The ploy: Navigate into the center of a city by paraglider and attack crowds from above
This scenario was suggested in the Indian media this week after intelligence experts found that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) -- the Pakistani group believed to have orchestrated the devastating attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people in 2008 -- had purchased 50 paraglider kits for, supposedly, a new attack plan.
The likelihood: Sure, suicide bombers deftly gliding into a crowded city sounds terrifying, but in reality such an attack would be incredibly difficult to pull off. First of all, paragliders must take off from a high point, meaning that an attack would either have to be launched from close hills or buildings (with a strategic location and in perfect weather conditions) or the suicide bombers would have to be towed by a car or boat -- which would be fairly difficult in the middle of a city. Second, paragliders can't just fly in any direction. Your choices of flight direction are typically governed by how the wind is blowing and by nearby obstructions. Finally, they tend to fly quite slowly (at an average of 15 mph for maximum control) and would be further slowed by weighty suicide belts or guns. If a suicide paraglider ever made it close to a crowded area, most people would be able to simply run away and authorities could easily shoot the would-be attacker down.
LeT is a dangerous terrorist organization that should not be underestimated, but unless the group manages to recruit some professional paragliders or Mumbai sprouts some bigger hills, this one should not be given too much weight.