What is the polar in paragliding?

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What is the polar in paragliding?

paragliding polar

The polar curve of a paraglider can be seen on a chart showing the drop rate of a paraglider or glider taking into account its horizontal velocity. That is, it is a graph showing the rate of a glider falling on a vertical axis, marking a certain speed on a horizontal axis.

Simply put, we can say that polar curves serve to calculate the minimum sinking speed of the glider, as well as the support of resistance and speed. But throughout this article we will take care of explaining everything you need to know about it.

How do the polar curve graphic?

The polar curve of a paragliding is obtained by measuring the sinking rate at different aerodynamic speeds, although it can also be plotted by theoretical calculations.

The data that you have afterwards is connected by means of a line with which the curve is formed. In this respect, it is very important to note that each glider has a different polar curve depending on several factors, such as controlling the surface strength, the softness of the wing, as well as may depend on the presence of rain or different conditions.

That is, the different types of gliders have different types of polar curves, being able to change whether it is a single or tandem flight, as well as whether it is done without or with the water ballast, with or without wing extensions, etc.

This is important because knowing the best speed to paragliding can allow us to take better advantage of the performance of our glider. In this measurement, two of the most important measures to know the performance of a paragliding is its best glide rate (gliding angle) and its minimum drop rate.

These speeds are important to be able to have the flight to the field through more efficient. The polar curve can show the minimum descent speed in still air, allowing the rider to be in the air for longer and ascend as fast as he can, but at that speed the glider will not fly as far as if it were at the best speed for glide.

What is the polar curve for in paragliding?

As mentioned above, the curve can be very useful thanks to it we can know what the optimal speed is to plan better. That is, the speed at which you have to go at all times depending on the rate of fall and the relative wind you have.

Now let's look at some of the most important data to consider when interpreting the polar curve of a paragliding:

·          Point M: Displays the minimum speed. That is, if the paragliding drops from this speed it will no longer fly.

·          Point A: The rate at which the drop rate is minimal. It means that when you fly at this speed, theoretically, you'll get to spend more time in the air.

· Point B: trim speed  (without  accelerating). Typically, this speed shows the best glide point (time-distance ratio).

·          Point C: the speed achieved by accelerating (65 k/h). Simply put, it's the point where you reach maximum speed and fall faster.

Why is it important to know the flight speed?

In the previous paragraphs we talked about the speed of flight and the sink rate of the paragliding, but it's still likely that you're not entirely clear how it affects the speed at which you fly your glide experience.

So you can understand it better and don't have any doubts about it, let's look at an example:

In this example there will be 3 riders who have the same sail (Enzo 2), and who are at the same height of 1,000 meters when they start planning, flying with a calm 0 wind and with a cup of offspring of 0.

·          Pilot A: is flying at a speed of 28 km/h, seeking to stay in the air for the longest time.

· Pilot B: flying Trim speed (40 km/h) without touching the throttle or brake.

·          Pilot C: fly at top speed of 60 km/h.

We have to keep in mind that the paragliding has two speeds, a drop rate, one vertical and one horizontal, which is equal to ground speed (zero wind).

Based on this data, the polar curve is used and we get the following results:

·          Pilot A: managed to fly a total of 17.7 minutes and travel a distance of 8,276 km.

·          Pilot B: managed to fly a total of 16.6 min and travel a distance of 11,110 km.

·          Pilot C: managed to fly a total of 6.6 min and traveled a distance of 6,664 km.

As you can see, it was pilot B who achieved the greatest efficiency by traveling 11,110 km being at 1000 meters high, managing to plan to the maximum and travel 11,11 meters for every second.