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!