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last updated: Monday, January 7, 2008

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Yes, it is possible to fly without a motor, without a cockpit and without rigid wings, but not without awareness, knowledge and skill!

Realistically speaking, paragliding is a very hazardous sport, and good training is paramount. Flying Fysh supports the view that people are ultimately responsible for their own actions. If you choose to begin flying without proper training, you are choosing to place yourself (and others) in serious danger. Think about it!

In Australia, the civil aviation laws require that all persons acting as pilot in command of a paraglider be certified by the paragliding governing body, the Hang Gliding Federation of Australia.

Paragliding flight training schools in Australia operate to a standard syllabus set by the HGFA. All schools are approved and inspected by the HGFA Operations Manager. All prospective pilots in command are required to sign a suitable waiver of liability clearly explaining the risks involved. The general health and fitness of the applicant must be of the same standard as required for a driver's licence.

Theoretical and practical sessions are utilised to cover topics such as aircraft set-up, flight preparation, ground handling, the launch phase, level and straight flight, approach and landing, turning, stalling, flight planning and general operations. All trainee pilots are required to undergo a written examination covering basic aeronautical knowledge and a practical flight test to demonstrate aircraft control and airmanship.

The training is designed such that the applicant not only learns general flight rules and principles, but also gains an appreciation for being of good conduct both in the air and on the ground and subsequently, to take responsible action during an accident or incident. Emphasis is also placed on maintenance and the importance of keeping flight equipment in safe condition.

In Australia, the HGFA issues eight levels of paraglider pilot certification:

  • student (trainee) pilot

  • restricted (novice) pilot

  • intermediate pilot

  • advanced pilot

  • flight experience instructor

  • apprentice instructor

  • flight instructor (level 1)

  • chief flight instructor (level 2)

A pilot certificate may also have additional endorsements accredited with further training:

  • passenger carrying/tandem endorsement (sport)

  • passenger carrying/tandem endorsement (instructional)

  • ground tow endorsement

  • VHF radio operator endorsement

  • motorised flight (paramotor) endorsement

Check out the HGFA website or contact us for more information.

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Even after the initial flight training, it is beneficial to enrol in additional endorsement training and advanced flying courses (thermalling, SIV etc). It can refresh what was originally learned and help refine technique.

"great pilots are made not born... a man may possess good eyesight, sensitive hands and perfect coordination, but the end result is only fashioned by steady coaching, much practice, and experience"

Air Vice-Marshal J.E. Johnson (RAF)

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