Paragliding is the activity shown in the picture. It is a recreational and competitive adventure sport. The pilot sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing. Wing shape is maintained by the suspension lines, with the pressure of air entering vents in the front of the wing, and the aerodynamic forces of air flowing over the outside.

The history of this activity can be traced to a variety of developments and individuals in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1952, one of the contributors was a Canadian, Domina Jalbert who patented a governable gliding parachute with multi-cells and controls for lateral glide. He then invented the ‘Parafoil’, which had sectioned cells in an aerosol shape with an open edge and a closed trailing edge, inflated by passage through the air.

There is no mechanical device or engine used in the activity of paragliding. A paraglider can be in a flight lasting many hours and covering many hundreds of miles or kilometers. An experienced paraglider exploits sources of lift able to soar due to thermals where air rises due to heat, or a ridge lift, where air is forced upwards by a slope, or by wave lifts, where a mountain produces a standing wave and by convergence, where two air masses meet.

In contrast, parasailing requires a person to be towed behind a vehicle or boat. Parachuting lacks directional gliding for long distances. Skydiving requires a person jump for a plane, free fall for a time period and then parachute to Earth.

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