How Do I Know What Type of Flyer I Am?
Nailing down and answering the question of “what type of paraglider am I” is something many beginner pilots struggle with. They know that they love the thrill of flight, and being able to soar across the sky while touching the clouds is something that motivated them to pursue this passion. But in order to purchase the right gear and plan out paragliding objectives long term, understanding the paragliding flyer types that exist is the first step to discovering which one matches you. In order to help you with this mission, below is a comprehensive breakdown of the paragliding flyer types so you can finally answer the underlying question of which one you are.
The Paragliding Flyer Types
- Soar Flights: The first paragliding flyer type is soaring flights. This one is excellent for those just starting out who have limited experience. It entails investing in starter gear, working on techniques, and becoming more comfortable in the air to level up to the more advanced flyer types. For this one, make sure not to rush the process. Go at your own pace, and move up the chain when you feel the time is right. This is not a race.
- Thermal Flying: Thermal flying is by far the most popular type out there. Groups of paragliders rise to find the thermal hot spot (rising column of air established by the sun’s heat over the ground) and form a circular motion around it to get to the core of it. This one takes some time to master, but it is undoubtedly an enjoyable experience to take on once you do.
- Cross Country Flyers: This one is for those paragliding experts who have perfected their soar and thermal flying abilities and want to take on more challenging flights. They know precisely how their wing works and are able to control themselves ideally from start to finish with ease under an array of wind conditions. Cross country, or known as XC, is all about staying in the air for hours at a time, covering long distances, and even jumping from one thermal to another if they wish.
- Performance/Competition Flyers: Taking your collected knowledge and expertise and transforming into competitive flying is the last on the list. This is when you invest in performance wings to optimize speed and potentially enroll in both national or international competitions. For this one, the new CCC wings and the high-end, two-lined EN Ds would be solid wing choices here.
Conclusion – What Type of Paraglider Am I?
Overall, the decision is entirely up to you, and it is really based on your level of confidence, skill, and comfort you have when in flight. Keep in mind that if you feature the beginner type of soaring, then it does not mean you are stuck in that category forever. With practice and perseverance, you can easily reach the next levels, doing tricks and even competitions if that is your ultimate goal. Just make sure to do what feels the best for you at the moment, and be open to advancing as time goes on if you wish. As a final note, always remember that regardless of the type of paraglider you are or resonate with, it is not about who flew the longest, fastest, or highest. The real winners are the ones who take off and land safely and are able to go home with a smile on their faces.