Powered Paragliding and Parasailing 101
Many people don't know the difference between paragliding and
parasailing. In fact, many claim that powered paragliding and parasailing
are one and the same. This misconception is probably due to the fact that
riders are both propelled into the air.
In parasailing, you need a motorized vehicle and a canopy to make you
airborne. You can't go parasailing alone, you will need an experienced
and well-trained team to drive your vehicle and inflate your canopy.
It is a common misconception that parasailing can only be done on water.
Parasailing can be both done on the sea and on land.
The common method of parasailing is aquatic parasailing, which is done in
bodies of water. This method has three types: winchboat, platform and
beach. The simplest form of parasailing is the beach type, while the most
complicated is winchboat, where a special type of boat called a winchboat
is needed to aid your landing and liftoff. Platform parasailing, where
you will ascend and descend on a platform, has waned in popularity
because of some safety issues.
Terrestrial parasailing is usually done in deserts or probably in large
areas of barren land. It is not safe to parasail on areas that are
covered in trees and shrubs because you might get snagged on the branches
of a tree during landing or liftoff. Jeeps are the usual vehicles of
choice for this parasailing method because they are sturdier.
PPG, short for Powered Paragliding, is actually very different from
parasailing. In PPG, you don't need a plane to drop you in the air or a
boat or vehicle to hoist you up. An inflatable wing and a portable-
backpack motor are just what you need to start powered paragliding. The
motor will be the one to propel you into the air, while your inflatable
wing will keep you airborne.
Major differences of parasailing and powered paragliding
The most blatant difference is that you can go solo in PPG, while
parasailing is a team effort. The manner by which a person is lifted off
also differs. You are propelled by a motorized backpack unit in PPG,
while in parasailing, you are at the mercy of wind velocity, towrope
length and vehicle speed.
You only need to listen to a few minutes of water safety lessons before
you can go parasailing. The people who must undergo special safety
training are the ones that will handle the equipment. However, in PPG,
you need to attend at least five days of training to be able to enjoy a
worry-free solo flight.