cost of paragliding courses and equipment

How Much Does It Cost to Paraglide: A Pilot’s Perspective

As an adventurous spirit and club pilot, I’ve faced many a Google search and shop visit to unravel the mystery of how much it costs to paraglide. I’ve compiled some key insights to help you navigate the daunting financials of paragliding.

Paragliding Training Costs

The first ascent to the skies begins with training. Price tags can vary wildly, but here’s a general range:

  • Elementary Pilot (EP) Course: An EP course will set you back between £850-1400, with locations like Spain often being cheaper than the UK.
  • Club Pilot (CP) Course: The CP course typically falls in the same price range as the EP, costing about £850-1400, again with lower prices often found in Spain than the UK.
  • EP and CP Combined Course: Some schools offer a combined deal for both courses, usually priced at around £1700-2000.
  • Training Days: Once certified, you may want additional training days to hone your skills. Expect to pay about £200 per day.
  • Tandem Flights: For those looking to enjoy the ride, tandem flights can cost as little as £50 in a developing country, while in Europe, prices range from £150-300 depending on length and location.
  • Membership Fees: Paragliding club memberships typically cost £15-50 per year, and BHPA membership comes in at £164 per year.

Advanced Training

Once you’ve caught the paragliding bug (trust me, it’s contagious), you’ll likely crave more training. A week’s coaching or trip can cost £400-700, but these opportunities are invaluable for advancing your skills and confidence. Check out Cross Country Trip.

Paragliding Equipment Costs

Paragliding gear can be a substantial investment, but quality and safety should never be compromised. Here’s a ballpark of what to expect:

  • Paragliders: Also known as wings or canopies, these crucial pieces of kit are often graded by ‘EN’ or ‘LTF’ certifications. For beginners, A or low-B rated canopies are recommended. Depending on the brand and model, prices can range from £1,500 to £3,500.
  • Harnesses: A good harness provides both comfort and control during flight. Top picks for beginners are available from £300 to £800.
  • Additional Gear: Don’t forget the helmet and radio! Safety helmets usually start from around £60, while radios for communication can start from £100. A pair of gloves is also recommended, typically costing around £20.

Paragliding Equipment Costs – The Necessary Gear

Paragliding gear can be a substantial investment. Frustratingly, unlike other sports, once you are a qualified club pilot, not many places rent gear so you will likely need your own. Let’s break it down:

  • Paragliders/Wings/Canopies: These are essentially your aircraft. They are graded by ‘EN’ or ‘LTF’ certifications, with A or low-B models, like the Gin Bolero 6, Nova Ion 6, or BGD Epic (my current wing!), being suitable for beginners. They range between £1,500 to £3,500 depending on brand and model.
  • Harnesses: These provide comfort and control during your flight. Beginner-friendly models like the Advance Easiness 3 or the Woody Valley Wani Light (my current harness) range from £300 to £800.
  • Helmets and Radios: Safety first! You can get a good helmet, like the Icaro Skyrider or Charly Loop, starting from around £60. Radios for communication, such as the Baofeng UV-5R, can start at £50 on amazon and do the job.
  • Gloves: While not a necessity, gloves are highly recommended for protection and better grip. These typically cost around £20. I currently have a pair of mountain biking racing gloves which are brilliant for paragliding.

So, when you total it up, a full beginner’s set-up might cost you around £2,500 – £5,000.

One last pro tip: if you’re considering training or buying equipment in Spain, remember you can reclaim the c.20% IVA sales tax on your purchases, which can bring the cost down significantly. Book this course and message the centre ahead of your course or purchase it after and return for your Club Pilot or Post Club Pilot Development.

Second-Hand Paragliding Gear – A Cost-Effective Alternative?

While brand new equipment has its perks, opting for second-hand gear can be a smart and budget-friendly alternative for beginners. Second-hand equipment can significantly reduce your initial costs without compromising too much on quality or safety.

However, there’s a word of caution when purchasing second-hand gear, particularly online. Platforms like eBay can be a minefield for stolen equipment. The BHPA maintains a list of serial numbers of stolen canopies, and it’s always wise to cross-check before making a purchase.

A safer way to buy used equipment is through local paragliding clubs and schools. They often act as a hub for equipment sales, and it’s a good way to ensure you’re getting a fair deal on something safe and reliable.

How does paragliding compare to private pilots license or skydiving? What’s the cheapest way to fly.

Paragliding courses are broadly similar, albeit slightly more, than skydiving courses due to them being slightly longer than the AFF skydiving courses. However, skydiving costs rack up quickly post qualification as you pay £25-50 per jump where as paragliding is FREE.

Paragliding is significantly less a private pilots license which will set you back roughly £10k due to the number of hours you need to accumulate flying. Renting a plane quickly over takes the cost of paragliding equipment.

These figures might seem steep, but remember that these costs are an investment in your safety, enjoyment, and performance. Plus, the unforgettable sensation of free flight?

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Max
Co-founder and Chief Adventurer

I am Max, the co-founder and CEO of adventuro. We are on a mission to help you get into the sports you have always wanted to try, or develop in the sports you love, exploring new skills and locations. We do this by partnering with the best instructors, guides, and activity centres to get a great spread from beginner all the way to instructor training.

For too long, it has been way to confusing to find your next steps, or even to know where to start when getting into adventure sports. I am an experienced and/or qualified paraglider, skydiver, scuba diver, freediver, power boat driver, snowboarder, kitesurfer, kayaker, mountain biker, surfer, dirt biker, wakeboarder, and sailor.

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