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Cross Country Gear Guide

Cross Country Gear Guide

Cross Country Gear Guide

Cross Country Magazine's annual Gear Guide is an in-depth look at the huge variety of paragliding and paramotoring equipment that is out there on the market. Whether you are a paraglider pilot on the hunt for the best wing, an adventure athlete looking to find out more about lightweight equipment, or are taking your first steps in paramotoring, then the Cross Country Gear Guide is for you. Reliable, fact-checked and up-to-date information from one of the leading publications in the sport.

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United Kingdom
XC Media
1 Issues

in this issue

8 min
how does the testing system work?

ALMOST every piece of equipment we use, from glider to harness, helmet and reserve, is tested, rated and certified. Having a certification system means you can rely on the quality of the equipment you are using. It also helps you choose which class of glider to fly. But how did your equipment get the classification it has? What is tested? It doesn’t matter where you buy your paraglider, before most mass-market wings are released commercially a pre-production model of the glider is sent to a testing centre in Europe, where it goes through a shock test, load test and flight test. The shock test and the load test are done with the help of a car. In the shock test the glider is attached to a tow truck by a long line of…

4 min
look, locate, throw – how to buy a reserve parachute

RESERVES have developed fast in recent years, resulting in many different types to choose from. The three main types are round reserves, squares (which aren’t always square – they can be multi-sided, like a pentagon or octagon), and Rogallo-type steerable reserves. According to Stefan Kurrle of manufacturer Independence Paragliding, square parachutes are the way to go. “Most squares excel in opening time and pendulum stability,” he explained. “Packing is different than for rounds, but not necessarily more complicated. In my view, there is no reason to buy a round anymore.” He added: “For the average pilot who doesn’t fly acro, a steerable Rogallo does not really make sense because they do not have the experience or time to activate it.” There are many different types of squares on the market with varying properties,…

4 min
how to get it right when buying your first paraglider

MOST paraglider pilots train on an EN A paraglider. These are the simplest and safest paragliders on the market. As well as being safe they must also be robust enough to withstand the groundhandling field and durable enough to be bundled up, thrown over a shoulder and carried back up the hill several times a day, every day, all season. These wings are therefore designed and built to last, while in the air they launch easily, fly predictably and land simply. Regardless of manufacturer, paragliders for beginners all feature similar attributes. They have a low aspect ratio, typically 4.5-4.9; colour-coded lines and risers with visual cues on them like letters or numbers; an obvious stabilo line for big ears; and a super simple speed system. In the air, brake travel is long…

5 min
how to get into hang gliding

“WHEN I fly a paraglider, I feel like I am flying with the birds. When I fly a hang glider, I am the bird.” Jeff Shapiro, an instructor who has been flying every imaginable foot-launched aircraft his whole life, eloquently expresses how he feels when flying hang gliders. Many hang glider pilots will agree. A hang glider is fixed to your back like a set of wings. It is the closest humans will ever come to bird-like flight. It is no surprise that Jeff advises everyone to try flying one. How do you start? Like in any free-flight sport, start by picking an accredited school and follow the beginner’s course. The first day you will learn to assemble, carry and walk with your glider on a flat field. Next, you’ll be…

8 min
how to look after your paraglider – so it can look after you

HOW long your paraglider lasts depends how your treat it. At Nova’s service centre in Austria we sometimes get gliders in for checking that have 500, 800 or even more operating hours that are still in good shape. Others look very worn after only 150 hours or less. It’s not just time in the air that counts: operating hours include air time, groundhandling or any time the wing is unfolded and exposed to the sun. Here’s how you can help your glider last longer. Sand, dust and salt Sand, dust and salt are made from very fine particles that can be hard and have sharp edges. They primarily attack the coating of the cloth. They literally rub it off and this increases the porosity of the wing. The operational life of the…

1 min

Bastienne Wentzel is the author of Paragliding: The Beginner’s Guide. A science writer and assistant paragliding instructor she regularly spends time explaining the basic concepts of our sport to new pilots. She took on the task of writing many of the main features in this guide. Alain Zoller has been testing paragliders for more than 30 years. He helped set up the EN certification system and has since tested more than 1,500 gliders to the EN standard. There is literally no one better to help explain how paragliders are tested, certified and classed than him. See p24 Tom Prideaux-Brune is known as “Mr Paramotor” by his friends as he regularly flies to work on his pride and joy, a sleek, well-maintained Parajet Maverick. Known to many pilots in the powered paragliding world…