What Are The Main Components Of A Paraglider?

Taking the logical approach and going ‘top to bottom’...

Wing which has small loops stitched into the ‘under’side of the material.

Next: Top line set, as the BEST knot in the world will significantly weaken the line by say 40% of its ’straight’ load strength, each line has a STITCHED loop (at both ends) which is passed through the ‘wing loop’ and the ‘tail’ of the line passes through the loop in the ‘top’ end of its self...

These ‘top lines’ are more numerous but thinner than the next line set, generally between two to six (commonly seen on three riser designs where the back (C Riser) is attached both span wise AND chord wise to ‘false D attachment points’ so avoiding the need for a full ‘D Riser’ line set (drag reduction design ‘trick’).

The bottom line set follows the design (strength AND drag reduction) of the upper line set in having stitched loops at both ends, but instead of being as thin keeps drag down by having fewer lines.... again a ‘tail’ through looped to attach the lines above, and loop fixed by a screw gate (normally triangular these days) Maillon Rapide (trade name) linking the bottom line set to the webbing ‘risers’.

(in some gliders the above stage can have another ‘repeat’ always ending in fewer ‘branches’ as you move lower, but not always changing line diameter, this is a very common feature of the ‘brake fan’)

The webbing riser set (stitched webbing) forms the A, B & C risers and with some wing designs also the D’s, on rare cases (I don’t know any modern gliders like this but from memory this has been the case in a couple of tandem designs, also a E Riser) with additional ’speed system’ (from a physics point of view a method of truly ‘weight shifting’ the pilots mass forwards in respect to the wing to increase the speed above ‘trim speed’ by increasing the negative pitch of the glider)

The last (moving to bottom) stage in the list of main components of a paraglider is of course the harness which is attached (a variety of options, mainly ‘gated’ carabiners these days) via it’s own stitched in loops to the stitched loops at the bottom of the risers :-)

Now while ALL the structural parts and the methods used to produce a complete load bearing aircraft ARE important.... they can vary in weight from 20+kg as in say a older glider & harness to seriously lightweight ‘mountain wings’ with ‘G String’ type harnesses.....

................ the SINGLE most important component of a ‘paraglider’ (’paraglider’ in this case referring to the whole aircraft in flight) ‘only’ weighs in at about 1.3 to 1.4kg (on average).......

For those not sure what the IMPORTANT kilo and a bit is..... well it is not what you wear on the outside of your head..... rather it is what (and how well it was trained!) you keep BETWEEN your ears!

Murray Hay

Image By Joe Mabel (Photo by Joe Mabel) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment.


  • Vale: Thanks for describing the different parts! It’s amazing how complex they are with all the lines
  • ed:

    Troll abusive post removed.

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