Is it possible to learn to fly paragliding on your own?
Paragliding is an unforgettable experience, a chance to feel free and soar beneath the clouds. You can see the beauty of our planet from a completely different angle, from a bird’s eye view. Paragliding is considered to be one of the easiest and most available types of air sports. But this hobby does involve some risks. It’s not natural for a human to fly, so before you take to the skies on your own, you should definitely learn!
Some courageous people believe that you can learn to fly a paraglider on your own. Yes, it’s possible, but will take much moore time, and it will be much moore dangerous than to learn from expereanced pilot.
At the beginning of paragliding development, there were no professional instructors and paragliding schools – future experts were learning on their own. And such learning was accompanied by traumas, eaven deth, despite the fact that the founders of paragliding were well-trained people. Among them were engineers who modified parachute design in order to make horizontal flights above ground possible. There were also sportsmen with several parachute jumps and serious theoretical training. That is, these people were well-informed about the laws of aerodynamics and applied them in practice. And even among well-trained people there were some unpleasant situations, and unsuccessful experience for someone discouraged them from flying at all. Therefore, it is better not to ignore experience, which has been already gained over several decades, but to try to get the maximum benefit out of it – to find a suitable paragliding training school and a qualified pilot-instructor.
What does the paragliding training program include
Paragliding is considered a self-regulated discipline. Therefore, there is no unified training program. But there is usually a common trend and standard training includes 2 steps:
- Theoretical part.
Theoretical part includes: how to handle the paraglider, piloting techniques, basics of navigating and aerodynamics, meteorology and aerology, how to act in unforeseen situations, basics of aviation law of the area where flights are performed. In addition, the future pilot must surely know the rules of first aid. Ground training is a very important stage, without it, you can’t understand how a paraglider flies, how to start and land. And only after you have learned the theory can you start practicing.
Practice is including practise dynamic flying techniques in tandem with the instructor and then, if the instructor is convinced that the trainee is ready, solo flights can be carried out. Training flights are performed at the height of not more than 100 meters and only when a trainee starts to feel confident and understand what to do in different situations, the next stage starts: conquering new heights, trying to fly in thermodynamics, mastering complicated techniques.
8 tips of choosing a school or an instructor
- Before you start learning to paraglide, it is important to be clear about your goal. What do you want to achieve? What kind of flights do you want to do? Paragliders fly almost everywhere: over plain land, in the mountains, over the sea. What do you want to learn? Is a short flight on a low hill enough, or are you planning to learn all possible techniques – from simple dynamic flying to complex and long cross-country flights or tricks in the air (aerobatics). The more specific the goal, the easier it will be to choose a paragliding school or an instructor pilot.
- There are plenty of training schools, you can find them in any country in the world, and they are all different. The more information there is about the school, the experience of the instructors and the equipment used, the more transparent the training conditions, the better. Keep in mind that advertising slogans “we teach everyone who wants to how to paraglide in 3 days” will turn into loss of money and wasted time at best, and at worst it may threaten your safety. Fast does not mean good and reliable.
- Visit several different clubs that offer training. See how the flights are organized. What the state of the equipment is. How the weather conditions are taken into account for training flights. Whether the necessary equipment is available for the trainees.
- The psychological climate at the start point is very important. If there is nervousness, lack of organization or incoherence, the training process is more likely to be hard for you.
- Talk to those who have already been to this school or to a particular instructor, ask about impressions and successes, challenges and failures. Talk to the instructors. Paragliding is not just a sport, it’s an art, and for those who practise it professionally and teach others, it’s the meaning of their life. So they will be happy to answer questions and give advice. Where to find them? There are paragliding clubs, associations and federations in many countries around the world, for example, in Austria – SAFA, in Belgium – FBVL, in Canada – HPAC, in France – FFVL, in the USA – USHPA, in Georgia – IPHF, OF OFSLA in Russia.
- Equipment. It is recommended that the school or instructor provides the equipment. It is unlikely that you will be able to find the right paraglider on your own and if it turns out that solo paragliding does not suit you, then the money will be wasted.
- Language. In professional schools and qualified instructors, in addition to practice, the curriculum includes quite a strong theoretical part. There is a lot of professional terminology in paragliding, so it is better to choose courses that are provided in your own language.
- Take a tandem flight with your instructor. To understand what free floating in the air feels like. To feel how your body moves in the air, to understand how the instructor works, whether you understand him, whether this flight gives you a feeling of excitement and safety.
If you decide to take the last tip – take your first tandem flight with an instructor – the professional team of SkyAtlantida are always happy to welcome you in sunny and hospitable Georgia. We promise you friendly atmosphere, beautiful mountain views, flights in beautiful and scenic Gudauri or Kazbegi. For the more thrill-seekers, you can try aerobatics and soaring with aerobatics elements at the highest altitude.
Paragliding in Georgia