"Thanks Andrew for all your help, patience and encouragement during my training with you. I was always given confidence by your safety conscious and measured judgement in assessing the flying conditions and pupils competence levels. Above all it was always fun and exciting, whilst making us aware of the risks and dangers."
Do I need to do the EP or can I just do the CP?
Yes, you need to start with the EP course. This gives you the basic skills and an understanding of what paragliding is about - the joys, the frustrations and the risks. The CP builds on these basics, increasing your skill level and also the range of techniques you are able to do. So yes, both are required!
Where do you fly?
Have a look at our Where we are page and look for the Google map link and the site list for SatNav download.
How long before I can fly on my own?
To fly without an instructor you will need to have achieved both your Elementary Pilot and Club Pilot ratings. The EP usually takes about 4 days for average ability with good weather. The CP usually takes between 5 and 8 days of good flying weather. Whatever rating you have and however experienced you are it is never a good idea to fly totally on your own.
Do I need to bring anything with me?
The training does take quite a bit of energy so you will need to bring food - a light packed lunch with fruit or energy giving snacks. You will use up a lot of water even on cooler days, so bring plenty. On hot days it is wise to bring at very least THREE litres. Also if it is sunny please bring a brimmed hat or cap, sunglasses and sunscreen. There is a fair bit of paper work along the way so if you have trouble with small print please bring your reading glasses.
How long is a training day?
Usually we start the training day at 10:00 or 11:00 and finish between 4:00 to 6:00. If we need to move site during the day due to a change in the wind direction it often means we stay out a bit longer. Some days in the summer we will start later and so finish at dusk to avoid the strongest thermals in the afternoon. Sometimes we start earlier if the wind is forecast to pick up. If the wind becomes too strong during the day or it starts to rain then we may have to cancel the day.
What weather do you need for paragliding training?
The main thing we need is not too much wind. If the wind on the hill is much over 15mph or particularly gusty then it will not be safe to train. Bear in mind that if the wind is forecast to be 13mph it will very likely be over 20mph on the hill top and therefore too windy. Very occasionally we get exceptionally light winds that may be too light for you, depending on where you are in the training programme. A little bit of dampness in the air doesn't necessarily stop training but if there is any proper rain or the grass is likely to stay wet all day, it will stop play. Early on in the season it can be that the ground is simply too wet and boggy for it to be fun for you or good for our equipment. When the wind is from the ENE to E we do not have useful training sites.
What clothes should I wear?
Ankle supporting boots are very important as you will be running over uneven ground. Apart from that, a range of layers that you won't mind if they get scuffed around a bit. Please avoid shorts and short sleeves in the summer - loose long sleeves and long trousers in a light material and a light colour if possible. When you are ground handling you warm up quickly but on cooler windier days as soon as you take a break you can get chilly surprisingly soon.
What's the best time of year to start paragliding?
The best answer to this is as soon as possible. Whatever time of year it is we can get good training conditions. In the winter there are more days when we can't due to strong winds or wet conditions but when it is flyable the air is usually lovely and smooth. In the summer we get a much bigger proportion of flyable days and we often benefit from smooth sea breezes. (If you are the sort of person who gets frustrated by having to change plans short notice then it may be best if you wait till the main summer months!)
I want to learn to Paramotor - can I do this with Flying Frenzy?
We are a paragliding school and do not teach paramotoring. However by far the safest way to learn to paramotor is to become proficient at paragliding first - it is truly crazy to try and control your canopy with thirty kilos of motor and spinning propeller on your back before you can do it competently without the motor!
Can I learn to paraglide abroad with you?
We run several paragliding trips to Spain and France each year. We do not offer initial training abroad as we feel the safest place to get started is on the small, grassy hills that we are blessed with here in Dorset. High rocky take-offs are not good places to learn! Some of our trips are suitable for pilots who have the EP rating but have not reached their CP yet. Please look at our trips page or get in touch.
Can anyone come and watch?
If you would like to come onto the hill to find out more that is absolutely fine. Certain sites are more tightly controlled at the request of the land-owners so we need to be respectful of that but please get in touch to find out where we will be training. When training you are welcome to bring your support crew with you (they can take the pictures). If you would like to bring a dog, please check with us first.
What is the maximum age for paragliding?
There is no set maximum age to start paragliding though you should fully understand the risks. If you are older you will have a greater risk of breaking something and will find it takes you longer to obtain the physical skills. Our oldest students to complete the full CP training were in their late sixties or early seventies.
What is the minimum age for paragliding?
To do the any of courses you need to be at least 14 years of age provided your parent or guardian is present. If you are under 18 a letter of consent from your parent or guardian is required. You can have a tandem flight younger than 14 but you and your parents must fully understand the hazards involved and you must weigh enough.
I am not that fit - is that a problem?
The good thing about paragliding is that you don't need to be exceptionally fit or strong. You do however need to be able to run fast for short bursts when necessary and most importantly walk back up the slope carrying your equipment many times over. We are able to accommodate all sorts of people and a bonus is that you often find a few days of training does wonders to your fitness levels!
I have a disability - can I paraglide?
Paragliding with a disability is very possible. We have close links with Flyability and currently have use of one of their buggies so we can take you tandem even with significant disabilities. If you would like to learn to fly solo, provided you have good upper body mobility we would likely be able to train you. When training disabled pilots we are aided by volunteers from the local Wessex and Condors clubs. Please get in touch to talk it through with us.
What happens if the wind stops?
Luckily it is not wind that makes a paraglider fly but it does help you stay up. If the wind suddenly stops whilst you are in the air you will just gently waft down.
What if I can't get down?
A paraglider will only stay up if it is in air that is going up. Most of the time in the UK paraglider pilots fly in ridge lift - the air that is deflected upwards as wind hits a ridge. The other type of ascending air is found in thermals - a column of warm rising air. Experienced pilots can climb thousands of feet in thermals and make long distance cross country (XC) flights. If at any time a pilot wants to come down they simply need to fly out of the air that is going up and usually this is achieved by simply flying forward from the hill that you took off from. There are several techniques you can use to get down quicker that are taught in the CP course - 'Big ears' and speed bar.
Why choose Flying Frenzy?
There are so many good reasons to choose Flying Frenzy;
- We love teaching you to paraglide and are as enthusiastic about it now as we were decades ago when we started instructing. We think we get the balance right between treating you in a relaxed manner but constantly watching out for you.
- We don't charge for fixed date courses as some schools do (with these schools, if the weather wasn't good you would pay but might not get to fly - unbelievable and unacceptable in our eyes!) We operate in the UK pretty much full time - if it is flyable we will most likely be out training somewhere. If you are looking at other schools check how often they are actually here in the UK training. Several nearby schools mainly operate abroad or have frequent breaks while they go away flying in competitions.
- We have our own exclusive training sites and access to some of the local clubs' best hills. You will learn on the type of hills you will most likely be flying on once have your CP rating.
- Whenever possible we still teach side and top landings although these are not now a mandatory part of the CP syllabus - they really are key skills when flying in the UK.
- We always do our best to offer you excellent value - for example if you don't get to fly on your Taster day we will invite you back to finish off.
- We never attempt to rush you through the courses - we take it at your pace. If you have got all the task ticked off for the CP but you are still not quite there we will give you that little bit extra.
Any other questions?
If you have any questions that have not been answered here please get in touch.