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How To Get Started

The Ulster Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club (UHPC) is a member club of the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (BHPA) which is the controlling body for the two sports within the United Kingdom. The BHPA has a network of regulated schools to ensure that those wishing to learn to fly can receive proper training in a structured programme to enable them to progress safely to a basic level of proficiency, and on to advanced and competition level if desired, through a graded system of pilot certification. BHPA pilot ratings are recognised world wide, and would usually be needed to prove ability before being allowed to fly sites in other countries, or on UK sites where you are not known to the local pilots. The BHPA also regulates airworthiness of gliders.

Is It Easy?

The good news is that there are two part-time paragliding schools operating in Northern Ireland (Aerosports and First Flight Paragliding) teaching complete beginners to Club Pilot Novice level. You’ll find information and contact details on their websites and they’ll be happy to explain things further.

Is It Expensive?

Gliders are not cheap, although they represent one of the least expensive ways to get into the air. A new paraglider suitable for a recently trained pilot will cost around £2,000 with a Hang Glider costing around £3,000. Apart from a glider you need a harness, helmet, flight suit and boots; later in your flying career you may choose to buy instruments and other useful accessories.

Secondhand Gliders can be obtained for much less.

Training to the level at which you can fly your own glider in a club environment costs around £900; introductory courses cost around half that. A one-day ‘taster’, where offered, is usually a good way to try the sport.

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