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What’s the Difference Between Paragliding and Hang Gliding ? Discover now!

Paragliding vs hang gliding

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between paragliding and hang gliding? At first glance, they seem very similar. It’s true that these two sports share a lot in common. That’s why this is the perfect article to help you decide which of these free-gliding sports to choose for your next adventure. Read on to check out the comparisons compiled below.

hang glider

Hang gliding vs. paragliding kite

Another difference between hang gliding and paragliding is the kite. The biggest visible difference between hang gliding and paragliding is the shape and size of the kite. Hang gliding uses a distinctive triangular shape, which is more rigid and supported by metal struts. This “A-Frame” offers improved aerodynamics. The kite used in paragliding is more similar to a parachute kite and uses a soft, wide surface which traps air below it.

Hang gliding vs. paragliding price

One difference between paragliding and hang gliding is the price. When it comes to comparing kite prices, hang gliding kites are more expensive. Hang gliding kites cost around € 4500. Paragliding kites cost an average of € 2500. The former do last longer, however. If you’re renting a hang gliding kite or taking a guided first flight, it costs around € 80 for a two-hour hang gliding flight. You will spend around € 500 for a multi-day course.

paragliding

Hang gliding vs. paragliding size

Size is another primary difference between paragliding and hang gliding. Paraglides are packable and fit neatly into a backpack, making it a more practical choice for carrying than the rigid structure of a hang glide. For travel, paragliding equipment can be easily transported by car, train or plane. Hang glides measure 5m and requires a specialized roof rack.

Hang gliding vs. paragliding weight

Equipment weight is another difference between paragliding and hang gliding. While paragliding equipment weighs only 10kg, hang gliding weighs more than triple that – not including additional equipment such as a harness and helmet.

Couple hang gliding

Hang gliding vs. paragliding safety

These two sports have different safety ratings. In general, paragliding is considered to be a calmer activity. The kite has a larger surface area to catch an updraft and glide on thermals. The higher up you go, however, the more volatile the energy distribution. But even in the case of a chute collapse, the loss of altitude will stabilise the airflow and you can rely on the second deployable parachute. While paragliding is safer, today’s hang gliding technology makes it far more secure than ever.

Hang gliding vs. paragliding thrill factor

Travelling at 100km/h, hang gliding lets you glide faster than possible using a paraglide, which can reach approximate speeds of 20km/h. Hang gliding offers more opportunity for aerial acrobatics and tricks, while paragliding is considered a scenic and leisurely activity suited to sightseeing. Try them both and choose for yourself!

Hang gliding vs. paragliding training

Easier and less expensive, paragliding can be learned in just a few lessons – whilst hang gliding demands at least 10 lessons to manoeuvre properly. Being heavier and more cumbersome, hang gliding is great for sporty and determined athletes. Both sports involve the same take-off and landing technique.

Hang gliding vs. paragliding position

In hang gliding, the pilot is laying down in a horizontal position under the A-frame using the body to turn. In paragliding, you sit upright in a harness and control the chute with your hands. While it is indeed a less natural position, hang gliding offers longer flight times and its streamlined profile means takeoffs are easier when winds blow up to 40km/h (only 25km/h for paragliding).

paragliding

Hang gliding vs. paragliding availability

In the past few years, hang gliding has become less popular, and paragliding has been named prom queen. Therefore, hang gliding schools are in decline and harder to find. Harnessing the same natural elements, paragliding is favoured for its comfortable position and security aspects that make it more practised today.

Where to find destinations

There may be more opportunities to try paragliding but, in general, both can be practised in the same locations. At Adrenaline Hunter, we have over 200 activities in destinations across the world, so check out all our activities here!

Our vote

At Adrenaline Hunter, we’re pretty biased – anything fast and fun and we’re willing to give it a try. We love the sensations of hang gliding and using the updraft to try tricks and turns like a bird of prey – it definitely gets our vote. A proud champion of sporting underdogs, help us get hang gliding back on top!

If you would like to learn more, we have plenty of articles about paragliding to read up on. You can also check out Wikipedia’s pages to learn more about the history of paragliding and the history of hang gliding.

Ready to try paragliding? Check out all of our paragliding activities here. Or if you’re leaning more towards hang gliding, check out our hang gliding activities!