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FAQ

Q. How safe is paragliding?

A. As a qualified pilot, paragliding is as safe as you make it. Equipment failures are unheard of, but accidents do happen and almost all can be put down to pilot error - the most common being taking off in unsuitable conditions for the skill level of the pilot. Whilst under training the instructors make many of these decisions for you so the risks are significantly reduced. However, all students must understand that the risk of injury remains a real possibility that can never be entirely elimintated. To view accident statistics in schools click here. SunSoar Paragliding Ltd. have taken every step possible to reduce the risk and are the industry leaders in developing an exhaustive safety policy and carrying out a comprehensive risk assesment. To view our outline safety policy see website information. Students are highly recommended to ensure they have adequate personal accident cover. This is mandatory for all of our foreign trips--see the insurance section on this website.

Q. How weather dependent is paragliding?

A. Paragliding is a fantastic sport and very rewarding, but the biggest obstacle to learning paragliding in the UK is the fact that a lot of days are not suitable because of the weather. Rain, fog, and particularly strong, gusty or changeable winds, can make a day unsuitable or unsafe to fly.
We require light winds that do not exceed about 12miles per hour at the point of launch, as the launch points are located on hills facing into the breeze, it is often too windy to fly even though at ground level or away from the hills it may seem like a perfect day.

In Britain this effectively means a maximum of perhaps 90 or so good training days per year. In this respect we are much better off than some other sports like ballooning or parachuting, but it is a significant obstacle! There are perhaps only about 10- 15 good days in the period November to March, the days can be cold requiring specialist clothing, and it get dark very early, and for these reasons we do not attempt to teach in those months in the UK.

This leaves about 75 days in the remaining 8 months, or about 9 days per month on average. Therefore the chances of any specific day being flyable is slightly less than 30%.

If you are only available at the weekend, you can expect to have to ring in at least twice to get a good day. If you are only available on one specific day like a Saturday, that will probably means 4 calls... Some people are lucky and get flying on their first attempt, but of course the law of averages means that some other may call many more times before they get a day.

Check the 'Weather' information on this website for more information on weather dependency.

Q. Do I lose my day if the weather is bad?

A. No. We operate a phone-in weather check system on each day of your course to try and avoid you wasting the journey to the centre. If the day is called off, you simply re-book it for another date. Provided you do not exceed the validity of your course dates you can re-try as many times as you need.

Q. Does the course cost include accident insurance?

A. No. You will sign up to the BHPA when you arrive and this gives you third party cover only. As BHPA instructors we do not have any liability insurance so we strongly recommend that you consider taking out adequate personal accident insurance.

Q. How long do I have to complete my course?

A. This varies depending on the course you have booked. So long as you make frequent efforts to book in we may extend this. However if you do not make efforts to book in and long periods elapse between sessions you may need to drop back a day to refresh. In this case we may charge you for this unless of course the time between sessions was because of weather factors.

All voucher Taster Day holders will be bound by the dates set on the voucher offer, usually between March and November. We run an extension period into the following year at reduced cost for those that for whatever reason fail to get out with us in those eight months.

Q. When do you operate your courses?

A. Although we try to teach year-round, the season is really between Easter and the end of October. The summer months offer the most consistent conditions and we run some of our trips abroad outside of this time to lengthen the flyable season.

Q. How fit do I need to be?

A. We provide a medical questionaire with your booking form so you can self certify your fitness. If you are over 55 we ask that you get your doctor to countersign this too. In basic terms you need to be fit enough for a moderate days hill walking, capable of running short distances and not have any pre-existing illness or injury that may make falling over on grass a problem. You must not be taking any medication that could impare your ability to fly--if you are OK to drive a car then you will probably be OK to fly.If you have any doubts, talk to us first.

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