Becoming a paraglider

It can be thrilling and satisfying to paraglide and hang glide. While paragliding and hang gliding, a person is held in a harness beneath the wing using the wind to stay aloft.

Becoming a paraglider
Photo by Leonardo Yip / Unsplash

It can be thrilling and satisfying to paraglide and hang glide. While paragliding and hang gliding, a person is held in a harness beneath the wing using the wind to stay aloft. If you're interested in getting into paragliding, there are a few steps you can take to progress from a beginner to a certified paraglider.

  1. Commercial Tandem Flight: The first step in becoming a paraglider is to sign up for a tandem flight. A commercial tandem flight is a great way to get a taste of what paragliding is like without having to make a significant investment in equipment. During a tandem flight, you will be attached to a certified paraglider pilot and can enjoy the experience of flying while they handle the controls.
  2. Sign up for a course: There are many schools and instructors that offer paragliding courses, ranging from beginner to advanced levels. These courses will provide you with the basic knowledge and skills you need to get started in the sport, and will also introduce you to the equipment you will need. Throughout the course, you'll learn about the different airspace classes and the rules and regulations. For example, you cannot fly near aerodromes, so it is important to be aware of your surroundings when you are flying. You can fly for up to 12 hours as a PG or HG pilot, we are limited by daylight hours and the longest distances flown to date are 610km (PG) and (764km HG). The certification process will ensure that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to safely participate in the sport.
  3. Buying the right equipment: To become a paraglider, you will need to purchase the right equipment. This includes a paraglider wing, harness, reserve parachute, and other accessories. It is important to purchase equipment from a reputable manufacturer and to make sure that the equipment is suitable for your level of experience.
  4. Seek advice from peer paragliders: The learning curve is steep and you're only just getting started. Joining a local club or association of paragliders can provide you with the opportunity to seek advice from more experienced pilots, find out about the local launch sites, and get in with a good crowd. This can be a great way to learn from others and to connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion for the sport.

Some of the launch sites around Townsville are Mt Inkerman, and Pops, Coolbie (Bambaroo, Paluma). Other coastal sites that PG flies are: Toomulla Beach and Wunjunga. We also fly Cape Hillsborough, Eungella (a beautiful site). These locations offer scenic views and favourable conditions for paragliding, making them popular spots for local paragliders. You can fly for up to 6 hours and fly over the top of Jourama Falls, and even Wallaman Falls! Another site, further north, is Rex's Lookout (also known as "The Rex").

The Red Bull XAlps is one of the toughest endurance races in the world - a combination of paragliding and running/hiking with pilots covering 1238km in up to 120 days.

Becoming a paraglider has its challenges but it's a very rewarding experience. Seek mentorship and a certified paraglider to enjoy the freedom of human-powered flight.

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