DHV classification of paragliders
The classification scheme gives a scale for the level of pilot skills required for safe operation.
The classification is obtained through test flights as part of the DHV type test procedure. These tests are meant to provide safety relevant information, but certainly not to measure performance.
The overall classification of a glider is found by taking the highest (e.g. most demanding) classification obtained in any single test flight category.
The classification of a paraglider may contain a suffix denoting the restriction to a certain class of harnesses to be used with this glider.
|1||Paragliders with simple and very forgiving flying characteristics.|
|1-2||Paragliders with good-natured flying characteristics.|
|2||Paragliders with demanding flying characteristics and potentially dynamic reactions to turbulence and pilot errors. Recommended for regularly flying pilots.|
|2-3||Paragliders with very demanding flying characteristics and potentially violent reactions to turbulence and pilot errors. Recommended for experienced and regularly flying pilots.|
|3||Paragliders with very demanding flying characteristics and potentially very violent reactions to turbulence and pilot errors, little scope for pilot errors. For expert pilots.|
|G||Only explicitly listed types of harnesses|
|GH||"H"-braced harnesses - any group GH harness may be used with that glider (=almost all modern DHV-certified harnesses)|
|GX||Cross-braced harnesses - any group GX harness may be used with that glider|
|Biplace||Certified for biplace operation|
|Y||Hang type harness (for historic reasons)|
The performance of today's class 1 and 1-2 gliders is pretty close to the performance of more demanding gliders. As their good-natured flight characteristics give a high level of active and passive safety, they are recommended to anybody who doesn't fly regularly or whose motivation to fly is fun rather than ambition.
On the other hand class 2 gliders, who were formerly used in training, due to their higher speed-potential today require an actively flying pilot who knows how to recover from abnormal flight situations.
Experienced pilots of course will like their handling characteristics and their high rate of active safety, which is combined with a level of performance equalling that of high performance competition wings just a couple of years ago.
When viewing test reports you should bear in mind that test flights are flown and evaluated in a well-standardised manner, as this is the only way to achieve reproducible test results. This gives you an objective scale to compare gliders, but any statement concerning in-flight characteristics applies in absolute precision only to manoeuvres flown in a standardised manner under perfect test conditions.
Any safety relevant observations of the test pilot which are not covered by the standardised test flight evaluation are quoted under "Additional flight safety remarks" at the end of the test report.