About paraglider design

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About paraglider design

To learn how to fly a glider, you don't need to know all the details of its construction and design, but it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with its equipment.

The wing is made of lightweight polyester or nylon fabric and consists of a series of parallel cells that are open at the front of the chord (leading edge) to let in air and closed at the back. Some older gliders have vertical surfaces extending downward from each end of the dome, called stabilizers.

Many high-strength, small-diameter lines support the wing, usually made of Spectra or Kevlar. Internal V-shaped stiffening ribs distribute the load and reduce the number of attachment points for the lines.

Lines attached to the leading edge of the canopy are designated A, and lines attached further back along the canopy chord are designated B, C, and D, respectively. Lines attached to the trailing edge are brake lines, and lines attached to the stabilizers are stabilizer lines (often called stabilizer lines).

Lines cascade downward from the tree canopy and become less as the top two or three lines connect with each intermediate line. The intermediate lines may, in turn, cascade down to fewer lower lines. These lower lines are connected at their lower ends to the risers, which are connected to the pilot's harness. The exact order in which the lines are attached to the risers depends on the canopy. Generally, the most advanced lines are attached to the most advanced riders. For this reason, risers are usually referred to as 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Some early models may not have a set of 'D' risers.

The exact sewing method is important for both the accuracy of the final length and the strength of the stitches. You should never attempt to repair the leash yourself and especially should not tie knots in the leash, allow the leash to twist, or step on the threads.

The leashes are attached to the risers with quick couplers, usually triangular. Each quick coupler has a screw cap for locking. The quick-release connection is much weaker when the screw lock is open, and the glider should never be used with the lock loose.

The glider's struts are attached to the harness by hooking carabiners into the loops of the short, wide straps on each side of the harness. The carabiner openings must face inward, and the carabiners must be locked after attachment.