Is paragliding safer than skydiving

What is the difference between paragliding and skydiving?

Are paragliding and skydiving the same thing? What are the differences? We offer a comparison between these two extreme sports. You will better understand the essence of the activities and distinguish them from one another.
Paragliders and parachutes serve different purposes. If you have any questions on the topic, read on! The answers are below.

What is paragliding?

Paragliding is a non-motorized foot flight. You glide through the air and sit in a harness that is attached to a parachute. Paragliding is a recreational and competitive sport.

What is skydiving?

You get off a plane and fly to Earth from a high point. You control the speed during the descent with the help of a parachute. It is a leisure activity and a competitive sport.

What is a powered parachute? Is it the same as powered paragliding?

The powered parachute (PPC-powered parachute) is a type of aircraft that consists of a parafoil with a motor and wheels. It can be difficult not to confuse the PPC with powered paragliding. But here are some facts to help you tell the differences:

  • Paragliders use their hands to operate the steering controls. Powered parachute steering controls use handlebars that are pushed by the foot.
  • Paragliders are always made of more powerful parafoil that appears thinner.
  • A PPC is quite large and also very heavy. A powered paraglider is small and light. It's a lot easier to carry around.


The equipment for skydiving consists of the following components:

  • a container / wiring harness system
  • a main parachute
  • a reserve parachute
  • an automated activation device

A skydiver can also wear eye protection, a helmet and an altimeter.

The equipment for paragliding:

  • the wing
  • dishes
  • Variometer
  • radio
  • GPS

Paragliders can also wear eye protection. The helmet and reserve parachute are a must.
The parachutes and the paragliders are similar types of canopies. However, they consist of different substances. The paraglider also has more surface. The parachute is a fabric canopy. It's quite heavy compared to a paraglider. It fills with air and allows you to descend slowly if you fall off an airplane. The paraglider is already open at the start, while the parachute should be opened in free fall. They use a paraglider to glide forward and maneuver into the sky, while the main purpose of a parachute is to stop the fall.


When it comes to extreme sports, you have to be focused and listen very carefully to your instructor. Look for a good instructor who will teach you how to fly as safely as possible.
Always check your equipment before flying a paraglider. Check the weather conditions as well as the wind speed.

Weather conditions are also important for skydiving. All reserve roofs are unpacked every three months and checked by an experienced packer. The reserve roof is automatically opened by the automated activation device if you cannot provide it yourself.

You can practice skydiving without jumping. Vertical wind tunnels will help you practice free fall. These are wind tunnels that move the air up in a vertical column. There are also virtual reality simulators that you can use to practice parachuting.

Paragliding competitions versus skydiving competitions

As you look at the disciplines, you will see the possibilities these extreme sports offer. You will have a better understanding of the differences between paragliding and skydiving. You will be able to tell the difference between these two sports.

Paragliding competitions

Here are the disciplines of paragliding.

Cross-country flight

Cross country flying or simply XC is currently the most popular paragliding competition. You need to be skilled and know everything about air law, aeronautical charts and flight regulations. Usually the distance is between 50 and 100 km. The route is indicated by markers that you must cross in the correct order. Your goal is to complete the course as quickly as possible.

Paragliding acrobatics

Paragliding acrobatics is a spectacular event. You have to perform certain maneuvers in the air. The most technical maneuvers are rated best. In this type of competition, you have several rounds to perform stunts and to score maximum points.

Bivouac flies

In this competition you have the right to walk and sleep. You needed crossing points and the route must have flown or hiked over several days. You have to be mentally strong to participate in this.

Skydiving competitions

There are quite a few skydiving disciplines. Some of them can be done not only outdoors, but also indoors. World championships take place every two years. Here are some of the most popular disciplines:


There are currently two artistic competition events: Freestyle and Freefly. They fly in different vertical orientations. The positions increase your speed.

Formation jumping

Several participants attach themselves to one another using the "grippers" on their overalls or grabbing one another by the limbs as they freely fall through the sky. You need to form a formation of several skydivers arranged in a geometric pattern.

Target jumping

Target jumping or the "classic" is performed under an open parachute. You need to touch down on a target - a deep foam mattress or an air-filled landing pad. The center of the target is only 2 cm in diameter.

Cap formation jumping

Also called Canopy Piloting or CREW. Participants must quickly open their parachutes after jumping off the plane. You have to fly in close proximity to each other. The goal is to create different formations by “docking” (taking handles) onto the parachutes of other jumpers. This requires at least 2 people but can have a lot more.

Jumping style

The goal is to achieve maximum speed and perform a series of maneuvers as quickly and precisely as possible. Their speed can exceed 400 km / h.

The bottom line

It looks like these two extreme air sports are really different from each other. But both are also very interesting and can offer incredible experiences and memories.