Paragliding history & its details

Authors Patrick Gilligan and Bertrand Dubuis, coined the term "paragliding" and wrote the first flight manual, The Paragliding Manual (1985).

First documented Human Free flight. Paragliding Bunny hops into existence. credits:https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Richard_Neuhauss_Otto_Lilienthals_Flug_vom_29_Mai_1895.jpg
Otto Lilienthal - First documented Human Free flight - 1895

The Wright brothers made first first flight in 1903 and consulted Otto Lilienthal’s 1889 book on aerodynamics.


Paragliding history as Timeline

We will look at paragliding history yearwise and list down major developments, people and places along with it. There is a reference at the end of article from where this blog material has been sourced. Any mistakes as such is based on common or generally accepted paragliding axioms.


1950s

Francis Rogallo was developing steerable parachutes for NASA spacecrafts earth landings. Rogallo designed a flexible wing with aerodynamics of fixed wing. Rogallo wings became predecessor to paraglider, hang gliders and reserve canopies.

This combination of fixed wing with airplane aerodynamics makes this[rogallo] wing unique

1954

Walter Neumark predicted in an article titled The future of Soaring in Flight magazine wrote a glider pilot would "be able to launch himself by running over the edge of a cliff or down a slope ... whether on a rock-climbing holiday in Skye or skiing in the Alps."

In 1964 Domina Jalbert invented the Ram Air canopy. Ram air paraglider has double surfaced canopy with an open leading edge and a sewn trailing edge. The air rams in and fills the sail, creating a wing shape and aerofoil.
Domina Ram air paraglider with an opening.

1961

French engineer Pierre Lemongine improved parachute previous designs and made the Para-Commander (PC). The Para-Commander had cutouts at the rear end and sides which make it possible to tow into the air and steer, leading to parasailing.


In 1961, French engineer Pierre Lemongine improved parachute previous designs and made the Para-Commander (PC). The Para-Commander had cutouts at the rear end and sides which make it possible to tow into the air and steer, leading to parasailing.
Birth of Parasailing

1965

David Barish developed a sail wing (single-surface wing) for recovery of NASA space capsules. From his interview he stated "slope soaring was a way of testing out ... the Sail Wing."

David Barish is widely credited as the world’s first paraglider and is a pioneer of the sport of paragliding.



1978

Parapente, Paragliding from slope. In June 1978, Jean-Claude Betemps, Andre Bohn and Gerard Bosson, inpired from article on slope soaring in the Parachute Manual magazine by Dan Poynter, they calculated that a square ram-air parachute could be inflated by running down the slope; Betemps launched from Mieussy, and flew 100 m. Bohn followed him down to the football pitch in the valley 1000 meters below.

Parapente was born.


Parapente, Paragliding from slope. In June 1978, Jean-Claude Betemps, Andre Bohn and Gerard Bosson, inpired from article on slope soaring in the Parachute Manual magazine by Dan Poynter, they calculated that a square ram-air parachute could be inflated by running down the slope; Betemps launched from Mieussy, and flew 100 m. Bohn followed him down to the football pitch in the valley 1000 meters below. Parapente was born.
The replica Sailwing made by Francis Heilmann

1979

The First Paragliding School was established in France.


Refences:

  • https://www.redbull.com/us-en/first-paraglider-flies-again

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paragliding

  • Paragliding - A beginner's guide written by Bastienne Wentzel and Ed Ewing

  • https://web.archive.org/web/20090913071154/http://www.circlinghawk.com/history.html






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