Flying RC Paragliders - How?

Flying RC paragliders is pretty easy. The principles are very similar to the full size powered paraglider, with its primary controls. That is, the steering toggles/brake handles, and power lever.

Steering is done purely by weight-shift, in the simplest models. That is, by pulling down on the lines on one side or the other, the pilot or gondola weight is shifted to the left or right. The canopy pretty much keeps the same shape while this is happening.

On more expensive models, the trailing edges of the canopy can be pulled down, one side at a time. This is rigged similarly to the brakes on a full-size paraglider.

Landing. If only left/right movement of the brakes is possible, landings are done by increasing power a little just before touch-down. Even if you forget to do this, the model will just land a bit heavier, probably with no damage!

Finally, some fancier radio gear can be used to mix 2 control stick inputs into the trailing edge brake movement. This allows slower and more controlled landings, since both brakes can be operated at once. One stick controls left/right for turning, another stick allows both brakes to come down to flare the model just before touch-down. Depending on the channels used, both functions can be combined in just 1 control stick. That would feel very natural, just like a full-size glider joystick.

Climbs and descents are very very simple! The wings fly at almost constant airspeed, so increasing power enough makes the model climb, while decreasing power enough causes a descent. Somewhere in between, there lies a power setting which will maintain constant height.

That's about all there is to flying RC model paragliders!


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