What is Paragliding?

Paragliding is an aviation sport that can open the window to a whole new world of life experiences. Paragliding adventures can range from simply driving to the top of your favourite local launch for the afternoon, to trekking to some of the most remote locations in the world.  Although paragliders somewhat resemble rectangular skydiving parachutes, (from which modern paragliding has evolved), they are now designed to keep you aloft for extended flights, soaring, climbing and sinking with the currents of the air. You can launch your paraglider from shallow slopes or on steep hills. It's a simple matter to unpack the wing, clip in, inflate the wing overhead, and then with a few running steps, become airborne.  A paraglider is small enough to be stowed in an oversized backpack and light enough to carry on your shoulders. It's so portable you can take it almost anywhere.  With the steering controls (brakes), you can easily control the direction of flight. After gaining some experience, you can begin to use the upward movements of the air, (thermal or ridge lift), to stay aloft for hours. When it's time to come down, landing can be just as simple. One of our more popular "fly-in" contests is the "spot-landing," where the object is to land on a silver dollar.  With the proper training, you can become a well-educated, safety-conscious pilot capable of choosing flights that are from peaceful and serene, to extended thermal climbs and life-changing cross-country experiences.

What is Powered Paragliding

Powered paragliding is a close cousin to paragliding, and makes a great companion to the sport, or even an exciting sport in it's own right. Flying can be done with either your existing paraglider wing, or a more specialised PPG wing.  Add the powered paraglider unit under that, and you have one of the most convenient methods of personal aviation available today.  As with paragliding, powered paragliding (PPG) has many different 'styles'. Popping out to the local field and going for an hour's flight around the local area is probably the most common type of flight, while other options include long distance flying, or even aerobatic flight as well!  While they look very similar, powered paragliding and paragliding are actually two fairly different ways to enjoy flying. With PPG, you have the ability to fly unconstrained by the shape of the terrain, or by the drift in a thermal. You can do a lot of exploring of 'uncharted' territory with a PPG, that is often not available with a PG. We are equally enthusiastic about both PG and PPG, and consider it part of our job to help you decide which sport (if not both!) is right for you!


Do I need to be super-fit?

Our Introductory Tandem Experience package is suitable for almost anyone wishing to experience flight. While we do have a max weight restriction due to the limitations of the equipment.   We have no age limit and we are happy to take aspiring pilots from the mature age of 14 to whatever!  For launch, you will need to be able to run a few steps as you become airborne. When you come in for landing, you need to be confident that you can stay on your feet and be able to absorb an 'impact' comparable to skipping the last step on a flight of stairs.  We are always happy to fly most anyone, regardless of physical ability although. Please contact us and discuss your special circumstances and we will do what we can to make the proper arrangements. With proper weather conditions and advanced notice, there are few things we enjoy more than sharing our passion with someone to might previously have thought it impossible.  For our solo programs, be aware that handling a paraglider is about finesse, not about strength. You should be in reasonable physical shape, be able to run short distances, and be able to hike up our training hills while carrying about 25kg on your back.   Powered Paragliding  Aside from the above max weight requirements, there are few restrictions on who can participate. People with pre-existing conditions such as unstable bone injuries, pregnancy, or other conditions should refrain from participating.

We are also very enthusiastic about taking pilots of all ages under our wing, but participants under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian sign the consent form and participants age 15 and under must have active parental participation in their training and/or flying adventures.  

How do I get started?

One of the best ways to get an introduction to paragliding is through our one day taster course or a tandem flight with one of our instructors.  If, on the other hand, you are already convinced that paragliding is for you, you can also sign up for either of our full Beginner or Novice Programs.  Either way, you have already completed the second hardest part in beginning your journey into the paragliding world. You have found us! Certainly, the most difficult part is just ahead of you right now, and that's making a decision.  If you want to chat about our services call and we will be glad to advise you. 

When can I expect to fly solo?

Short flights off the beginner hill usually occur by the end of the first day with any of our solo training programs. To become educated enough to make your own flight decisions, normally takes between 9 to 10 days of instruction.   Once you have completed all the necessary tasks and completed your multiple choice assessment you will be e as CP pilot and permitted to fly unsupervised in a club environment.  Obviously this sport is weather dependent and it is impossible to get 10 perfect days in a row, so be prepared to invest some time into your training. 

Is Paragliding Dangerous?

Any activity has some inherent risk. Paragliding, as with any type of aviation or adventure sport, is no exception.
With the proper education and a healthy awareness of your own personal motivations and attitudes, risk can be a minimal part of your flying experience. We have found that the single most important variable in pilot safety is the pilot himself. We spend a great deal of time educating our students how to evaluate their own skills, their attitudes, motivations, and awareness levels before each and every flight. With the ability to objectively evaluate one's own "attitude and aptitude", (which vary with each day), and when appropriate, being able to say to yourself "I don't feel up to the task today, so I'm not going to fly," paragliding can be very safe, and one of the most rewarding experiences in life.  Respect for the sport can make all the difference between a safe pilot and a dangerous one.

Do I need any special equipment?

For our Tandem and Solo Experience programs, we provide all paragliding specific equipment necessary. We actually prefer our students not have any gear prior to training so we can evaluate their individual "attitude and aptitude" and eventually help them choose appropriate gear during their training progression. You will need to bring personal items such as, suitable footwear and clothing for the cold, and enough food and water for the day.

Can I bring along a camera?

Of course!  The only requirement is that it must be secured to your person to prevent it falling in flight.  Mobile phone cameras can be used but only if they can be securely fastened.  If conditions are good your instructor will take some photos and make them available to you at no cost.  It is your responsibility to ensure that any equipment carried on your person is safe.  Your instructor cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to cameras, phones and other valuables.  

OK, so how do I schedule my training or a tandem flight?

We do require an appointment for all of our training sessions/tandem flights, since our exact location  may be dependent on the wind direction. We also prefer as much notice as possible, but that said, we may have an open slot coming up right now!  You can contact us either by phone, sms or email the night before and your instructor will advise of the conditions predicted for the day.  If it is raining or, snowing or  there are strong winds forecast, then it is unlikely any flying will take place. 

Weather and cancellations

Weather is easy, it's good or it's not.  Your safety is paramount and your experienced instructor will make decisions with your health and safety in mind.  Please trust his decision.  We make a weather call the evening before, and often on the morning of your session.   We may also make adjustments to meeting times to allow for optimal weather windows during the day. But basically, when we are choosing the conditions to fly, the safety of everyone involved is paramount and we will make our decisions accordingly.   Even though you may be disappointed you will have another chance to fly. Cancellations are fine as long as it's not an hour or two before and the instructor is already on the hill.  Normally there will be other trainees and cancellation will not cause inconvenience but please call as early as you can.   Unfortunately refunds are not available, but a reschedule will not cost you anything.