Introduction to Ultralight Aviation

Homebuilt Paragliders and Hang Gliders

Looking to build your own paraglider? Or maybe a hang glider? "Don't" is the most frequent reasonable advice you will find on the web. And guess what, I am not going to encourage you either. This stuff is dangerous especially if you decide to design your own. Building from construction plans is slightly more reliable but you'll need to work really precisely. And it's a lot of work, not worth the effort.

I think this guy said it better than I could.

Hang Glider at Ed Levin Park

Saying all this, the choice is yours. There are some fans who go ahead and build their own paraglider or hang glider. Let's have a look at several interesting places and ideas that can get you going to some extent.

Building a Paramotor / Powered Paraglider

Building a powered paraglider like the one shown at the bottom of this page is entirely different matter. In this case you don't build the wing yourself. You buy wing and build the powered part (buying the motor as well). It makes a lot more sense because paragliders are available everywhere but powered ones aren't that as easy to find. And the hard work is done for you.

Beware, it's still plenty of work. This great instructable will show you how one fellow does it in 19 steps.

If the above instructable makes you feel enthusiastic you may want to explore this site. It gives a free plan for building a powered paraglider called SkyBolt and offers a kit for $725. If you'd rather build all yourself, they say the parts cost only $90. A guy who has built the SkyBolt has shared cool photos from the building process here.

Here is also this good site called Paramotor Kits, which obviously sells kits. They also sell paragliders, accessories, and complete systems. The complete systems are quite expensive though - $4,000 - $5,000 each. You should be able to save some money by using a kit. A DIY paramotor kit can be bought for less than $1,000.

More information and options for builders and assemblers are also available on the SkyTribe site.

DIY Hang Gliders and Hang Glider Plans

The situation with hang gliders is similar. It's not reommended to try building your own from scratch. Here is a good set of questions and answers that will answer why. I recommend you also read this discussion. Let's leave the bamboo stuff only for reading and fun.

However you may want to try converting a hang glider into a powered trike which is more doable. Even it is a lot of work of course.

This guy is giving some plans for free so you can check them out. He has successfully built lots of things, including a hang glider and paraglider so it's interesting to check his work.

At the end it's still better to just buy one - either new, or second hand. Or at least build from a kit. This page is suggesting several interesting models.



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