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  • Most fun to be had with clothes on!
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  • With a little experience........
  • Day 2
  • Tired and happy.
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  • Biggest Dune in Europe.
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  • Dreams can come true.
  • Our camp site.
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  • Mid Summer's Night on the Dune.
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  • Soaring at Gallunet.
  • Day 4
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  • Hmmm, so chilled.
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  • Tandem flying? It's made for it!
  • Just me, sand and sea.

Beginner / Elementary Pilot Course - DUNE DE PYLA, FRANCE


Paragliding Course Description

Until now, taking up paragliding meant choosing between learning at a school in the UK and dealing with the variable and often frustrating weather, or learning at a foreign school with a different training system and often a different language.

SunSoar Paragliding is now leading the way by offering BHPA courses at what is arguably the best training site in Europe; the Grand Dune de Pyla in Southwest France--near Bordeaux.

The unique microclimate at the Dune offers us steady sea breezes and consistently good teaching conditions.The area is a fantastic holiday destination for families and pilots alike. 

Dates for 2017

10th June - 17th June


These dates can be flexible to suit - so give us a call we may be able to accommodate different dates

07980 743 864


Check out our promo video:

Why do it with us in France?

The UK has some of the best flying and teaching sites in the world. However, the weather patterns can make attaining a BHPA rating a drawn out and frustrating procedure with blown out days interrupting steady progress throughout the syllabus. By running courses in the very reliable conditions found in this area of France, we can offer a fastrack approach to attaining your rating and having a great holiday to boot! We were the first BHPA paragliding school to teach abroad and this is where we started--we have been going there twice every year ever since and so have more experience in teaching here (and abroad generally) than any other UK based school.

We meet you at Merignac (Bordeaux) airport and make our way to our campsite located directly behind the Grande Dune. After you get settled in to your mobile home we all meet in the evening for dinner and get to know one another.The next morning we meet for a general briefing on the week ahead and then, after issueing you with your equipment we make a start. You will soon find yourself experiencing the wonders of free flight under your own steam in this dreamlike environment! Progress is usually pretty quick through the EPC but the hot sunshine and soft sand can be tiring---so we pace it.

Complete Beginners

If you have never touched a paraglider before, this is the perfect opportunity to take your first steps into the air in a pleasant and safe environment. One week at the Dune, comprising 6 possible days tuition should complete your EP and get you started with some of the CP tasks. If you want to complete the rest of your course abroad we thoroughly recommend our Morocco or Alpine trips for reliable conditions.

The Dune

Because of its orientation and low altitude, the Dune offers extremely reliable teaching conditions. During the warmer months, the sea breeze effect switches on at around 11am to midday and allows a flyable window until late afternoon. Because our accommodation is literally on the flying site, we can make the most of the flying window and achieve swift progress through the syllabus.

The Courses

At the Dune we offer complete beginners’ courses (Elementary Pilot Certificate), and continuation training for those already part way through the EPC syllabus. Although the Dune can be perfect for soaring, our experience is that it often gets very crowded. So much so that we consider teaching the Club Pilot Course here to be too dangerous. We always teach in areas of the Dune and adjacent coastline away from the crowds. However, as a qualified pilot you will enjoy soaring the Dune and so it is a good place for a qualified pilot to accompany a friend or partner who is in training. Even if you did not start with us we can still train you, the Dunes offer the perfect conditions for starting (or restarting) your flying career. We always have at least two instructors available and all the latest equipment that you would expect back in the UK. All our courses are fully BHPA ratified. 

Training Schedule, Elementary Pilot Course 

DAY 1: Big Briefing, Introductions, Safety Talk, Intro. to  paragliding, BHPA, paperwork and course syllabus. Living and training in the Dune environment.  Social  stuff, evenings etc.  Issue of equipment. Lunch break.

Phase 1- Intro. To  equipment, site and weather assessment, parachute landing fall. 

Phase 2-Demo of forward launch. Simulated  launches, flights and landings—‘the flair’. 

Phase 3-Short hops. 

DAY 2: Theory lecture and presentation.(Flight Principles, Meteorology, Airlaw). Lunch. 

Phase 4, Flight Exercises-Longer hops developing into low glides. Maintaining a course and airspeed. 

Leading  into higher flights. 

DAY 3: Theory lecture and presentation.(Flight Principles, Meteorology, Airlaw). Lunch. 

Introducing Turns and simple flight plans. 

DAY 4: Theory lecture and presentation.(Flight Principles, Meteorology, Airlaw). Lunch. 

Completing flight plans to level of launching, flying, judging height, speed and distance to land safely into wind with a reasonable degree of accuracy. 

This completes the practical EPC tasks. 

DAY 5: Theory summary and EPC exam. Lunch. 

Beginning of Club Pilot tasks-Phase 6. 

DAY 6: Continuation of CPC tasks according to conditions—possible tandem soaring. 

The Base

Arcachon, about 1 hour from Bordeaux, is an ancient port built around a sheltered harbour. It's a busy fishing port as well as having a huge marina for yachts and other pleasure craft. It's a busy tourist location and thus has more than it's fair share of restaurants and other amenities. The Dune is a few miles from Arcachon (about 20 minute's drive) and all along the back of the Dune are campsites with very nice mobile homes. The mobile homes offer 6 person accommodation and we allow one of these for two peolpe, so you have your own bedroom. If you come with a partner or a friend you will have your own mobile home. The campsite is a very relaxing place, set in the shade of a pine forest, and has a pool, shop and restaurant as well as children's amenities. Best of all, its only a few minute's walk to take-off!

Other Activities

As well as the busy and attractive port of Arcachon, the surrounding area has many other attractions. Of course there is the beach and the sea, and the Dune is backed by extensive pine forests which offer shade from the heat of the day and pleasant walks and bike rides along it's trails. Lake Biscarosse is only a short drive away and offers good watersports such as windsurfing or kitesurfing. In between flying, or when conditions do not allow, we take time to visit the area and make the most of your stay. In the evenings we have the choice of many good restaurants or we can stay at the base and cook individually or perhaps get together for a barbeque.


This holiday is ideal for non-flyers and children as we have self contained accommodation and all amenities on site. We would normally allocate one mobile home per family. The area is a popular holiday destination with all the usual amenities and the flying takes place practically within sight of the accommodation. Pilots are encouraged to bring their families to join in the fun.

What if the Weather is Bad?

We have flown extensively in different places around the world and one thing we have learnt above all others is that you can never guarantee the weather anywhere! We try to be realistic about what is achievable in the time allotted and have days in hand should one or more be unsuitable. Unfortunately we cannot gaurantee that you complete the course although the venue and season is chosen to offer the best possible chance. If a day is not flyable, we do make the most of the holiday by finding interesting alternative activities or just enjoying the surroundings with a beer (or two!). The average number od flying days overall on all of our trips is five days out of seven but it is not at all unusual to fly every day. SunSoar Paragliding will happily continue your training in the UK, although we may have to make a charge for this.


Pilot in training £705 + £170 accommodation Total £875

Additional days £95 + £35 Total £130

Non flying partner or friend £65 + £170 Total £235

Additional days £20 + £35 Total £55


See what others save said about this trip.... 

While looking around for a place or organisation with whom to go paragliding, it was the enthusiastic and informative phone conversations with Ian B and Ian C that persuaded me to chose Sunsoar. I thoroughly enjoyed the week's EP course at the Dune and the laid back but professional atmosphere that the two Ians provided. I look forward to beng able to join Sunsoar for another memorable trip in the future.   Steve Porter. 

Neil and Pete were fantastic instructors and created a great atmosphere in the group for the week. It was commented by other schools at the Dune that we benefited from the enthusiasm, drive and professionalism of Neil and Pete as we were often the first out to enjoy the conditions and managed to make the most of the opportinities provided by the weather. When others were often sitting on their hands, meaning that we covered the EP syllabus easily and some of the CP.The Dunes were perfect for the EP course, a great location with reliable weather and not too crowded sites.  Matt Bateson. 

The whole package was excellent and I would recommend it to anyone. The value for money was supreb and the instructors were very informative and a good laugh too! Bundled together this made for a truly memorable experience and I would really enjoy going on another Sunsoar trip again--and would love to get my CP with you guys.Overall a fantastic week that is more fun than any other course anyone will ever attend!-Jason Hudson. 

I was really pleased with the whole package. Looking back on the training I have to say that it was first rate......Ian and Pete really got the very best out of the conditions.....Greg Butt.


Product Videos

Sunsoar Paragliding at the Dune de Pyla 2012 ()
  • Sunsoar Paragliding at the Dune de Pyla 2012

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