Would you like to discover an aerial sport to experience new sensations? Similar to parachuting, paragliding gives you the feeling of flying. It is a unique experience that allows you to admire the surrounding landscape from the air. However, people can also fly with other equipment, both motorised and non-motorised. Focus on the subject.
Non-motorised means of flight
The hang glider is a soft-winged aircraft that can carry one to two people (single or two-seater). It has a pilot harness in which the pilot stands or lies down and controls his weight to steer the aircraft. To fly with it, it is necessary to be at least 16 years old and to know the regulations in force. It is also important to be trained in how to fly a hang glider and to learn the flying techniques and equipment needed to fly.
The glider is also a wing-shaped aerodyne that can reach high altitudes and fly long distances. At the beginning of the flight, the aircraft is towed to help it reach its first updraft. You can choose between a quiet flight or a more sportive one, depending on your experience. It accommodates one pilot and one passenger.
The wingsuit is a suit with a structure that allows you to glide through the air in freefall. Made of light and flexible materials, the wingsuit allows you to fly at speeds of up to 200 km/h. However, it is a dangerous activity, usually performed by professionals to add another dimension to their flying experience.
Consisting of a large piece of fabric and a harness that supports a person, the parachute allows you to jump in free fall. The deployment of the parachute creates variable air resistance depending on the size, material and shape of the canopy. The strength and reliability of the harness is essential to ensure the safety of the person.
Motorised means of flight
Small or light aircraft have a light structure and wings designed to ensure good stability in flight. They are used for leisure activities, pilot training or short-distance transport, among others. They can carry up to 6 people in addition to the pilot, who must also be certified in accordance with the regulations in force.
The helicopter is an aircraft capable of flying in all directions and even hovering in flight. Equipped with sophisticated navigation systems, the helicopter can reach impressive speeds and altitudes of up to 6,000 metres. If you plan to take a helicopter tour, remember to wear comfortable clothing that won't catch on the rotors.
A small motorised aircraft, the microlight or Ultra Light Motorised aircraft is a single-seater that is easy to fly and has a parachute system for the safety of the pilot. There are several models of microlight adapted to specific types of flight. The use of this flying machine requires training with a qualified instructor.
The paramotor is one of the ultralight models. It is actually a paraglider wing combined with an engine that provides enough power to propel the aircraft. You no longer need to gain altitude, as it is possible to take off from a flat surface. In addition, the aircraft is equipped with a reserve parachute.
Advances in flight technology
Developed for military use, the jetpack has found a place in scientific research, entertainment and extreme sports. This personal propulsion device uses air, water or gas to achieve thrust. It requires proper training to ensure the safety of the pilot.
Flying drones are small, remotely controlled technological attractions. Available in several models with varying characteristics, they can carry a camera, a microphone or specific sensors. Flying drones can take photos, videos and even deliver objects.
Flying hoverboards, which were still fictional a few years ago, are futuristic transportation devices. They are flying skateboards that can carry a person without touching the ground. Trials are continuing to create a real hoverboard as seen in the films Back to the Future 2 and 3. Various technologies such as superconductivity allow the long-awaited levitation to be achieved, but usually in places designed for this purpose.
Futuristic flying vehicles appear in the movies as cars that can fly very fast in all directions. Some prototypes of these vehicles have been developed in recent years although they are not publicly available. They are powered by a variety of advanced technologies such as gas turbines, rotating wings or artificial intelligence systems.
Comparison of the different ways of flying
Non-motorised means of flight are environmentally friendly, quiet, easy to handle and can be flown at high speeds. They require training to learn how to use them. Their short range is also a disadvantage for people who want to fly for long hours. The cost of purchasing this equipment varies according to the model and manufacturer. However, a hang glider costs no less than 3,500 euros, a new glider 100,000 euros, a wingsuit 3,000 euros and a parachute 5,000 euros.
Non-motorised gliders are very sensitive to the weather. It is best to check the weather, know the right areas for the aircraft and have the best safety equipment for a safe experience. Take a look at our hang-gliding and paragliding lessons to see for yourself!
Motorised means of flight can move more quickly. They can reach remote areas and carry several passengers. However, they consume large amounts of fuel and their use under strict conditions can be complicated. Nevertheless, they are equipped with sophisticated safety systems, an advantage over non-motorised means. All aircraft require regular maintenance, which can be more expensive if there is an engine.
In conclusion, there are many ways to fly other than paragliding, from hang gliders to helicopters and microlights. Choose the best aircraft according to your preferences, the advantages, disadvantages and safety offered. Questions of environmental impact, safety and cost reduction continue to arise. However, they will certainly not be an obstacle to exploring the skies with new means.