Adapting to the EN system

As humans, our natural instinct is to resist change, so when the new EN certification for paragliders arrived, we resisted the A, B, C and D class and insisted on still referring to the DHV system of a ‘1-2’ or a ‘2’. Today, seven years later, as dealers, we still get requests from pilots asking for a DHV 2 wing!

The problem with this is that a majority of pilots simply equate DHV 1 with an EN A class, a DHV 1-2 with a B class and so on, and it is not that straight forward. There is no doubt that the concept is very similar, as the definitions of EN and DHV classes in the below table show. However, the classes do not exactly correlate, and hence re-education of where your wing sits with respect to pilot ability is required.

DHV Description of pilot skills required EN



of flight characteristics


of pilot skills required



Paragliders with simple and very forgiving flying characteristics.  



Paragliders with maximum passive safety and extremely forgiving flying characteristics. Gliders with good resistance to departures from normal Designed for all pilots including pilots under all levels of training.


Paragliders with good-natured flying





Paragliders with good passive safety and forgiving flying characteristics.

Gliders with some

Designed for all pilots including pilots under all levels of training.


Paragliders with demanding flying characteristics and potentially dynamic reactions to turbulence and pilot errors. Recommended for regularly flying pilots resistance to departures

from normal flight.




Paragliders with moderate passive safety and with potentially dynamic reactions to turbulence and Designed for pilots familiar with recovery techniques, who fly “actively” and regularly, and understand


Paragliders with very demanding flying

characteristics and potentially violent reactions to turbulence and pilot errors. Recommended for experienced and regularly flying pilots.

pilot errors. Recovery to normal flight may require precise pilot input. the implications of flying a glider with reduced passive safety.




Paragliders with demanding flying characteristics and Designed for pilots well practised in recovery


Paragliders with very demanding flying characteristics and potentially very violent reactions to turbulence and pilot errors, little scope for pilot errors. For expert pilots. potentially violent reactions

to turbulence and pilot errors. Recovery to normal flight requires precise pilot input.

techniques, who fly very

actively, have significant experience of flying in turbulent conditions, and who accept the implications of flying such a wing.


As a .general definition ‘Certification’ refers to the confirmation of certain characteristics of an object, person, or organisation. This confirmation is often, but not always, provided by some form of external review, education, assessment, or audit. With regard to our Paragliders this means a number of flight, and strength tests.

Each glider is put through a number of flight tests and rated accordingly depending on the flight characteristics of the wing during the test. For example:


Manoeuvre                                                               Weight 85                                     Classification    Weight 110                                  Classification
Pitch stability exiting accelerated flight A A
Dive forward angle on exit Dive forward less than 30° A Dive forward less than 30° A
Collapse Occurs No A No A
Pitch stability operating controls during accelerated flight A A
Collapse occurs No A No A

The flight characteristics therefore describe the glider’s tendency to recover or to get out of control and fall out of the sky.

For example if you read the description for ‘C’ class gliders, what this is telling you is that with one of these gliders you could reasonably expect ‘dynamic reactions to turbulence’. A dynamic reaction to turbulence would be, say, getting some choppy air on the edge of a thermal and suddenly finding you have a 30% collapse and you need to react accordingly. The description goes on to say ‘Recovery to normal flight may require precise pilot input‘. What this means is that there is a strong likelihood that you need to input the correct actions at precisely the right time to stop a cascade of other events.

The aim of the EN norm implementation was to bring together tests which are unique and to create a repeatable standard that is documented on video. The EN certification for paragliders comprises of 24 manoeuvres, each of which is separated into the 4 classifications. EN certification is controlled by ISO.

Below we have taken the EN classes, and broken them down into two levels, within each classification.

A. Beginners

A1 Especially for training, wings for schools, exercises and the first flights.

A2 Good passive safety, good handling and excellent first wing with guaranteed fun.

B. Intermediate

B1 This is the classic basic intermediate wing with high safety, good handling and sufficient performance. A glider for life!

B2 For some years this level has improved performance wise, it should be good safety combined with good handling and performance. But the general feel from the top pilots is that these wings have become a little more demanding and maybe a little too much for the average Joe Soap pilot.

C. Sports class

C1 Good natured sports class wings, with good safety combined with performance. The original Sports class definition.

A1                              A2                                   B1                                        B2                                      C1                                          C2                              D1                               D2
Nova Prion Ozone Element 2 Advance Alpha 5

Gin Bolero 4

Gradient Bright 4 Icaro Cyber TE Independence Pioneer Mac Para Muse 3 Niviuk Koyot 2

S1 Paragliders Fides 3 Skyline Owl

Skywalk Mescal3 UP Ascent 3

Advance Epsilon 7 AirCross U Fly 2 AirDesign Rise Airdesign Vita BGD Wasp

Gin Atlas Gradient Golden4

Gradient Montane Icaro Wildcat TE Mac Para Yukon Nova Ion 3/Light Ozone Buzz Z4 Ozone Geo 3

Pro Design Thema 3 Skyline Falcon

Sky Paragliders Anakis 2 Sealk Tequila4

UP Kantega XC2

UP Makalu 3

Advance Iota Dudek Optic Gin Sprint Evo

Gradient Nevada Independence Geronimo Mac Para Eden 5

Niviuk Hook 3

Nova Mentor 3

Ozone Rush 4 Sol Ellus Five

Skyman Heartbeat Skywalk Chili 3

Sky Paragliders Atis 4 Swing Mistral 7

Triple Seven Rook U-Tum Blacklight

Advance Sigma 9 AirDesign Volt Axis Para Vega 4 BGD Tala/Lite Gin Carrera

Independence Sportster Mac Para Envy 2

MCC Insinia Niviuk Artik 3 Sol Synergy Five

SW Paragliders Antea 2 UP Summit XC3

Aircross U Cross Dudek Colt Gradient Aspen 4

Icaro Maverick 2 Mac Para Marvel Nova Factor 2

Ozone Delta 2

Skywalk Cayenne 4

Swing Astral 7 Triple Seven Queen UP Trango XC2

U-Turn  Passion

Advance Omega 8 Gin Boomerang GTO Advance Zeta             Gin Boomerang 9

Sol Torck 2               Gradient Avax XC3 Mac Para Magus XC2 Niviuk Icepeak 7

Niviuk Peak 3

Ozone Enzo 2 Ozone Mantra M6 Skywalk Poison 3


C2 Discerning sports class wings for top XC pilots with high flight numbers logged, similar to the DHV 2-3 class. A bridge into the EN D class.

D. Performance wing

D1 Demanding high performance wings, very experienced pilots.

D2 Certified 2-liner gliders, extremely demanding. Until recently this was the competition class wing, ie the highest certified wing.

CCC Civl Competition Class

This is a new class bought in this year specifically for category 1 events, and is an article on its own, read your next Go Fly!

To help you understand where some of our wings may lie  in this system below is a table of gliders rated by German test pilots against this slightly more diverse system. The table is not all-encompassing.

To truly understand where your glider sits with regards    its flight characteristics download the relevant flight test report, and see what classification it received for the different manoeuvres, and focus on the ones you feel are a priority with regard to your skill level.

It is possible to have two gliders both rated as an EN B for example, but one will have a majority of its flight characteristics rated as ‘A’ with only one ‘B’, whereas the other will have a majority of its flight characteristics rated as ‘B’, therefore the second glider is a little bit more ‘hot to handle’!

The best thing to do before buying a glider is to actually speak to your dealer as he/she should be knowledgeable of the performance of each glider in the range that they sell,   and should be able to advise you on the different flight characteristics the wing has, and depending on your skill level advise you as to which glider is best for you.

The manufacturers are also giving very concise descriptions to which pilot they are aiming their gliders at, so read up on their websites.

Sandy Cochepain, ladies paragliding World Champion, once said that ‘a majority of pilots do not fly their gliders to 100% before moving up to a new class of glider’.


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