PPG training details & tuition schedule

Foot-launched instruction

The PPG1 and PPG2 courses include all gear necessary for training.

Early training is done via pay-in towing and has important advantages over training from a hill:

  1. Pilots have more time in the air for each flight because they begin their flights (after the tow up) much higher than at a training hill.
  2. Pilots can repeat flights in much less time because they launch from the same place they land and do not have to wait around for a ride back to launch.
  3. Training is safer because the launch routine (when the pilot's feet are still on, or near, the ground) can be stopped immediately and completely, something that can be difficult or impossible at a training hill.
  4. Task saturation is less and overall comfort of the student pilot is much greater.  This is especially true when learning to fly with a paramotor.  The pilot is launched the first time with the engine off.  This greatly lessens anxiety, decreases the chance of an accident compared to launching first time with the motor going at full speed.  Once high in the air the pilot can start the engine and fly at altitude for as long as he likes.  Landing is with the engine off.  As comfort and training continue, the student will learn to comfortably launch with the engine alone.
  5. New students can learn and practice maneuvers that are impossible or risky at a training hill such as spiral dives, big ears, cravat clearing, deep asymmetric and symmetric deflations, and crosswind launches.
  6. From launching to landing the student pilot is always close to the instructor and his watchful eye.  The net result is that risk is substantially lessened.  Students will have better, faster, and more thorough training, overall.

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.

Trike/quad instruction

It is much the same as foot-launched instruction including having the wheeled vehicle pulled into the air with the engine off (see #4 above).  Item #5 above does not generally apply to the extent that it does for foot-launched flying.

Tandem training flights – no charge

Foot-launched 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.

PPG1 Basic Training – $350 2-3 days

PPG1 basic training is the same as PG-1 training.  Learning to fly a paraglider without a paramotor is an essential and primary skill all PPG pilots must learn before adding the paramotor.

PPG2 Beginner Training – $1,500 7-10 days

This is the recommended course to begin your flying career as an independent pilot.  The time needed to train varies depending on the weather, student availability, and/or student ability.  Master the fundamentals of flight in a powered paraglider foot-launched or trike/quad.  This course includes training for both the PPG1 and PPG2 certifications 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.  Those who have already completed the PPG1 training at Southwest Airsports will get a credit towards their PPG2 tuition equal to their paid PPG1 tuition.

If you are considering any PPG certification, purchase the DVD Risk and Reward and watch it many times.  It will give you a clear presentation of what foot-launched PPG is all about.  It is also relevant for those considering trike/quad PPG.  Unlike the textbook, this DVD is optional but highly recommended if you want to increase your knowledge on how to fly safely and keep from wrecking your equipment.

The discounted tuition is only for those who purchase their basic equipment package from Southwest Airsports.

Students who are already USPPA rated members and started paragliding programs elsewhere or have a paragliding background pay $350 a day when working with Southwest Airsports toward completing their Novice Certification Program.  The amount of days required for each individual student to achieve Novice Certification is at the sole discretion of Southwest Airsports.  Training for the same rating varies widely from school to school (it should not but it is what it is) and it's impossible for us to guess what the student pilot did or did not learn until we see him fly for a bit.

Students will:

Training Includes:

PPG3 Intermediate Training – $350/day (no charge for our PPG2 graduates)

The time needed to train varies depending on the weather, student availability, and/or student ability.  Pilots training for PPG3 must be able to successfully complete a cross-country trip.  Please contact us for more information on this advanced certification. 

Crossover Training (PPG to PG) – $350/day (no charge for our PPG2 graduates)

The time needed to train varies depending on the weather, student availability, and student ability.

Additional Notes

All PPG pilots need to be aware that a paramotor can quit at any time.  Warning!

Below, a new PPG pilot readies himself to be towed up with his paramotor attached (but not running).  This technique helps prevent task saturation, a very common problem for all new pilots.  photo by Guillermo Vargas

powered paraglider pilot prepares to be towed up during training

Turkey Vulture