Reserves for Paragliding. What are there and which one to choose?

My students often ask: “Which reserves for paragliding should I choose?”. There is a lot of information about rescue systems, but most often, this information is aimed at selling a certain type of rescue system, it is touted in every possible way and it is easy to buy into it. But in choosing a rescue system, you need to be careful, weighing all the pros and cons, because the pilot's life depending on it is in a critical situation.

Reserves for Paragliding - history of creation

The first parachute was invented back in tsarist Russia in 1912 by G. E. Kotelnikov, a native of St. Petersburg.

It all started with the fact that in 1910, at an air show near St. Petersburg, Russian pilot Lev Matsievich died in front of the inventor. Thanks to the sponsor Wilhelm Lomych, after two years of perseverance and diligence, Gleb Kotelnikov was able to create and test the world's first backpack parachute called RK1. It was made of silk fabric, had a round shape and fit into a rigid metal container, the total weight of which was no more than nine kilograms.

The news of Kotelnikov's new invention quickly spread around the world and Gleb's sponsor, Wilhelm Lomych, decided to sell the technology to the French, and they, having made minor changes, would release their own series of parachutes that would be popular all over the world.

In 1915, Prince Alexander Mikhailovich, at the state level, issued a prohibitive decree on the manufacture of RK1. It was due to the fact that, at the slightest danger, pilots left expensive aircraft, and it was unprofitable for the state.

Eleven years later, in 1923, Gleb designs a new parachute called RK2, and a year later, the young designer completes the RK3 project by modernizing its knapsack. Аfter Gleb Evgenievich will replace the heavy metal container with a comfortable, soft one made of dense fabric. It all was made on the basis of the patented technology PK3, by which it began manufacturing parachutes equipment around the world.

Rescue parachute or reserve?

Aviation rescue systems, like many others, are used in emergency situations: their main purpose is to save lives. A reserve parachute is a reserve and assumes the presence of a main one. Accordingly, the reserve is for paratroopers. Most paragliding pilots have only one rescue parachute available. Therefore, he cannot be called a spare.

Recently, paragliding harness systems have been designed to accommodate several parachutes at once. In this case, one of them can be called - spare.

In aviation, the abbreviated term RP is used for a reserve parachute, and for the rescue system RS.

Rescue parachute certification - what is it?

The safety of rescue parachutes is closely related to their certification.

There are many certification committees, associations that conduct flight tests and certify paragliding equipment. Every year, paragliding develops and improves, changes and amendments are made to the certification system, new certification commissions appear, more adapted to safety standards.

DUVL is an ultralight aviation association. International member of the Aeronautical Federation and the German Olympic Sports Confederation. Specialize in paragliding wings, PPG systems, paratrikes, aero shooters, gyroplanes. Conducts tests and issues certificates of conformity. Licenses pilots and accredits flight schools within the country. Registered in 1982, for the legalization of the German SLA.

DHV - Hang Gliding Association founded in Germany in 1995.

LTF - modified DHV safety certificate - meeting the German paragliding safety certification requirements.

ACPUL is an association of designers, founded in France in the early 90s.

AFNOR is a modified French certification scheme that replaced ACPUL in 1994.

DGAC is a French organization for quality control.

EHPU is the Union of hang gliders and paragliders of the European Union.

CEN is a European standardization committee, which includes more than 25 countries and organizations of the European Union (DIN, AFNOR, SNV, etc.). It is divided into two groups: TC 136 (all sports) and WG 6 (paragliding). WG 6 integrates many flight tests such as EN - 926, EN 12491, LTF 91/09 etc.

Each certification committee has its own standards for passing load tests. For example, EN (CEN 12491) conducts two identical tests to open a joint venture at a speed of 28.8 km/h. At the same time, LTF, in order to pass the same test, uses three load tests, many times higher than the load requirements of CEN, one of which is the high-speed deployment of the SP in free fall.

According to the rules, a rescue parachute must comply with at least one of the international standards for certification of paragliding equipment EN 12491 or LTF 91/09.

Now that we have figured out what to look for, let's compare all types of rescue systems and choose the best option for you.

What are the rescue parachutes

Rescue systems come in many different types and unusual shapes: Round, Square, Pentagonal, Polygonal, Controlled, and even pyrotechnic.

The main types of modern rescue parachutes:

• Pulled-Down Apex PDA
• Cruciform (Square)
• Pentagonal
• Rogallo - with a triangular wedge-shaped configuration
• Square-Round (SQR)
• Rescue systems MAGNUM (secure apart from other things rocket)

All rescue systems have their pros and cons - consider each of them.

Pulled-Down Apex PDA

For small and ultralight aircraft, where speeds and altitudes are low, a round, slotted parachute with a retracted apex was developed. Thanks to this design, it was possible to achieve a high filling rate and damping of the increasing pendulum effect. These parachutes have been on the market for over 30 years and have managed to prove themselves.

Advantages of the round rescue system:
• EN-12491 certification as well as LTF-91/09
• has a round shape, retracted top and slit design
• Thanks to the slotted design and the retracted top, it was possible to reduce the buildup and reduce the filling time by three times, compared with a standard-type joint venture, according to the technology of G. E. Kotelnikov
• stability in filling
• ease of repacking
• adapted to all paragliding harnesses
• lowest cost

Cons of a round rescue system:
• disclosure speed compared to other models of RS
• increased buildup according to the pendulum principle
• sink rate (5.8 m/s) or more
• in a strong wind, after landing or splashdown, it takes a lot of effort to extinguish the RP
• no controllability

Pulled-Down Apex PDA - the simpler, the more reliable.

Cruciform (Square)

Square-type Rescue systems appeared recently in ultralight aviation and in many respects surpassed their round counterpart.

Advantages of a Cruciform (Square):
• EN-12491 certification as well as LTF-91/09
• thanks to the new non-traditional shape, inflation increased by 35%, no more than 4 seconds, allowing you to work efficiently at low altitudes (the percentage of entanglement with the paraglider also decreased)
• swing on the pendulum became more stable, which had a positive effect on the rate of descent (no more than 4.6 m/s)
• with the same characteristics of round and square RP, gain in weight up to 15%
• relatively stable parachuting mode, even with a strapped paraglider
• some models of square RP are equipped with slings for correcting sinking
• adapted to all paragliding harnesses

Cons of a Cruciform (Square)
• descent rate (4.6 m/s) compared to controlled RP
• In strong wind it requires a lot of effort to extinguish the canopy upon landing.
• most square joint ventures are unmanageable
• slight buildup on the pendulum (in comparison with controlled wedge-shaped RP)
• price + 40% or more (compared to round RP)

The unconventional form of the parachute has proven itself only on the positive side. The nuances can also include subtleties in repacking.


The Pentagonal RP is an innovative design of High Adventure's with impressive performance, low sink rate and lightning fast pendulum swing damping.

Advantages of a pentagon RP:
• EN-12491 certification as well as LTF-91/09
• filling no more than 4 seconds, allowing you to work effectively at low altitudes, the percentage of entangling with a paraglider has also decreased
• sink rate up to 5.2 m/s
• thanks to the five-slot design, instant damping of the pendulum
• stable parachuting mode, even with the paraglider not strapped on
• adapted to all paragliding harnesses

Cons of a pentagon RP:
• high sink rate - 5.2 m/s
• after landing or splashing down in a strong wind, it requires a lot of effort to extinguish the canopy
• ungovernable
• the highest price among round RP


The Rogallo rescue parachute is a revolution in rescue systems! The wing is made of a single-layer synthetic material and has a wedge shape. There are many positive aspects to this design.

Advantages of a Controlled RP:
• EN-12491 certification as well as LTF-91/09
• filling that exceeds all norms and standards of certification tests - no more than 3 seconds
• due to the possibility of transition to level flight, the rate of descent is less than 3.9 m/s
• pendulum swing is minimal
• after filling, like any other RP, it enters a stable parachuting mode, but as soon as you take the control lines, the magic begins - the parachute switches from a stable vertical descent mode to a horizontal flight mode
• safer than an uncontrolled descent under the canopy of a round parachute, with a descent rate of 5.8 m/s
• it is possible to connect the rescue parachute halyard to the main carabiners of the harness system (optionally it can be used in conjunction with a reserve parachute)
• adapted to all paragliding harnesses

Disadvantages of a controlled RP:
• each owner of a controlled miracle of technology is desirable to learn how to use it in advance
• when opening, there is a possibility of twisting the lines (twist)
• time-consuming and costly repacking process
• weight + 20%
• one of the most expensive joint ventures

Controlled rescue systems are a godsend for a competitive paraglider.

Rescue parachute Ram-air cut-away

The TROLL double-shell rescue parachute, presented by ATAAIR, has proven itself in the circles of BASE jump and ACRO pilots. The guys from the French company Supair in 2011 designed an innovative harness for paragliding with the loud name Acro base system, integrating the TROLL wing, borrowed from the BASE system, into the harness.

Advantages Ram-air cut-away:
• reliability of disclosure, time-tested
• minimum opening speed - 2.2 seconds
• low sink rate - 2 m/s
• controllability
• no pendulum after opening
• best flight quality

Cons of the Ram-air cut-away:
• recommended, safe use, not lower than 100 meters
• adapted only to the paragliding harness Acro base system
• time-consuming and costly repacking process
• highest price

Are you spinning ACRO? If prosperity allows - Acro base system is exactly what you need.

Square-Round (SQR)

Hybrid rescue system circle in the square! - Square Round (SQR) A new version that combines the advantages of a round and square joint venture! Innovative design better performance than round and square SPs It didn't turn out bad in my opinion.

Thanks to additional channels for air exhaust, the developers managed to provide additional pendulum stability. Reduced risk of specular effect compared to squares or controls. Usually certification tests only show what happens to the spares without a paraglider attached to the pilot.

In this case, we see how the developers have made every effort To create a technological rescue system primarily for the pilot. Deploys securely in various situations and resists the paraglider with the least impact on sink rate. Overall easy to operate with minimal pilot requirements. You can say perfection!

Pros: faster opening, more stable descent, lighter weight, small volume (compared to round ones), there is a slight offset to the side

Cons: no management, and of course the cost is from 550 euros

Rescue systems MAGNUM

The main difference between the rescue systems Magnum and all of the above is the presence of an exhaust rocket, behind which a round-type rescue parachute with a retracted top is installed. In this case, the pilot just needs to press the button and after 3 seconds the rescue parachute will be filled.

Advantages of the MAGNUM rescue system:
• certification DULV, LAA CZ, USA
• automatic entry saved the system with a button
• instant filling in less than 3 seconds
• packed in a shockproof, waterproof metal container (also packed in a lightweight waterproof container made of special fabric)
• Depending on the size of RP is applicable for aircraft weighing from 150 to 2400 kilograms.

• cost (the most expensive rescue system on the market)
• the manufacturer recommends every 5 years to carry out an expensive repacking process with the subsequent replacement of the exhaust rocket (the guarantee for opening is given by the manufacturer, after the rescue system has been repacked)
• the cost of the repacking process and additional transportation costs
• weight is 250% higher than all of the above
• uncontrollable.

Which rescue system to choose?

So which rescue system is right for you? I must say right away that it all depends on your level of piloting and, of course, financial capabilities.

Level - beginner

When choosing your first RP it is better to seek advice from a specialist. If, however, this cannot be done, everything that I will share below will benefit you.

Let's start with the fact that the service life of a new rescue system is no more than 10 years from the date of its production, even if the parachute has never been used. The fabric deforms over time, wears out, noticeable traces of wear appear and the parachute should be replaced. Therefore, do not buy a used parachute without knowing its history.

For most of my students who choose to train with their equipment, I advise spas. square or pentagonal systems. Yes, they are more expensive than round ones, but they are more stable when filling and at the moment of descent. From personal experience, I note that with the advent of square rescue parachutes, round slotted parachutes with a retracted top, from a technical point of view, have become obsolete and morally obsolete. But still, many paragliding schools continue to recommend them, inclining their cadets to buy cheaply, since price is important for many of them.

Personally, I think that it is more appropriate to pay attention to the characteristics, certification and quality of the material. This can play an important role in the future, because over time your level of piloting will increase, you will fly in more difficult conditions and probably in the near future you will need to purchase a new lifeguard. a system that suits your risks and needs. Pay attention to the lineup saved. systems from the following companies: Niviuk, Ozone and NOVA.

I advise you not to save on equipment, but still, if there is a financial problem, but you really really want to fly, buy a round rescue parachute and enjoy the flight.

Paragliders who fly in d best cases only on weekends or only in pleasant mild conditions, away from a large number of other beginner pilots (like themselves), may choose round rescue systems. But if finances allow, I recommend taking a square or a pentagon.

Confident Pilot

You flew your first 50 hours and you were drawn to the adventure? It's time to think about more thorough safety and pay attention to advanced, controlled rescue systems. Of all manufacturers and models managed rescue systems, pay attention to the RP Krisis Rogallo and Beamer 3. In fact, these two parachutes are the same and justify their cost.

Cross-country flights

If you fly long cross-country flights, and they run through great heights, or you are just starting your journey in paragliding, choose a controlled rescue. system. During all the time of my paragliding flights, I have seen different situations of using rescue systems. Having experienced round, square and steerable rescue parachutes, preferring the steerable one. I had to splash down in rivers and lakes, nest in trees, on the roofs of houses, and even power lines. It's annoying when you are carried to an obvious danger, and you can't do anything about it. managed rescue. The system helps to avoid such situations.

Remember, even with the proper use of RP, you will probably stay alive, but only God knows how much your health will suffer.

For each type of flight, a different RS is suitable

As a pilot with sufficient experience, I can say that RS should be selected according to the types of your flights. Let's take my example. I use several sets of paragliding systems for certain purposes, I choose and stack the RP depending on my needs, taking into account what terrain I will have to use in case of need.

I chose the OCTAGON-2 square-type parachute especially for VolBiv flights, because here every gram counts. Yes, it is not the lightest, but its characteristics are suitable for my needs. With this rescue. I have been flying the system for several years now and have had to put it into practice. I was pleasantly surprised by the speed of filling, lowering and, in general, the stability of the entire system. It is quite easy to repack, I always do it myself

For xc competitions and long cross-country flights where weight plays an important role, but not like in the case of VolBiv, I use the more comfortable harness Gine race 4, which can accommodate two parachutes at once, the main controllable Krisis Rogallo 2 and a spare round lightweight one.

For flights with a motorized paraglider, I prefer a controlled RP, since in the case of its use, the landing will be with extra weight on the shoulders in the form of a motor. For me and my iron friend with a propeller, it is much safer and more comfortable if the landing is controlled.

When I fly in tandem, I use lightweight round, square or steerable rescue chutes. Again, starting from the flight plan, I try to approach the choice of the RP as carefully as possible. In my practice, I have never had to use a rescue parachute in tandem, as the safety of the passenger is my priority, and I never take unnecessary risks. But I had to observe a lot of unpleasant situations with my colleagues.

Try to fly as safely as possible, know how to refuse a flight, if you see that the weather is unfavorable - manage your risks. Also, sometimes I fly a paratrike equipped with a Magnum 250 pyrotechnic rescue system. I have never actually used it, but it is very comfortable to fly with such a system on board, realizing how stable it works.

And in conclusion

Dear pilot, strive to fly beautifully, safely and comfortably, not only for yourself, but also for those around you. Control the technical condition of the equipment on which you fly. Don't neglect refresher courses.

Move forward, gaining new experience, skills and abilities. Strive to be one with your equipment and the element you are in. Improve, do not forget to smile and enjoy every moment of your flight and life in general.


Alyssa Lim
Alyssa Lim
16:29 07 May 22
It was worth it! The mountain views while flying were amazing! My boyfriend and I flew at the same time with Dimitri & Sergey -... that was a memorable experience for us 🤍🇬🇪 Pilots are the best - the whole ride was easy. Thank you Team skyatlantida for making it happen! We’ll do it again during summer/snow! ☺️read more
Ahmad Jurri
Ahmad Jurri
08:33 27 Mar 22
It is one of the most beautiful thing I ever done in my whole lifeThe pilot “Demetri” is one of the best pilot everVery funny... and make the journey so excitedI’ll do it again with him and I recommend it for everyone if you ever would like to do this in Gadaouri just do it with DemetriThank sooooooooo much 🌹💜read more
aziz super
aziz super
11:34 27 Sep 21
It’s wonderful experience with brave heart peoples hope fully next time i will come and do it againThanks a lot all Paragliding... familyRegard’sArifread more
daniel shtern
daniel shtern
04:22 21 Sep 21
The team very professional. Great experience . I will safe with the guide. All I need it only to enjoy the view
15:53 07 Sep 21
Amazing! Have done this for the first time and felt well and comfortable with instructor Dima. Professional and safe. Highly... recommended. Thank you and see you guys again!read more
18:05 30 May 22
Это был мой первый опыт полета на параплане 🪂Все оказалось не так страшно, как ожидалось.Было очень круто, впечатления... на всю жизнь 😍Виды гор просто шикарные 😲Ребята из SkyAtlantida просто супер❤️В общем всем рекомендую 👍🏻read more
Ирина Комарова
Ирина Комарова
18:23 14 Oct 21
Это просто невероятные ощущения и восторг. Спасибо Анатолию, это был мой первый полет и лучшего инструктора не найти 🙂
masrur kholmatov
masrur kholmatov
16:47 10 Oct 21
Первый раз летал на параплане, было очень, очень круто. Профессиональная команда, обязательно вернусь ещё раз полетать к вам :).
Вера Голубева
Вера Голубева
16:13 27 Sep 21
Отмечала день рождение в Грузии, и одним из подарков был полет 😻Могу сказать, что это нужно попробовать каждому,... непередоваемые эмоции, сумасшедшая красота вокругОтдельное спасибо Анатолию, он сразу вселяет в тебя спокойствие и уверенность 🥰А если вы не боитесь экстрима соглашаетесь на " покрутиться" ни один аттракцион не заменит эти ощущения 😻 грузия страна непередоваемых красот , обязательно посмотрите её с высоты 100 метровСпасибо за то что вы делаете ) это было wow🇬🇪💙read more
Иван Зиновьев
Иван Зиновьев
06:19 23 Aug 21
Потрясающие виды, прикольный водитель, весёлый и опытный пилот, это было лучшее место и команда, чтобы попробовать... параглайдинг!Спасибо большое 🤗🥳read more
Alyssa Lim
Alyssa Lim
16:29 07 May 22
यह इसके लायक था! उड़ते हुए पहाड़ के नज़ारे अद्भुत थे! मेरे प्रेमी और मैंने एक ही समय में दिमित्री और सर्गेई के साथ उड़ान भरी - यह... हमारे लिए एक यादगार अनुभव था - पायलट सबसे अच्छे हैं - पूरी सवारी आसान थी। ऐसा करने के लिए धन्यवाद टीम स्काईअटलांटिडा! हम इसे गर्मी/बर्फ के दौरान फिर से करेंगे! ️read more
aziz super
aziz super
11:34 27 Sep 21
बहादुर दिल के साथ यह अद्भुत अनुभव है, लोगों को उम्मीद है कि अगली बार मैं पूरी तरह से आऊंगा और इसे फिर से करूंगासभी पैराग्लाइडिंग... परिवार का बहुत-बहुत धन्यवादसादरआरिफread more
daniel shtern
daniel shtern
04:22 21 Sep 21
टीम बहुत ही पेशेवर है। महान अनुभव । मैं गाइड के साथ सुरक्षित रहूंगा। मुझे केवल दृश्य का आनंद लेने के लिए इसकी आवश्यकता है
15:53 07 Sep 21
अद्भुत! ऐसा पहली बार किया है और प्रशिक्षक दीमा के साथ अच्छा और सहज महसूस किया है। पेशेवर और सुरक्षित। अत्यधिक सिफारिशित। धन्यवाद... और आप लोगों को फिर से मिलते हैं!read more
Mohammad Al-Hadrusi
Mohammad Al-Hadrusi
14:58 26 Apr 22
واحدة من افضل التجارب الي عملتها في جوريجيا اشخاص جدا محترفين انا طلع معي شخص اسمو انطوني دمه خفيف و كثير شاطر صراحة واحدة من... اجمل التجارب و كلفتني 250لاري.read more
The long way
The long way
15:29 20 Mar 22
ممتع جداً تجربة عظيمه ..
عبدالكريم الرحيمي
عبدالكريم الرحيمي
14:04 25 Sep 21
تجربه جداا جميلهو فريق متمكن ورائع 👍🌹وبإذن الله راح اعيد التجربه
daniel shtern
daniel shtern
04:22 21 Sep 21
الفريق محترف للغاية. تجربة رائعة . سأكون بأمان مع الدليل. كل ما أحتاجه فقط للاستمتاع بالمنظر
Alyssa Lim
Alyssa Lim
16:29 07 May 22
这是值得的!飞行时的山景真是太棒了!我和我的男朋友和 Dimitri & Sergey 同时飞行 - 这对我们来说是一次难忘的经历 🤍🇬🇪 飞行员是最好的 - 整个旅程很轻松。感谢 Skyatlantida... 团队让这一切发生!我们会在夏天/雪天再做一次! ☺️read more
aziz super
aziz super
11:34 27 Sep 21
daniel shtern
daniel shtern
04:22 21 Sep 21
15:53 07 Sep 21
惊人的!这是第一次这样做,并与教练 Dima 感觉良好和舒适。专业又安全。强烈推荐。谢谢你们,再次见到你们!
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