Lee has been flying & teaching paragliding since 2005. His main drive is Acrobatic paragliding which has given him a passion for teaching security in flight and glider control clinics. He is a senior instructor with the BHPA and with a naturally calm and patient personality he specialises in progressing low air time & low confidence pilots. Lee has a high level of experience in running trips abroad and enjoys opening up new paragliding experiences for pilots. Lee is also an experienced tandem pilot and SIV instructor.
Qualified in 2011, Fiona is still a relatively low airtime pilot however her organization skills are second to none. If you need a speedy response it is likely to be her who contacts you first and she can be found on all the European trips, driving and taking photos & video of the action on the hill.
Akis is a very talented XC pilot from Greece. He has a wealth of flying experience and is also a skilled tandem pilot. Fluent in 5 languages he gets on with everyone and is particularly handy at translating menus in far flung locations. Recently he has spent a lot of time living and flying around Colombia and most of South America, so you will find him acting as the fixer on many of our long haul tours.
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Our courses include covering all the essential basics of safety in flight, how to search for thermals for lift and how we use the lift to climb.
This is a question that generally gets asked first by new people coming into the sport and I feel it is very important to answer this question honestly.
Let’s be very clear paragliding is a form of aviation with all the inherent risks that are involved with any form of aviation and injuries and sometimes death can and do occur even to trained pilots using proper equipment.
However with the technology of the equipment and the research and development that is carried out by the big manufacturers, and the training syllabus devised and used in the UK by the BHPA (British Hang Gliding and Paragliding association) the sport has become very safe and is growing very rapidly throughout Europe and the world.
When I am asked this question my response is always if I thought the sport and risk factor was too high I wouldn’t have made it my life’s passion, my business or a sport that I have involved many members of my family and friends in.
The equipment we use in the sport never fails as long as it is in serviceable condition and the equipment has been supplied by a reputable company and is used for its intended and tested purpose. The main reason for accidents that I see in paragliding are poor decision making from both pilots and guides, and pilots using incorrect equipment not suitable for their experience level or intended use.
To keep yourself and the sport safe it is very important to do your research. If you’re looking for training in the UK or in Europe make sure you use a BHPA registered school which are listed here – http://www.bhpa.co.uk/schools/
For qualified pilots looking for guiding or flying development, don’t just fall for a flashy website, ensure your guide or instructor has the necessary qualifications or proven experience in the field you are looking for.
Considering paragliding is a form of aviation which allows us to climb in excess of 10,000ft in the right conditions and fly further than 200k-300k in a single Cross Country flight, it is a relatively inexpensive sport to be involved in. It is very similar in costs for example as Scuba Diving in terms of tuition and affording the equipment. It is worth remembering that once you are qualified and have your own equipment there are no fuel costs, no hanger charges or landing fees and apart from joining your local flying club (around£15-£20 per year) it is a pretty much cost free sport.
For paragliding training courses with a BHPA registered school you should expect to pay around £1,000 – £1,500 to go from zero to a Club Pilot which will allow you to fly on your own as a novice pilot.
For equipment the price can vary depending on brand and type but you should expect to pay around £2,300 – £2,600 for a brand new reputable make and model of beginners glider. For more performance gliders the price can rise anywhere up to around £3,500 for state of the art performance gliders but these are generally for pilots with experience and glider control.
For recreational harnesses you can expect to pay around £450 – £650 brand new.
For reserve parachute systems you can expect to pay around £450 – £600
Many schools and companies offer package deals for equipment and your training school or brand distributors will have demo kit for you to try before you buy.