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How to become a paraglider pilot.

Paragliding is a well regulated sport; it functions under the USHPA- United States Hand Gliding and Paragliding Association. USHPA certifies pilots by rating them according to their skill and expertise in the sport of Paragliding. It rates pilots from P0 to P5 in the order of student, beginner, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and Master Pilots.

Pilots generally start their journey as a beginner with a P0 certificate and make their way through the different levels and reach the P5 level by mastering the art of Paragliding.

The ratings are issued to reflect the completion of certain tasks by the students which are witnessed and observed by officials and licensed instructors. The ratings are also meant to regulate the pilot to fly in only such sites which are meant for his level of expertise as flying sites are labeled according to the approximate skill level required to fly there safely.

The tasks that the pilot has to go do may require keen attention to detail and very high precision. A good amount of training in these has been always beneficial. That is why it is advisable for wannabe pilots to enroll in a Paragliding school.

The Process of becoming a Pilot:

Student and Beginner certificate P0-P1:

Student P0 Pilot: This pilot has the basic knowledge required to understand and accept the risks of flying as a tandem passenger on a Paraglider.

Beginner P1 pilot:

A Beginner pilot has the knowledge and basic skills necessary to fly and practice under direct instructor supervision and within significant operating limitations.

The pilot understands the USHPA Paragliding rating systems and recommended operating limitations.

Students enrolled with us generally start off their training with the Introduction Day. This program is designed for those students who wish to get a feel for the sport and in the process learn the basic skills and kiting by making their first flight on the training hill.

This program also serves as a way to remove any doubt and hesitation in the mind of the students about Paragliding and in a way persuades them to take up training for acquiring the P2 pilot certificate. Once the students are convinced to take up the training program and enrolls for the P2 program, he is giving the P0 and P1 certificates together by the instructor.

Novice P2 certificate:

The P2 pilot is all that a P1 pilot is with a good judgment and has a level of maturity commensurate with the rating. Pilots must demonstrate Beginner level skills and knowledge before obtaining the Novice rating.

To acquire the P2 certificate the pilot has to complete few witnessed tasks with a minimum of 8 hours of ground school theory. The pilot should have learnt basics about the forecasting the weather, basics in launching, Understanding danger signs, landing and site orientation etc.

Once the pilot finishes the P2 program he will have the necessary skills to inflate, ground handle and control the glider. P2 certificate also lets the pilot to fly solo with glider under certain restrictions.

Intermediate P3 pilot:

The pilot has the knowledge and skills to fly most sites in mild to moderate soaring conditions, and to judge when the site and conditions are within the pilot’s skill, knowledge, and experience level.

To receive the P3 certificate the pilot should have logged in a minimum of 30 flying days, at least 90 flights and also a minimum of 20 hours of solo airtime. The P3 pilot shows exceptional abilities of flying with sound knowledge in Airspeed control, turbulence, collapse and recoveries.

The detailed report for the requirements to become an Intermediate pilot is given in the USHPA website.

Advanced Pilot P4:

The pilot has the knowledge and skills to fly technically demanding sites in strong soaring conditions, and to judge when the site and conditions are within the pilot’s skill, knowledge, and experience level.

The pilot understands the USHPA Paragliding rating system and recommended operating limitations, and the FARs and other flying rules applicable to his/her flying. To get the Advanced pilot certificate the pilot should have had a minimum of 250 flights, with a minimum of 80 flights, days, must have flown in all the 5 P3 flying sites 5 times each.

The P4 pilot will display elite skills and expertise in the art of flying as given in the report by USHPA.

Master pilot P5:

For pilots who wish to further diversify their skills in the sport of Paragliding, and to recognize the achievement of the expert skilled pilot who has experience beyond the Advanced level, there is a designation of Master Pilot.

No site will be designated as requiring Master skills. The pilot will fly using good judgment and have a level of maturity commensurate with the rating. The P5 pilot will display exceptional skills and expertise in the art of flying as given in the report by USHPA.

For most recreational and occasional flyers, being an Intermediate Pilot or even a Novice pilot will be sufficient to fly at most flight parks. As mentioned above, it is always advisable to enroll for Paragliding training to hone your skills.

At Letsgoparagliding, we nurture the hidden talents in all of our students. Come fly with us!

A Great Paragliding School Can Make A Big Difference – We Can Help

Now that you’ve read more about paragliding, paragliding lessons and the introduction day that we at Let’sGoParagliding offer, you might be thinking of shopping around for schools and programs to help you get started on your paragliding adventure. This is great. One of the most important things when you’re learning any kind of extreme sport is to have a good repoire with those that will be teaching you to paraglide. You want to feel comfortable with what you’re learning as well as trust that your teachers are as good as they say they are.

However, you can’t just go with a “good feeling” that you have about your school of choice. So, we’ve put together a list of what you should be looking at when you’re choosing a paragliding school that will be the best for you:

  • Don’t just price shop or you might get second rate paragliding instructions. You should know that most paragliding courses run about the same in an area. Some will be slightly higher or lower, depending on what the course offers. If you meet someone that offers to teach you to paraglide for a very low price you should consider finding another paragliding school.

  • While the feeling you get from a paragliding school is important, you should take the time to check on credentials of the school and/or instructors you’re thinking about taking classes from. Since paragliding can be dangerous, you want to make sure that you’re going to learn the ins and outs of safety, equipment and how to use it all properly. You also want to make sure that your instructors are certified so that you’ll have the best experience possible.

  • Since you don’t want to have to buy all your equipment before you even know that you want to pursue paragliding, it’s a good idea to go with a paragliding school that includes the cost of using their equipment into the price of the instruction package you’re thinking about taking. At Let’sGoParagliding, all of your instruction packages, from the introduction day to becoming certified to fly on your own, include the cost of equipment usage.

  • You also want to ensure that the instruction package you’re paying for will work with your schedule. Nothing is fun if you can’t make it work with your family and work life. That’s why we offer flexible scheduling and packages that work with your time so you can get the most of your paragliding experience.

Paragliding should be fun. You should be able to learn how to fly, but you also want to get in the air as soon as possible. We understand that you’re willing to learn, but you want to know what it’s like. That’s why we’ve worked to offer you a hands-on flying experience right from day one of your instruction.

If you’re still not certain that you want to paraglide, why not consider an introduction day to get you started? We want you to love paragliding as much as we do, and when you choose Let’sGoParagliding, you’re going to get to see how it feels to fly.

What we offer

Before you decide that you want any kind of paragliding lessons, you want to know who your instructors are. You want to know that they are good at what they do and that you’re going to be safe and learn as much as possible.

We get this and that’s why at LetsGoParagliding, we provide many different training programs to meet your needs. You can enjoy an introduction day that will give you the basics of your equipment and let you get started on your first little flight. This is where you’ll decide if you want to pursue paragliding or not. It’s a full day of fun, excitement and outdoor activity. When you get in the air though, don’t be surprised at the thrill you feel.

If you’ve decided that you want to learn to fly on your own, we offer programs for this too. We offer packages that work with your schedule and time so you don’t have to feel pressured. At the end of our P2 program, you’re going to be able to fly without direct supervision from your instructor. Of course, you’ll have some limitations – you won’t be an expert yet, but this is a great way to get out and start enjoying nature the way the birds do.

We also offer programs that can help you to get to where you want to be when it comes to your experience level. So, whether you’re happy being a novice or you want to fly all on your own, we’ll be with you every step of the way.

We believe in the sport of paragliding. We know it’s exciting and thrilling, but we also know how things can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Since we feel passionate about paragliding, we want you to feel the same way, which is why we walk with you every step of the way.

What you’ll experience:

  • When you choose to enjoy any kind of lessons with LetsGoParagliding, including the introduction day, you’re going to experience flying. From little starts to getting up on your own, you will see what it’s like to fly the way birds do.
  • You’ll gain more knowledge than you thought possible. This will help you to become knowledgeable enough to fly on your own should you choose to once you’ve completed your lessons.
  • Paragliding is fun and that’s why we love to focus on the fun part of it. You can have fun and be safe and we will show you how every step of the way.

What you won’t find:

  • When you choose to take paragliding lessons with us, you’re not going to be free to fly on your own with no training. We believe in safety first, so you’ll never be left alone to your own devices if you aren’t ready.
  • You won’t find cut rate equipment, or large rental fees for it. We offer great equipment for you to use while you’re taking lessons with us. It’s all in excellent shape and the use is included in the cost of lessons.

If you know that you want to try paragliding, consider LetsGoParagliding for your paragliding experience. You’ll get excellent training and have the experience of a lifetime.

Paragliding – Is It Safe?

One thing that many people who are considering trying paragliding often ask is: “Is it safe?”

The answer might not be as simple as you would like, but it goes something like this:

Paragliding is safe if:

Maybe the best way to explain if paragliding is safe is to start out by saying when it’s safe. For instance, if the weather is stormy and you choose to go out then you’re not practicing safe behavior. This can make the sport unsafe because you’re not only dealing with strong lifts and turbulent air currents, but lightning can put you at serious risk. Even the most foolhardy paragliders usually won’t fly when there is a strong risk of a thunderstorm, but there are other situations that can get a person into trouble.

Paragliding can be safe as long as you make it safe. This means that you should get the proper training to ensure that you know what you’re doing. Some of it comes from experience of course, but much of that experience you should get with a good instructor. Even though you’re flying yourself, your instructor can be by your side to help you should an issue arise.

You’re also going to want to make sure that you have the right safety gear. The gear that you wear isn’t just to make you look cool, or in the eyes of some – ridiculous. It is meant to keep you safe and paragliding is only safe when you wear the right gear.

Paragliding can be unsafe if:

So, it looks like paragliding is pretty safe, doesn’t it? No problem right? Wear your safety gear, don’t fly in storms and you’ll be safe and have fun – or will you? Not so fast. There are some times that paragliding can be really unsafe, so you need to be aware of what these situations are before you assume that everything you do while paragliding will be safe.

For instance, you know you have to wear your safety gear, but do you even really know what gear you need to have? And, what about those lessons that you were planning to take? If you don’t get the right education and know what you’re going to need to be wearing and using to keep you safe, then paragliding quickly goes from safe and fun to unsafe and scary.

Paragliding can also become unsafe if you try to go on a flight that is way out of your league. In other words, if you’re still new at the sport it’s probably not a good idea to head out on your own and go fly in weather conditions you’re not ready for. These things take time: you have to learn about the way the air flows and how you steer your paraglider. When you’re new to the sport, it can be a little confusing. It’s much like learning to ride a bike or drive – it simply takes practice that you need to devote before you start heading out on your own.

Remember, when you’re starting any potentially dangerous sport, the right attitude and education can go a long way toward keeping you safe. Professional extreme sports athletes don’t get there by taking unnecessary risks before they are ready. You have to start slowly to stay safe and a great instructor can help you to get the education and experience you need to have a great time with paragliding. The best first step if you want to get started is to take an introduction day.

What exactly is Paragliding?

Before you actually decide to give paragliding a try, you need to know more about what this sport is how you do it and what it’s all about.  When done properly and with the right training, this sport is not only a pure rush, but it’s very safe too.

So, what is it?  When you were a child and would fly a kite, did you ever dream of what it must have been like to be attached to that kite?  That’s kind of what paragliding is.  You get started much the same way as a kite does – by walking or running into the wind.  When you understand the wind currents and how they work, you’ll soon find that your loose fabric becomes a canopy that will lift you into the air.

The secret is flying with the air currents.  You’ll know them as thermals and you’ll learn how to use them.  Before you fly on your own, you will want to go through a thorough introduction day.  This will help you to learn everything you need to know to help you with start flying on your own.

You’ll learn what you need to know and your first flight will be little, but if you don’t get the education you could be risking injury and be putting yourself in unnecessary danger.

The paragliding equipment

So, if you don’t have an engine, what does the equipment consist of?  A chair style harness for starters.  You can lean back, sit comfortably and enjoy the ride.  There are also a right and left brake line, which – when combined with the right amount of weight shift – helps you to steer and will provide all the control you need for a comfortable and safe flight.

The aerofoil is what keeps you afloat.  It’s also referred to as a wing, glider, canopy and it’s most commonly called a paraglider.  This is what helps to lift you into the air.  This material has been designed to capture the air currents and can allow you to soar higher and higher.  It’s soft and flexible, which means greater control for the flyer.  Because it is so flexible, the paraglider is easy to store in your back pack and travel with it.

When you’re starting out, buying your own equipment might not be an option, but most professional schools provide the equipment to get started.

What you should know about paragliding

There is a lot that you need to know about this sport before you decide that you want to try it.  For instance, it’s essential that you find an excellent instructor.  Never attempt paragliding on your own if you haven’t done it before.  You will need to be properly trained before taking off for a solo flight and then you should make sure that you’re flying with someone until you’re familiar with the process.

You should also make sure that you choose to paraglide with an individual or company that has a good, solid safety reputation.  As with all extreme sports, paragliding can be dangerous when the proper safety gear is not used.  You can ensure that you have a great experience by choosing the right individual or company to get you started.

The Many Reasons to Consider Paragliding – And What You Should Know

If you’re considering taking up paragliding, you probably already know what it is. You know that you’re not going to be towed behind a boat or have a motor attached to your butt so you can fly. You might have seen it done or maybe you were lucky enough to enjoy a tandem flight somewhere. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. This is what it feels like to be attached to your kite. There is an amazing freedom, silence and feeling of peace with this sport that you might not be able to experience with any other type of activity.

There are many benefits to paragliding, but if you’re still not convinced then you should know why this sport can change your life – or at least make it more exciting:

Safer than other sports

Yes, you will be in the air and you will have to learn about thermals and how to use them to soar higher and higher, but when you land it’s a gentle glide where you decrease height little by little so you float to the ground rather than plunge. This, combined with what you’ll learn about the sport and controlling the paraglider, helps to make this one of the safer extreme sports out there.

Of course, any sport is only as safe as you make it and nothing can keep you safe like maintaining a respect of the sport and the necessary steps to stay safe. Once you’re up in the air, it’s up to you – so it’s essential that you have a great attitude and respect for what you are actually doing.

Environmentally Friendly

Paragliding is kind to the environment. You don’t use fuel and aren’t changing the landscape in any way, which means that you’re seeing what it’s like to be a bird – without having to use an engine or anything that might disrupt the peace.

What you need to know

There are many different reasons to consider paragliding, but you should also know that to embark on this or any kind of extreme sport without the proper training and safety gear can be very dangerous. Before you decide that you’re going to try paragliding, it is essential that you have the proper training.

There are professional paragliding companies that feature top of the line instructors to help you to learn everything you need to know about this new experience. You’ll learn about the thermals (air currents), how they work and how you can use them. You’ll also learn how to steer your paraglider and what equipment you need to get started.

You can get started finding great instructors and paragliding schools by checking out the USHPAwebsite for an instructor near you, or we at LetsGoParagliding would be happy to help you find a highly rated instructor or school in your area.

If you’re looking for a fun, exciting way to shake your world up a little bit then paragliding might be just what you need.

Novice Program

The P2 program is valid for one calendar year, so that you can learn at your own pace. All flights are done with the latest equipment. You will be under radio supervision at all times when flying, and to make it safer and easier we’ll use the winch.

The P2 Program is designed to teach you the skills necessary to inflate, ground handle and control your glider, and eventually fly solo without direct instructor supervision (with certain limitations).

It’s a fun and safe path to progressively become an accomplished novice pilot.

The cost of the P2 program is $1695, and includes:

» 10 full days of instruction or until signed off as a Novice pilot (P2) – whichever comes first.
The students have one full calendar year to complete the 10 days
— Some students take less than 10 days to be signed off as a novice pilot.
— Some students who are really committed and have an easy schedule manage to finish their certification in a few weeks
— some students going trough the intensive program can finish their certification in a week (7 days in a row) if the weather cooperate.

» Use of all necessary equipment (glider, harness, helmet, and radios).

You need to bring:

» Hiking boots, light gloves, sunglasses, long pants, a long sleeved shirt, and water.

» Students that require additional beyond 10 days to become certified can purchase training sessions at a cost of $95/ half day.

» Please note that you will need to join the the Mt. Brace Flight Park at your expense as well as the USHPA..

You can learn more about becoming a pilot here:

The Evolution of Paragliding

Many people know what paragliding is, but it might take some time to get past the “cousins” of this sport that include hang gliding and parasailing before the sport of paragliding is really understood. Once a person understands that paragliding is much like being attached to a kite that they control, the concept is much easier to grasp. However, many people wonder how this sport in particular came to be.

It’s easy to imagine that someone that loved flying kites thought how fun it would be to be “attached” to the kite, but it’s much more likely that this sport was developed through a few different channels.
They say it has a French connection
It might be up for debate where paragliding started, but the bottom line is that this sport really started to “boom” in the French Alps during the 1980’s. Is this where it started? That’s not entirely clear, but it is known that this sport did become very popular in France at this time.

At any rate, it’s likely that many different athletes were developing their paragliding techniques at the same time. So the exact birth of this sport as we know it today might be a bit foggy.

Influences from all around the world
You probably know that paragliding takes its influences from all around the world. It’s a little like hang gliding, it’s a little like parachuting and you use similar principals when paragliding as you might if you were flying a kite. The desire for man to feel like a bird is undoubtedly behind the birth of paragliding, but it isn’t credited to just one or two people like hang gliding can be.

For instance, in 1958 when Gertrude and Francis Rogallo were working for NASA, they invented the Rogallo wing. This was developed for recovery. Rogallo is also known for innovative development of paragliders and hang gliders that were more rudimentary.

It is thought that the first paraglider as we know it today was invented by David Barish in 1965 while he was also working for NASA. At that time, he called his invention a “sail wing” and took his first flights in New York.

It wasn’t until the late 1970’s that three French parachutists named Andre Bohn, Gerard Bosson and Jean-Claude Betemps began running to launch their paragliders. In fact, the practice caught on and that’s why it is often said that France is the “birthplace” of paragliding as we know it today.

Paragliding the sport and the equipment that is used today has undoubtedly evolved. It’s become safer, easier and more fun to do. Paragliding has also become a science, with the study of thermals (or the air currents), and how a paraglider can use them.

If you’re interested in learning to paraglide, the first step is to find a good instructor or school and take the time to learn all you can about it. While paragliding is safer than many extreme sports, it’s important to learn all you can and get started with an experienced instructor so you can enjoy the sport at your pace.

Introduction Day

The introduction day is specially designed to provide you with the basic skills to enjoy kiting your glider, make your first few flights on the training hill, and help you get a good feel for the sport.

The introduction day costs $235 and includes:

» Use of all necessary equipment (glider, harness, helmet, and radios).

» Your U.S.H.P.A. 30 day membership.

You need to bring:

» Hiking boots, light gloves, sunglasses, long pants, a long sleeved shirt, and water.

» Please note that there is an additional $10 fee for the use of the facilities The Mt Brace Flight Park.

Tip: Because, on the introduction day, you will likely be making your first few flights on the training hill in warm weather, make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks.


Maneuvers Training

A great way to improve your flying skills and obtain a better understanding of your glider’s behavior is to participate in a maneuver clinic. You can discover basic and/or advanced maneuvers in a safe environment with an experienced maneuver clinic instructor. Fill out this form to make a reservation.