What are Hang Gliding and Paragliding
Hang gliding and paragliding allow you to step off a hillside and fly into the air. In the right conditions you can fly high and travel many miles over the countryside, enjoying the magnificent views and the thrill of flying like a bird. They are very controllable, allowing you to go where you want and to land where you want – assuming the weather conditions are on your side.
Modern hang gliders and paragliders have turned the dream of Icarus into reality. Materials which combine strength with light weight have helped create personal flying machines that can be packed away quickly, and carried on your shoulder.
An aircraft that in expert hands can also climb thousands of feet up into the air, and cover distances of hundreds of miles, with no power save the movement of the atmosphere itself.
The British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (BHPA) is the UK governing body for the sport, and has over 60 affiliated clubs. Each affiliated Club controls the flying sites located within its own area.
Are hang gliding and paragliding safe?
Like most adventure sports, there is an element of risk, but in general the sport is as safe or as dangerous as you make it.
Correct instruction from a BHPA registered school, learning to "read" the prevailing conditions, and flying a wing appropriate for your own level of experience all help to reduce the risks, and maximise your enjoyment.
Never be afraid to seek advice from more experience pilots, and never be tempted to show off in front of your mates. Hitting the ground hard does nothing for your "street cred", or your health.
Fly sensibly, and you‘ll enjoy the sport for many years to come.
Can I teach myself to fly a hang glider or paraglider?
For your own safety we strongly advise you not to try to teach yourself to fly a hang glider or paraglider. These are real aircraft, with complex flight characteristics.
Any attempt to teach yourself to fly could all too easily result in serious injury. Professional instruction from a BHPA registered school is the only safe way to gain the necessary knowledge and experience to fly within a recreational club, without being a danger to yourself or others in the air.
Can visiting pilots fly DFHGC sites, or do they have to be Club members?
Suitably qualified and insured pilot are always welcome on our "Open Sites". But some of our more sensitive sites are "Members Only", and therefore restricted to Club members.
Joining the club costs just £10 a year, or £5 for a month for a visiting pilot.
Where can I learn?
See the next section – Learning and Schools - Learn to fly a hang glider or paraglider.