Powered Paraglider

British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

Enter the first part of your postcode to find your nearest BHPA registered school
eg. enter CF44 if your post code is CF44 1BS

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Download the BHPA Elementary Pilot Training Guide - 2.88mb
Download the BHPA Elementary Pilot Training Guide (8.11mb)

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Subscribe to Skywings the official magazine of the BHPA, or buy back issues

Visiting Overseas Hang Gliding & Paragliding Pilots please read this.....

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Buy the BHPA Pilot Handbook
Flight theory, meteorology, basic and advanced flying skills and more. Invaluable for post-CP pilots

Events & Competitions Calendar
Events & Competitions

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Submit Incident Report

The BHPA is a member of the The Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom
The BHPA is a member of The The Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom

The BHPA is a member of the European Hang Gliding & Paragliding Union
The BHPA is a member of The European Hang Gliding & Paragliding Union

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Welcome to the British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association (BHPA) website.

From its head office in Leicester the BHPA supports a country-wide network of recreational clubs and registered schools, and provides the infrastructure within which hang gliding and paragliding in the United Kingdom (UK) thrive.

Hang Glider (Courtesy Darren Blackman)

The BHPA oversees pilot and instructor training standards, and provides technical support such as airworthiness standards, and coaching courses for qualified hang gliding and paragliding pilots.

Initial hang gliding or paragliding training must be undertaken at a BHPA registered school.

Most schools offer training in a wide range of flying disciplines, so it's important to understand the differences between the disciplines before choosing a school.

The Learn to Fly section of this web site explains the relative merits of each discipline, the types of flying involved, and provides an insight into the training methods used.

As you near the end of your initial training with one of our registered schools, it's important to start looking for suitable recreational club to join.

The BHPA supports a network of UK hang gliding and paragliding recreational clubs who are able to offer the supportive flying and social environment vital to the safe development of your flying skills as you leave the school enviroment to join other recreational flyers on the hill.

Once you have joined a club, you may choose to spend your first few hours' flying with no specific aim other than to safely accumulate airtime. However, it is well known that pilots make safer more efficient progress when they are given particular tasks to undertake.

With that in mind, a panel of experienced BHPA coaches have devised a new pathway to learning, the BHPA Pilot Development Structure. This offers an alternative to the more formal Pilot Rating System, and for newly qualified pilots aims to:

  • encourage interaction between new pilots, their club and its coaches
  • provide a structured way to progress, acquire knowledge and build skills through attainable goals
  • reduce flying related incidents and promote safe flying


The BHPA also has a disability initiative called Flyability. This reports directly to the BHPA's Executive Council on disability related matters within the sport.

Flyability doesn't simply take people with disabilities flying, it strives to motivate people with disabilities to become involved in the sport of hang gliding and paragliding and to train as pilots.

Much of Flyability's work in the sport, focuses around changing peoples perception of disability and their attitudes toward people with disabilities. Disability awareness, education and advice play key roles in Flyability's aims and objectives, as does the development of specialist equipment, training and flying techniques.

The BHPA also publishes Skywings, the only magazine dedicated to free flying in the United Kingdom. This glossy full colour magazine is distributed by mail to around 6,500 BHPA members each month as part of their membership package.

Skywings magazine is also read by countless more hang gliding and paragliding pilots and organisations around the world who have purchased an International Skywings magazine subscription from our on-line shop.

BHPA members and Skywings subscribers can also download a password protected electronic vesrion of the magazine on our Skywings page. Issues of Skywings magazine with a cover date more than 6 months old are made freely available, and can therefore be downloaded or viewed on-line without the need to login.

Back issues of Skywings magazine can also be purchased from our on-line shop.

Powered hang glider (Courtesy Gary Shaw)

The BHPA provides automatic £5 million 3rd-party insurance for its members. But if you require personal or travel insurance, this should be obtained from an independent insurance broker.

We hope that when you've found a school appropriate to your needs, made contact and begun training, you'll discover for yourself the excitement and challenge that makes free flying such a great pastime.

If you do, you'll also find that the level of support and camaraderie amongst pilots is one of the many great strengths of the sport.

You'll make friends, go places and achieve things that you may have only dreamed about in the past.

It's a fantastic sport...

So why don't you join us, and never look back.

Whilst Skywings magazine frequently includes lively and thought provoking articles and letters about our sport, there are numerous alternative sources of advice, information and debate on the internet, and the following list is just a small selection of those available:

The websites and Facebook pages listed above are independent and not affiliated in any way to the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, and the views expressed in them are therefore not necessarily those of the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association.


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464km non-stop by paramotor!

Giles Fowler completed his long-planned coast to coast paramotor flight in support of Cancer Research UK on Wednesday June 7th, flying from the former RAF Brawdy in West Wales to Beccles in Suffolk in five hours 31 minutes.

The trip was meticulously planned and, with met assistance from fellow RAF Officer Matt Tandy, Giles picked a perfect slot in blustery weather to make the attempt. Launching at 11.55, Giles cruised east at just under 3,000ft at ground speeds of up to 100km/h. "Over the Black Mountains things got really rough and I started to wonder what I was doing here," said Giles...

Posted: 28 June 2017
By: Paul Dancey

Brilliant Buttermere Bash!

Blue skies and fair winds greeted paraglider pilots and outdoor lovers at the 10th anniversary Buttermere Bash on the first weekend in June.

The idyllic location became a mini village as children discovered the joys of playing outside all day and grown-ups rediscovered the art of conversation. Pilots were treated to some great flying as Jocky Sanderson and Al Westle set ambitious tasks in the Lakeland Charity Open...

Posted: 28 June 2017
By: Paul Dancey

Ollie tries wingwalking!

At Sywell in early May, Ollie Chitty got towed up to 5,000ft by the Flylight's prototype FoxTug trike. After releasing and making a few practice passes, Ollie successfully managed to land on the wing of the FoxTug for a quick touch and go.

Tug pilot Ben Ashman: "I could see Ollie getting into position through the sail of the FoxTug. Being translucent, it was like looking through a shower screen - quite a blurred image.

Suddenly, two feet appeared in sharp clarity followed by quite a physical thump...

Posted: 28 June 2017
By: Paul Dancey

Trikes - free at last!

On April 26th the CAA published an Exemption, with immediate effect, which allows paratrikes to fly without the need for a pilot's licence. This is the fruit of detailed behind-the-scenes work between the BHPA and the CAA's GA unit in the face of clear opposition from the BMAA.

The Exemption (from pre-existing Air Law) applies to solo aircraft only which weigh less than 70kg (or 75kg if the aircraft is equipped with an emergency parachute) and have a stall speed below 20kts. The Exemption has been issued for 12 months and will be carefully monitored...

Posted: 13 June 2017
By: Paul Dancey

Icarus Cup to soar again

The BHPA-affiliated British Human Powered Flying Club will run its annual Icarus Cup competition at Lasham from July 15th - 23rd. Competition entries for this year already include previous winners Team Airglow (pictured), John Edgley's Aerocycle and Clive Barford's Betterfly, now run by Ian Round.

An Imperial College team is said to be rebuilding the 2013 Bath University entry, and a French team from Bordeaux have also entered...

Posted: 13 June 2017
By: Paul Dancey

New wind and weather resources in Europe

In 2014 a young windsurfer and paraglider pilot from Grenoble became obsessed with the idea of reliable onsite wind and weather information. Nicolas Baldeck began creating and testing his own garage-made wind station - a 200-euro wind station called Pioupiou. Within a week of alerting paragliding clubs Nicolas had received 90 orders and today, having expanded using crowdfunding, Pioupiou now sells factory-built units guaranteed for life for about 600 euros...

Posted: 13 June 2017
By: Paul Dancey

Skywings news last updated:
28 June 2017 at 11:48:21 AM