What is Paragliding?
Paragliding is the recreational and competitive sport of flying paragliders.
Paragliders are lightweight, free-flying, foot launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure.
The pilot is securely strapped into a harness suspended below a fabric wing. The wing shape is maintained by the suspension lines, the pressure of air entering vents in the front of the wing, and the aerodynamic forces of the air flowing over the outside.
Despite not using an engine, paraglider flights can last many hours and cover many hundreds of kilometres, though flights of one to two hours and covering some tens of kilometres are more the norm. By using of sources of lift, such as thermals or ridges, pilots gain height, often climbing to altitudes of a few thousand metres.
Due to their light weight and portability, paragliders also allow Vol-biv (flying and camping) and hike-and-fly.
Do I need a licence?
Yes, absolutely! Paragliding is regulated by NZ Civil Aviation with responsibility managed by NZ Hang Gliding and Paragliding Organisation.
Learning to Fly
Auckland is an excellent place to learn to fly a paraglider and we are lucky to have two great schools. See Learn To Fly for more detail.
Paragliding is probably the cheapest way to fly. If you start with second hand gear it can be surprisingly affordable. The paragliding schools on the Learn To Fly page can give you more details.
Can I travel and Paraglide?
Yes. New Zealand licences are recognised internationally although you should check the requirements for international licences, and temporary local memberships for the countries you are planning to travel to. You should also ensure you have travel insurance that covers paragliding.
New Zealand pilots regularly fly in Europe, India, Australia, and North and South America.
Sounds exciting! How do I start?
Both schools in Auckland offer tandem flights and trial day packages as well as full training courses. Check the schools on the Learn To Fly page.