All paperwork, including your voucher, a packed lunch, and plenty of water. If it’s sunny, don’t forget sun cream. In winter wear warm clothing and winter gloves. You’ll also need payment for your BHPA insurance.
Comfortable clothing – nothing too tight! Ideally, long trousers and a warm, windproof top with a separate waterproof.
In summer, expect to get hot so breathable clothing is best, but cover most of your skin in case you fall over. In winter, dress warm – bring gloves, hat and a warm coat. Layers are a good idea.
On your feet, boots with ankle protection (tape over any hooks) hiking boots are best. We have suitable boots for hire on the day if you are unable to supply your own.
Yes, no problem! We advise that all spectators come along in the morning when we meet at the shop. Trying to find our private training sites on the Downs can be very tricky.
This varies depending on the weather. We leave a voicemail message on our answerphone by 7.30pm each night with details of the next days flying. This includes the time to meet at our shop. Start times will vary depending on the weather conditions.
Please phone the office after 7:30pm on the day before your booking. An answer phone message will tell you whether or not we are going ahead (flying is weather dependent).
If the weather makes it unsafe for teaching, you will receive credit for another day. The main reason we can not fly is strong winds and rain.
You will need to ring and re-book. The sooner you come back the better.
A paraglider is an aircraft that packs into a rucksack allowing you walk up a hill, unpack and float up in the air, using nothing more than the air currents to climb up to the the clouds. Or to get technical, it’s a foot-launched, ram-air, aerofoil canopy, designed to be flown and landed with no other energy inputs other than the wind, gravity and a little muscle power.
It’s made of a super-strong, lightweight nylon fabric that inflates to create a stable wing above your head. A paraglider descends at around 200ft per minute. However, if the air is rising faster than the glider is going down (as often happens) the glider will gain height.
Flights of many hours and long distances are perfectly possible, and record-breaking flights in the UK are around 200km. Paragliders are designed for soaring flight unlike parachutes which are designed to descend.
Flying, like any other adventure sport, has its associated risks and to operate safely in any kind of aviation environment one must strive at all times to minimize those risks.
The most important pre-requisites to learning to fly safely are: pilot attitude, competent instruction, and good quality equipment.
If these conditions are met, the slow speeds and inherent stability of paragliders ensure that the sport is a secure and easy way to experience flying with the birds!
When training, you will begin by just skimming the ground. As you progress and become more skilled and confident, you will gradually go higher and higher – under your instructor’s direction.
There are different sources of “lift” available to hang glider and paraglider pilots. The most common is “ridge lift”, which you use to soar on the uprising air from hills, cliffs etc. Average height gains using ridge lift are around 200ft.
The most useful form of lift is “thermal lift”. The skilled pilot utilises these pockets of warm, rising air in the same way that large birds such as eagles do. Using thermals, a pilot can reach heights of over 10,000ft in warmer countries such as France and Spain. In the UK, we have a cooler climate and, in the summer, heights of 3,000 to 6,000ft are the norm.
The height, or altitude, that you fly at is strictly controlled by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and learning to read air maps is a must for the advancing pilot. Cross country flying is restricted to pilots who have reached “Pilot” level. The levels are: Elementary Pilot (EPC), Club Pilot (CPC), Pilot and Advanced Pilot.
The best way to take up the sport is to book a course of instruction with a registered BHPA (British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association) school, such as Fly Sussex Paragliding. We offer a one-day introductory courses so that you can try flying yourself before committing to the full cost of a course.
On signing up for a full course, you will first complete the BHPA Elementary Pilot rating before progressing on to attain the full Club Pilot license, which allows you to fly yourself within the club environment. The next recommended stage is to join a club where you will be taken under the wing of more experienced pilots and learn the specifics of the local sites. A comprehensive list of UK schools can be found listed on the BHPA WEBSITE.
The BHPA minimum age is 14 to begin your EP course and 16 to begin the CP course. Depending on the size and aptitude of the individual, we do teach 14-year-olds but ask for them to be accompanied by an adult.
There is no upper age limit. We have taught students from 14 to 83!
A paraglider is made up of a CANOPY (the actual “wing” or “glider”), the RISERS/LINES (the cords by which the pilot is suspended below the canopy) and a HARNESS (the seat which supports the pilot beneath the canopy). In addition, the BRAKE LINES provide speed and directional control and CARABINERS are used to connect the risers and the harness together.
General wear and tear and deterioration from exposure to ultra-violet light usually limit the useful lifetime of a glider. Paragliders are particularly prone to UV damage and have an average life 300-400 flying hours, depending on how much they are used, how much exposure to sunlight they are subjected to and how well they are maintained.
We fly every day of the year as long the weather allows. We have stunning paragliding flights all year round. The flying in the winter can be very smooth with overcast skies limiting thermic activity, giving us perfect teaching conditions.
Every paraglider pilot must be a member of the British hang gliding and paragliding association (BHPA). Membership of the BHPA gives you 3rd-party insurance which is mandatory. The price of BHPA membership is included in one day vouchers and tandem flight vouchers. If you are on a course with is you can pay for BHPA membership when you sign in on your first lesson.
We are a British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (BHPA) registered school. As such, we have limited professional liability insurance. If you require personal accident insurance (to include paragliding) please arrange this in advance or with us on the day of your booking. If you would like further information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.bhpa.co.uk/airsports.