Paragliding is one of the simplest ways to fly. After a short briefing, you strap into a harness with your instructor, and run forward off a hillside and into the air. To stay aloft, we use wind that is forced upwards by the shape of the hill, as well as bubbles of rising warm air called thermals. Sometimes we have a gentle flight around a hundred feet above the ground, other days we can use powerful thermals to reach the clouds.
Our next flying date is Sunday 14th October in the afternoon, at a hill near Petersfield.
Do I need to be fit?
You don’t need to be an athlete, but a moderate level of fitness is helpful. You need to weigh between 42kg and 110kg (7 to 17 stone). You should be capable of running for 30 seconds, and be able to balance and jump. If in doubt, call us for advice.
What is the minimum age?
There is no legal minimum age for tandem paragliding, but the passenger needs to be able to follow simple instructions, and give their consent to take part in a risky sport. For this reason, we put an age limit of nine years old.
Is this dangerous?
Paragliding is a high risk sport – insurers tend to put it in the same category as off-piste skiing or white water rafting. We do everything reasonably possible to reduce the risk: we are trained and inspected by our national association (the BHPA), our equipment is carefully inspected, and we have many years of experience. But we cannot reduce the risk to zero – so you should only take part if the joy of flight is worth the risk for you.
When can I fly?
It all depends on the weather: we need no rain, and light wind from the right direction. The forecast gives us a good idea a few days in advance, and the evening before we can be 90% sure.
What should I wear?
Grippy shoes, ideally with ankle support. A wind proof jacket and long trousers. The temperature at altitude is a bit cooler, so wear an extra layer. In winter you’ll need gloves and a scarf.
Where we fly
Our flying sites are mostly on the South Downs, near Petersfield in Hampshire. We sometimes fly on the coast near Portsmouth, Swanage, or Weymouth. The choice of flying site depends on the wind direction and strength.
As an air experience school, we provide dual flying lessons which can be inspirational and useful for learning to paraglide solo, but we cannot provide the training to get you qualified to fly solo. This means we are well placed to give unbiased advice about solo training. So should you learn to paraglide? If you […]
This video gives a good idea of what tandem paragliding is like – taken on a day in Wales when I flew with about 5 different passengers. Notice how the wind pulls us back a bit as the wing inflates, and then once the wing is above our head we run forwards.