We designed and built a reduced-scale model experiment to study the paragliding inflation and launching phase at given traction force. We show that the launch trajectory of a single skin glider is universal, that is, independent of the exerted force. As a consequence, the length of the take-off run required for the glider to reach its “ready to launch” vertical position is also universal. We successfully compare our results to full-scale experiments and show that such universality can be understood through a simple theoretical model.

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