The club endeavors to support new pilots in making a safe and fruitful transition from school, and in helping you to further your skills to an advanced level. To this end, there are a number of BHPA senior and club coaches within the club, who are prepared to assist on the hill, and give advice within their areas of expertise.
You can phone any of these coaches on any potentially flyable days, and they should be able to advise you on conditions and which site to go to. They may also be able to meet you on the hill, or indicate which other coaches or experienced pilots might be free to go flying today.
Learn to fly
Clubs cannot offer training to prospective pilots, to learn from scratch you will need to go to a recognised school. The British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association oversees pilot and instructor training standards, provides technical support, runs coaching courses for pilots and a host of other services, providing the infrastructure within which UK hang gliding and paragliding thrive. The BHPA website contains advice for prospective pilots and is at http://www.bhpa.co.uk.
The first decision that you will need to make is whether to take up Hang Gliding or Paragliding. An overview of each sport is available on the BHPA website.
Once you have decided which sport to do you need to decide how to go about learning. There are a few options, each with different advantages. You can opt to learn to fly from a hill, or from a flat field with a tow launch. You can do either of these things in the UK, or abroad. It is perfectly possible to do some of your training at home, and some abroad (you will still need to train with BHPA registered schools). Most BHPA schools run trips abroad.
When you learn to fly in the UK you buy a course and then go out to fly when you have free time and the weather is good. It is best to do a block of days but if that is inconvenient most schools should let you come out for a day or even an evening or afternoon as is convenient for you (check this first). You will progress quickest if you don’t have too many big gaps between training days.
The Skysurfers’ Club is a hill launch club, so if you decide to train on the tow, you will need to do a hill conversion course to fly our sites. Most of the sites in the UK are hills, so you should count on needing to do the conversion.
Hang Gliding and Paragliding holidays are a lot of fun; you can go away for a week or two and have a great holiday during which you start learning to fly. The number of days needed to learn abroad is usually about the same as in the UK, and varies between Hang Gliding and Paragliding. The flying in the UK can be very different to the flying abroad, whilst learning abroad gives you the chance of better weather (and a holiday) it is very likely that you will need a day of lessons when you return to learn the skills that are needed to fly here. It is important to choose a destination that offers similar conditions to those in which you will be flying in the UK. NB. It is vital to have medical and evacuation insurance that covers hang gliding or paragliding whenever you fly abroad (even in countries covered by the European Health Services). Ensure that your trip is run by a BHPA school.
More information on learning to fly, how to find a school and a list of schools for both Hang Gliding and Paragliding in the UK and on trips abroad can be found at http://www.bhpa.co.uk/bhpa/learn-to-fly/.
Head Coach – Dave Harvey 07799 197345
Hang-glider Club Coaches
- Tim King firstname.lastname@example.org 07973 706151
- Brian Parkins email@example.com 07729 726160
- Oleg Muraveynyk firstname.lastname@example.org 07754 486277
Paraglider Club Coaches
- David Harvey email@example.com 07799 197345
- Kieron Doick firstname.lastname@example.org 07880 911409
- Martin Ayers email@example.com 07456 208007
- Robin Houghton firstname.lastname@example.org 07809 154353
- Steve Newcombe email@example.com 07816 193396
- Henry Saunders firstname.lastname@example.org 07867 428985
- Pete Scott email@example.com 07733103839
- Steph Cahill 07980 820475