very light.

Last, but certainly not least to consider is the back protection of a harness. Back protection comes in several different forms and levels of protection. The most common types are either foam coupled with a plexi-glass sheet for puncture protection or an airbag system. There are also hybrid versions of these types of back protection. Back protection should be high among your considerations when selecting a harness, so discuss it with your instructor prior to making a purchase.

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