Build Your Own Paraglider – Honest!

Well, it’s possible to ‘build own paraglider’. But it’s been pretty hard in the past to find a paraglider kit or a set of decent paraglider plans. So you have to admire the small number of enterprising companies on the web that have now made it possible to ‘build own paraglider’, and dirt cheap at that. Let’s look at a few now…

I found this paragliding website about knitted paragliders quite useful, but only with a lot of help from my sister. Mum pitched in too. Thanks Mum! And it was good to know that those hours spent learning to knit as a 6 year-old weren’t entirely wasted too.

The site offers the following information, materials and services so you can knit up your very own knitted paragliders. It’s a total package, even the lines and harness are knitted from the supplied massive skein of wool. Ordering online is straight-forward, with the usual secure credit card facilities available on the order page.

– Knitting patterns for all the latest DHV-1 paraglider designs (downloadable PDF)
– 570 km (354 miles) of premium-grade, low-porosity sheep?s wool (delivered to your door)
– A knitting needle set (machined alloy, delivered to your door)
– Supporting documentation for the trickier bits (downloadable text files)

The beauty of knitted paragliders is that when you are confident in the air, you can unravel your DHV-1 design, download a DHV-2 pattern, and knit up your first cross-country wing! Fantastic! Yes, there are patterns for some of the higher-rated wings, but naturally the prices are a little higher. Because many pilots choose to unravel/re-knit, the knitting patterns are available separately. Good to know.

Whatever you do, stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the ratio of Pearl stitches to Plain stitches over the upper surface of the wing. Failure to do so adversely affects the low-speed performance of knitted paragliders, since it thickens the boundary-layer airflow.

Here’s something else to be careful about. If you fly through some rain showers, the wool will shrink badly. But only in the fore-and-aft direction. So your wing area will go way down, and at the same time the aspect ratio goes up. So when you reach the Landing Zone, you will discover you are flying one hot racing wing buddy.. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I’ve still got grazes on my knees. Honest.

Another paragliding website you can try, this one offering oragami paragliders. This site has a secure order page through which you can order their CD. It costs $120, which I thought was a bit steep, but anyway.. The CD features a polite Japanese gentleman with a faint French accent who takes you step by step through the process of folding your paraglider.

The design is AFNOR Standard rated, and requires just a single sheet of glossy paper! A fairly heavy grade mind you. Why glossy paper, you ask? Turns out it’s quite important for reducing the depth of the boundary layer airflow over the upper surface of paper-based paragliders. Bottom line is you get an extra 2 points of L/D. If you don’t know what L/D is, you need to explore my website a bit more. 🙂

I must admit I had some trouble locating a stationery outlet that could source sheets of paper the size of my house roof. But really, despite this hassle, what a great idea. A shorter materials list than even the knitted paraglider, beats trying to work with dozens of fiddly bits and pieces that can roll off under the sofa and so on. Viva oragami paragliders!

A warning. Quite a serious one actually. I was doing some coastal soaring, and didn’t take much notice of the rain squall approaching. I should have. The handling became, you know, sort of soggy as the rain drops starting spattering my face. Next thing I knew, I was in the drink, with the sodden remains of my wing plopping down all around me. Splooosh. Plip-plup… Plop, Plip. Pip-pip-pup.

Back to the living-room table, another sheet of paper. Man, folding oragami paragliders takes forever. Not to mention the paper cuts. I’d really hate to have to re-do a tandem design, with all that wing area.

Well, trust the French to come up with wearable paragliders! In a surprise fashion hit, an almost unknown French fashion house, Para-parel, has successfully blended the long French tradition of fine fashion with the more recent French obsession with paragliding. So this paragliding website also doubles as a fashion website.

Yes, a whole line of para-apparel is available for sale after the success of Para-parel’s first airing (no pun intended) of their colorful togas, sarongs and shawls. Naturally, some compromises are evident in the resulting line of clothing. The main compromise is that when used as paragliders, these creations have a rather small wing area.

Chief designer, Claude S’ucke, has considerable experience in Alpine paragliding, but deliberately chose to go with very small wing areas for these wearable paragliders. In fact, half the clothing range is designed to be used as training wings only. You know, for practicing ‘kiting’ of a paraglider canopy.

The other half are the winter collection which are more heavily constructed. Hence they have the structural strength to be used as special heavy-weather paragliders. It was not unusual last summer to spot slope-soaring pilots braving 35 or even 45 knot breezes on the western French coast, in their colorful Para-parel wings. Everyone else was on the ground of course. Heck, even some airliners were grounded on those days.

Sorry, I’ve ignored those of you who are much more interested in the clothes. Ok, where do I start. Let’s start with the shawls. These are really stuff bags for wearable paragliders. But with carefully chosen textures and shaping, Para-parel has done a lot to revitalize the popularity of this traditional concept in clothing.

In a clever move, Claude managed to use a variety of special clasps to transform most of the detachable paraglider lines into underwear. Very daring underwear, even by French standards. Ooh la la. Similarly, clasps and brooches are used to transform the canopies of wearable paragliders into loose-fitting togas for men and flowing sarongs for women. For the wearer’s convenience, thin colored strips are sown into the fabric which highlight the most important fold lines to get the wearable paraglider look ‘right’.

As a final touch, some of the shorter detachable lines are brightly colored and double as headbands, belts and even shoelaces. Shoelaces with outrageously large and floppy bows mind you. Wearable paragliders! What a concept. Viva le para-clothing!

Finally, let’s check out the Silken Paragliders crowd from Shenyang Province in China that exclusively uses low-quality silk. Yup, a visit to this paragliding website will get you a package delivered to your door with canopy, lines, harness, everything in one lovely soft bundle. The only reason it’s ‘build own paraglider’ is because you do have to attach the lines, risers etc yourself.

Takes nearly three hours to put together, it’s quite fiddly. The instructions are terrible, they should fire their translator. On the other hand, some parts are hilarious. Found myself searching the Silken Paragliders Instruction Book for the funniest bits actually!

The whole package is only US$99. How is that possible, considering the entire paraglider + harness is pure silk? Well, remember I said it was low-quality silk they use. I emailed the webmaster and he says that only rejected skeins of silk from some of the major silk factories in China are used.

Sometimes silk-worms have ‘off days’. Funnily enough, if one starts going off they all do. And for people who know their silk, it’s just so obvious in the finished product. So the factories can’t afford to include any below-par stuff in their output of raw silk. They have to practically give it away. So it ends up in the mail-order paragliders from the sweatshops of this remote Chinese province.

If I were you, I’d order one of these beautiful hand-woven paragliders today. With the incredible growth which is occurring in the sport of paragliding, the limited supply of rejected silk is sure to prove insufficient before long. Prices will soar as the Silken Paragliders company struggles to keep up with demand.

Conclusion

So there you have it. All you need to know to get out there and ‘build own paraglider’. Fly these contraptions at your own risk. Maybe strap yourself into some nice big fluffy pillows before you take off. Or flap your arms hard. Good luck. You’ll need it. 😉

Xcel 5mm Infiniti X-zip Review – Sid’s Surf Shack

Hi,

Today we are going to be reviewing another XCEL Winter Wetsuit, this time their highly acclaimed XCEL 5mm Infiniti X-Zip Wetsuit. As we know, for the past few years XCEL have been producing award winning wetsuits and their 5mm X-Zip is another alternative to the top of the range XCEL 5mm Infiniti Drylock Wetsuit.

Below is a list of the specs to the new seasons suit:
* BAMBOO LINING, four way stretch and superior heat insulation. * 100% Ultra-stretch, ultra-soft * X Zip 2 system: short horizontal front zipper on outer flap, seal with pull cord barrel lock, ultra-stretch inner step in yoke * Durable, water repellent QuikDry SUPERLITE Neoprene * Ultra-stretch side neck panels * THERMOBARRIER Ultra-stretch texture skin upper front, back chest * THERMOBARRIER Ultra-stretch lower body * Ultra-stretch FUSION SEAMS throughout suit * Ultra-stretch PRESSURE BONDED taped seams in lower body * No hooks or loops to damage Neoprene * Double-glued and blindstitched zipper flaps, glued zipper, key pocket * Reinforced outer edge of inner neck * Double glued seams, no sewing on inside of lower body * Durable, contoured DuraFlex knee panels * Pre-bent arms, knees * Safety snap for zipper * FUSION SEAL at the Ankle and wrist

XCEL have introduced loads of great new features, mainly in the construction of the suit to help your stay warmer, and in the water longer. The suit is Bamboo Lined, which has been recycled out of Bamboo materials to provide a better heat insulation throughout the body. We’ve had this suit on for a few weeks trialing it and we were to hot and thats on a 2 hour session!

The suit itself is so flexible that you dont even realise that you’ve got a 5mm on. The quick dry superlite neoprene repels the water from the suit allowing it to dry quicker and then ready for your next sesh! The back and chest have the familiar Thermobarrier system making sure that you stay warm where it matters.

We find the suit a perfect fit based on the XCEL Size Charts available and most importantly a superb seal around the neck, wrists, and ankle’s. Water is going to find it extremely difficult to get in any of these critical areas.

If your looking at a mid-range affordable suit this winter then you have to try the XCEL 5mm Infiniti X-Zip Wetsuit. The suit has been reduced and now retails at ?194.99 and is shipped the same day free of charge from our Surf Shop.

Click on these links for a full range of XCEL Wetsuits and XCEL Boots, Gloves and Hoods to get you through the winter.

Discovering Mount Kilimanjaro

The volcano known as Mount Kilimanjaro is on the border between Tanzania and Kenya, south of the equator. This volcano has three summits considered of rather recent origin and they are; Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi. Shira and Mawenzi have had considerable erosion and have only three peaks remaining. While Kibo, the youngest, has no erosion and remains as a perfect cone.

East Africa is considered the cradle of civilization but it is thought that it would have been unlikely for early man to have tried to negotiate the steep sides of Mount Kilimanjaro. The Wachagga a tribe that lives at the foot of the volcano have been there an estimated 300 years. They enjoy the rich fertile volcanic soil. The Wachagga have legends about the volcano. One such legend that seems to be around a recent activity states that Mawenzi wanted fire for his pipe from his little brother Kibo. Another of their legends refers to evil spirits and demons that are guarding a large treasure and they live on the volcano. Many early traders have mentioned a giant mountain but have not attempted to venture there.

The highest point of this mountain was reached by Dr. Hans Meyer of Germany who reached the summit on October 5th 1889. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and many tourists come to walk to its summit. It is said that one thousand people reached the summit on January 1,2000, to view the sun rise of the new millennium. Will you see the sunrise on the summit?

Rally Driving – Simple Things You Ought To Know

Uphill and downhill drifts, heel and toe down shift, smooth acceleration, handbrake turns, and cadence braking are simply one of the important techniques in terms of driving. However, such techniques got nothing to do when you are doing the highway driving that you do all these times. This is not all about giving you a pass about driving at a very constant speed, yet this article will surely tell you something very unusual about driving rather than doing some rally driving.

We, if you are looking out for the thrilling side of driving, then getting into the world of rally driving is something that could give you one. It is something that a car racing enthusiasts is crazy about. It doesn’t only leave them with exhilarating experience, yet it is also a part of your treasured memories. Whenever you feel like driving a sports car, then stop dreaming about it and make it a reality. You could choose for rally driving vouchers and simply try your hands upon different driving techniques in order to conquer your fears.

The days are already gone in which rally driving is only limited for the skilled racers to be the professional sport. Now, it is mainly your turn to try an adventure ride at one of your favorite sports car, it can be Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Ferrari or even the Audi R8. Professional instructions that are hosting the driving session for you would surely make efforts to make your experience, one of a kind and totally memorable. They are actually the ones who make schedules for your training and give you only proficient service and help you to become better in terms of your driving skills. You won’t only be getting opportunities to learn about throttle control, power slides, braking, handbrake turns and smooth acceleration, but you will also be pushing your focus into a higher level.

On the other hand, do you have any idea about the smooth acceleration for rally driving? Well, this could be a new term for you or you might also be eager to know more about it. Whenever you accelerate from standing start and simply balance your car throughout the wheel spin, it is called as acceleration. However, smooth acceleration is when you apply the maximum torque for the tires and balance the traction against the torque by keeping it on the uppermost level. The only thing is that, it is not always possible, but for you to achieve it, the racers actually try to have some high revs along with the maintaining balance using the clutch.

If you’ve been a regular highway driver, you might not be familiar with drifts. Nonetheless, if you have been a freak of V8 supercar, there is a greater chance for you to know about the angles of drifting. Upon the slopes of the road, the angles will surely change. Apart from these, the angles also change when the rear or the front wheels push or pull down the car. This is what rally driving is all about.