Paragliding training information
NOTE: We are moving our operations to the Ozarks and will not be taking new students until sometime in April or May 2020. If needed, please contact us for more information. Thank you - Had
If you are interested in training, please study all of the material below. It is a lot of information but will help you decide what do to. After studying this material, you may contact us via email and we will do our best to help.
- General information about paragliding and our training program. After reading the General information page, decide if you would prefer free flight (PG) or powered flight (PPG). You can change your mind later if you want. If in doubt, it is always better to start with free flight
because learning to fly a paraglider without a motor is the priority. Here is a fine PG video production by Steve Crye showing the elements of why we love to fly The Dream of Human Flight is now a Reality - The Joy of Paragliding.
While this video is only about PG it largely applies also to PPG. We train in early stages by towing.
- Equipment for flying Typical setups for paragliding and
powered paragliding. Foot-launched tuition includes the rental of all equipment required to train up to the P2 level and the early/mid PPG2 level. We suggest that you purchase your glider and,
if foot-launched PPG, your paramotor towards the middle of your P2/PPG2 training. We will advise you as to the best and most appropriate gear that fits your age, skill level, interest, natural ability, and the altitude you will generally fly in. We
are dealers for most brands of paragliding equipment but specialize in
Ozone paragliders/harnesses, Sol harnesses, Sup'Air
reserves/harnesses, and paramotors/trikes by Miniplane. If you wish to purchase other brands, let us know well
- Equipment costs PG PPG Schedule training when
the funds are available to buy gear
(unless training ONLY for P1 or foot-launched PPG1).
- Membership Join either the USHPA or
USPPA if you are not already a member. (Optional for P1 and PPG1 students.)
- Physical and mental requirements This is extreme air sports. Being out of shape and overweight is not a good
idea and can even be hazardous.
- Textbooks (Optional for P1 and PPG1 students) Purchase the appropriate textbook for your type of training and begin your study of the material. The first three
chapters of each textbook are very important. PG: Watch the
DVD video in the PG Pilot's Manual. PPG: Purchase and watch Risk & Reward. Careful study of the
respective video will greatly increase the pilot's safety margin and lessen risk.
- Online Curriculum (P2 students only) Create a logon account and start your ground school training. When you complete the training successfully, let us know and we will confirm completion and refund the tuition paid to take the course ($52).
- FAQs & Tips Study the "*" items. Watch the
training videos. If you will be towed up, please study this information on what
happens during a tow.
and operational details These are the important details of how we operate including the legal waivers you must complete before training begins.
- Tuition costs Paragliding (PG)
Powered Paragliding (PPG)
You must pay your tuition in full before we can schedule for training. Once you decide to train, contact us with the student name, email address, physical address, mobile number, and
type of training desired and we will email an invoice that can be paid ONLINE. We accept electronic checks, paper checks, PayPal, and ACH transfers (preferred) for payment. Tuition is not refundable (see
#3 of our legal details).
- Schedule a meeting at our shop and begin your training (after tuition is paid in full)
We do our best to schedule when students are available. This can be any day of the week or holidays. At all times, the weather must be safe.
Flight school is conducted at the Evergreen Turf farms. Ground school is at our shop.
"If you are too busy to practice kiting your glider, you are too busy to train."
WARNING: Do not purchase paragliding equipment before you begin training as you will likely make an expensive and, possibly, dangerous mistake. We can continue training pilots from other schools who purchased their glider from that school. Otherwise, you must train with whomever sold you your equipment1. If you think formal training might be a waste of time and money, take a look at this page and this one.
Flying PG along the White Mountains, Owens Valley, CA. It does not get better than this. The launch was about 20 miles in the distance known as "Piute". Mt. Whitney is just visible in the distant right.
Notes on our training program
Instruction at Southwest Airsports is 100% personal, comprehensive and includes towing certification and how to fly in a high altitude, mountainous desert environment – the most difficult there is. When a student pilot graduates from Southwest Airsports, he will be able to fly as safely as possible anywhere in the world with confidence.
Paragliding training in our beautiful southwest!
Paragliding is the closest thing to being a bird that there is. All other aircraft go down from there. No one has any idea what being a bird is like until he flies a paraglider. Below, going cross-country at cloudbase over central Florida.
Extreme air sports like paragliding take years of practice to learn to do well. Pilots must be patient! The rewards for diligent and long term effort are, in our opinion, without equal, especially if you learn to thermal well. You will join an elite and tiny group of humans in the world who experience things ONLY the birds can. Want to know first hand what it feels like to exit and enter boundaries in the atmosphere? It's an unseen world that only hang glider and paraglider pilots – and the birds – know. Study the Turkey Vulture and the Albatross – we fumble along compared to these amazing geniuses but their Creator intended them to fly so we can't be too jealous.
Gliding along at cloudbase in south central New Mexico. (photo by Steve Crye)
Los Tanques launch, Cauca River Valley – near Roldanillo, Colombia
1Purchase of equipment from Southwest Airsports helps to offset the overall cost of training pilots. If you would go to a new car dealer, request a test drive of a particular car, then shop around for the best price and buy the car elsewhere, Southwest Airsports is not the school for you.