Does this piece of fabric fly as well as a bird or a plane? It’s hard to say…
However, it is possible to achieve great feats with a paraglider. A more economical and environmentally friendly discipline than an aeroplane, the mechanics of flight are not very complicated to understand. So let’s lift the curtain on the magic that happens…

See this drawing? Take a good look at it because the four words written here are all there is to remember and understand!

The ingredients for flying? Air and movement through this air mass.

The orange profile is a simplified cut-out of our canopy. Once the pilot leaves the ground, the airflow around this profile will create a relative wind. It is this flow, which will create the Aerodynamic Force (also known as the Aerodynamic Force Resultant; or AFR). See, already a new word!

More precisely, the Aerodynamic Forces are broken down into Lift and Drag. They also balance the weight.

So what is Lift? Simply the sum of an overpressure (under our wing) and a depression (on our wing).

What about Drag? It is the resistance to penetration of the fluid that is air.

Someone has to fly the wing, so we have to take into account the weight.

This weight is not only that of the pilot, but it includes everything that flies: the glider, the harness, the helmet, the shoes, etc… That’s why we commonly call it the TFW: Total Flying Weight. PTV in French

Here are the forces that apply around our wing in more detail. The relative wind flowing above and below is easier to visualise.

Have you noticed that when passing overhead, the air has more distance to travel? Yet the air particles arrive at the wing tip at the same time! Why is this? The air above will accelerate and create a vacuum, in other words; part of the Lift.

schéma ffvl

A fine mixture of all these forces makes it possible for a paraglider to fly for hours. This theoretical part is a basis for understanding many other phenomena if you want to become a pilot.

But perhaps you prefer to understand these phenomena through a video? In that case we share with you a more concrete explanation to understand aerodynamic lift.

With this knowledge, you already have a head start on learning to fly with us!

Lorenza

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