Parafoil vs Paraglider

  • Thread starter Charles123
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Main Question or Discussion Point

What is in a paraglider that allows it to rise in the air when in encounters rising thermals for example that a parafoil doesn’t have? Is it just the fact that paragliders have bigger canopies, therefore stronger lift? What would be the difference if they had no semi-closed air cells in the canopy? Are just about the ability to keep the canopy wide open at all times?
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I would think it's just the sum of two velocity vectors in the vertical, if the speed of the thermal updraft exceeds the down component of the gliding airfoil, then it will rise. I don't see why it would be more complex than that.
 
  • #3
CWatters
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Paragliders are designed to have a low rate of descent - for example the pilot is normally suspended in the horizontal position to reduce drag.
 
  • #4
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But between the canopies, is it just a difference in size?
Thank you
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  • #5
sophiecentaur
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I couldn't find any solid information about the essential differences between the two names, aamof. Could you enlighten me?
I have a feeling that you are basically asking about the relative merits of different wing shapes for glide angle, efficiency and manouverability. I don't think there are any simple answers to that sort of question.
 
  • #6
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Parafoil, it's a parachute of a specific shape. Its designed to jump from airplanes (mostly), therefore only to descend.
Paraglider is designed to rise also…
 
  • #7
sophiecentaur
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I would guess the difference is mainly one of wing area, then?
 
  • #8
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And what would be the difference if they had no semi-closed air cells in the canopy? Are just about the ability to keep the canopy wide open at all times?
 
  • #9
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I think the cells are to keep the 'chute from collapsing. Maybe they bleed through a bit as well, which might reduce how much lift they get from updrafts.

More to the point, parafoils are entirely capable of staying aloft on thermals. There's a spot just outside Geneva were folks can go base jump from a mountain and stay aloft pretty much as long as they want. Just trim a side to controlled spiral down before it gets dark.
 
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