Don’t Try This At Home

As regular readers know, I fly hang-gliders. I like knowing that my Dacron wing is being held in shape with some plumbing; namely, aircraft-grade aluminum tubing.

But others aren’t so particular. They fly paragliders. Same basic principle, but rather than tubing to maintain form, they employ a ram air inflated airfoil. Here’s how they work. And, as frequent commenter Doug Wolf will tell you: no, these are nothing like parachutes, and, no, you didn’t "do that" on your last vacation to Cabo (you went parasailing; different universe entirely).

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to show you the extreme end of this sport. Hold on to your stomach. If Doug catches this, I’m hoping he’ll give us a little explanation of the aerobatics involved. Check the comments for that.


  1. Delmonti on October 5, 2005 at 03:40

    Oh my giddy aunt!

  2. Doug Wolf on October 5, 2005 at 11:27

    The technique that pilot is using to perform his impressive aerobatic feats is technically known as "magic". As his performance clearly violates laws of aeronautics as we understand them, we're fairly sure it's done with pixie-dust. :-)

    OK, seriously… WOW!! There's a reason all those people in the foreground are applauding. There's a discussion going on right now in the local paragliding community trying to figure out exactly how he's doing that.

    That's one of the most impressive feats of aerobatics (in any aircraft) I've ever seen.

    — DW

  3. Nick on February 28, 2007 at 10:16

    (This is from an engineer, not a paraglider) Seems to me, his initial 'trick' is to build his angular momentum by doing the horizontal spin, downward. At some point he knows he's got enough momentum to switch to a vertical orientation… that indeed is a good trick in itself. Then probably he's using a gastric signal to determine 'i better stop flipping now'… haha.

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