Buyer's guide paragliders

Paragliding is proven to be the safest way to fly, provided the pilot is using equipment at his/her appropriate level of training.

Wrong equipment can lead to overload and frustration and prevent a carefree and above all safe paragliding.

How do you find a paraglider that is tailored to you? 

The LTF and EN categories allow a first rough classification. It has to be noted that the categories of the two systems cover different areas.

In order to assess a paraglider more precisely, we use an even more detailed subdivision: our Papillon classification.

The Papillon classification gives you an accurate decision support. It is based on the experience of the Papillon flight instructor teams, own practical tests of our flight instructors and tests during safety trainings.

Through our classification you can see whether a paraglider is located at the top or at the bottom end of each LTF and EN category.

Our recommendations are based on a balanced mixture of safety, performance, quality and price.

If you have any questions, we are happy to advise you by phone. During our opening times you can reach us at 06654 - 91 90 55.


Below you'll find our assessment of the EN-classes. 

PAPILLON recommandations for the EN-classes


Paragliders of this classification have a maximum of passive safety and forgiving flight characteristics. The stability of these paragliders is very high and thus provides a good resistance against abnormal flight conditions.

Critical flight situations are caused entirely by pilot errors. In many cases, only a cascade of errors causes a catastrophe. Beginners and casual flyers are particularly vulnerable to commit meteorological or technical flight errors. This statement is the result of thousands of training flights per year that we perform using EN-A wings.

Due to this high level of expertise, the Papillon flight schools recommends paragliders of this class to pilots of all skill levels, from beginners to cross country pilots, who place a high value on the highest possible passive safety.

For pilots whose experience is less than 20 hours per year, we always recommend the classification A.

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This class provides by far the largest range in the sport of paragliding. Internationally EN-B wings have the greatest market share, but also lead most frequently to excessive demands of the pilots. Most of our instructors fly EN-B wings in their free time. 

The intensive exchange between teachers, manufacturers and associations also results in a ranking here. They range from so-called low-level B-wings - some of which are advertised as suitable for training - to the absolute high-end long-distance flying machine that would be classified as high performance wing even after stringent test criteria.

We recommend this class for advanced thermal and cross-country pilots with B-license who fly regularly and have advanced theoretical and technical flight skills. 30 - 50 flight hours per year, a successfully completed safety training as well as perfect ground handling are minimum requirements.

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The new EN-C class is recommended only for very experienced pilots with regular safety trainings. Pilots with EN-C wings must have perfect ground handling skills, years of experience, a few hundred flying hours and extensive meteorological knowledge.

Testing: Especially experienced pilots are trying to choose their new paragliders through own test flights. These so-called test flights are, however, often used as an excuse after accidents in the accident reports. Secure testing begins even for experienced pilots on the ground. Extreme maneuvers should only be done under expert guidance on water.

Warning: We have tested EN-C wings that are more demanding than previous DHV 3 classified ones. Since the target group are pilots with many years of flying experience, all candidates must have experience of former DHV 2 paragliders. Although the approval of a supposedly proper assessment could emerge, the new EN-C wings to some extent do not compare with the earlier DHV 2 wings.

Summary: For security reasons, the Papillon shops can generally not recommended wings of this category.

Therefore, we only sell EN-C wings to exceptionally experienced pilots, who are personally known or proved their suitability in the OLC and various safety trainings.

Pilots, who fly the EN-C wings, are automatically doing an extreme sport due to their choice of equipment. Only about 20% of all pilots choose paragliders from the classes EN-C and EN-D, but take up more than 60 % of all accidents - despite all experience.

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Equipment of this category is primarily flown by competition pilots. Test pilot skills and professional knowledge in aviation form the basic requirements. 

There are only a few known pilots, who were able to collect the corresponding number of flight hours over many years in this class without accidents. Even at the 2012 European Championship, more than 12 internationally qualified paraglider pilots crashed with their high-performance wings during the competition. 

Therefore, EN-D wings are generally not recommended. The massive risks need to be clear to all pilots.


Personal assessment of the managing director:

We recommended national and international associations to stop competitions flown with wings of this experimental class.

The author looks back at 5000h crash-free flight hours and more than 10 national titles in cross-country flight. In the 1990s, he himself flew a DHV 3 wing (compare EN-D wings). Over the years, however, many personally known pilots crashed under these wings. For many years now, as a father of three children, he flies EN-B wings out of conviction, which have preserved him the joy and passion of flying.

In 2009 he achieved his greatest competitive success. He won the Hessian State Championship in the German Cup with an EN-B wing in a field of over 100 pilots and had 30% of the points ahead of the second placed who used an EN-D wing for the competition.

Reason for the significant advantage over the competitors was the fact that the many EN-D pilots couldn’t use their speed advantage in the strong thermal air.

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