PARAGLIDING. A SHORT HISTORY
Paragliding is a form of aviation with all of the inherent and potential
dangers that are involved in aviation. No form of aviation is without
risk. Injuries and death can and do occur in paragliding even to trained
and highly experienced pilots using proper equipment.
No claim is made or implied that all sources of danger to any pilot have
or can be identified. No one should participate in paragliding who does
not recognise and wish to personally assume the associated risks.
Unlike hang gliding, which originated in America, paragliding started
in the early 80's in Europe when some free-fall parachutists had the crazy
idea of taking their ram-air canopies to a really steep Alp, inflating
them over their heads and running like hell off the mountain.
They managed to just about take off but because of the limited performance
of their equipment they virtually flew the contour of the mountain all
the way to the bottom, and so paragliding was born. With rapid developments
in both design and materials in the intervening years, we arrive today
with the modern paraglider which has a performance that those early pioneers
could only have dreamt of.
Today a modern paraglider, in the hands of a good pilot can soar for many
hours gain many thousands of feet and fly for many miles. The
current world record for the longest flight on a paraglider is over 400
km, not bad for something that fits in a bag that you can put in the boot
of your car.
Today, all paragliding manufacturers wishing to sell their gliders to
the general public must first submit them to an independent test body
who put them through a series of extreme manoeuvres and then grade them
as to their suitability for use by beginners, intermediate or advanced
PARAGLIDING IN IRELAND :::
The governing body of the sport of paragliding here in Ireland is the
Irish Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (IHPA). The IHPA's job
is to promote the sport of hang gliding and paragliding in Ireland and
to look after the interests of its members.
The IHPA is affiliated to The Federation Aeronautique International (FAI),
the International Hang Gliding and Paragliding Commission (CIVL), the
Irish Aviation Council (IAC) and the Association for Adventure Sports
(AFAS). Paragliding. is an individual sport, but there is a large social
element involved as well. Flying with other pilots is not only safer and
more fun but you learn more as relevant information tends to filter down
from the more experienced pilots to the up and coming novice. Usually
over a pint at the end of good days flying!
The IHPA organizes competitions and fly-ins around the country on most
long weekends and most members regularly fly and socialize together whenever
the weather is flyable.
On completion of each Para Pro course all documentation along with verification
from your instructor is sent to the Ihpa training officer, who will then
issue you with the appropriate proficiency rating.
It is in every pilot;s interest to support a strong and active IHPA and
we recommend that all students wishing to take up the sport of paragliding
should join the IHPA and take advantage of the reduced annual membership
on offer to anyone enrolled on one of our courses. For all students taking
a Para Pro 2 or Para Pro 3 course it is mandatory to be a paid up member
of the ihpa.