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What is the difference between hang gliding and paragliding?
Paragliders are far easier to master than hang gliders. They are somewhat slower, thus both launch and landing speeds are slower and they do not require active piloting to keep them in level flight.

The sink rates, that is the speed at which they descend through the air, are similar for both types of aircraft, however, the hang glider is significantly faster. Therefore the glide angle of the paraglider is not as good as that of the hang glider.

Paragliders are easier to carry and transport.

Hang gliders last longer: a hang glider can easily last more than ten years, a paraglider will rarely last longer than 1000 hours flying time.

A poor landing in a paraglider rarely results in injury or glider damage. A poor landing in a hang glider will often break the uprights or worse.

Hang gliders are easier to launch when conditions are strong - not necessarily a good thing!

Paragliders have a variety of rapid descent techniques available to them and can readily escape cloud suck of 10 m/s or more. Hang gliders have no effective rapid descent techniques available so they must rely on out-running any bad weather.

In Summary: For the reasons mentioned above, paragliding has marginalised hang gliding to the point where very few choose to learn hang gliding. However, they do ultimately offer more performance and many paraglider pilots are now cross-training so that they can fly both machines. Of course if you have dreamed of flying hang gliders for many a year, then really it is hang gliding you ought to learn first!
 
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