FAQ's - Fly Sussex, the Ultimate Flying Experience

FAQ's @ Fly Sussex the ULTIMATE paragliding experience

  1. Where do me meet?
  2. What shall I wear?
  3. What should we bring?
  4. How long will we be out?
  5. What if the weather is bad?
  6. What is a Paraglider?
  7. Is Paragliding Safe?
  8. Do you jump off a Cliff?
  9. How high can you fly?
  10. How do I go about learning to fly?
  11. Is there any age limitations?
  12. What are the Main Components of a glider?
  13. How long will a glider last?
  14. When is the best time to go Paragliding in the UK?

Where do me meet?

We meet at our shop premises, see map for details.

What shall I wear?

Comfortable clothing. Long trousers, nothing too tight! Warm, windproof clothing with a separate waterproof is ideal
In summer expect to get hot so breathable clothing is good. Ideally you need to cover most of your skin in case you fall over. In winter dress warm - gloves, hat and warm coat. Layers are a good idea.
Ankle protecting boots (tape over any hooks) such as hiking boots.
We have suitable boots for hire on the day if you are unable to supply your own.

What should we bring?

All paperwork (voucher) sandwiches, drinks, plenty of water if its sunny, suntan lotion/a hat etc.
Payment for BHPA insurance.

How long will we be out?

This varies as it all depends on the weather. On the voicemail message left the night before your booking we will specify the time to meet at our shop. Start times may vary according to the weather but usually it is 9am. The finish time is usually late afternoon.

What if the weather is bad?

Please phone the office (answer phone) after 7:30pm on the day before your booking to check if we will be going ahead or not (flying is weather dependant). If the weather proves unsafe for teaching you will receive credit for another day. You will need to ring and re-book. The sooner you come back the better.

What is a Paraglider?

A paraglider is a foot-launched, ram-air, aerofoil canopy, designed to be flown and landed with no other energy requirements other than the wind, gravity and the pilots musclepower. A Paraglider descends at about 200 ft per minute. However, if the air is rising faster than the glider is descending (as often happens) the glider will gain height, Flights of many hours and quite long distances are not uncommon and easily possible, record breaking flights in the UK are around 200 kilometres. Paragliders are designed for soaring flight unlike Parachutes which are designed to descend.

Is Paragliding Safe?

Flying, like any other adventure sport, has its associated risks and to operate safely in any kind of aviation environment one must strive at all times to minimize those risks. The most important pre-requisites to learning to fly safely are: pilot attitude, competent instruction, and safe equipment. If these conditions are met the slow speeds and inherent stability of paragliders can provide a safe and easy way to experience Flying with the Birds!

Do you jump off a Cliff?

Absolutely not! You dont jump off anything. Paragliders and Hang gliders are usually launched by running off of moderate slopes (could be above a cliff) until you are lifted off your feet and thus flying!

How high can you fly?

When training you will start out just skimming the ground. As you progress and become more skilled and confident you will gradually go higher. (Under your instructors directions) There are different sources of "lift" available to Hang glider and Paraglider pilots. The most common is "Ridge lift" where you soar on the uprising air from hills, cliffs etc. Average height gains using ridge lift are around 200ft. The most useful form of lift is "Thermal lift". The skilled pilot utilises the warm rising air in the same way that large birds such as eagles do. Using thermals a pilot can reach heights of upwards of 10,000 ft in warmer countries such as France and Spain. In the UK we have a colder, wetter climate and in the summer, heights of 3,000-6,000 ft are the norm.
 The height or altitude that you fly at is strictly controlled by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and Learning to read Air Maps is a must for the advancing pilot. Cross country flying is restricted to pilots who have reached "Pilot" level. 
The levels are: Elementary pilot (EPC), Club pilot (CPC), Pilot and Advanced pilot.

How do I go about learning to fly?

The best way to go about learning is to book a course of instruction with a registered BHPA (British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association) school. i.e. Fly Sussex Paragliding. Most schools offer one-day intro courses so that you can try out before you submit the full cost of a course. On signing up for a full course you will first do the BHPA Elementary pilots licence and then continue on the the full Club Pilots Licence. The next recommended stage is to join a club where you will be taken under the wing of more experienced pilots and learn specifics about the sites you may fly. A comprehensive list of UK schools can be found listed on the BHPA WEBSITE.

Is there any age limitations?

The BHPA minimum age is 14 to start your EP course and 16 to start the CP course. Depending on the size and aptitude of the individual we do teach 14 year olds but ask for them to be accompanied by an adult.

There is no upper age limit.We have taught students from 14 to 83!

What are the Main Components of a glider?

In the case of a Paraglider, 
CANOPY (the actual "wing" or "glider"), RISERS/LINES (the cords by which the pilot is suspended below the canopy) and a HARNESS (the seat which supports you beneath the canopy). In addition, the brake lines provide speed and directional control and carabiners are used to connect the risers and the harness together.

How long will a glider last?

General wear and tear and deterioration from exposure to ultra-violet light usually limit the useful lifetime of a glider. This obviously depends strongly on the amount of use and the exposure to UV. 
Paragliders are more prone to UV damage and have an average useful life of 3-5 years depending on the amount of hours flown and care and maintenance.

When is the best time to go Paragliding in the UK?

We fly every day of the year as long the weather allows. We have stunning paragliding flights all year round in the UK. The flying conditions in the winter can be very smooth with overcast skies stopping too much thermic activity, therefore giving us perfect, smooth teaching conditions.