Paragliding in the UK and the Rest of Europe (What You Need to Know About Locations and Rules)

Europe is an incredible location for paragliding. The UK, France, Switzerland, Germany, and the rest of Europe offer stunning views of the long glaciers, lush green mountains, and lakes. It is no wonder why Europe is considered the paragliding capital of the world.
Paragliding in the UK and the Rest of Europe

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It is not mandatory to have a pilot’s license to paraglide in Europe. The BHPA and EHPU instead require you to go to an approved paragliding school and obtain certification to fly solo. In addition, anyone below 18 years old must provide a parent or guardian consent before flying and must fly with a professional pilot.

Is Paragliding Legal in the UK?

Yes, paragliding is legal in the UK. However, before you can fly, you must first go through a paragliding school certificated by the BHPA. A Club Pilot level is also required to paraglide alone.

The British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (BHPA) is the organization in the UK that oversees standards for all training schools and pilots. They promote safe flying and help reduce flying incidents through set regulations.

Do You Need a License to Paraglide in the UK?

No, you don’t need a license to paraglide in the UK. However, most areas in the UK are on private land, so you will need permission from the landowner before launching, flying, and landing. Therefore, it is highly suggested to plan your flight path and see which areas need consent.

If you wish to be a paragliding instructor, the BHPA may require you to acquire a pilot license or a professional certification. It may also apply if you intend to do tandem flying.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Paraglide in the UK?

You are required to be at least 14 years old to start paragliding training in the UK. On the other hand, you must be 16 years old or older to gain a solo license. The BHPA mandates anyone below 18 to have parental consent before paragliding.

This age requirement varies per country. For example, there is no age restriction in the United States or Canada.

Can You Paraglide Anywhere in the UK?

The answer is no. Most lands in the UK are private land. You will need clearance from the landowner before launching, flying, and landing around the area. In addition, other lands owned by the government may also be prohibited or need authorization from the city council.

The BHPA prohibits paragliding in areas with high populations or highways with high traffic. This regulation maintains security for you and the people around you.

Where Can You Fly a Paraglider in the UK?

The beauty of the UK is that there are plenty of beautiful locations to do paragliding. Here is a list of the most popular places where you can paraglide. These are known for their stunning views of hills and lakes.

  • Lake District National Park, England: This is a UNESCO World Heritage site that offers a view of spectacular lakes. It is a great place to explore solo.
  • Brighton, East Sussex: This is also a popular location for beginners and highly experienced pilots. It provides a bird’s-eye view of the Newhaven Cliffs.
  • Forest Farm, Cardigan: Pilots sometimes refer to this location as a hill for paragliding. It is perfect for beginners and experienced pilots alike.
  • Peak District National Park, England: Offers an overlook of Castleton town. It is a favorite among paragliding pilots, where you’ll see many paragliders in the sky on a good day.
  • Isle of Arran, Scotland: If you are in the Scotland area, the Isle of Arran is perfect for you, whatever your skill level is. It offers a magnificent view of lush green mountains.
  • Taster, Dorset: This is a perfect place to paraglide for beginners. It is also a classic location for those who wish to experience paragliding for the first time.
  • The Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains, South Wales: This is a place that offers a variety of wind directions and conditions. It makes it an ideal location for growing your flying experience.
  • Pembrokeshire, Wales: This is one of the most beautiful places in the UK. Known for its stunning beaches and paragliding opportunities. You will also see a view of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park from here.
  • Antrim Hills, Northern Ireland: This location is best for you if you are a beginner or trying paragliding for the first time and happen to be in Northern Ireland. It offers a classic experience of paragliding with its good wind conditions.
  • Long Mynd, Shropshire: Pilots consider this location one of the most challenging. You must have the experience required before venturing to fly in this area.

Consider joining a paragliding club if you wish to check out more places where you can fly. The UK offers a variety of active paragliding clubs. They also provide information on the location, difficulty level, and authorizations required.

Is Paragliding Dangerous in the UK?

No, paragliding is not dangerous in the UK. Generally, there are more car accidents than there are in paragliding. What makes it risky, no matter which location, is when you don’t follow the rules and regulations set by the BHPA for your safety.

A pilot’s poor judgment is the most common accident in paragliding. It is why going to a paragliding school is mandatory. You will learn how to maneuver your paraglider, understand wind and weather conditions, and, most importantly, make better decisions.

How Do I Become a Paraglider in the UK?

Your journey to become a paraglider in the UK begins when you enroll in a paragliding school certificated by the BHPA. In this training, you will learn how to maneuver your glider and prioritize safety, study weather conditions, and what to do in emergency situations. The BHPA approves these courses.

At the end of the training, a member of the BHPA will test you if you are ready to have a solo license. You will go through a writing test, as well as an actual test.

How Much Does Paragliding Cost in the UK?

Generally, paragliding is expensive and will cost around £3,000 to £3,500. Also, you will need to set aside funds for a paraglider, additional equipment, and training. Enrollment in a BHPA-certified paragliding school to receive certification will cost you around £1,200. On the other hand, the average cost of a paraglider is around £2,000 to £2,500.

It is a massive investment for a first-time pilot, but the equipment will last for a long time, and the certification is renewable for a small fee. The usual cost after obtaining a paraglider is maintenance, which is not required until it reaches 100 hours.

How Much Does It Cost to Learn to Paraglide in the UK?

The cost to learn to paraglide in the UK is around £1,200. It will depend on the school of your choice. You can get certification in a week or less. The most important thing is that it is BHPA certified, or else you will not be able to fly solo.

In the course, you will learn how to understand the varying weather conditions, what to do in an emergency situation, and how to maneuver your glider. It is a worthwhile investment and one that will keep you safe.

How Much Does It Cost to Start Paragliding in the UK?

The average cost of starting to paraglide is around £3,000 to £3,500 in the UK. It includes the average expense of a BHPA-certified paragliding school and a paraglider. Additional equipment that you may need may increase this price.

Fret not, as this is a worthwhile investment. Basic certification is renewable for a small fee. On the other hand, the equipment will last for up to 300 flight hours.

How Much Is Paragliding Equipment in the UK?

Paragliding equipment in the UK will cost an average of £2,000 to £2,500. Though, it is only the cost of a paraglider. Some paragliders have a harness with them, while others have to buy them separately. Additional instruments and tools you may need to fly safely may increase the overall cost.

Here is a list of equipment you may need and their price.

  • Reserve Parachute: This is an essential piece of equipment that will keep you safe in situations where your glider fails to work. The average cost for a reserve parachute is between £600 to £1,000.
  • Flight Suit: This will protect you from the harsh wind and cold temperatures. It should also be comfortable enough for you to move. The average cost of a flight suit is between £600 to £1,000.
  • GPS with Variometer: This instrument will help you know where you are and see how high you are going. The average cost of a GPS with a Variometer is between £200 to £400.
  • Helmet: This will protect your head at all times. Professional pilots recommend getting a helmet that will also protect your jaw, but a traditional helmet is also okay. The price starts at £150 and goes up to £600 and above based on quality and style.
  • Boots: The boots will make landings easier and prevent you from breaking your ankle when launching and landing. The average price of paragliding boots is around £190 to £300.
  • Gloves: This is an item of essential clothing that will protect your hands from the cold and will keep you focused on maneuvering correctly. The average price of gloves is around £80 to £100.
  • Radio: This is an instrument you will use to connect with air traffic control and other pilots. It is also a way for you to receive information on changing weather conditions while you are in the air. The cost of the radio is between £50 to £100.

The average hours a paraglider can last is up to 300 flight hours. More, if you maintain it well. Thus, maintenance is highly recommended every 100 flight hours.

What Is Paragliding Like in France?

It is every pilot’s dream to paraglide in France because of its stunning landscape and excellent weather. There are many destinations to choose from, from the French Alps to the Pyrenees and South of France, Provence. The mountain and the ocean views are equally magnificent. France has hosted many paragliding competitions, with Paragliding World Cup as the most recent.

France was known for dominating Paragliding Championships for years, particularly this year, with Luc Armant winning the overall title for men and Meryl Delferriere winning the overall title for women. It is the country where most paragliding pilots go to practice and compete.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Paraglide in France?

You have to be at least four years old to paraglide in France. Young children must go on a tandem flight until they are qualified to fly solo. Parents must also consent to the activity before proceeding.

As in any country, there are weight requirements in each country. For France, the maximum weight for females is at least 80kg (175lbs). For men, the maximum weight is 95kg (210lbs).

How Many Paragliding Pilots Are There in France?

In 2011 alone, there were 25,000 registered pilots in France. Paragliding continues to grow in Europe, with France as the highest and leading country for registered pilots. Some of the best pilots in the world are also from France.

Paragliding is possible in many destinations of France all year round and is open for both beginners and highly skilled pilots alike. So there is no wonder why France is a haven of destinations for all paragliding enthusiasts.

Where in France Is Paragliding Practiced?

France is a haven of paragliding locations. There are various areas to choose from on each side of the country. Here are a few favorites among paragliding enthusiasts.

  • Puy de Dome, Auvergne: A UNESCO World Heritage location with stunning views of the dormant volcanoes. It is an incredible location for beginners and those wanting to try paragliding for the first time.
  • Mont Gros, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin: This location offers a breathtaking view of the Alps and the sea. It is a good paragliding spot for both beginners and experienced pilots.
  • Mont-Saint-Michel, Normandy: This location is perfect for any paragliding pilot for traditional, thermal, acrobatic, and long-distance flights.
  • Morzine, Portes du Soleil: Feel the adrenaline rush as you soar above slopes, peaks, and chalets. It is an incredible spot for paragliding pilots, no matter the experience level.
  • Millau, Occitany: This location will provide you with a view of the tallest viaduct in Europe and a view of the Regional Park of the Grands Causses.
  • Saint-Hilaire, Grenoble: This is a popular location among paragliding enthusiasts because it is where Icarus Cup is, an 8-day annual festival.
  • Gourdon, Provence: This is known for its thermals. Paragliding is possible throughout the year in this location.
  • Verdon Gorges, Verdon: This location is best for traditional, thermal, and long-distance flying. It is perfect for beginners and experienced pilots alike.
  • Annecy: This city is on the edge of the French Alps and a stunning spot for paragliding. There have been a number of competitions here throughout the years.
  • Chamonix: Paragliding in this city is an absolute, with breathtaking views of the Chamonix valley, Mont Blanc, and some of the glaciers in Europe.

These locations are all equally beautiful. If you live near any of these destinations and are unsure whether paragliding is something you want to invest in, try doing a tandem flight and prepare to be amazed by this country’s beauty.

How Much Does It Cost to Paraglide From France to Switzerland?

There really is no cost to paraglide from France to Switzerland if you have the certification and all the equipment. However, it doesn’t mean anyone with basic credentials can do this. Since this is considered long-distance flying, you need to make sure you have the experience and the skills.

You will need to make a flight plan to paraglide from France to Switzerland and prepare rest or landing points beforehand. If you plan to paraglide cross-country but wish to do a tandem flight, then the cost should be around 490CHF (490 USD/EURO).

Can You Paraglide in Switzerland?

Yes, you can paraglide in Switzerland. It is considered one of the most beautiful destinations in the world and is nothing but breathtaking. Most destinations in Switzerland have great weather allowing you to paraglide all year round. For example, in Interlaken, you will see many paragliders floating in the sky.

Switzerland requires that you have a pilot certification before you can fly solo. There are various EHPU-certified schools you can apply to that offer paragliding courses. A member of the EHPU will test you at the end of your training course to see if you can fly solo.

Is Paragliding Safe in Switzerland?

Generally, paragliding is safe, especially in Switzerland. But, the statistics say injuries happen in 180 jumps in 100,000. The EHPU (European Hang Gliding and Paragliding Union) sets the rules and regulations to promote safety for all pilots and reduce flight incidents.

Other than a pilot’s poor judgment, another common injury in paragliding is a loss of control or glider failure. In case of such an emergency, it is necessary to bring a reserve parachute with you before flying.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Paraglide in Switzerland?

You must be at least five years old to paraglide in Switzerland. For children this young, they must go on a tandem flight with a professional pilot. You must also have a declaration of consent from a parent or guardian.

The age requirement varies per country and is set by the European association to promote safety in this sport. Remember, you must have a paragliding certification before you can fly solo.

How Much Does It Cost to Paraglide in Switzerland?

The cost of paragliding in Switzerland is around 2,900CHF to 3,400CHF (CHF ≈ USD/EURO). This price includes a paragliding school, which is around 970CHF to 1,100CHF. It also incorporates a paraglider, with an average cost of 1,900CHF to 2,400CHF.

If you are still unsure whether paragliding is something you want to invest in, try to do a tandem flight with a professional instead. In Switzerland, the average cost of a tandem flight is 490CHF.

Paraglider in France vs. Germany

France and Germany are both stunning destinations for paragliding. They are also a great start to learning paragliding or experiencing it for the first time. Additionally, most locations in France and Germany are great for flying all year round, so there is more flexibility for pilots.

In France, flying through the French Alps is considered one of the best paragliding experiences. On the other hand, in Germany, specifically the Bavarian Alps, you will see paragliders sailing in the sky. Both of these countries offer many destinations perfect for thermal, traditional, and long-distance flying, even acrobatic.