Paragliding has inherent risks that must be managed by each individual pilot. While the equipment is proven to be safe through rigorous testing and certification standards, a pilot’s knowledge, abilities and decisions ultimately determine how safe or dangerous this activity is. Paragliding is a form of aviation and should be treated as such. Like all other forms of aviation, the vast majority of accidents occur as the result of pilot error; no one just spontaneously falls out of the sky. For this reason, it’s the pilot that determines the quality of their own experience.
Some variables that are important for determining whether paragliding is a suitable endeavor for a prospective pilot include: schedule availability, cost and mental health/physical fitness.
In order to develop into a competent and capable paraglider pilot, a person should have reasonable availability within their schedule to get out and fly their paraglider several times per month in order to continue to develop their abilities and knowledge as well as remain current with their skills. If free time is not something a person has a lot of, it’s unlikely that they will get to a place where they can be confident and comfortable under a paraglider.
A person should be physically fit enough that they can hike uphill with a 30 lb pack multiple times in a morning. They should have good balance and endurance. Ultimately, they need be able to run down a slope while balancing a paraglider over their head. Finesse is more important than brute strength. A new pilot should also be in a good place mentally. They should be able to manage stress and maintain a sense of calm under pressure. Good decision making under stress is a very valuable characteristic for an effective pilot.
If you’re curious about paragliding without much idea of what it’s like, you would be well suited to take a tandem paragliding flight to start. Tandem flights offer an opportunity to experience flight without the pressure or stress of keeping yourself safe. This way you can be fully present for the experience and find out if paragliding is something you’d be comfortable doing on your own under instruction. It also gives you an opportunity to see what’s possible under a paraglider. The goal of a tandem flight is to get you a soaring flight above the ridge so you can experience the magic of paragliding.
If you’ve done a tandem before and you want to see if paragliding is something you’d do well at, the Three Flight Intro Course might be a good place to start.
If you know you want to learn to paraglide, you’re welcome to go straight to the P2 Certification Course.
All licensed paraglider pilots need to have their own equipment. There are no paragliding gear rental services.
New students are not expected to have their own equipment. A qualified school should be able to offer their students quality training equipment at the beginning of their course. Once students have developed basic skills on school equipment, they should be prepared to purchase and transition over to their own equipment.
The cost of paragliding equipment ranges widely. The quality of the gear selected determines the price as well as the quality of the experience . Like most things, you get what you pay for.
A used gear set will cost anywhere between $3,000-$5,000. A new gear set will cost between $5,000 -$7,000.
Students should purchase paragliding equipment with the guidance of their instructor. Paragliding equipment needs to be sized properly, appropriately certified for the student’s skill level, and it needs to be in good to new condition. These are considerations that a qualified instructor should be able to help their student navigate.
Students should transition to using their own equipment once they’ve developed basic skills on using their school’s training equipment. Depending on the student, this might take anywhere between 5 – 15 flights on the school gliders.
The duration of the P2 course is determined by the frequency of a student’s training schedule. Students that show up more frequently will naturally develop skills more efficiently and complete the course in less time. Students that train four or more times per week will likely need less than two months to complete the course. Students that train twice per week will likely need three months to finish.
Our training season runs from April 1st – October 15th. Lessons take place at our training hill in North Boulder every morning, Monday – Sunday. Lessons typically run from 7:00 am – 11:00 am. We offer afternoon ground handling sessions as the weather permits.
Please take a moment to complete our New Student Application Form to submit a request to begin lessons. We’ll follow up via email to schedule your first lesson.
We offer flexible scheduling to our students. They can sign up for lessons at their convenience as their schedules allow. We have a shared online calendar that students can use to sign up.
We only request that students schedule a minimum of two lessons per week. Students can come out for as many lessons per week as they’d like. The more the merrier.
Students can come out for as many lessons per week as they’d like, there is no maximum. We only ask that students schedule a minimum of two lessons per week. A student’s development is dependent upon consistent training. Without regular practice a student will progress slowly, if at all.
If a student isn’t able to commit at least two mornings per week to training, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to participate safely as a licensed pilot after completing their training.