/ paragliding

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Chris Ridgers - on 11 May 2013
I'm interested in starting paragliding and after a quick Google I have found some 2day and 5day courses. I was thinking of doing a 2 day course and teaching myself the rest (after all how hard can it be right?). Are there any experienced paragliders on here who would recommend different? anyone been on a course that they would recommend? It might also be worth noting that I am looking to learn on a budget!

Cheers,
Chris
Timmd on 11 May 2013
In reply to Chris Ridgers: How hard can it be?

A better question might be 'How hard is the ground?' ? Seriously.

I think it can take quite a while to get to grips with properly, a neighbour used to teach it.

There's a fair bit to learn about how the ground can affect air movements, and how the p-glider will behave.
Timmd on 11 May 2013
In reply to Chris Ridgers: It must be awesome to do though, don't want to put you off.
Chris Ridgers - on 11 May 2013
In reply to Timmd: It looks like such good fun! I guess the answer might be to find a mentor or a club where I could learn the more advanced stuff.
Boogs on 11 May 2013
In reply to Chris Ridgers:

I can fully recommend Andy of Flying Frenzy http://www.flyingfrenzy.com/courses.htm

He's very enthusiastic & experienced , the other guys are good too but I don't really know them .
ian Ll-J - on 11 May 2013
In reply to Chris Ridgers: I was a Paragliding Instructor about 15 years ago (in Snowdonia). I did see quite a few people buying a second hand gliders back then and either teaching themselves or being taught by their paragliding mates. I know of a few locals who taught themselves and went on to be very talented and well known in the world of paragliding (though it has to be said they were climbers who were climbing E6's and E7's at the time so were obviously capable and talented (fearless) individuals).

Most of the others who taught themselves ended up crashing and having pretty bad accidents.

In my time as a paraglider pilot I did witness some horrendous crashes so on balance I would probably recommend completing a course.

Another bit of advice if you can afford it, is to do a course abroad as the weather in the UK is often rubbish. Students would sometimes take well over a year to complete a week long course trying to get flyable weather to coincide with days off work.

And a final word of warning, I was climbing quite well and hadn't really reached my full climbing potential when I discovered and got hooked on Paragliding. I didn't climb for nearly 15 years as Climbing felt rubbish in comparison to flying. Truth is most of the time your waiting around for perfect flying conditions which are quite rare in the UK unless you don't have a job and live in the right area.
rug - on 11 May 2013
In 2 days you may be able to learn how to ground-handle a paraglider well enough to be able to take off in easy condition from a training site, and land in similar conditions. So you will have learned just enough to be able to seriously hurt yourself. (By seriously, a friend of mine (very good pilot, lots of hours) is currently in hospital. It is unlikely that he will walk again. That sort of seriously).

Wings are much safer than they were in the olden days, but the ground is still as hard.

A club will be happy to help a trained pilot. I'm sure most won't want you on their sites without decent training and insurance - though that will depend where you live. Wilder parts are less crowded, and more 'relaxed' about official stuff like that. (Somerset is going to be busy sites).

Heard nothing but good stuff about Andy at Flying Frenzy. Good recommendation.

Rug
stroppygob - on 11 May 2013
In reply to Chris Ridgers: I learned to fly on Dartmoor, best weeks of my life.

Get proper instruction or die.
richparry - on 11 May 2013
In reply to ian Ll-J:
I was in a similar situation where paragliding took over from my climbing and I found myself sitting on hills waiting for good conditions. In the uk you will find you'll spend a lot of time waiting, but when you are in 8 metre per second thermals over Llantysilio or at cloudbase over Snowdon or the Glyders you forget about the waiting.

It Didnt effect my climbing too much, but to get the hours in to remain current and familiar with your wing can be hard and frustrating at times.
woolsack - on 11 May 2013
In reply to Chris Ridgers: I never made it past the five day training course on account of the never ending wait for conditions or the instructor to be available which strung out the learning process to months and then with two days to complete the course I went over the handle bars of my MTB and cracked a rib so no more flying
Timmd on 11 May 2013
In reply to rug:
> In 2 days you may be able to learn how to ground-handle a paraglider well enough to be able to take off in easy condition from a training site, and land in similar conditions. So you will have learned just enough to be able to seriously hurt yourself. (By seriously, a friend of mine (very good pilot, lots of hours) is currently in hospital. It is unlikely that he will walk again. That sort of seriously).

Gosh that's bad. My neighbour who used to teach it had a Frenchman fly right in front of him while teaching in France and took avoiding action and crashed from around 30 feet, and was lucky not to damage his back enough to affect his spinal cord apparently. (For anybody wondering, he just happened to be French, i've nothing against French people.)

He's training in law currently though it's not connected to the accident I don't think.
DH3631 - on 11 May 2013
In reply to Chris Ridgers: I did a 5 day beginners course with Fly Spain a while ago which was good. We went from complete beginnings to flying down from munro sized hills on the last day, which was pretty cool although I haven't done any more since, basically not enough time/money to do it justice. From memory, after flights, accommodation etc there wasn't much change from 800. Possibly you could in theory do a similar course in the UK for less, but with more chance of weather cancellation for weather disruption. I think there are another couple of courses to get to a standard where you are supposedly fully competent to do your own thing, so doing it all by the book and buying the gear (maybe 2-3K to kit yourself out with new stuff) will cost a bob or two.
Having said all that, you could probably buy some second hand gear for 800 and just crack on. I do know folk who've done this and got on alright but obviously the consequences of getting it wrong could be quite serious...
koolkat - on 12 May 2013
In reply to Chris Ridgers:
what everyone else has said go to you tube and search for paragliding accidents
flying is very easy knowing when to fly and when not to fly isnt so easy ,
i have been flying for over 20 years and love the sport but i have stopped climbing now and it sort of takes over , if it doesnt you dont get enough flying time to stay currant at it and are more likley to hurt yourself
Chris Ridgers - on 12 May 2013
In reply to all: Thanks of all the replies! I think I should play it safe and do a full course, I am now looking to do the Elementary Pilot course with Flying Frenzy and take the rest from there! I will also try to track down some clubs in the Dartmoor aria.

adam11 - on 12 May 2013
Chris, you've had some very sound advice from Ian Li, and as an ex Paragliding Instructor myself, my climbing experience mirrors his. I flew quite a bit in Snowdonia with the likes of Sylvester and his crew in the early days of the sport and in comparison to today some of the canopies used then, they were verging on being extremely dangerous, today canopies a LOT safer.
You may well get confident doing top to bottoms in very light conditions after 2 days, but unexpected conditions often happen when airbourne and a full course will give you some idea how to cope with them. It's a lot better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air, than being in the air wishing you were on the ground!
You'll also wait on the ground for many hours waiting for conditions to start 'working' it was this huge time commitment that eventually took me down the Microlite route and the onto a Group A PPL.

That being said, I do have some great memories of frigging about in the Peak District with the likes of Geoff Birtles trying to launch converted jump canopies, with zipped up cells for very windy days :)
stroppygob - on 12 May 2013
In reply to Chris Ridgers:
> I will also try to track down some clubs in the Dartmoor aria.


When you've finished singing, these guys may be a good start.

http://www.sdhgpgc.org.uk/


rug - on 12 May 2013
In reply to stroppygob:

Are you saying that the flying ain't over 'til the fat lady lands ?
ads.ukclimbing.com
David Martin - on 12 May 2013
In reply to Chris Ridgers:

I'm currently in Annecy knocking off another SIV course and learnt to fly in Chamonix. As others have said, yes you can learn yourself. You can also free solo a grade above your normal onsight grade. The choice is yours. Since taking up paragliding I have personally met more people who have suffered spinal injuries and know of more paraplegics than I would ever imagined meeting in my lifetime. Get the sport wrong and you are crippled for a life, and far more likely than in climbing.

I recommend coming out to Cham, learning with a BHPA acredited school, really find out what its about, and realise you know nothing even if you can launch, fly and land a wing. The flying in Chamonix valley and around is great and, while the weather isnt always reliable, you at least get a holiday in an area which has great climbing opportunities in off days. Try Alpine Flying Centre.

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