Paragliding can be both a recreational and competitive flying sport. A paraglider is a free-flying, footlaunched glider aircraft. The pilot sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing, whose shape is formed by its suspension lines and the pressure of air entering vents in the front of the wing.

Despite not having an engine, paraglider flights can last many hours and cover hundreds of kilometers, though flights of 1 or 2 hours and covering a few tens of kilometers are more common. By skillful exploitation of air currents, a pilot can gain height, often climbing to several kilometers over the surrounding countryside.

Paragliders are unique among aircraft in being easily portable. The complete equipment packs into a rucksack and can be carried on the pilot’s back, in a car or on public transport. In comparison with other air sports this substantially simplifies travel to a suitable take off spot as well as the selection of a suitable landing spot for the return