Beginners Paragliding Courses

What is paragliding?

Paragliders look vaguely like parachutes as these are from where they evolved. However, they are very much more. Paragliding is now at a very exciting stage in its development, from being just a fun method of descent from the hills; Paragliding offers the pilot the sensation of true free flight for hours upon hours. Using modern high-performance materials a canopy only weighs a few kilograms and packs neatly into a rucksack. This makes this “aeroplane in a bag” totally portable and can complement other sports such as skiing and mountaineering.

Intensive paragliding courses for beginners

If you want to learn to fly, the best way is probably to do an intensive course, since it is proven that you progress much faster than if you give your flight lessons in a discontinuous way only on weekends. Our intensive paragliding courses are one or two weeks long.

To become an autonomous paragliding pilot you’ll need to complete two courses:

IPPI 2 - Elementary Pilot Course

This is a course for complete novices and is the first step in getting qualified to paraglide. At the end of this course, you have learned the basics of paragliding but you still need to fly under the supervision of the instructor.

This course takes one week (6 days).

Elementary Pilot Course (BHPA EP-IPPI 2) Syllabus

Phase 1 - Ground Training

  • Introductory talk - risk warning health/medical conditions clothing/footwear - pilot rating scheme BHPA/APPI
  • Site assessment - suitability for the exercises and the student and weather
  • Introduction to canopy and equipment
  • Avoiding/minimising injury - safety techniques

Phase 2 - Ground Handling

  • Briefing - Checks - wind direction, airspeed control, flare/stall
  • Preparation - Pre-flight Checks - paragliding helmet, harness, canopy.
  • Inflation - Take-off - landing sequence practised - post-flight control.
  • Directional control - how controls work, initiating turns, looking ahead.

Phase 3 - First Flights

  • Getting airborne - take-off with good control of airspeed, in-flight control, landing and post-flight control.
  • Eventualities briefing - preparation to deal with the unexpected.
  • Commands and communications briefing.
  • Responsibilities briefing - student becomes the pilot-in-command.

Phase 4 - Flight exercises in a Dual Tandem paraglider with your instructor

  • Flights (1) straight flights maintaining course and airspeed, introducing turns
  • Flights (2) Different kinds of turns, speed-to-fly, figure-of-8 approaching
  • Flights (3-4) complete simple flight plans with controlled landings in the intended area.

Phase 5 Theory lessons and examination.

  • Meteorology - the weather affecting our sport
  • Principles of flight - how the wing flies, what makes it turn, stability etc
  • Rules of the air and air law.
  • Elementary examination - multiple choice written paper.

Student has reached a standard of airmanship and attitude to continue training in this discipline. Attitude is very important in the interests of safety of the student, fellow pilots and other Course Exercises

Final assessment of the Elementary stage. If successful you can then move on the Club Pilot IPPI 3 level.

IPPI 3 - Club Pilot course

This is the next step in your career to become an autonomous paraglider pilot. Once you have finished this course and all the tasks of the training program have been completed, you should have the skills you need to fly unsupervised.

This course takes one week (6 days).

BHPA Club Pilot Course (BHPA CP-IPPI 3) Syllabus

Phase 6 - Pre-soaring.

  • Theory: Further weather and site assessment, soaring flight theory, lift bands, flight planning, and rules of the air.
  • Demonstrate consistent competent unassisted launches and controlled turns up to 180 degrees and beyond.
  • Planned Approaches: Demonstrate consistent competent controlled approaches (using different techniques) and landings in a designated area.

Phase 7 - Soaring.

  • Soaring flight: Consistently using ridge lift to maintain and gain height.
  • Top Landings: Demonstrate safe, consistent and controlled top landings on at least two sites or in different conditions [this task is optional].
  • Flying with others: Consistent competence in flying with others, observing the Rules of the Air and Collision Avoidance Rules.

Phase 8 - Improving Skills.

  • Exploring the speed range: Competence in using the speed range of the paraglider, and understanding the hazards including the stall.
  • Accelerator Systems: Competence in using accelerator systems and knowledge of their use and related dangers.
  • Forward Launching: Demonstrate consistent competence in forward launching skills, under full control throughout.
  • Reverse Launching: Demonstrate consistent competence in reverse launching skills, under full control throughout.
  • Weight-shift and pitch-roll coordination in turns: Demonstrate consistent competence in steering the glider with weight-shift and in controlling pitch.
  • Cross-wind and slope landings: Demonstrate consistent competence in cross-wind and slope landings and understand when and how to use and associated hazards [this task is optional].

Phase 9 - Instability & Emergencies

  • Theory: Tree and water landing procedures, Parachute Landing Fall competence, emergency parachute systems, alternative control systems and dealing with instability and turbulence.
  • Active flying: Coping with turbulence, including pitch control.
  • Rapid descent techniques: The use of the ‘big ears’ descent technique, including its limitations and hazards.
  • Dealing with an asymmetric tuck: Demonstrate how to deal effectively with small tucks in flight.

Phase 10 - Theory & Exam

  • Meteorology: More detailed knowledge of weather and conditions for safe flying.
  • Principles of flight: Knowledge of how the wing flies; effect of controls; forces on a wing; stalls, spins etc.
  • Rules of the Air and Airlaw: Airlaw in paragliding activities, including controlled airspace and essential liaison with other air users.
  • General Airmanship knowledge: Including human factors, flying abroad, repairs, inspections, coaching and clubs.
  • Theory Examination: Two multiple choice written exam papers. A wrong answer to ANY Collision Avoidance question means automatic failure of the entire exam.

Final Assessment. Assessment of student’s attitude and standard of airmanship to fly safely and competently outside the supervision of a school.

IPPI 2+3 - Combined course EP+CP

You can also complete the full training program in a Combined EP+CP course and get the Club Pilot qualification.

This course takes two consecutive weeks (12 days)

Learn to paraglide in the sunshine of Spain

Our Paragliding Flight Center is located in Algodonales, southern Spain, unlike anywhere else in Europe, you can learn all the skills to safely paraglide in one or two weeks, meanwhile in other countries, it can take months to acquire all the skills to qualify for your pilot’s license. It is likely to be more cost-effective to take a holiday with us in our variety of flying sites compared to travelling back and forth to your local paragliding area.

Intensive paragliding course.

Fast learning with our revolutionary method combining DUAL TANDEM flights + SOLO flights.

Because we know that our students have a short time to learn to fly, we have developed our own learning system; our method is faster, safer and more fun than the traditional way.

The traditional teaching method is based on short flights from a low hill (10-50 meters high). The student doesn't have too much time to practice the exercises and has to walk to the top of the hill over and over to try again. These hops are good to make you more confident in the beginning, but in the long run, it extends the time it takes to develop your flying skills. With our system, we reduce this time.

Fast Learning System

  • ONE-to-ONE TANDEM FLIGHTS:

In the beginning, you will fly in a dual paraglider with your instructor from the top of the mountain (100-600 m high). During these approx. 20-minute-long flights, you will take the controls of the glider. You will have plenty of time to practice exercises, with the help of your instructor who will be seated behind you. This is the best way to learn, no doubts! 

With this system, we also save time: you can fly with your instructor and practice more often and you won't be waiting for hours to the light wind conditions.

For a couple of days, we combine tandem flights with theory lessons and ground handling practices until you are ready to fly in a glider all on your own.

 

  • SOLO FLIGHTS:

After three or four tandem flights with your instructor, you will have learned the basics of piloting the glider and you should be ready for solo flights! You will fly alone for the rest of the course, but always under supervision, with radio support.

The intensive course takes the whole day, from 9h00 in the morning to sunset, with a break for lunch.

  • 1.450 Quick view

    IPPI 2 Elementary Pilot Course

    ALL INCLUDED PACKAGE Learn to fly. This paragliding course is the first degree in the education system. For beginners without experience. Duration: 6 days / 7 nights. 🅷 Accommodation Included. ✈ Free Airport Transfers. ☑ All flying equipment. ⛨ Insurances. ⚑ Algodonales, Spain
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  • 1.450 Quick view

    IPPI 3 Club Pilot Course

    ALL INCLUDED PACKAGE Keep learning and become an autonomous qualified pilot. For beginners who have already done the IPPI 2 course. Duration: 6 days / 7 nights. 🅷 Accommodation Included. ✈ Free Airport Transfers. ☑ All flying equipment. ⛨ Insurances. ⚑ Algodonales, Spain
    Booking
  • Sale! 2.900 2.750 Quick view

    IPPI 2+3 Combined Course

    ALL INCLUDED PACKAGE Learn to fly, from complete beginner to qualified pilot! For beginners without experience. Duration: 12 days / 14 nights. 🅷 Accommodation Included. ✈ Free Airport Transfers. ☑ All flying equipment. ⛨ Insurances. ⚑ Algodonales, Spain
    Booking

Learn to paraglide: Steps to Become a Pilot.

Paragliding is a potentially dangerous sport, so under no circumstances should you try to fly a paraglider without proper training.

For your own safety and the safety of the other pilots, your first step must be to enrol in a course offered by a certified paragliding school. While attending a school, you will acquire the knowledge necessary to fly safely.

The structure of the paragliding courses can be different in every school but the content is similar.

Professional instructors will teach you how to become a safe, competent rated paragliding pilot. During your course, you will do a minimum number of supervised flights and also theory classes. At the end of the course you will have to complete a written exam before you are qualified to fly unsupervised.

Recognized FAI, APPI and BHPA International Paragliding School

Zero Gravity is a paragliding school recognized internationally by Federations and Associations such as RFAE, FAI, APPI and BHPA, which guarantees the quality of our courses and the professional training of our instructors.

  • RFAE, is the Spanish Air Sports Federation
  • APPI, is an Association of Paragliding Pilots and Instructors wich Offers worldwide united education system.
  • BHPA, the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, provides the infrastructure within which hang gliding and paragliding in the United Kingdom.
  • FAI, World Air Sports Federation, is the world governing body for air sports.
In our paragliding school, you can be rated in one or more of these organizations.

Do I need a license to paraglide?

In most of countries, a license is not required to paraglide, but there are some countries where you must get a paragliding pilot rating to fly.

Paragliding is normally regulated by the National Aerial Federation. It is a self-regulated sport; pilots and instructors alike adhere to the policies and guidelines of the Federation or another Association.

You should ask the National Federation about the requirements to fly paragliders in the country.

The FAI IPPI Card

If you like, after you complete your course at our School, you can get the FAI IPPI Card.

The CIVL International Pilot Proficiency Information (IPPI Card) reflects the pilot's proficiency and provides a standard reference by which all national rating programs may be compared.

For the pilot who flies outside of his known or local area, it is an easy method of providing proof of flying experience and proficiency. When a pilot travels abroad, the IPPI Card  will identify the pilot skills.

The IPPI Card is valid only together with a current national license. Our Paragliding school is recognized by the Spanish and by the British Federation. If you like, you can become a member of them with our certification.
If you don't live in Spain or UK and you also want to join your country's federation, they should accept your IPPI Card as proof of your pilot rating.

The IPPI Card is based on safety and training standards defined in the SAFE PRO program.

The learning progression consists of five stages, from basic to advanced. It also divides the participants into students, they must fly under the supervision of instructors, and autonomous pilots who can fly unsupervised.

  • IPPI 1. Student. Ground Skimming
  • IPPI 2. Student. Altitude Gliding (altitude and space to do maneuvers, no soaring)
  • IPPI 3. Pilot. Active Flying (preparing for turbulence, recovery and descending techniques…)
  • IPPI 4. Pilot. Soaring (flying in both ridge and thermal lift)
  • IPPI 5. Senior pilot (mastering one or more advanced practices)

Here you can compare the equivalent ratings between FAI IPPI, APPI and BHPA:

FAI. InternationalAPPI. International with exceptionsBHPA. For UK citizens
IPPI 1 Ground Skimming APPI 1 Discover Student
IPPI 2 Altitude Gliding APPI 2 Explorer Elementary Pilot
IPPI 3 Active Flying APPI 3 Pilot BHPA Club Pilot
IPPI 4 Soaring APPI 4 Intermediate Pilot BHPA Pilot
IPPI 5 Senior pilot APPI 5 Advanced Pilot BHPA Advanced Pilot

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