Imagine parking your car at a beautiful upland vantage point on a sparkling spring day. You open the boot and don flying suit and boots, then lift out your incredibly light flying machine in its carrying rucksack and trek off a few yards to where your friends are preparing to fly.
After a few minutes spent inspecting your equipment you put on your helmet and harness, look around, allow the wind to raise the canopy of your glider and launch off into space. This is paragliding!
Developed from parachuting canopies, modern paragliders can be soared effortlessly on windward slopes, and flown across country in good conditions.
Where do you fly them from?
Pilots fly from hill sites controlled by one of the local BHPA club .
Paragliding is a great community. You'll often find championship-winning pilots comparing notes with novices. Both know that their sport is perhaps the simplest and most intuitive way of flying yet devised. If you want to enjoy the challenges that only being truly at one with the elements can provide, book a training course today
Learning to fly a paraglider
It normally takes around ten days of flyable weather to train a would-be pilot to Club Pilot level, the minimum standard required to fly unsupervised with a recreational club.
Your instructor will explain how the canopy is laid out, inflated and controlled by its brake lines. You'll then take it in turns with other members of your group to have your first short training hops down a gentle slope.
When you've become adept at ground handling, controlling airspeed and making gentle turns, you'll graduate to higher and longer flights, and be introduced to a limited amount of flying theory. This will usually be fitted in around your practical flying instruction, when the weather's not so good. Once you've completed the appropriate tasks and passed a very simple theory exam, you'll receive your Elementary Pilot award. This is the first step on the ladder of the BHPA Pilot Rating Scheme.
A further 4 - 6 days of instruction should see you well on your way to completing your Club Pilot tasks, and as things fall into place you'll learn to soar, and stay up in favourable winds so you can make longer flights.
Then, subject to a good assessment from your instructor and passing a simple theory examination, you'll receive your Club Pilot rating. This will allow you to start flying with your local recreational club, and progress towards more and more rewarding flying as your experience grows.