Paragliding is the recreational and competitive adventure sport of flying Paragliders: lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure. The pilot sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing consisting of a large number of interconnected and baffled cells. Wing shape is maintained by its suspension lines, the pressure of air entering vents in the front of the wing and the aerodynamic forces of the air flowing over the outside.
Despite not using an engine, paraglider flights can last many hours and cover many hundreds of kilometers, though flights of 1–2 hours and covering some tens of kilometers are more the norm. By skillful exploitation of sources of lift the pilot may gain height, often climbing to altitudes of a few thousand meters.
Paragliders are unique among soaring aircraft in being easily portable. The complete equipment packs into a rucksack and can be carried easily 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 takeoff spot, the selection of a landing place and return travel.