Since the late eighties, paragliding worldwide and especially in stunning South Africa, has seen a tremendous growth. Presently there are 500 000 paraglider pilots in the world. In South Africa, we have a relatively small community at around 800 registered pilot, but a staggering 1200 flying sites around our brilliant country. Our skies are uncrowded (unlike in Japan where around 30 000 pilots compete for takeoff sites.
For many years, earthbound humans have looked up at us “wannabe” birds soaring high above the earth on our paragliders and wondered if they could fly. The drawback in the past have been lengthy paragliding training courses required before getting your feet properly off the ground. Tandem Paragliding is the solution! With an over sized (round 40 – 42 square meters and round 40% larger than a solo glider), specially designed tandem glider and two harnesses, the sport now invites all who wish to explore the skies and soar the mountain tops. Taking only a few minutes to prepare and to pack up, paragliding is extremely easy and quite weather tolerant as a sport. After taking literally 3 minutes to lay out the glider and check the lines, a pull-up (launch) is simple and straightforward. A few light steps and the glider flies. Advances in technology have made these canopies extremely efficient and wonderfully secure. In the tandem position, you as passenger in the front are in a relaxed, seated position and afforded an unobstructed view of the spectacular scenery of the “Cape of Good Hope, Cap de Bonne Esperance, or Kap de Gutte Hoffnung” (depends on your origins!).
In these instructional paragliding tandem flights, we let the passengers fly themselves by first demonstrating how simply the steering works and then letting you have a go alone. Aerobatics are great for adrenaline creation – optional of course and the pilot will ask the passenger if they would like some, otherwise just ask!
The Solo training course can be from a 2 day training intro course (R1700) to 10-14days full time to get a solo licence (R8900). In this course, you use all our equipment to achieve around 40 high flights (each over 1 min). Many students experience a flight of 1 hour or more in duration within their first 10 flights. Our internationally qualified instructors can start courses every few days. Only after the basic licence can you decide if you want to continue (most do of course) with paragliding and are then expected to buy your own new or second hand equipment. This you can calculate as a layout of R12 000 – R50 000 (depends on the bargain you get on a basic 2nd hand rig or how fancy “new” with all the bells and whistles you decide to go). We will help you all the way! Even when qualified, at no-charge, you come flying with us.
Paragliding has many disciplines – Acrobatic flying to simple coastal soaring, to longer, thermic cross country flights. Owning a glider and belonging to a club means you have the help and support of many other like-minded and friendly, helpful types that are happy to assist.
To paraglide is to enjoy the mountains, outdoors and a great vibe.
There are 3 ways of getting airborne– From a hill or mountain, from a winch and the paramotor. Winching means being attached behind a vehicle (fitted on a 1km drum of strong line that “pays out” via a tensiometer) on airfields where we are towed up effortlessly into the air, upto 700m into the air, when we release and “Fly away”. This is generally how records are set and is an excellent way to fly in flat areas.
The world record on a paraglider has just been broken at 503km in a straight line! Winched from Prieska in the interior of SA into Lesotho, this was broken in an incredibly fast 7hrs30 by Neville Hullet, a friend of Stef’s and a South African of course!For further record flights see http://records.fai.org/data?v1=81&v2=1
For more on our sport locally see http://sahpa.co.za/
Google.com , youtube.com and wikipedia.com all have plenty of info on our sport. Or simply call us to get involved, we are diplomats for our amazing sport!