paragliding training center
All training is done via pay-in towing which has major advantages over launching from a hill or cliff: 1.) Pilots have much more time in the air for each flight because they are 3X higher, at least, than at a training hill. 2.) Pilots can repeat flights in a fraction of the time compared to any other method. 3.) Training is much safer because the launch can be stopped completely at any stage, something impossible at a hill or cliff. These important advantages, however, come with considerable additional expense which includes an ATV, an additional person to operate it, (2) trucks (one for the winch and one for the turn-around pulley), and the winch itself. These expenses are reflected in the tuition. However, students will have better, faster, and more thorough training than in any other venue. It is not possible to compare the training given at hills with the training given under tow. Furthermore, those who learn to tow will be at a greater advantage when attending SIV clinics or flying in parts of the world which do have high mountains e.g. much of Europe, Australia, and large areas of the U.S.
The PPG-1 & PPG-2 courses include all gear necessary for training except the paramotor. As the pilot progresses through the PPG2 course, both he and the instructor will work together to make the best decision on overall equipment needs. Here is a professionally made video by David Guerin of a typical PPG launch, flight, and landing. Here are the details on the USPPA ratings and requirements.
Tandem training flights are a good way for someone to get an introduction to paragliding, either free or powered. Please see our tandem operations page for more information. The weight limit for persons wanting to fly tandem is 190 lb, not 200 lb as mentioned in the physical and mental requirements section.
The PPG-1 Basic Training will cover the fundamentals of paragliding. You will learn to safely fly a paraglider. Training includes learning how to setup, attach, and launch a paraglider. You will practice the launch sequence in a simulator at our shop. Afterwards, you will to to our training area and experience your first flights in a paraglider (without a paramotor attached) via tow. The progress of each student is individual and advancement towards powered flight and/or certification depends on the student's ability to master the necessary skills.
Paramotoring requires more training than regular paragliding because of the added weight and complexity of the paramotor. Handling of the glider is significantly more difficult so a pilot must have a good set of basic skills to operate a paramotor safely. We want all pilots to become confident with their skills so they can have a lifetime of safe flight. Your instructor will help you make the right decisions concerning things like the weather and equipment purchases. The first phase of PPG-1 Basic Training includes the use of our glider, helmet, radio, and harness. Students must purchase their own paramotor if they plan to continue their training.
If you decide to continue your training to the PPG-2 level and above, you will receive a full credit for the cost of your PPG-1 training towards additional training.
Master the fundamentals of flight in a powered paraglider. This course will take a new student through both PPG-1 (if he has not already completed it) and PPG-2 certification by a USPPA certified instructor. Training includes learning how to setup for landing in a specific area, increasing flying skills generally, covering the terminology, operation and preflight of the motor unit. Upon completion of this course, students are ready for extended paramotoring flights with their own powered paraglider. This is the minimum certification level that allows PPG pilots to fly without the direct supervision of an instructor. If you are considering any PPG certification, we highly recommend that you purchase the DVD Risk and Reward and watch it many times. It is available from us. It will give you a clear presentation of what PPG is all about. Those who have completed the PPG-1 training at Southwest Airsports will get a credit towards their PPG-2 tuition equal to their paid PPG-1 tuition.
Training for PPG2 does NOT include flying equipment such as a glider, paramotor, or accessories. You can purchase this equipment from us prior to or during your PPG2 training.
Pilots training for PPG3 must be able to successfully complete a cross-country trip. Please contact us for more information on this advanced certification.
Students who already have a P2 or higher rating will need less instruction and time to become PPG-2 and vice versa. Pilots may choose to earn USHPA Certification. This will allow the pilot to free-fly a paraglider at many regulated sites.
Below – cruising along the U.S. – Mexico border in southern New Mexico in the early morning in August.
All PPG pilots need to be aware that a paramotor can quit at any time. Warning!
Students may begin their training without a paramotor but will not be able to be certified PPG2 or greater. We can help you decide which types of equipment are best for you and provide it. Note: Part of the real cost of training is offset by the student's purchase of equipment from us.
Below, a new PPG pilot readies himself to be towed up with his paramotor attached (but not running). This technique helps prevent problems caused by pilot sensory overload. Photo by Guillermo Vargas