Although not everyone can fly a paraglider safely, you don't have to be 'superman' (or superwoman!) to do so. There are however some age restrictions, and some common-sense health and fitness considerations to think about.
For paragliding you need to be over 14 years old. Under 18's need written, signed parental consent to paraglide.
Young people between 14 and 17 years of age (i.e. under 18) require written consent to paraglide (either flying solo or tandem) from their parents. A parents or guardian must also come along on the day to look after them and be sure they are satisfied we are doing everything we can to look after their safety.
You should be fit and active, have good co-ordination and an alert, reasoning mind. As well as a fair amount of running around, you will be walking up 500ft hills carrying a 15-20kg rucksack full of paragliding equipment.
Although no medical examinations are officially required you should be in generally good health. If you suffer from any medical condition such as epilepsy, fainting, giddiness, high blood pressure, heart condition, osteoporosis or diabetes you should ask your Doctor's advice before taking part in paragliding.
There is no such thing as a 'typical' paragliding day; they can vary considerably from one day to the next! One of the main factors for this is completely out of our control: the weather!
Other major factors are things like the individual's fitness and their personal rate of progress, which varies considerably from one person to another, and how many other people are taking part in the course. There are also many, many other factors which may affect how long it takes to complete the day's paragliding course, and exactly what get's done, but there are (far!) too many to mention all of them here. Suffice to say that we will always try to get as much done as is reasonably possible, whilst keeping safety as our number one priority.
The more patient and flexible you can be, the better chance you will have of getting the most out of your course!
For our paragliding courses, we would normally meet up on the hill (or somewhere nearby) sometime between 09:00 and 10:00am - but this can vary considerably depending on various factors, especially the weather! We will confirm what time we are meeting, where we are meeting, and how to get there, when you phone the evening before you are booked in for the weather check.
For our paragliding courses, a 'normal' day's teaching (bearing in mind that there is no such thing as 'normal' with paragliding and/or the weather) could finish anytime from around 12:00 to 16:00, but this can vary considerably depending on various factors, such as the weather or an individual's fitness and rate of progress.
One day of training is anything up to a maximum of 6 hours. For example start 9:30, end 15:30. However times and duration may vary greatly from this due to many factors outside of our control. We reserve the right to charge extra (or deduct from your outstanding training credit with us) for anything over 6 hours.
It's not so much about how old you are, it's more about how good your general level of fitness, health and mental state is. Other considerations to think about are things like your eyesight, any medical conditions you may have which may affect your ability to fly, your mental health and ability to make rational decisions etc.
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You need to be reasonably fit and able to run and jump around for sustained periods. You will need to be able to carry a 15-20 kg pack up hills. For take-off and landing you may need to run (sometimes quite quickly) for 10-20 metres or more whilst wearing a paragliding harness.
Your eyesight needs to good enough so that you can see obstacles 100's of feet away, and be able judge your height and approach in to land correctly.
We don't have 'official' height restrictions; the paragliding harness just has to fit you. So far we haven't had anyone who satisfied the weight limits (see weight limits FAQ above) who didn't fit into one of our harnesses.
No, the course days don't have to be taken consecutively. You can take them consecutively or individually - it is up to you. If possible, we advise that you should try and take the days of your course consecutively, to give better continuation, if you can. In any case, there is never any guarantee that the weather may be suitable for safe flying on all of the days!
For both paragliding courses and tandem paraglider flights, wearing the right clothing and footwear is very important! Here are some guidelines to help you...
You may have periods of intense activity (e.g. walking up the hill!) and other times where you may have to sit and wait for the right wind and weather conditions. You may have to contend with the chill factor of the prevailing wind, so it makes sense to go properly prepared. Layers of light but warm shirts/sweaters mixed with a windproof on top are much better than just one or two thick heavy garments. Wearing an overall or similar is a good idea; if you have some waterproof overalls or a one-piece ski suit, so much the better.
It is a good idea to bring along some waterproof overalls, just in case we get caught out by a rain shower. A pair of warm gloves is a very good idea, especially in cooler weather (even if you take them off to fly!), ideally not too thick. Take along a waterproof jacket that you can slip on over everything; you won't fly when it's raining but sometimes low cloud over the hills can have the same effect!
Your footwear is extremely important as you will be doing a lot of running, jumping and landing on uneven terrain! Your footwear MUST give excellent ankle support and grip. It should also keep your feet warm and dry.
Footwear with little or no ankle support or slippery soles e.g. trainers or shoes are NOT recommended. Ideally your footwear should be without lacing hooks, as these can snag and damage suspension lines.
It is up to YOU to ensure you wear sensible and adequate footwear.
Good flexible hill walking type boots are the right kind of thing.
The best are purpose-made paragliding boots. We all have these!
Yes, definitely. Food and/or drink are not included in the price, and will not be provided by us during your training or tandem flight.
We recommend that you bring enough to eat and drink to sustain you through your day! Our advice would be to bring more water than you think you might need, especially during the summer training months.
You should bear in mind that training is usually conducted far away from creature comforts like warm cafes with loos.