Paragliding and Hang Gliding Flight Centers


It is recommended that you learn the sport at a well-established freeflight center. The following schools offer certifiedn instruction under the USHGA rating system for hang gliding, paragliding, or both. To ensure national coverage, some worthy programs in hot spots such as California have been omitted.

Contact the USHGA for a list of certified instruction programs. Before committing to a program, comparison shop and talk to several instructors. Try to find a patient teacher with whom you can develop a rapport. If you are keen to get your Hang II rating, look for a school that can tow you to high altitudes for extended air time.
Note: HG and PG indicates that hang gliding or paragliding, respectively, are offered.

Dixon's Airplay Paragliding
One of the country's top paragliding schools. Airplay operates in Arizona in winter and in Cashmere, Washington (509.782.5543) in summer. The immersion-style program gives you all the skills needed to fly safely on your won. An intro tandem flight is $125; a Para II costs $800, TANDEM
High Adventure
San Bernardino. 909.883.8488
High Adventure's tandem sampler program features both paragliding and hang-gliding tandem lessons for a single price, $120 to $190. HG, PG, TADNEM

Mission Soaring Center
Milpitas. 408.262.1055
Mission Soaring Center is the largest and oldest full-service flight center in Northern California, offering year-round training. They have been open since 1973. Classes are conducted on excellent inland training hills with consistent weather conditions. Mission uses specialized training gliders and a stationary winch towing system for novice training along with flight simulators—equipment that really improves the learning process. An intro class costs $140, a 5-lesson new pilot package $600, and a tandem lesson runs $175-200. HG, PG. TANDEM

Torry Pines Gliderport
La Jolla. 858.452.9858
Paragliding dominates the flight training at Torrey Pines. An intro tandem flight is $125. The facility also offers advanced training in thermal, ridge,a nd mountain flying. HG, PG, TANDEM

Western Hang Gliders
Marina. 408.384.2622 www,
Western Hang Gliders conducts year-round classes on the forgiving sands of Marina Beach near Monterey Bay—a superb novice site. All levels of instruction are offered, from novice training (including tandem flights) to specialized week-long mountain and cross-country clinics for advanced pilots. Basic classes start at $100, and a six-lesson package costs $525. HG, PG, TANDEM

Windsports Soaring Center
Van Nuys. 800.426.4454 or 818.988.0111
Joe Greblo's Windsports operation, since 1974, is renowned in the hang gliding industry for its progressive, high-quality training with tremendous attention to detail. Windsports is the largest freeflight school in Southern California, and has trained over 4,000 pilots in its 22-year history. Tandem instruction is a Greblo specialty. Flying side-by-side with the instructor, a student can achieve intermediate flying skills in two-thirds the normal time. Simulators and videos are also used to speed progress. An intro class is $99, while a combo two-day training hill and tandem flight costs $299. HG, PG, TANDEM

Aspen Paragliding and Expeditions
Aspen. 303.925.7625
One of the two lift-served, year-round paragliding sites in the United States. Summer operations can be hectic, so reserve well in advance. Prices are higher than average, but nobody else in Colorado gives you longer flights with easier access. PG, TANDEM

Parasoft Paragliding School
Boulder. 303.494.2820
Parasoft boasts two nice training hills, with both a 250-foot and 750-foot launch, and has tow-launch capacity for flights up to 3,000' above ground level. Its tandem pilots are the most experienced on Colorado's front slope. PG, TANDEM


Miami Hang Gliding
Miami. 305.285.8978
Launched from a platform on a powerboat, a tandem glider is towed 1,200 feet above Biscayne Bay, allowing plenty of air time for practice. At the end of the lesson, you make a soft water landing, supported by floats on the glider frame. An intro flight is $95, while the six-flight Level I program or 8-flight Level II program each cost $395. Inland flying sites are also available for advanced training. HG, TANDEM

Wallaby Ranch, Inc.
Davenport. 813.424.0070
This popular school features innovative high-altitude tandem instruction made possible by aero-towing to 2,500 feet. From this height, one high-altitude lesson offers air time equivalent to 75 training hill flights. The 200-acre Ranch maintains a full range of facilities including a pool, campsites with RV hookups, and "Glider Condos" for wing storage. Three micro-light aerotugs ensure you never have to wait long for a flight, and the weather permits year-round training. Glider rentals are available for certified pilots. HG, TANDEM

Lookout Mountain Flight Park
Rising Fawn. 800.688.5637 or 706.398.3541
Offers excellent ramp-launch novice hills with a large, 32-acre landing field, and many good novice and intermediate sites within a few minutes of the flight park. Both conventional and tandem instruction are available, starting at about $150 for an introductory class. The $599 50-flight Mountain Package program takes novices from their first class through the high-altitude flight and Hang II rating. The $899 Eagle Package allows an unlimited number of flights needed to reach Hang II rating. HG, TANDEM

Morningside Flight Park
Charlestown. 603.542.4416
Morningside offers four-hour introductory hang-glide lessons for $100. The entire training area is a grass slope allowing launches up to 250 feet, with a higher plateau launch at 430 feet. A six-day Hang I program runs about $530. The site is ridge and thermal soarable in summer.HG, PG, TANDEM

Mountain Wings, Inc./Eastcoast Paragliding Center
Ellenville. 914.647.3377
The largest paragliding school on the East Coast. Instructors hold both US offers a full flight park, repair services, and certified instruction for all levels. Classes employ stationary simulators and videotape reviews. Winch towing is used to allow higher altitudes. Cost is $125 for an intro class in hang gliding or parasailing, $925 for the eight- to ten-day hang-gliding Mountain Package, $985 for Para II-rating program (unlimted sessions). HG PG, TANDEM

Kitty Hawk Kites
Nags Head. 800.334.4777 or 919.441.4124
This hang-gliding school, the world's largest, has trained more than 250,000 students since 1974. All levels of certified instruction are offered, with a focus on beginner/novice training. A half-day, $75 beginner lesson includes ground school, video review, and a guaranteed five short flights, and an eight-lesson package—usually sufficient for the Hang I rating&3151; is #399. A $449 winter package offers unlimited training flights November through March. HG, PG

Cloud 9 Soaring Center
Draper 801.576.6460
One of the few schools that offer excellent training in both hang gliding and paragliding from a site ideal for both disciplines. An intro tandem flight is $90, full Para II $650, and Hang II $850. HG PG, TANDEM

Dixon's Airplay Paragliding
See Arizona listing

Raven Sky Sports
Whitewater. 262.473.8800 or 312.360.0700
Aero-tow is the primary method of dual instruction. An intro tandem flight is $125, while a first-time paragliding class costs $105. Raven offers an attractive "100-flight Hang II+" package combining 90 hill-launch flights plus 10 tandem aerotow lessons for $1,150. for the same price, a 72-flight paragliding program is also available. HG, PG, TANDEM

Parawest Paragliding
Whistler, BC. 604.932.7052
Fliers can ride the ski-lift to the tops of Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain year-round. This allows high-altitude launches with impressive air time. An intro tandem flight costs $130 (CN), a novice rating program $800 (CN).

Muller Hang Gliding and Paragliding
Cochrane, AB. 403.932.6760
Based east of the Rockies, this is another quality Canadian program, a good choice for intermediates wishing to improve.

Published: 17 Jul 2001 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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