Paragliding is an adventure sport practiced as a recreational as well as a competitive sport. Paragliders use a special parachute, known as a paragliding wing, to catch air currents and soar over the countryside. They are towed into the air by winches or run down mountains or hillsides to take off. In cross-country competitions, the winner is the one who completes the course in the fastest time or the one who flew furthest if no one completes the course. The sport can be traced back to 1952 when Domina C. Jalbert advanced gliding parachutes with multi-cells and controls. A French engineer, Pierre Lemoigne presented improved parachute designs in 1961 that led to the Para-Commander. The first official FAI World Championships of the sport took place in 1989 in Kossen, Austria.
The goal in the cross-country competitions is to fly round a predetermined course with a start, 4-6 turn points and a finish line. In aerobatic competitions, the goal is to perform some manoeuvres either individually or in pairs. In Bivouac flying competitions, the objective is to follow a particular route and flow or hike over several days.
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