Wills Wing offers a full line of emergency reserve parachutes for hang gliding and paragliding. With good and consistent decision making, you will most likely never need to use an emergency reserve. If the worst happens, and you should encounter a structural failure, mid-air collision, irrecoverable collapse or incapacitating medical emergency, your emergency reserve is your last, best chance to avoid serious injury. Wills Wing has been selling emergency reserve parachutes since 1978, and we believe we have the best products in the industry.

Choosing the right parachute is the first step, but looking after your safety in this area doesn’t end with your purchase of a reserve. You need to maintain your parachute, protecting it from damage and having it re-packed regularly, and you need know how to use it. You can take care of both of these needs by attending a parachute seminar, practicing a simulated deployment under supervision, and then having your chute re-packed.

You can read more about the proper use and care parachute systems here.

Free Flight LARA Reserve Parachute

Wills Wing offers the LARA (Low Aspect Ratio Annular) Emergency reserve parachute for hang glider and paraglider pilots. The LARA is a higher performance alternative to conventional Conical and PDA (Pulled Down Apex) configurations. The LARA’s aerodynamically efficient shape produces a higher drag coefficient and corresponding lower descent rate during an emergency deployment. It also offers the best value (price/performance) available today.

The LARA was designed by Vertigo Inc., and is fabricated 100% in America by Free-Flight Inc. The combination of Wills Wing, Free-Flight and Vertigo assure the highest standard of quality available.

The LARA 250 was drop tested eight times by the United States military. Data was gathered at the rate of five samples per second utilizing a SOMAT data logger with on-board altimeter instrumentation. The average descent rate (corrected to sea level) with a 200 pound payload was only 17.5 feet per second! The US military uses 24 feet per second as a maximum allowable descent rate for emergency reserve parachutes. This low descent rate is comparable to the 24 gore PDA being manufactured by Free Flight Enterprises for tandem use.

Free Flight has drop tested all LARA models, with payloads 25% above nominal weight, at 90 knots. No canopies were damaged. These tests also verified the exceptional descent rate performance. (Note: Descent rates shown in the specifications below are based on average descent rates obtained in drop tests from airplanes conducted by Free Flight Enterprises. There is characteristically a significant amount of scatter in parachute drop test data).

There are no structural differences between the HG and PG canopies. The PG canopy can be converted for hang gliding applications by adding a bridle extension, however we strongly recommend a Paraswivel which is integral on the HG configuration. Without a Paraswivel, a spinning broken hang glider can close the canopy by twisting the bridle and shroud lines.

The LARA is available in three sizes (175, 250, 400) and four configurations.

Free Flight Enterprises LARA/PDA Parachute Manual 2012
Tech Bulletin #TB20060320 – Free Flight Parachute Packing Inspection (PDF file)
Paraswivel Advisory, May 2000 (PDF file)


  • The LARA Gold utilizes a Kevlar bridle and Spectra lines to reduce weight and pack volume.
  • The standard LARA has a Type 18 Nylon bridle and conventional lines.
  • The HG configuration includes a 24 foot bridle and integral Paraswivel.
  • The PG configuration includes a 4 foot bridle.
  • Durable deployment bag included
  • Designed by Vertigo Inc
  • Fabricated 100% in America by Free-Flight Inc.
  • Drop tested multiple times by the United States military
  • Aerodynamically efficient shape produces a higher drag coefficient
  • Packing Instructions Included
  • Pararswivel Included on all Hang Gliding Reserves

HG Specs

HG LARA 175 Gold LARA 175 LARA 250 Gold LARA 250 LARA 400 Gold
System Weight (lbs) 4.7 6.3 4.9 6.8 7.8
Pilot Weight (Max.) (lbs) 175 175 250 250 450
Descent Rate (f/s) 18.5
Comparable PDA Pack 18 20 20 22 24
Comparable PDA Desc. 22 22 24 24 28
Bridle Material Kevlar Type 18 Nylon Kevlar Type 18 Nylon Kevlar
Bridle Length (ft) 24 24 24 24 24
Shroud Lines Spectra Conv. Spectra Conv. Spectra
Paraswivel Integral Integral Integral Integral Integral
Sugg. Retail $930.00 $672.00 $969.00 $697.00 $1425.00

PG Specs

PG LARA 175 Gold LARA 175 LARA 250 Gold LARA 250 LARA 400 Gold
System Weight (lbs) 3.9 5.2 4.1 5.7 6.8
Pilot Weight (Max.) (lbs) 175 175 250 250 450
Descent Rate (f/s) 18.5
Comparable PDA Pack 18 20 20 22 24
Comparable PDA Desc. 22 22 24 24 28
Bridle Material Kevlar Type 18 Nylon Kevlar Type 18 Nylon Kevlar
Bridle Length (ft) 4 4 4 4 4
Shroud Lines Spectra Conv. Spectra Conv. Spectra
Paraswivel Optional Optional Optional Optional Optional
Sugg. Retail $777.00 $612.00 $816.00 $635.00 $1262.00


4/15/2011 Bill Soderquist writes regarding his parachute deployment of June 5, 2010
To the folk at FREE FLIGHT thank you for saving my life. This flight started as a simple training exercise for new aerobatic judges. I started my performance. 3 spins left into 3 spins right into a head on to the judges loop followed by an unplanned parachute deployment. I had stressed to the new aero pilots to clear their chute handle after launch and to make the move with their hand to familiarize themselves. I stress they were pushing themselves and their equipment beyond the certified limits and if needed, they had to know where the handle was. I did my normal look, clear, and reach to make sure I knew where the chute was as I fly several different harness. Then put it out of my mind as I cleared the box, started smoke and concentrated on the routine ahead. The routine went as planned through the first two spin maneuvers then I set up for my head on for the judges. As I let the bar out the left side wire broke. I expected the glider to fold then as this had happen to me long ago. The glider held and I pushed the bar out to clear myself to throw. This caused the glider to fail to the extreme. People ask what were you thinking. My practice and previous reaching made the move automatic. I didn’t think till the chute was in my hand when I hesitated to determine clear air and throw against the spin. All that was moot as the glider had gutted itself and I was in free fall. I threw as the wreckage came around and hit my arm resulting in a short throw. The extra bridle as a result fell below me I fell over the bridle just as the chute opened causing several broken ribs and knocking the air out of me. The rest of the ride was uneventful. I landed in high bushes. I got back in to harness for protection from the branches. Help arrived within minutes.
I want to again THANK the folks at FREE FLIGHT for SAVING MY LIFE. Without this opening there was 0 chance of survival.

1/7/2015 John Greynald shares his deployment experience on January 1, 2015
During the New Year’s Day fly–in at Santa Barbara, I managed to tuck and break my glider when I was only about 300ft over a rocky peak. I was extremely lucky be able to deploy my Lara 175 gold reserve just a few seconds after slamming into the bottom surface of my inverted glider. The canopy appeared to fully inflate in less than two seconds from when the deployment bag left my hand and stayed fully inflated in the same vicinity of the violent air that had just barrel rolled me past 90 in an instant. Under canopy, the wind drifted me (and my new best friend Lara) away from the cliff side of the peak and onto the brush covered side for a SOFT landing a few yards away from the only hiking trail within a half mile.
With only two broken down tubes, the topless glider stayed intact for the descent. The wings were level with the nose down about 30 deg for the touchdown at 2600’ASL. That drag slowed the descent rate by eliminating most of the 70 lbs of glider weight from the total payload, making it even slower that the specified rate as my hook-in weight was is 10% less than the 175lb optimum weight.
My decision to get the 175 Gold was based on wanting a reserve with the least amount of volume and weight possible for my tight fitting side-mount pod harness, and with my hook-in weight being less than 160 lbs., going with the 175 size didn’t seem too foolish. So, while I would not recommend getting the small size for a HG unless you’re less than 130Lbs fully clothed as I am, I strongly recommend going with the gold for two reasons I never fully considered before the deployment.
One: The spectra shroud lines are quite slippery, so the deployment is faster and with less potential for a disorderly release sequence.
Two: The much lighter weight of the Gold makes it easier to throw. I was pinned against the sail with no space for a wind-up and I know I would not have had as good of a toss if the reserve was much heavier.
Thanks Free Flight! Life is good.
John Greynald


Retail prices listed are Wills Wing's suggested retail prices not including packaging for shipment from the factory, freight costs to the destination, import and local taxes, and dealer preparation and delivery charges.