If you want to go beyond the dream and try to fly, the easiest way is paragliding (most pilots call it "the easiest way to fly").
Note that paragliding, as any aviation sport, has a potential of risk. However, statistics show that most accidents are caused by the human factor. Aerial sports, by being dynamic, are dependent on pilots reactions in case of faults, reactions that must be quick and accurate. Inexperience, ignorance of safety rules, pride, failure to check equipment are just a few points which depend on the human factor.
With adequate training, from mild to solving extreme cases, developing reflexes, every step of learning with an authorised instructor minimizes the possibility of injury. Also the authorised instructor will transfer to you all his knowledge and years of experience. So our recommendation is to attend a training session with an experienced and certified instructor.
The methods presented below are indicative, concrete details are obtained from user manuals given by manufacturers of paragliders and certified instructors.
Frequently asked questions
Can anyone fly a paraglider?
In theory anyone with a decent physical condition and who has no medical restrictions, can fly. To learn to fly safely and legally, it is necessary to enrol for a paragliding training where - under the supervision of an instructor - you will learn everything you need to know about this sport.
At what age can I start paragliding?
According to Romanian legislation, you must be at least 15yo and have parental permission to start flight school. You’ll go through the exam for obtaining your pilot licence once you turned 16.
In what physical condition I have to be in to fly?
It is recommended that people who begin flight school to be active, alert and to have a good coordination. In the first phase of the school, you will have to climb a small hill often with a 15-20 kg equipment on your back. Do not worry though, paragliding can be practice by less active people, as long as you want to fly and to your best, in time you’ll gain the necessary physical condition.
In what physical condition must I be for a tandem flight?
In this case, your physical condition must be at least average, depending on the take off site that you will choose with your authorised instructor, you will have to climb a 100m hill while having a 5-10 kg equipment in your back, then you must run 5-15 m until the paraglider takes off. You will receive all the necessary information from your instructor.
Am I too old to start paragliding?
Age doesn’t matter, but your overall physical condition, general medical condition and mental state. Another factor to consider is how well you see and any condition that may affect the ability to fly and make quick decisions. It is necessary to be able to run for short periods at high enough speeds (takeoff and landing), to be able to do your groundhandling exercises and you must carry a backpack of 15-20 kg while you go up the hill.
We have among us fellow pilots who graduated paragliding school after they retired (after they got in their 60’s), but all are mountain people, very active and involved in other sports (dance, marathons, etc.)
There are limits in terms of body weight?
Yes, there are both lower and higher limits for enrolment in flight school and tandem flights. This is due mostly to the loading capacity of paragliders that are certified on certain weight margins that should be complied with. A paraglider who isn’t loaded according to its certification can not fly safely.
Tandem flights: minim 40 kg, maxim 110 kg
Flight training/school: minim 40 kg, maxim 110 kg.
If a person over 120 kg wants to enrol in flight school, it is likely that they will have to buy (only with authorised instructor's advice and consent) appropriate equipment.
There are limits in terms of height of a person?
There are no official limitations in terms of height, the only condition is that your harness must fit you (when it comes to harnessed height is also important, not just weight). From our experience, it is rare for a person in the weight limitations not to fit in terms of height.
Where can I find paragliding schools in Romania?
You can find a flight school in an area that is accessible to you both as a location and as initiation flight scheduling (tandem flights) / training period on our platform www.flightbooster.com All the instructors we collaborate with are licensed and certified by national and international organizations so you can be sure that your training will be conducted safely and legally.
When does the flight training take place?
According to the flight school program and coverage of the number of student-pilots per session, the training takes place mostly on weekends, but most schools have trainings during the week too.
Why sometimes courses or tandem flights may suffer changes from the originally scheduled time?
All air sports depend on weather condition. So there is a risk for any activity to be cancelled and rescheduled for adequate weather. In the case of tandem flights, we strongly recommend you to contact the instructor 24 hours before the flight for reconfirmation. When it comes to flight training and classes, please keep connection with your instructor in the agreed communication method of each flight school.
How long is a tandem flight?
There is no normal or regular tandem flight. Two flights are never similar to each other. Paragliding - like all aviation sports - depends on weather condition. So there is a risk for any activity to be cancelled and rescheduled for adequate weather. Depending on what you agreed with your instructor, depending on weather condition and take off place chosen, the tandem flight may take between 5 minutes and several hours. Make sure you have a time window of at least few hours if the weather condition changes or if the road to take off place takes you longer than previously estimated. We recommend reconfirming by phone with your instructor 1 day before the flight. Take into account that equipment preparation lasts at least 30 minutes before the flight. Considering all these factors, the more flexible and patient you can be, the more you will enjoy your tandem flight.
Can a paraglider take off from a flat field?
Paragliding take off needs a slope, in general a hill or mountain area to ensure a level difference enough to use for soaring or ascending currents to gain height.
How long does a normal training session take?
There is no such thing as a "ordinary” training session, the first part of the day may be totally different from the second and two sessions are never similar. Paragliding - like all aviation sports - depends on weather condition, so there is a risk for any activity to be cancelled and rescheduled for adequate weather.
Other factors to consider are: physical condition of each student, how each student learns the paragliding techniques and retains information they received during the briefing (varies from one student to another), number of students that are at the training hill and the degree of evolution of each. In short, each instructor tries to work with each student as much during a session, but the greatest emphasis is on pilot safety and weather condition.
Considering all these factors, the more flexible and patient you can be, the more you will enjoy your paragliding training.
It is necessary for the training sessions to take place on consecutive days?
Although not necessary, it is recommended that your first sessions take place in consecutive days as much as possible, because these are the days when the foundations of your paragliding skills are set and your reflexes are created. We recommend you to schedule sessions in agreement with your instructor, considering the flight school rules and weather condition.
Who will provide the equipment during flight school?
Most flight schools will provide you with the necessary equipment (glider, harness, rescue parachute and helmet), you will only have to take care of the logistics part during preparation (transport, water, food and clothing).
What should I wear during the tandem flight? How about training sessions at the flight school?
It's very important to be properly dressed and have proper boots. Here are some tips:
- During a training session, you can have very intense physical activity (climbing a hill with the paraglider on your back a few times), while during other sessions you can get an changeable weather condition, with intense wind. Some warm blouses and a wind stopper jacket over are a better choice than 2 or 3 very thick blouses. Also a flight suit can be a good choice and can resolve many clothing related issues.
- You can wear a pair of loose trousers (wind shell) that allows you to move freely. In winter you can wear ski pants.
- Try wearing layered clothing (shirt, blouse warm, polar jacket) during the spring / autumn / winter so you can quickly remove layers if needed.
- During summer, although it is hot during the work sessions, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, they will protect the inherent incidents of ground handling.
What kind of boots should I wear on the tandem flight? How about training sessions at the flight school?
Your footwear is very important because you run, jump, climb, take off and land on terrain which is not always flat. It is mandatory that your shoes provide good ankle support and with good grip. Also they should keep your feet warm and dry.
We do not recommend shoes with soles and height below ankle which can slide (sneakers, loafers, etc). We do not recommend shoes with clips in which suspension lines could hang during paraglider ground handling..
The best choice may be special hiking boots (attention, not the same with climbing shoes) with laces, high enough to protect the ankle and Vibram soles to reduce shocks.
Should I bring my own food and water?
Yes, make sure you have at least 2 litres of water and enough food for a day when you come to training sessions. For the tandem flight, depending on the place of take off and conditions agreed with the instructor, we recommend that you have a minimum of 0.5 l water and a sandwich.
What is the connection between flight and weather?
All air sports depend on the weather condition, so we can only fly if the weather allows. We put safety before anything else, so that both the instructors we collaborate with and us, strongly recommend discontinuing any flight related activity if the weather condition is not optimal.
What's the best time of year to start paragliding?
There is no such thing as a good time or a bad period. Throughout the year, weather condition can be good and you can periods that are optimal for paragliding. However, spring, summer and fall are the best times for both beginners training and for dynamic flight and / or thermal flight. In winter one can fly in more peaceful air due to lack of thermal activity.
What should I know when I want to buy my first paraglider / my first equipment?
First, it is necessary to know how to fly in safety. We remind you that - in accordance with the law - you need to have a pilot licence which you can get by following courses of authorized paragliding schools. First purchase decision should be made with your instructor, depending on your abilities and your experience as a pilot.
Can I learn to paraglide by myself?It is true that paragliding apparently is one of the easiest non-motorized flights. It is also true that most paraglider pilots manage to take off, fly and land safely. But this is due to theoretical and practical training they received in a legal and organized environment in the flight schools. No one can better assess the evolution of a student, offer him the experience of decades in some cases and cannot make decisions about flight safety better than an authorized and certified paragliding instructor. To fly legally and in safety (both yours and the others), it is necessary to learn to fly with an authorised instructor.
According to statistics, most of the pilots who suffered various incidents and accidents over time were self-taught.
How risky it is to practice an aviation sport?
A thorough training in the spirit of air safety, equipment adapted to pilot experience and - very important, if not the most important – the pilot’s attitude towards the sport, make the difference between safe and risky.
Bear in mind that any sport and any aviation sport still has a potential risk beyond the human factor. Correct pilot’s education, acknowledging own limits and a serious attitude towards flight can lead to risk minimization. Self-esteem is reflected in respect for the sport and both can make the difference between a pilot flying safe and pilot being a danger, both for him and for those around him.
How long does the training take? How long does it take for me to become a licensed pilot?
Depending on the time you put into this sport, your skills, your approach on your entire training process, weather factors, also depending on the accumulation of 10 hours of flight (from different locations, the course can take between 3 and 24 months. Discuss this with your instructor when you enrol in the flight training.
What happens if I want to drop out?
If you started flight school and you feel that paragliding is not for you, talk to your instructor and find together a solution. Each school has an internal regulation regarding the whole training process, including student withdrawal.
Do I have to pass the licence exam at a certain date after I graduate flight school?
From the legal point of view, to fly a paraglider , you must have a pilot’s licence. You can pass your licence exam within 3 months after graduating (during this period, you cannot fly alone, only under the supervision of the instructor).
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