What is paragliding and acro flying?
Paragliding is the most easy and simple way of free-flying.
It all started in the late 70's in Haute-Savoie, France, with some friends launching and flying down mountains with their square shaped ram-air parachute. Back then those wings had a really poor gliding performance and bad flying abilitites, it was just sufficient for them to take-off from a steep slope and fly down to the valley floor. From the 80's the first companies started to develop better performing paragliders and the sport started to spread out in the countries of the Alps. The first World Championships of cross country flying was held in 1989 in Austria.
Thanks to nowadays technology and knowledge, the quality and performance of the equipments has enourmously developed. And still, every year new levels of standards are set. Even beginner gliders are about to reach a glide ratio of 1:10 (sinking 1 meter while gliding 10 horizontally), with uncompromising passive safety and great stability. The currrent world record in distance flying is over 500 kilometers, flown in just about 7 hours!
Acrobatic flying started around '87-'88 as the factory test pilots were pushing the limits of their wings and performed the first ever loopings. In '99 the Spanish Raúl Rodriguez invented the maneuver called SAT which was the real beginning of modern acro-flying. With friends they founded the 'Safety Acro Team'. In the following years invented most acro maneuvers, till the Infinity Tumbling in 2004, an unbelievable and most radical looking movement ever, where the pilot is rotating vertical over the middle of the glider for just as many times as he wants. Nowadays there are close to 30 different existing tricks and maneuver connections. From a "crazy", "showing-off" movement, acro flying became a serious and very popular discipline of the sport.