What is paragliding?
There are many answers to this question...
A rush, a thrill, a new hobby, a way to feel free and individual, a way to meet like minded people and fly to places only the birds would normally see.
Once a qualified Pilot you could be airbourne within minutes of arriving at a flying site. Just don your flying suit & boots, carry your surprisingly light flying machine, in its own rucksack to where your friends are preparing to fly. After a few minutes inspecting your equipment, clothing and helmet you get yourself ready to fly, you look around, allow the wind to raise the canopy - and launch off into the air. This is paragliding!
As a student your flying experience could be similar to this, but under instruction.
Developed from parachuting canopies, modern paragliders can be soared effortlessly on windward slopes and across country, in suitable weather conditions.
Paragliding allows for the same freedom that hangglider pilots experience, but a paraglider is more portable and relatively easier to learn to fly. They are more hampered by strong winds than hang gliders but are easier to land in small fields.
In the UK paragliding is a thriving sport.
Is Paragliding Safe?
Paragliding, like any other adventurous sport, has its associated risks and dangers.
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 safe and enjoyable way to fly
Who can fly a paraglider?
You must be over 16 years to obtain a pilot rating, although you can start training from 14 years.
There is no upper age limit although students and pilots need to be reasonably fit and have good vision. If you have any medical problems or are unsure whether you should partake in our sport please seek medical advice prior to booking.
We also provide tandem flights (for all ages) where an instructor flys for you and you can sit back and take it all in.
We provide training for people with more severe disabilities, with the help of the charity 'Flyability'.
What can you do with a Paraglider?
Many paraglider pilots strive to perfect their skills in cross-country flying. A summer sky filled with fluffy cumulus clouds provides abundant - but invisible - lifting currents which pilots then use to gain altitude. Setting off on such a day, either towards a pre-selected destination or just drifting where the wind takes you, is one of the most breathtaking experiences available.
Most pilots will talk of the sense of privilege that they feel when drifting from cloud to cloud, in almost total silence, watching the landscape unfold beneath them as they navigate across the sky.
Non stop flights of over 200km have been made by paraglider pilots in this country. Overseas, specifically the Alpine regions, the potential is infinitely greater, and many British pilots take advantage of the paraglider's portability to visit Europe, even more exotic locations
For those of a competitive ilk, local, national and international competitions offer challenges to novice and experienced pilots alike.
Is there a need for a hill to fly?
Paragliding is not limited to upland environments. Tow launch Paragliding is another technique taught at Green dragons. Tow Launch is the technique used in the flatlands using an engine-driven winch or land-rover to pull pilots aloft.
What should I expect when learning to fly a paraglider?
Training is usually conducted on a gentle slope in a small group of students of similar experience.
Whilst progress can vary, from Day 1 through to reaching Club Pilot status you should expect around ten days of flyable weather.
The course will start with explanation on how the canopy is laid out, inflated and controlled. Students will then alternately have their first short training ‘hops’ and ground handling.
When you've become adept at ground handling, controlling airspeed and making gentle turns, you'll probably move to a higher hill for longer flights.
As part of progression students then learn to soar (remain airborne in favourable winds).
There will be tuition in the classroom covering flight theory, meteorology and basic air law
At the end of each stage of pilot licencing there will be a relatively simple exam.
Upon completion of the two preliminary pilot courses you will be awarded the BHPA Club Pilot rating, enabling you to fly in the club environment.
You'll find that household chores and DIY take a back seat when you've discovered the unlimited freedom of the sky!
Tow launch paragliding can be used to progress faster through the levels and exams. Students then partake in a conversion course to learn hill flying, if required.
How much does the equipment cost?
Paragliders are one of the least expensive ways to get into the air and travel.
A new paraglider, suitable for a recently qualified pilot, will cost up to around £2,000. Secondhand canopies can be obtained for less than £2000.
Training courses to Club Pilot status will cost around £1100 - £1500; introductory courses cost around half that.
Apart from the glider you will need a harness, helmet, flight suit and suitable boots.
There are many instruments and other useful accessories that can be bought to increase your flying pleasure.
The paragliding environment is a great community where you will often find championship-winning pilots comparing notes with novices
If you want to enjoy the above experience, that only being at one with the elements can provide, book a training course today!
What about the weather?
Paragliding is a sport that is highly dependant on the weather, as flying is only possible in certain conditions. Should the conditions dictate otherwise your training will be rescheduled for another time.
Our overseas courses offer you a way to get a block of training days together, and are a fun and great holiday too.
How do I get started?
We offer a range of courses and options. Please see individual pages for more information.