Buying your first paraglider

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This review is intended to aid buying your first paraglider here on ebay (or elsewhere), although there is some useful information for most.

The main reason people look to ebay for their purchasing is money, you can generally buy anything cheaper here than in a shop. However, there are risks involved with ebay trading, and for general advice there are a large number of very good reviews and guides to help you.

Assuming you have a grasp of buying on ebay, these are the initial considerations that any reputable non-ebay dealer will tell you;

Whilst training, you shouldn't be looking at anything other than a DHV 1 certified glider. This will see you through training and into the all important first ten 'red ribbon' hours when you are let loose on the hill. This is the time your most likely to need the glider to get you out of a sticky spot either due to a mistake or turbulent air.

There was a big improvement in glider design around 2000, so anything made previous to then should be viewed with caution. There are now plenty of more recent gliders available on the second hand market to pretty much disregard these.

Every glider ages due to time, and more importantly, exposure to UV radiation. So, gliders with a high number of logged hours will therefore have less hours life remaining. Most manufacturers give at least 1yrs warranty (to the original owner) to cover material or manufacturing faults. Others can give 250hrs/3years and even up to a lifetime warranty so this is worth doing your homework on. A very useful site can be found by googling - p@r@2000

Damage is another factor to consider, patches and repairs detract from the aesthetic appeal more than any other but this is usually reflected in price. If you are unsure, ask questions of the seller and your instructor, if you still have doubts, leave it. After all, your life will depend on it, this is your first major piloting decision. Considering that most new wings cost from around £1800 - £2700, does buying a ten year old wing for £100 - £200 sound like a good idea?

Paragliding is a fun and rewarding, yet dangerous sport, last year (May2007) a low hours pilot (approx. 25hrs) flying at Weather Fell in the Yorkshire Dales, apparently made an active piloting error on a DHV 1-2 rated wing which sent him diving into the hill, the result cost him his life. Please learn from his mistake.

I've put down these thoughts as I see too many old and obviously unsafe wings being sold here on ebay with very little care for end user safety. It all boils down to how much you value your life, usually an extra few hundred pounds will be the difference between safe an unsafe, and as a course of quality training will set you back around £1000, skimping at this stage on a wing isn't wise. Be safe, have fun!
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