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There probably isn’t a person alive who hasn’t dreamed of flying. It’s one of our greatest fantasies. But it doesn’t have to stay in the realm of the make-believe. We can fly. Really fly. Now reading an inflight magazine on a Boeing is not flying – that’s just transport. We’re talking about real flying – feeling the wind in your face and feeling the gentle lift of a thermal or a wave. Looking down on eagles as they share the same thermal. Paragliding or hang gliding is as close as you will ever get to being a bird. They’re basically the same but using somewhat different equipment. Hang gliders are rigid structures that you strap yourself into and then fly. Paragliders, on the other hand, are soft canopies that fold up into something you can easily carry on your back. They look a lot like parachutes but they are very different. Paragliders are designed to stay up in the air and even to climb given the right conditions. The concept is pretty simple, really. You assemble your hang glider and strap yourself in, or you don your paraglider and stand on the edge of a suitable drop. With a hang glider you take a little run and then, hoping you have enough forward momentum to give you lift, you step out into the blue. With a paraglider, you can raise the canopy above your head, wait until the wind inflates it and, when you feel you have lift, gently step off the edge. You can also do a winch launch with either craft if you are in a flat area and, boring as that sounds, it’s worth flying in these sometimes scenically challenged places as the huge thermals that build up over the hot flat plains in summer allow for spectacularly long flights. There are hundreds of well known tried and tested launch sites in South Africa and a range of flying schools where you can learn the ropes. If you’re not sure about the whole idea you can do an introductory tandem flight with an instructor.

 


: SA Paragliding Adventures

:

: 072 19990622

: Garden Route Adventure Centre

:

: www.gardenrouteadventurecentre.com

: 044 6913182

: Paragliding Adventures

:

: www.saparaglidingadventures.co.za

: 072 1990622

: WINDMASTER PARAGLIDING

:

: www.paraglidingsa.com

: 0721526093

: PiliPili Xtreme Sports

:

: www.pilipili.co.za

: 044 3433217

 

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