Skydiving Vs Paragliding: know the difference!

Photo of Skydiving Vs Paragliding: know the difference! by Avilasha Sarmah

If adventure is what brings you home, and ‘flying’ is what you’ve been craving lately, then experiencing the sky-kind-of-high comes with a range of options. Zeroing it down to the two quite popular and reasonable ways of flying, skydiving and paragliding, the real debate is which one to choose. Making a choice involves knowing the two activities well.

Photo of Skydiving Vs Paragliding: know the difference! 1/2 by Avilasha Sarmah
Photo of Skydiving Vs Paragliding: know the difference! 2/2 by Avilasha Sarmah

The difference between skydiving and paragliding:

Skydiving is the practice of jumping out of a plane and deploying a parachute to descend, while paragliding involves launching an aircraft from a fixed platform, usually a terrain. In the most general terms, both activities consist of flying ‘engine-free’ aircrafts but in very different ways, which makes up the key difference between the two sports.

Skydiving is done either in groups, individually or generally tandem skydiving. The participants jump or fall from the aircraft at the desired altitudes, with experts performing an assortment of aerial maneuvers and stunt-like acrobatics mid-air before deploying from a parachute. The parachute used in skydiving slows the descent and allows the skydiver to land gently. There are two steps, the actual free-fall and the canopy flights phase. The actual free fall can be short or long duration accordingly lasting till the pilot pulls out and deploys the parachute. The canopy flights phase begins after the parachute is pulled out and ends as soon as the skydiver lands.

Paragliding involves flying an engine-free aircraft, often called ‘wings’. A typical paraglider consist of a fabric wing and a harness, and is portable enough to be tucked in a backpack. It is light-weight, free-flying and foot-launched with no rigid primary structure. The aircraft launch involves running and jumping from an elevated platform like a hill for take-off. Paragliding gives the rider a good amount of control over the aircraft and the flight lasts for many hours and several kilometers can be covered in a short duration.

While paragliding is a definite recreational sport, it is tandem skydiving, popularized by recent skydiving websites curating skydiving holidays, which strikes a chord.

Skydiving Vs Paragliding:

Here are a few typical things that differentiate skydiving from paragliding despite both being popular weekend adventures:

• Free Fall Vs Free Flight: Skydiving is all about free-falling, starting off with body-flight and then transitioning into parachuting. Paragliding is free-flying from the beginning to end.

• Down Vs Up: Skydiving involves falling-down from a great height. The parachute is used for a safe descent. The main aim of Paragliding is staying up in the sky.

• Hang Vs Sit: In skydiving the harness has the rider hanging in the style of a full-body climbing. In paragliding the harness is more like sitting in an armchair.

• Vertical Travel Vs Horizontal Travel: Skydiving is more about vertical travel, while in paragliding hundreds of kilometers can actually be covered horizontally.

Technical variables between Skydiving and paragliding:

• Square Vs Round Reserves: The skydiving reserves are square, which allows deployment quickly and in a more steerable manner. The reserves in paragliding are round and it is not-steerable.

• Automatic Reserve Vs Pull-Out Reserve: In skydiving there are the automatic activation devices which deploy the reserve for us in case of emergency. In paragliding the reserves are simply hand deployed.

• If a skydiver’s parachute experiences malfunction, it can be cut off; while in paragliding, the ‘wings’ need to kept.

Skydiving or Paragliding?

Both skydiving and paragliding are extreme sports that are equally communal and the difference in their nature make trying out both the best bet. Both activities have their own sense of thrill and are just about the different ways one can ‘fly’!

With a range of skydiving locations in India and quick drop zones in India as well, several skydiving companies in India provide the thrill of tandem skydiving for recreation. Several skydiving companies in India are known to curate skydiving holidays. Skydiving is a popular aerosport in India with solo skydiving in India too picking up pace with the desire of many to learn to skydive along with tandem skydiving. To experience the best of skydiving in India, you can opt for the skyhigh skydiving experience with their incredible tandem skydiving packages with a drop zone near Delhi.

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