Current requirements are now 35 logged flights as part of your paragliding course. Finishing this one thereafter undertakes a conversion course onto powered paragliders. The former course may run into months or even a year, depending on the weather. The former may be completed in a day or so.

I personally do not think the former requirement is necessary, however this is my personal view. I believe and have shown that students may be taught directly on a motorised paraglider, using an intermediate canopy. (All our new students are placed directly on canopies that will last them a while including a glider called an XTC. This ranges from 28-31,5 square meters and contrary to all those ignorant armchair instructors or instructors that have ulterior financial selling reasons, yes it is perfect, and what's more, half the price of imported wings!!)

As far as learning powered paragliding, this is probably one of the easiest sports to master if you are prepared to spend a bit of time learning the basics on the ground without the engine on your back. Ground handle the wing until all basics are mastered and you can inflate the wing and hold it above ones head, while turning from the back start into the forward start position while at the same time keeping the wing inflated. This is the basis of paragliding and powered paramotoring. The same techniques that are used on the ground are used in the air to maintain pressure, turn left and right and rectify any abnormalities.

Never be in a rush to become airborne. Once in the air on a calm day (especially on the coast) the actual flying part is easy. It is the take off where you have inflate the wing, possibly turn around (depending on the take off method used), check the wing and apply power all at the same time. This is usually where potential problems exist, and lines become wound up in the prop. (And yes if the correct procedure is used you can safely tie them back together and continue flying).

As far as landing is concerned the commonly experienced problems involve

1. Not facing into the wind to land

2. Not killing the engine in time and lines entering the prop

3. Applying power at the last moment and thereby creating a pendulum motion that will result in a high sink rate as you come out of the swing

4. Not collapsing the wing quickly enough or failing to turn around into the back start position quickly enough and thereby becoming blown over backwards onto the prop and cage.

As far as students teaching themelves are concerned, well people teach themselves to drive cars, have help from else where and seem to manage. I have witnessed many students after having learned the basics on the ground, become airborne successfully simply because the technique had been mastered well and the basics understood. Equally as important is a good briefing. It is simply no good launching a student without incident into the air only a minute later to find him in a cloud of dust, because you had forgotten to inform him that power must be added when turning downwind as lift has a tendency to drop off.

These are the basics of ppg instruction. Not the ability of how well you may launch a student into the air. Any fool can do that. This is where the powered paragliding conversion course comes into play. The emphasis behind any instructor undertaking a conversion rating should not be of launching your student as quickly as possible into the air (he can do that himself), but on what can go wrong and how to rectify it. Also emphasis on the changes that will be experienced now that a highly gyrating piece of wood is rotating at high speed behind one. I don`t believe that with both paragliding and powered paragliding that enough “if`s, what`s and why`s” are discussed sufficiently.

With many paragliding schools the objective is to log up the required flights as soon as possible, sell him the required equipment and move on to the next student. Sounds cynical but that unfortunately is the reality. With powered paragliding however the student usually arrives with their own gear (mistakes in this sport are fairly expensive), and the emphasis now should be on the student launching himself. Unlike paragliding where the instructor may physically help the student off the ridge, it is a bit harder here with a rotating prop, unless it is started once the glider is inflated, wherey the student then may be anchored from the prop side if the wind is strong and immediately held by the front straps once he has turned around into the forward start position, to prevent being blown backwards.

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