Learning to Paraglide.
What is paragliding?
Paragliding is the most exhilarating and peaceful, simple, yet challenging form of aviation yet devised. The modern paraglider has opened up the skies to thousands of people from all walks of life, right across the globe.It is a sport that unites people’s differences, giving them a unique common interest, To pursue mans oldest dream to fly like a bird.
Modern paragliders were directly developed from ram air parachutes, which during the late 80’s were found to be able to be foot-launched from steep hills. As the Sport developed, so did the technology, and now paragliders are closer to aircraft than parachutes. It is now possible to soar paragliders for many hours, thousands of feet above the ground and
be able to fly great distances.
How is paragliding different from Hang Gliding?
Paragliding is very similar to hang gliding, in fact they are essentially the same activity done with slightly different equipment. Hang gliders have a more rigid frame than paragliders The advantage of paragliders is that they can be packed into a rucksack and carried more easily. They are also much easier to land, which gives them a big advantage. Is Paragliding Safe? Paragliding,like any other adventure sport, has its associated risks and dangers.
To operate safely in any kind of aviation environment one must strive at all times to minimise those risks. The most important pre-requisites to learning to fly safely are: pilot attitude, competent instruction, and safe equipment. If these conditions are met the slow speeds and inherent stability of paragliders can provide a reasonably safe and easy way to fly,
however there is no completely safe form of aviation and the pilot must assume full responsibility for his actions.
Who can fly a paraglider?
You must be over 16 years to obtain a pilot rating. 14 years to begin training. There is no upper age limit. You need to be reasonably fit and have good vision. If you have any weaknesses or medical problems please seek medical advice and then inform us we also provide tandem flights (for any age) and training for people with more severe disabilities with the help of the charity ‘Flyability’. It is also a possibility.
Is it hard to learn?
No! flying schools use the latest techniques to teach you how to fly as safely as possible, following systems which have been developed over many years, and are the approved method of the sports national association;the BHPA. All instructors are qualified by the BHPA, and are experienced and enthusiastic pilots themselves. Your first lessons will have some basic theory and demonstrations, and then with the help of your instructor it’s your turn! Now the fun really begins. You won’t start by going you to a hill and throwing yourself off, but begin with some ground control. Then gradually progressing to short flights and then moving on to the next stage only when you are ready.
What equipment do you need?
The school will provide the paraglider wing, harness and helmet. All you need to bring is warm outdoor clothes, gloves, strong grippy Boots (No hooks), packed lunch, drinks and a good sense of fun and humour! You should buy your own equipment when you are sure the sport is for you. It is often better to train on your own equipment. There is so much to know to buying the right equipment. Most people who buy without the advice of an experienced instructor, buy the wrong thing.. Often a very costly mistake!
What about the weather?
Paragliding is a sport that is very dependant on the weather as flying is only possible in certain conditions. A good flyable day is one where there is light wind and no rain. Clouds (except Cb) are not a problem; a dull overcast day with light winds can often be better than one in blazing sunshine.
Who to learn with?
Having seen others who were taught on the hill with very slow progress I decided to go to a school using a winch.
The reason for this is if the wind changes direction you might find yourself having to drive to the closest hill facing the right direction. Also on your early flights it means having to slog back up the hill after every flight.
If you learn at a school with a winch you get your flights in much more quickly. If the direction of the wind changes then the winch is moved to a different side of the field and getting back to the launch area is much easier in fact once you are up to a level you are taking off and landing each flight at the same place.
I learned to paraglide at an airfield in Ashbourne called Darley Moor and the school was called Airways Airsports. They are a very friendly bunch with excellent flying abilities.
You can have a tandem flight there or do a day taster to see if the sport is for you.
Visit there website at www.airways-airsports.com