Learning to fly is not that complicated, but you have to be motivated!
Paragliding is time consuming and if your wish is to progress for a long time, here are 7 non-exhaustive advices to better understand the steps to go towards autonomy and make long flights.
1. Do an initiation course
A one week course to discover paragliding is the common core for all pilots. However, since 2017 or so, there is a difference between the “classic” initiation course vs. the “single surface” initiation course. The only criteria that will change is the type of glider used to fly.
The choice of the course will depend on your future objectives: are you more interested in walking and flying? In this case, you should choose the lighter and more manageable singleskin gliders. Do you want to fly long distances? Then a classic paraglider will make it easier to get to grips with your future performance gliders.
It is difficult as a beginner to imagine your progression for the years to come but there must be a discipline that attracts you more than another 😉
2. Invest in a paragliding pack
Getting past the stage of buying the equipment is like confirming your future investment in this wonderful activity. Once you have the glider, harness, rescue and helmet on your back, the training possibilities are immense!
There are several ways to find your happiness:
- Order new equipment from the school that taught you to fly.
- Buy second-hand equipment used during your training course.
- Search for second hand equipment on websites or Facebook groups.
This will of course depend on your budget and what is currently available on the market.
In any case, don’t forget to ask for a recent inspection of the glider before buying a second hand one and don’t hesitate to try groundhandling or to make a small flight with it!
3. Find a flying club
Being in a club has only advantages! Ask around or at your school about local clubs. You can look at their websites and the activities they offer that will interest you to progress. There is a wide range of activities to choose from, such as a rescue packing workshop, theory courses and financial assistance for SIV courses.
Generally, the club chosen is the one of your friends, but it is possible to be in different clubs if you wish.
The membership fee is paid when you take out your FFVL licence, often around twenty euros per year.
4. Insure yourself with the FFVL
The step that makes everything official! Being a FFVL licence holder means contributing to the preservation of flying sites, validating your licences while progressing, having access to training courses and competitions organised by qualified instructors and being well insured.
The licence is renewed every year and costs about 130€.
For a first licence, the steps are detailed but we have created a page to help you!
5. Surround yourself with passionate pilots
If you are new to paragliding, it is often because some of your friends are already pilots… But this is not always the case. This is where your club membership will also make sense: don’t hesitate to take part in organised outings! If sometimes you lack motivation, if you want to share your analysis and debriefing or if you are looking for a carpool to discover new sites; Finding your flying friends is the most important part of the progression!
6. Groundhandling (again and again)
The basics of understanding how your wing works safely on the ground. As some instructors say: “one hour of groundhandling is equivalent to hours of flight!” It’s not just about keeping the wing overhead once you have mastered the basic technics. The goal is to change the flight situations of the glider; spin, reverse, cobra and so many others… For this YouTube is an incredible source of tutorials (cf: Fab’s strong wind groundhandling video).
So have fun, it’s not in vain!
6. Do a series of short flights
Once you have all the tools, it’s time to practice the moves!
You understand your wing better and better and have practiced ground take offs hundreds of times. It’s time to practice steering and landing on your feet! Starting with calm conditions, your objective will be to master the important phases of flight to be able to move forward with confidence. It’s all about building a solid foundation without scaring yourself.
”The rest of the story is up to you! Courses, trips and meetings, the list is long!Lorenza