Paragliding is a type of airborne sport practised for both entertainment and competition. It is a new form of unpowered flying that allows everyone who dreams about flying to fulfil their dream through an individual flight, in an easy and pleasant manner. One of the most attractive features of paragliding is its accessibility — from the required equipment down to the skills one needs to master. Worldwide, paragliding is practised in each of the following categories:
- Cross-country flight
- Acro flight (acrobatic flying where manoeuvres are performed during the flight)
Anyone can paraglide, regardless of age or gender. The basic techniques are easy to learn and the physical effort needed for a regular flight is minimal. On takeoff, the paraglider pilot runs down the slope of a hill against the prevailing wind until the wing (paraglider) stretched over their head lifts them from the surface of the ground. In the calm air of the early morning or evening, a paraglider pilot can, with a few simple operations, rise from any convenient hill or mountain peak and fly smoothly and silently, gently touching down hundreds or thousands of metres from the starting point. That is the least this sport can offer to those who have long desired to float above the ground in the simple and serene flight of birds. In the middle of the day, when the air is more turbulent, experienced pilots can use the upward air streams to lift them up, sometimes thousands of metres above the launch site, and to allow them to stay in flight for hours. Under the right conditions, an advanced pilot can fly above vast areas, traversing between thermal flows, then landing kilometres away from the start site. In late August of 2016, a paraglider pilot from Varna broke the Bulgarian national record by successfully flying over 310 km!
The equipment needed for paragliding is simple, light and relatively inexpensive compared the equipment required for other airborne sports. A paraglider is a unpowered aircraft and it is easy to take off, navigate and land with. It consists of a 6-8 kg wing made of special fabric and divided into air-pockets.
Thin ropes are stitched to the wing and connected to the pilot’s seat (harness). The harness is a system of belts and carabiners which cover the body securely and comfortably. With a lightweight helmet and generally protective clothing, you are ready for flight. For two-person flights, the paraglider wing is specially designed to cover a larger area: the passenger sits in a separate seat and is hooked in front of the pilot with a special gear, called a rocker, so that they take off together simultaneously.
There are many great places to fly in Bulgaria, and paragliding does not depend on airports. All you need to take off is a clean slope and a suitable wind. Enjoy!