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A paraglider wing when inflated creates an aerofoil shape, and the performance of a wing in terms of flying speed and glide ratio depends on this shape. The paraglider wing is spread on a flat surface of a mountain perpendicular to the wind and after a thorough check for tangles in the lines, is connected to the harness by the pilot. A pilot while moving into the wind for take off, pulls the ‘A’ risers attached to the leading edge. The wind coming head on enters the cells of the wing. The air entering inside builds up internal pressure, till it takes on a more or less aerodynamic shape.

A three-day course is conducted wherein basic rules, ground running, knowing the glider, controlling the glider, knowledge about wind - speed, directions etc is taught and then various instructed flights are allowed for the candidates.

Tandem Paragliding

Tandem Paragliding is an exercise by which the novice Agasthyakoodamparaglider can get in the air without extensive training. In a tandem paragliding flight, the candidate can feel the joy of paragliding without actually steering the paraglider.

In a Tandem Paragliding lesson, the instructor flies a glider that is built for two and can handle over a 500 lb payload. A brief introduction to the techniques necessary and what not to do is instructed before the flight. This is an experience where the instructor manages the safety and the student gets to experience the amazing sights of soaring in a paraglider first hand.Tandem gliders are designed to carry the weight of two people and offer the flier the opportunity to take the controls and experience the sensation of flying a paraglider.

A Report of the Paragliding Prix 2008

Wagamon Destination Management Council, in association with Adventure Sports and Sustainable Tourism Academy and the Tourism Department, organised the 4th Kerala International Paragliding Championship at the beautiful hills of Wagamon here from September 23-27. This was reported as the biggest paragliding festival in south India. Breathtaking acrobaticdisplay by expert pilots including world record holders was the main attraction. ‘Tandem Paragliding’ was a highlight this time.

Sixty eight glider pilots including two women from the Agasthyakoodamcountry and abroad displayed their skills in the adventure carnival. Apart from a team from the Indian Army representing the country, more than about 20 gliders from the US, Switzerland, Italy, France, Nepal, Russia, Germany, Brazil and Thailand participated in the colourful five-day fete. The championship was held in two main categories - cross country and spot landing. Overall sunny weather and favourable wind supported the paragliders.

Visitors converged at the site in thousands to watch the spectacular show and the trial runs mandatorily conducted by the pilots and gliders to test the terrain and wind conditions. On the concluding day, cash prizes were distributed to the winners.The event had bagged the Most Innovative Adventure Tourism Activity from the Indian Government in 2008.

Efforts are on by the Tourism department to popularize the paragliding championship at Wagamon hills and make it a major attraction as the Alappuzha boat race. The Tourism department along with KTDC is gearing up to facilitate paragliding and other adventure sports in various locations in the State. The international paragliding championship is expected to get a boost through wider country wide as well as worldwide coverage in the years to come.

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