AFTER the fifth unsuccessful attempt to raise the ''wing'' into the air, the frustration begins to show on the paraglider's face. Only after he had stepped off the side of the mountain to find himself floating in mid-air did it become a ''spiritual experience''. But the leap off the mountain also requires a leap of faith and, according to paraglider Mr Richard Keen, part of the rapture is the transition from a state of apprehension to actual flight. ''I've spent 27 years of my life using all of mankind's creations to try to emulate birds, including 747s and DC10s, and this comes the closest,'' said Mr Keen, a training pilot with Cathay Pacific. Paragliding, in which the flyer sits in a harness suspended by a long wing-shaped parachute, is a relatively new sport to Hongkong, appearing about 18 months ago. The Hongkong Paragliding Association has about 70 members, half of whom own their own $20,000 equipment. One instructor coaching in Sai Kung Country Park said Hongkong skies would soon be littered with paragliders, given the number of new approaches he has each day. With only two fully qualified instructors in Hongkong, and one soon to be qualified, teaching space for the $4,900 12-week course is tight at Hongkong's flying sites in Lantau, Shek 0 and Sai Kung. Many newcomers take to the sport having been enthralled by the spectacle of man riding the wind. For trainee instructor Mr Man Kam-fai, who broke his back paragliding last year, the conversion came about three years ago after watching two men who worked at the factory in China that made the wings paragliding in the New Territories. But Mr Man said paragliding had not changed his life; just his Sundays.