We get a lot of questions about this topic and after a while we noticed that novices have issues with making the difference between skydiving and paragliding . So…
What is the Difference Between Skydiving and Paragliding?
Well, let’s start with skydiving which is a sport (we love so much) that involves jumping out of perfectly working aircrafts (how pilots love to say), opening a parachute and landing with it, safely.
Paragliding on the other hand is a bit different, it involves a bit more physical condition to carry all your stuff on a high place, from where you will need to take off (if the weather God is good enough with you), the fun involves gliding above awesome landscapes and climbing to high altitudes.
Anyway let’s see the difference between skydiving and paragliding, one by one.
Free flight vs free fall
When it comes to paragliding there is more free flight involved, and depending on the experience of the pilot flights can take hours at low or high altitudes. It ialso depends on the weather conditions and the area you are flying over.
Skydiving on the other hand is more about free fall. Skydivers jump out of moving aircrafts and enjoy the free fall, gliding with the open parachute takes only 2-6 minutes from the time of the deployment. The speed in free fall starts at about 200 km/h and gets faster depending of the free fall position. For skydiving weather is also important, as long as there are no clouds under the jump altitude and no high winds, you are good to go.
Up or down
In paragliding the main purpose is to go up and high, by taking off from a fixed point, which in most of the cases is located somewhere high as well.
In skydiving is totally the opposite, you go down (thanks to gravity) and you go fast.
Horizontal Vs Vertical
Paragliding flying involves either horizontal flying, or when trying to find ascendant currents that help the pilot to lift with his paraglider to a higher altitude. Also, a great thing about paragliding is that besides the long hours spent in the air, you can travel far away, and by far we mean tens of miles.
Skydiving involves mostly vertical flying, when we refer to the actual flight of the body but flying with the parachute open is not that a big difference either, since even if you open the parachute higher you can only “travel” a couple of miles under the canopy.
Automatically deployed reserve Vs Manual pull-out reserve
This is another hot topic. What if the parachute doesn’t open? Well, skydiving rigs have two, and one is a reserve chute, used when the main parachute has a malfunction. The amazing thing about reserve parachutes is a small system called Skyhook that helps a great deal with having a fast reserve deployment after the main parachute is cut away. And yes, it is automatically. Though, we strongly advice to follow the procedure and after the cut away, manually pull the reserve handle.
In addition to that, there is another gadget used in skydiving, called AAD, that can automatically deploy the reserve chute at a given altitude in case the main chute is not deployed due to various reasons, for example if the skydiver faints before deployment. With the help of this automatic electronic device the reserve will be opened at a safe altitude in order to allow the skydiver in distress to land.
What happens with the main parachute after cut-away? The main chute is released and will get down to the ground, so the skydiver can recover it .
In paragliding unfortunately there is no AAD or automatic deployment of the reserve parachute. If you have issues with the glider, the reserve parachute is deployed manually and also helped with the hand to take air. The glider will remain with the pilot, as there is no cut-away system like in skydiving.
– round reserve vs square reserve
In paragliding the reserve parachute is round and in skydiving square reserve parachute are being used. This if we strictly refer to skydiving as a sport, nowadays you can find round main parachutes and round reserves only in the military.
Paragliding harness Vs Parachute harness
Long hours and long distances of flying require a comfortable position, so when we look at paragliding harnesses they look like very comfy arm chairs, giving the pilot the comfort that he needs for an endurance flying. The parachute harness used in skydiving is made to hang in it and even though for short amount of times are ok, being worn for hours it might get very uncomfortable and cause pain.
Skydiving gadgets Vs Paragliding gadgets
Skydiving is a sport that evolved a lot in the last years and thanks to technology it got safer and better.
What kind of gadgets do skydiver use while skydiving?
- altimeter – meant to indicate altitude, though nowadays altimeters do more than that. Electronic altimeters now are logging your jumps number, altitude of jump, deployment attitude and speed.
- audible altimeter – this is a small altimeter that is placed in the helmet of the skydiver and depending on the settings will inform the skydiver at what altitude he/she needs to open the parachute or even inform about the altitude while doing the landing pattern.
- ADD – this is a life-saver, which is meant to automatically open the reserve parachute
- Action camera – even though there are some rules of who can or cannot wear an action cam depending on experience, most of the experienced skydivers wear one on their helmets.
What kind of gadgets do they use while paragliding?
10 points question: Paragliding or Skydiving?
It really depends on what you like and what are you attracted to more. We have plenty of friends who do both, so that’s also an option. We believe both sports are awesome and we met a lot of pretty awesome people which are either skydivers or paragliders. Even though, as you can see the sports differ quite much, flying is the common thing, so as long as you have something to talk about which involves flying, sky, nice weather and adrenaline then all is great. Whatever you choose to go for, if you do, we’re sure you will love it. Not decided yet? Just try both!
If you know any other differences between skydiving and paragliding feel free , by all means, to comment below. We would really appreciate a different opinion.
Photos from Fly’N friends team members ( skydiving ) and Puiu Cristian ( paragliding )!
If you choose Paragliding, just ask us and we will guide you towards the best schools, but if you choose Skydiving, you found the right place. You can choose your jump, from the packages below!