Learn to paraglide.

Learn to Paraglide

Ground handling a paraglider at Merthyr Learning to fly a paraglider can be great fun, and isn‘t as difficult or daunting as you might think.

Instruction for beginners is readily available from a UK wide network of BHPA registered schools.

These offer a wide range of courses that combine practical instruction on the hill, with an explanation of airlaw, meteorology and the principals of flight.

During training a strong emphasis is always placed on safety, and students are encouraged to progress at their own individual rate.

Initial instruction takes place on gentle slopes at the bottom of the hill, and students only move higher when their instructor is certain that they are ready to progress.

If you‘re just looking for a taster, it‘s possible to book a one day course. On the other hand if you‘re yearning to stay aloft for hours at a time soaring with the birds on warm currents of rising air, then you‘ll need to attend both an EP and a CP course.

An EP (Elementary Pilot) course will take around 4 days, and will introduce you to some of the basic skills and techniques required to fly a paraglider.

Given the right conditions another 4 - 6 days could see you achieving your CP (Club Pilot) rating. This is the absolute minimum level of skill required before students can leave the school, and start flying within a local club environment.

Club coaches now take over from school instructors, and are able to guide you through the tricky transitional period, and oversee your long term development as a pilot.

After you‘ve been flying for a while, you may decide to take an advanced paragliding course, to improve your flying skills, or to introduce you to alpine flying. Such courses are available at a number of BHPA schools in the UK, or similar reputable schools abroad.

It all sounds too easy doesn‘t it?

In the right conditions, learning to fly a paraglider is actually fairly straightforward. Unfortunately the weather is often less than ideal, and the ensuing delays can be a test of patience and determination. But it really is worth it in the end!

How much will it cost?

A one day introductory course costs around £135
A two day taster course costs around £240
An Elementary Pilot Course costs around £560
A Club Pilot Course costs around £500

You will also need to take out third party insurance cover through membership of the BHPA. The cost of this is often included in the tuition fees quoted by schools. Annual membership of the BHPA also entitles you to receive a copy of Skywings magazine each month.

Initially the school will provide all the equipment required, but later you will need to purchase your own. New and second hand equipment can often be purchased directly from the school, or privately through advertisements in Skywings magazine.

A paraglider suitable for a beginner will cost around £1,500 - £2,500 new, or £600 - £1,200 second hand. A new full face helmet will cost around £90 - £150, and a second hand harness anywhere between £125 - £250. A new reserve parachute will set you back a further £350 - £400.

Once you have obtained Club Pilot (CP) rating, joined a local club, and logged around 30 - 40 hours you may want to buy a high performance glider.

Most schools are also dealers, and should therefore be able to offer advice on the most suitable wing available, and arrange a demo flight before purchase.

What‘s the next step?

The next step is to contact one of the BHPA registered schools operating in Wales to discuss the courses they have on offer. If you‘re still unsure about taking up paragliding, you can always arrange to meet the school on the hill. That way you can see the teaching techniques the school uses at first hand, and talk to some of their students.

So, go on give it a try

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