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Learning to Fly a Powered Paragliders in Australia

PPG & WPPG is classified as the safest form of Aviation in the world !

Many people confuse un-powered PG, ParaChuting, Hand Gliders and Ultra-Lite's with Powered Paragliding, But they are all Totally different sports !

No airport needed - no license - low cost - easy training and certification, However there are Australian Legal flying requirements.

Chief Flight Instructors (CFI) offer Cross-Over courses from Ultralight to Powered Paragliding.

CFI also offer cheap Refresher and Advance training courses if it has been a while since your last flight.

Below are the three basic paragliding training courses !

1. Foot Launched Paragliding (PG): NON motorised Paragliding, and was the first type of Paragliding, where traditionally you walk to a hill top or mountain to launch, these days you can get a towed launch behind a boat, vehicle or even ground based cable launch, however this type of paraglider flight rides the wind updrafts on coastlines or hills and use the natural force of thermals to carry them up to cloud base, from where they glide to the next thermal, covering great distances, a Godfrey Wennes from Manilla NSW Australia, flew his paraglider over 335km to set a new world record in 1998, a great achievement to pride all foot launchers. It is said he also took the Worlds Longest Tandem Open Distance of 223km.

Once you have taken your first Tandem Flight, you will be impressed how easy it is to escape the ground. It is not a promise but a certainty that after your first flight it will burn into your memory and last forever. A non powered foot launch paragliding course will take from 7~14 day to complete (depending on weather and pilot skills), as there are many ground handling skills as well as safety procedures to learn, with PG flight you are reliant on wind, thermals and weather conditions more so than the following two powered methods of flight.

2. Foot Launched Powered Paragliding (PPG): Secondly came "Powered Paragliding" (commonly called paramotoring), depending on your Instructor, Location, Weather, a foot launch paramotoring endorsement course will also take from 7~14 day to complete (also depending on your piloting skills) as there are also many ground handling and additional safety procedures to learn when using an engine & glider combination.

Most Foot Launch pilots use the HGFA (Hang Gliding Federation of Australia) for Flight Training, found on the www.HGFA.asn.au, web site, search for a Training Instructor.

3. Wheeled Powered Paragliding (WPPG): In recent times Quads (less stable Trike's, are for experienced pilots) type paragliding are rapidly becoming the new breed of powered paramotoring with specific Wheel based training programs, designed to help speed the learning process and have you up in the air on your way with powered flights as quickly and as safely as possible, in Australia all wheel launch WPPG pilots train via the HGFA or RAA (Recreational Aviation Australia inc).

So, in short, wheel launch paragliding would better suit a less agile, adventuress, frail, joint mobility problems, older type persons, people not wanting to carry 30kg load (inc. fuel) on here backs.  Some pilots want to be able to carry fishing/camping equipment etc. or another person or your dog, this is possible if done correctly !

The principle difference with WPPG and PPG is less emphasis is placed on needing to learning foot launch ground handling skills using a Quad, making launch and landings a lot simpler & safer as you don't have to concentrate on the inherent difficulties associated with running, tripping, nil wind days etc. during WPPG launch and landing procedures!

The below video tell it all.

NB: Either way you should familiarised yourself with the Engine/Cage/Quad assembly, disassembly, starting, throttle control, power cut off, fuel/oil mixing (2 stroke), maintenance, torque and thrust effects, special dangers etc. The practical work you will have to learn some basics in the following subjects: principles of flight, meteorology, aviation law and navigation, most of these are covered in "The Powered ParaGliding Bible" ($50) this great book comes with every package deal purchase), this is a great book and a must-have for all PPG and WPPG pilots.

Existing Aviation background:

If you already have a fixed wing aviation background, your learning curve should be accelerated and typically an established paraglider pilot (no engine) will be able to “upgrade” to PPG (motorised paragliding) certification in a couple of days.

No Aviation background:

A complete beginner with no aviation background may need upwards of 4~14 days of tuition depending on the course, and with plenty of reading to become proficient at powered paragliding flight. You should then accumulate another 20 hrs of powered flying before commencing cross-county flying. The only exception to this rule would be move directly into Quad training via the HGFA or RAA with our LowBoy-II Quad Buggy (wheel launch), as WPPG takes a lot of the essential ground handling skills out of the equation, but don't be fooled into thinking all is safe, however our Quad has 30cm of Suspension & Steering will make a hard landing easier with with less injuries if any, remember what ever goes up will eventually come down, incorrect pilot input in most occasions cause malfunctions to the wing, inherently a glider wing will self correct as that is the nature of a paraglider wing.

What are the legalities of flying a paraglider or paramotoring kit ?

Paramotoring operation in Australia is legislated by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and overseen by either the HGFA or RAA, but in effect this sport is unregulated. All aircraft must respect the Australian Air Navigation Orders and international aviation laws of CASA.

NB: Landowner’s permission is required for take off and landings, other than landing in an emergency.

Aviation law spells out the rules of how close one may fly to towns, clouds, airports etc. (.pdf file), and there are some special rules applying to Paramotoring which should be complied with.

Learning to Fly a Powered Paraglider:

Foot launch inherently requires a larger degree of fitness and mental agility, although a PPG's are relatively easy to fly, it is nonetheless still “Aviation”. The pilot’s attitude to safety and airmanship is what ensures an accident free flying career, remember “there are old pilots and there are bold pilots", look at this sport as if you have two bags, one filled with luck & the other is somewhat empty of experience, the idea is to gain all the experience before running out of luck !

For foot launch PPG you will especially need to learn to control a paraglider very well before you embark on any paramotoring, Inflation techniques (getting the canopy to rise overhead), launching, turning, controlling flying speed, landing approach, landing, and canopy handling once landed are all skills which need to be mastered. When proficiency has been reached in control & inflation elements, then you should be able to tackle powered flight.

What Qualifications can I get ?

The HGFA (Hang Gliding Federation of Australia) and the RAA (Recreational Aviation Australia) are the governing body's which looks after the interests of this sport in Australia, ensuring that problems do not arise in training or operation, and thus ensuring that Paramotoring remains unregulated. The HGFA has a pilot rating scheme which allows you to achieve a rating in both PG (paragliding) and PPG (paramotoring), and also looks after the accreditation, training and licensing of instructors as well as guidelines for indemnity (waiver) forms etc.

Powered Paragliding Schools & Trainers are located around most of Australia, predominately the eastern coast Victoria, New South Wales & Queensland with many more opening in this great sport by the day.

Trainers should have access to ideal location(s) to teach Powered Paragliding (Paramotoring), some of Australia's most successful paragliding schools have been established since the 1980 and have flight fields and areas they predominately use.

Accumulating people with a wealth of knowledge and experience is for the better of the sport, especially for your safety you should be learning PPG, from experienced powered paraglider instructor.

General Information on Powered Paragliding (PPG) Training courses.

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