Club Pilot theory syllabus

There are two exams to sit during the BHPA club pilot course. The topics to study are Airlaw, Meteorology and principles of flight. 

Club Pilot Airlaw:

  • Where we’re allowed to fly
  • Who is the CAA?
  • Air Navigation Order (ANO)
  • Understanding airmap scale 1:250:00 & 1:500:000
  • Restricted and unrestricted airspace, categories A-G
  • Flight levels and altitude measurement (QNH, QFE, QNE)
  • ATZ & MATZ
  • Notams
  • Radio legality
  • Ballast
  • Flying over built up areas and mass gatherings
  • AAIB and incident reporting


Club Pilot Principles of flight:

  • How the glider flies
  • Forces on the glider and centre of pressure
  • Understand basic terms:
    • Lift,
    • Drag (induced & parasitic)
    • Stall
    • Angle of attack
    • Aspect ratio
    • Glide angle
    • Wing loading
    • L/D ratio
  • What speed to fly; max glide, trim speed, minimum sink, speed bar?
  • Understand the factors affecting paragliders’ stability and the concept of ‘active flying’
  • Instability; cause and recovery from spin, stall and collapses


Club Pilot Meteorology:

  • How weather is formed
  • How to obtain a weather forecast and assess on site
  • Wind; speed, direction, consistency
  • Types of lift – dynamic ridge lift, thermals and wave
  • How are thermals formed?
  • Identify cloud types – cumulus, CuNim, stratus, cirrus, orographic,  alto, nimbus, lenticular.
  • Types of terrain we fly and the interaction of the airflow  (cliffs, mountains, ridges, conical hills)
  • Synoptic charts
  • Pressure systems
  • Frontal systems
  • Wind, pressure & temperature gradient
  • Stable & unstable airmass
  • Types of airmass (polar maritime, ect)
  • Inversion layer
  • Identify deteriorating / unsafe weather for flying
  • Sea breeze effect
  • Valley winds systems
  • Convergence


Club Pilot Airmanship:

  • Daily inspection
  • Site assessment
  • Pre flight checks
  • Keeping a logbook
  • Red streamer
  • BHPA rating structure (EP, CP, P, AP)
  • IPPI card
  • Joining a BHPA club & site guides
  • BHPA coaching and progression to pilot rating
  • Work examples of airspeed/ windspeed / groundspeed
  • Identifying where and why rotor and turbulence is found
  • Speedbar uses and limitations
  • Big ears uses and limitations
  • Paraglider certification and EN testing
  • Equipment  maintenance
  • Attitude to flying; assessing safety, decision making, currency, human factors

Hill Environment Exam 2

Theory Revision notes:

  • Site assessment & hazard identification
  • Flight planning and building in options
  • Pre flight checks
  • Anti collision and rules of the air
  • Where is the wind coming from?
  • Airflow interacting with the terrain; venturi, lift bands, rotor
  • How to identify leeside rotor and turbulence / no go areas
  • Understanding the terrain we fly (hills, cliffs, mountains)
  • Safe take off and landing area identification
  • Landing approaches (bottom, slope & top landing)
  • Localised weather; sea breeze effect, valley wind systems, convergence
  • Windspeed/ groundspeed/ airspeed understanding
  • Emergency procedures: water & tree landings / reserve deployment


Anti collision rules

  • Rule number 1: LOOK!
  • Rule number 2: Be prepared to run away


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