Hang Gliding & Paragliding Frequently Asked Questions

Bookmark WFFF Hang Gliding and Paragliding Frequently Asked QuestionsWelcome to our Hang Gliding & Paragliding Frequently Asked Questions section. Please select one of the following 10 questions, or click on the appropriate link to view the next 10 frequently asked questions (FAQ).

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Frequently asked questions

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Are hang gliding and paragliding safe?
Are there reciprical flying arrangements within the WFFF?
Can I teach myself to fly a hang glider or paraglider?
Can WFFF members borrow equipment from the Federation?
Do WFFF clubs offer hang gliding instruction?
Do WFFF clubs offer paragliding instruction?
Do WFFF clubs usually offer coaching?
Do you launch hang gliders and paragliders by jumping off a Cliff?
How do I learn to fly a hang glider?
How do I learn to fly a paraglider?

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Q: Are hang gliding and paragliding safe?
A: Like most adventure sports, there is an element of risk, but in general the sport is as safe or as dangerous as you make it.

Correct instruction from a BHPA registered school, learning to "read" the prevailing conditions, and flying a wing appropriate for your own level of experience all help to reduce the risks, and maximise your enjoyment.

Never be afraid to seek advice from more experience pilots, and never be tempted to show off in front of your mates. Hitting the ground hard does nothing for your "street cred", or your health.

Fly sensibly, and you‘ll enjoy the sport for many years to come.
 

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Q: Are there reciprical flying arrangements within the WFFF?
A: Yes, Federation club members enjoy access to many of the best flying sites in Wales through the reciprical flying arrangements that exist with other Federation clubs.

Some sensitive flyings sites are naturally excluded from this scheme. Federation members should therefore contact the local club before flying an unfamiliar site.

Further information

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Q: Can I teach myself to fly a hang glider or paraglider?
A: For your own safety we strongly advise you not to try to teach yourself to fly a hang glider or paraglider. These are real aircraft, with complex flight characteristics.

Any attempt to teach yourself to fly could all too easily result in serious injury. Professional instruction from a BHPA registered school is the only safe way to gain the necessary knowledge and experience to fly within a recreational club, without being a danger to yourself or others in the air.

Further information

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Q: Can WFFF members borrow equipment from the Federation?
A: No, Im afraid not. Federation members must purchase their own equipment, and be responsible for ensuring that the wing they fly is both safe, and suitable for their level of experience.
 

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Q: Do WFFF clubs offer hang gliding instruction?
A: No, Im afraid not. Recreational clubs are only able to offer coaching to qualified pilots.

Initial instruction must be undertaken with a BHPA registered school.

Further information

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Q: Do WFFF clubs offer paragliding instruction?
A: No, Im afraid not. Recreational clubs are only able to offer coaching to qualified pilots.

Initial instruction must be undertaken with a BHPA registered school.

Further information

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Q: Do WFFF clubs usually offer coaching?
A: Yes, most Clubs have a team of coaches able to guide newly qualified pilots through the tricky transition from school to club, and to assist more experienced pilots to progress through the BHPA Pilot Rating Scheme.

Club coaches can also offer useful sites advice to visiting pilots.

Further information

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Q: Do you launch hang gliders and paragliders by jumping off a Cliff?
A: No.

Hang gliders and paragliders are launched into wind by running foward until the lift created by the airflow over the wing or canopy is sufficient to support the combined weight of the glider and pilot.

This type of take-off is known as a hill launch.

Its also possible to tow launch a hang glider or paraglider using a long line and a static winch. The glider is simply towed into the air as the winch revolves, and takes in the line. At an appropriate point the pilot then releases the tow line, and flys off.

Hang gliders can also be towed into the air by slow flying ultralight powered aircraft. Because of the higher launch speed of this technique the hang glider pilot usually has to take-off in a prone position using a wheeled dolly. As lift is generated the pilot and hang glider rise upwards, leaving the dolly behind. Using this technique it is possible to climb to several thousand feet above take-off before releasing the tow line.
 

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Q: How do I learn to fly a hang glider?
A: We strongly recommend that you attend a Club Pilot course at a BHPA registered school.

If youre not sure about taking up the sport, you might prefer to book a 1 or 2 day taster course at a school, or simply arrange to meet them on the hill, and see at first hand what the sport is all about.

Further information

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Q: How do I learn to fly a paraglider?
A: We strongly recommend that you attend a Club Pilot course at a BHPA registered school.

If youre not sure about taking up the sport, you might prefer to book a 1 or 2 day taster course at a school, or simply arrange to meet them on the hill, and see at first hand what the sport is all about.

Further information

[ Return to the list of FAQ ]

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