Learning to fly a paraglider
Expect a full course to take at least ten days of flyable weather. Training is usually conducted on a gentle slope. Your instructor will explain how the canopy is laid out, inflated and controlled by its brake lines; you‘ll then take it in turns with other members of your group to have your first short training hops. When you‘ve become adept at ground handling, controlling airspeed and making gentle turns, you‘ll probably go to a higher hill for longer flights. The instructor may even take you up dual on a special canopy to demonstrate an exercise. As things fall into place you‘ll learn to soar - to stay up in favourable winds and make longer flights. Your course will cover flight theory, meteorology and basic air law and sit a simple exam. With a positive assessment from your instructor on your flying, normally on your own the canopy, you‘ll be given a rating enabling you to fly in the club environment.

Learning to fly a paramotor
Courses take around seven to ten days for would-be paramotor pilots with no paragliding experience, as some time is needed to train them in the safe control of a paraglider canopy. A full course would cover launching the canopy, airspeed control, turning, approaching and landing and controlling the canopy safely on the ground. With these skills under your belt your instructor will then turn to the power unit and train you in assembly and disassembly (for easy transport this, not a major stripdown!), starting, throttle control, fuel mixing, maintenance, torque and thrust effects and certain essential cautions. The two elements will then be put together to teach you powered flight. You will also be instructed in basic principles of flight, meteorology, aviation law (quite severe airspace restrictions apply to paramotor use) and navigation.

Learning to hang glide
It normally takes at least ten days of flyable weather to train a would-be pilot to Club Pilot level. Your instructor will show you how to rig and inspect the glider before you have your first short flight down a gentle slope. First flights in tow training are conducted using a very gentle winch pull, keeping you close to the ground. For the first day or two the glider will be restrained by tether ropes until you become adept at steering and controlling airspeed by moving your weight. You'll then graduate to higher and longer flights, and when the weather's not so good retire to the classroom to learn basic flight theory, meteorology and air law. Towards the end of the course you'll progress on to a more sophisticated glider than the first one you first flew, and subject to a good assessment from your instructor and a pass in the simple exam you'll receive your Club Pilot rating, allowing you to fly on club sites and begin your progress to more and more rewarding flying.

Learning to fly a powered hang glider
To learn to fly one you'll first need to learn to fly a hang glider before making your initial flights under power. The same degree of background knowledge of airlaw, flight theory, meteorology, etc, is required as for hang gliding, and you need to be conversant with fuels, engines, propellers etc..

Nb. Powered hang gliders that take-off and land on wheels are classed as microlights and are outside the scope of this guide.