Paragliding Lessons: Ultimate Guide
Shopping around for Paragliding Flight Lessons isn’t that easy. It’s difficult to determine just how much you will get for your money and with all of the technical jargon over pilot ratings and flying site access, there are so many unanswered questions.
This article describes some of the nuances to Beginner Paragliding Training Courses that may not be so obvious to a newcomer to the sport and it will help you to avoid the pitfalls and assumptions that are commonplace. By the end of this article, you will be armed with questions to help you distinguish between a credible Flight Instruction Program and one that just simply takes your money and leaves you to figure out the rest on your own. Beware of ugly surprises and ongoing solicitations for additional training and ratings! Do your homework and find out for yourself what troubles await the graduates of these schools.
What do the ratings P1-P4 actually mean? You will be told that the Novice Paragliding Rating starts at P2 and with this rating you will be able to fly solo and on your own. While this is technically true, there is one glaring detail that is typically omitted. Almost every established flying site, and especially those in Southern California, requires a P3 in order to fly!
So just when you’ve already spent $1800-2500 on a P2 Training Program, you then learn that a P2 is essentially useless for getting yourself into any popular flying sites. You would have to pay for an additional P3 rating ($1500!), or you would have to log about 100+ flights on your own and without instruction and still have to pay an instructor for a P3! This can of course be difficult and almost impossible without access to a flying site in the first place. What’s up with that!?
The worst part is that after you have spent a few days in training, you are then kicked out of the nest whether you’ve mastered the skills or not. As it goes, no one can be a truly accomplished paraglider pilot with 5-7 days or less of instruction. What typically happens in these training programs is that the student is rushed to “complete” the course just when they will need guidance the most. This impetus to churn out sub-par pilots in order to promote an “easy, quick training program” leaves many pilots completely ill-equipped to deal with the real and often demanding conditions of paragliding. Consequently, most new P2 pilots fizzle out of the sport as a result of being abandoned at this crucial, developmental period.
What about just paying a day fee? The Pay-as-You-Go instruction program undermines the skill-building process to such a degree that instructors and students will often be more obsessed with the money and time spent rather than actually learning to paraglide. That’s no way to learn about crucial flight safety matters and ultimately, your new passion for free-flight. Day fees are not a good solution for the ongoing training requirements of such a sport.
How much will a P3 cost using day-fee instruction? Get ready to spend more money because at some schools a P3 rating can cost an additional $1500, ouch! If you will need those 100+ additional flights under instruction, a day rate just won’t work for that either. They can be over $250/day! That’s just insane, especially given that you still have to purchase your first set of flying equipment.
Now that you see the systems in place, what other options are there, Unlimited Lessons? Perhaps...
Asking The Right Questions
As with most things in life, the questions you ask will make all the difference. When deciding on a Flight Instruction Program, here are a few questions you may find helpful to determine whether your money and time is going to be spent effectively. Please ask these questions and pay attention to the answers you get.
1) How long does the P2 training take?
a. How many days am I given to complete the basic requirements for P2?
b. What happens if I am not comfortable with the amount of training received in this time period or am unable to finish within the time period?
c. How much will additional training cost?
2) What sites will I have access to after obtaining a P2 rating from your school?
a. As a P2, what opportunities will I have to fly at local sites without paying an instructor to observe me?
b. Which sites around me even allow a P2 to fly?
c. How many students return to your school to complete a P3?
3) How much does additional training cost?
a. What is the day fee for continued instruction?
b. What is the cost for the P3 course?
c. How will I get the 100+ additional flights required for a P3 rating after I have a P2?
4) How will I get cross-training to be able to fly different sites in my region?
a. Do you take students on trips to explore other regional sites?
b. Do you expose the students to both coastal and mountain flying conditions and sites?
c. What resources are available to the students for visiting other sites?
5) Do you offer unlimited lessons?
a. How much will it ultimately cost to get all the way to the P4 rating?
b. What resources will the school provide to help graduates stay motivated to learn and engage with the flying community?
c. What kind of advanced training do you offer and how much is it?
Our Unlimited Flight Lessons
Our Flight School does things differently! Why focus on quick, revolving-door training programs when the real goal is to create well-rounded pilots that will be flying for decades to come? It is our firm belief that we can facilitate an enjoyable and safer Flight Training Program by offering Unlimited Lessons to P4 and thereby eliminating the stress and worry of chasing down and paying for more ratings and training. Our students have access to Andy Jackson Airpark during the entire time they are in training. Since our flight training course goes all the way to P3 and beyond, then every other regional site becomes available to our students upon achieving the P3 rating. Again, this was at no additional charge for our students!
Because there is no rush or on-going charge for instruction, students feel at ease to complete the program at their own pace. This mindset is absolutely essential for learning critical flight-safety skills and techniques for assessing appropriate flying conditions. Why would anyone want to be rushed through the process of learning such incredibly important, life-long skills in just a few days?
At FlyWithJordan Paragliding School our students are actual people with bright futures in ultra-light aviation, not some number to be forgotten when the next student pays tuition. We endeavor to create a community wherein the members motivate, encourage, and educate one another. Gone are the days of learning “just enough to kill yourself” as the old saying goes. Our commitment to our students extends well beyond the P2 and we hope it becomes a new industry standard in Paragliding! As our community grows, the opportunities do as well.
Find out how you can join our program by visiting the link below! We are a fully Insured and Certified Paragliding Flight School located in beautiful Southern California. There are lodging accommodations for students visiting the area and enrolled in our school and we frequently schedule trips for pilots to flex their new skill-sets at different popular flying sites. Join the flock today!