Frequently Asked Question

Paragliders originated from Europe. Initially they were developed from ram air parachutes and now have evolved into high performance elliptical flying wings. A paraglider is a pressurised aerodynamic wing that is built from a non porous rip stop fabric and has high strength lines that suspend a pilot underneath in a secure harness. Gliders are easily transported and carried only weighting approximately 20 kgs with accessories. It is a very convenient way to fly and is easy to set and pack up. The glider is packed into a back pack and can be put over your shoulder and carried to the top of mountains or taken away on treks. To go flying all a pilot has to do is lay the glider out, secure their harness and launch down a gentle slope. It only takes a few steps and your airborne. The glider is controlled by using brake handles held in each hand. Flights in a paraglider can last for many hours by flying in areas of lift like birds do, this allows pilots to reach great heights and potentially cover hundreds of kilometres. It is the closest thing to being like a bird and offers surreal beauty with unsurpassed adventure and excitement.

Paragliding is not para ponting. Para ponts are round canopies that get towed behind a boat. Parachutes are a little similar to paragliders only difference is we go up starting from the ground where they come down starting from a aeroplane door at 14000ft, paragliders are controlled the same way as parachutes only parachutes descend and don’t have as much aerodynamic performance as a paraglider does. Paragliders can climb in ridge lift and thermals and have a much better glide.
The short answer is no, paragliding is a high risk sport and does not tolerate complacency. At times mother nature can show no mercy and you could get seriously hurt or die. Basically it is as safe as you make it. It depends on many personal attributes, your attitude, knowledge and experience, ability to make decisions, personal judgement, and to maintain a conservative approach, think with your head and not your ego. Such is a saying. “There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots”. The bottom line is that most deaths occur from pilot error, equipment failure is rare and most fatalities are due to pilots flying in extreme weather conditions, manoeuvres to close to the ground or unable to recover correctly from various turbulences. Our aim is teach you how to fly safely and educate you of all associated risks and dangers in this sport. Flying is like playing a 3 dimensional game of chess and requires much planning and concentration, unfortunately not everyone has the head for flying and it is better for those people to take up other activities than to persevere with a sport that isn’t suited to their ability. If you choose to fly then what you need to do first is learn from a reputable certified flying school that will teach you in the safest environment possible. It is important that you progress gradually and have peer support and guidance, upon completion of your course it is a good idea to join a local flying club so that you can receive advice and supervision as you progress through different flying complexities.

You can start to learn paragliding from the age of 15 with parental consent, paragliding is more of a mental challenge, it doesn’t require much physical strength to control a glider so it is suitable for both women and men of all ages. The main thing is to be in good health, body and mind.

As your skills progress and you gain knowledge and confidence you can venture into a whole new world of paragliding. There are many types of paragliding pilots. Some pilots prefer to take it easy and soar the smooth coastal sea breezes, others like the excitement of pulling extreme acro manoeuvres or flying inland climbing to great heights in a thermal and going cross country trying to cover the greatest distance possible. Whether you are half a metre skimming across a coastal sand dune or 200 kms from launch climbing to a 9000ft cloud base, there is no feeling that will surpass the freedom of flying paragliders, with today’s advancement in paragliding technology coupled with a pilots knowledge of flying it is truly amazing what can be acheived.

Yes certification is issued by the Sports Aviation Federation of Australia who regulates the rules and regulations set for Hang Gliders, Paragliders and Microlights. When you first sign up for a course to learn paragliding you will need to sign a wavier and become a financial member of SAFA.

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