Jumping? Falling from a paraglider?

No! It’s neither one nor the other!

This article is for:

Those who are new to the world of paragliding.

To those who have already done a paragliding experience, and who dared to use the verb “to jump” in front of their pilot.

And finally, to those who are now pilots themselves and who, in spite of everything, continue to use this term.

Let’s change our vocabulary to a good basis…


Paragliding and skydiving are often confused. For the simple reason that you see more or less the same thing from the ground: a canopy, a pilot underneath, a flying machine that often doesn’t stay in the air very long.

But let’s try to understand the difference together.

Skydiving requires gaining altitude in order to be able to “jump” from the aircraft. Whether it is a plane, a helicopter or a hot-air balloon, the departure from one of these aircraft will be done by jumping.

Paragliding, on the other hand, has a clue in its name in french (parapente).

The take-off will indeed take place from…. a slope (pente)! There is no need to “jump into the hole”, as the regulars would say. You must not jump or sit down before leaving the ground. The take-off is usually done on a nice grassy slope, at best slightly inclined.

tournette déco herbe

It is also possible to use a winch for areas that do not have a significant difference in altitude. The principle is the same as for gliders, which sometimes use a reel.

The wind plays an important role during the take-off phase. If there is no wind, or even less than 5 km/h, the take-off will probably require a few short strides to allow the glider to inflate over your head. From 10 km/h onwards, however, we feel that the wind is feeding the slope sufficiently. The run is no longer necessary and the take-off is smooth and you can glide quietly through the air.


Once the glider has “taken off”, the pilot will try to stay in the air as long as possible. This is due to different phenomena, which we explain in this article 😉

décollage flyeo

Namely, the duration record does not exist in paragliding. But distance records do exist. On 9 June 2020, it was possible to achieve 431.30 kilometres in flight! And in France! A flight of more than 10 hours for Frédéric Delbos, Martin Morlet and Franck Arnaud. Unfortunately, the latter were unable to have it validated by the Federal Distance French Cup. The last record set in 2019 (417 km) remains in force.

Unlike skydiving, where the canopy is used to break the fall and land in one piece, paragliding is designed to stay in the air. Flying for distance and even aerobatics!

This diversity is made possible by the different types of canopies, which are longer than those used for skydiving.

I hope that you will now be able to explain the difference in vocabulary to your friends and family. Paragliding information and tandem flights are open to everyone, so please share the info 😉
If you are wondering why and how a paraglider flies? Or how does a paraglider stay in the air for so long? Then follow us to read our next articles!

See you soon with Flyeo !


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