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courses in UK vs abroad

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Hi all, new member (based in North Devon) currently looking at learning to paramotor. I have a lapsed PPL that's not been used for 13 years and I've been looking at options to get back flying more affordably. I also have about 160 skydives so I have a bit of canopy flight experience but, again, it's been quite a few years since I last did any jumps.

I was wondering, as a beginner, how big an issue waiting on weather is likely to be when doing courses in the UK. When I started skydiving in Kent, we'd spent a lot of time waiting for the winds to die down to allow the novices to jump. What sort of wind limits are there for beginner paraglider/motor pilots?

To make best use of limited holiday time, is going to a school in Spain or Italy (such as skyschool) likely to give me a better option to progress and gain my pilot's license in a 2 week period compared to training in the UK? I'm most likely to have holiday time available in spring and autumn so not always the best times of year to be doing things like flying in the UK.

I'm sure I'll be back with plenty more questions but this should at least help me decide when/where to look at training.

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You'll find quite a lot of threads on this subject already, but from my point of view I can see pros and cons to both.

If i were doing it all again, I think i'd do initial training in the UK where your weather window for ground handling is wider than you may want it for your first flights so not quite as restrictive.

But then I can see the benefit of being able to do intensive flying after the first few flights to really get comfortable with it, that's where i'd maybe consider doing a course abroad.

I don't think I would do my ground handling training abroad as although it would be a nice holiday too, I think i'd rather do all that here.



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The thing with doing ground handling training as part of a combined course (whether UK or abroad) is that you also do all the other training required prior to first flight at the same time. Lots of theory, learning about the machine, trial fitting/balance, talk throughs of how the instructor will instruct over the radio etc. To be really up to speed and ready for first flight, I would not have wanted to do this many weeks or months before. I think it benefits having all this very fresh in your head.

Ground handling was 2 to 3 days and about 3 one hours slots each day. The rest of the time was filled with learning all those other things!

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I can see pros to that, but by the same token.....it's a huge amount to take in all in one go!

I did an intensive course the first time back in 2007 and yes you do tend to focus everything on it 100% for that period, but at the same time, i'm not sure it was any better or worse than If i learned piece meal.   I think taking more time and learning ground handling to the point where it was no longer a primary focus and more intuitive then I would have been more relaxed and able to focus on the flying part better.

Swings and roundabouts to be honest, some will benefit more from intensive and others more from a more broken up approach.  I guess the key thing is to make sure you have a decent instructor that you gel with so you can soak up their teachings in the best possible way.



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I'm recently back from FlySpain and whilst it does feel quite intensive in retrospect, what it does do very well is introduce you into the steps of training which I now feel confident to continue in my own time without the need to travel miles to a UK based trainer.

I wasn't aware beforehand, but the 2 weeks Paragliding and Paramotoring course only trains you up to BHPA club pilot. You will still need to do some further training/assessments to acquire the full club pilot rating.

I can however, fully recommend FlySpain, a great bunch of guys and an excellent course, if you wish to got that way.

I was pondering buying an old wing many months ago to get some ground handling done before heading out, which I can see the benefit of, but on the other hand, you will most likely be training with complete beginners so you will need to wait for them to catch up before you can start with first hops/top to bottoms etc.

I ended up buying a brand new Ozone Spyder from them at a £500 discount when purchasing training. Which seemed a reasonable deal. I'm now pottering around in local fields, becoming a master at ground handling before taking to the skies again.


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I bought an old ground handling wing before signing up for any courses and practiced with that for a few months after reading books etc on technique.

When i started the 2-week course in Spain i was already well ahead of the game in that department so could could concentrate on all the `other` stuff..

I chose Spain because i just didn`t fancy all the traveling, time wasting and prolonged, drawn-out effort of trying to fit it in with the UK`s weather and freetime.

Well, i say i didn`t fancy all the traveling - i rode my bike to Spain!

Motorcycle trip, flying and sun. Win-win-win.

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Thanks for all the really useful replies. I prefer the idea of doing an intensive course as there aren't many places to learn near me, it's either down to Cornwall to Cloud9 or over to Wiltshire/Dorset. That means taking a weekend and, because we run a little glamping site as our business, I don't really get weekends free over the summer when the weather's supposedly at it's most amenable to flying. 

If I do a two week course, I only need to find cover for a 2-3 weekend and then I'm set up to be able to buy my own gear and start flying locally. I'm fortunate to have some fields of our own, though not always easily flyable. However, there's a grass strip airfield just up the road I'm fairly sure they'd let me fly from. 

It was the same when I did my PPL, Did an intensive course where we were flying several times a day without weather issues and it really locked all the muscle memory and routines into place better than doing bits every few weeks.

@Hann__, riding a bike to Spain or Italy sounds like a fabulous idea, I may just do that as I don't get out on mine as much as I'd like :) 

@admin (Simon W) Do you find most people who do your 2 week course manage to get to their PPG Pilot license or do many have to come back and do it later due to weather?

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3 hours ago, SafetyThird said:


@admin (Simon W) Do you find most people who do your 2 week course manage to get to their PPG Pilot license or do many have to come back and do it later due to weather?

90% of our students do it over a period of around 2-4 months on the days that they are available from work :-)  (including the people who have been to Spain) 

I honestly think that the UK has some super funky weather compared to much of Europe. This is why people consider overseas training, but is the same reason many don't feel confident enough to fly when back in the UK. 

I guess it's whatever suits your lifestyle and what you want for the end result. 



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I did all my training in the UK then done a paragliding course with FlySpain.

Reason why I done a PG course was to catch as many thermals (under instruction) as I could which opens up a wider window for me in the UK.  Also they go through most of the collapses with you, which give you even more confidents.

FlySpain, are very good, but I personally don't think it all sinks in when doing a intense course than it does over a period of a few months.  By the time you get your first flight in the UK you don't worry about the ground-handling bit and concentrate on flying. It is not like learning in 1-2 days and then move onto the motor.

Paragliding with FlySpain was a good crack though.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I was booked to do a fortnights training with Skyschool in Italy this year but had to pull out. I've found a really good instructor here in the UK (Alex Anderson) who lets me fit my training around the other commitments I currently have. The training here in the UK is excellent and though I had to take this course of action I actually have few regrets and am confident I will be airborne as soon as I'm ready. If you find the right trainer training here is very good and also you train in the conditions and terrain you'll eventually be flying solo in.

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I arrived in Thailand a total newbie in march of this year,a number of brits were also doing the course,zero-hero in 8 days,no time lost due to weather as it was perfect,paramotor Thailand,david the owner was training the indian world championship team when I was there,he has an enviable CV which has expanded since he posted this on his website...

I have been flying all around the world ever since I finished my training in 2007.



2007 - St Petersburg in Russia where I trained to join the European Paramotor team which enabled me to start my career as a stunt display pilot. 

2007 - Fly Paramotor show AUE Abu Dhabi for Ramadan games.

2008 - Fly Paramotor in Philippines,1st person to fly in Palawan Island.

2008 - Vietnam to Barcelona by Motorbike Minsk, 6 months, the only one who has done this trip so far.

2008 - Fly Paramotor show India for the Cricket world cup in Mumbay.

2008 - Fly Paramotor showTurkiye, inauguration hotel Antalya.

2009 - Open School Paramotor Bangkok.

2009 - Fly Paramtor show Lybia in Tripoly 40 years of Gadafy revolution, 10 years African union.

2010 - Move school Paramotor Bangkok to Hua Hin.

2010 - Instructor license level 1.

2010 - 1th position in Paramotor Thailand Competition.

2011 - Fly Paramtor show Thailand for the 84th world tennis invitation, Hua Hin

2011 - Fly Paramotor show Dubai for International Parachuting Championship and Gulf Cup 2011.

2011 - Instructor license level 2.

2011 - Fly Paramotor show Philippines 16th international Ballon fiesta.

2011 - Fly Paramotor expedition to Mts. Pinatubo volcane In Philippines with Petter Nachbaur.

2011 - Fly Paragliding expedition to Himalaya India with Petter Nachbaur.

2011 - Fly Paramotor show Kuwait 50 years of Independence.

2011 - Fly Paramotor show Abu Dhabi UAE’s 40th National Day.

2012 - Open School Paramotor Thailand.

2012 - Fly Paramotor show Philippines 18th International Ballon fiesta.

2012 - Paramotor Thailand expedition to 100 Islands National Park in Philippines with Chema Costa and Petter Nachbaur.

2012 - Fly Paramotor show Philippines Inauguration stadium Zambales.

2012 - Malaysia Paragliding accuracy world cup 2012 Ending on 7th position.

2013 - Open School Paramotor and Paragliding in Sriracha, Thailand.

2013 - First to fly Paramotor Tandem in Philippines.

2013 - Fly Paramotor show Philippines 19th International Ballon fiesta.

2013 - Open Paramotor Championship in Malaysia, finsh on 2nd Individual, 1st with team.

2014 - Open Paragliding in Philippines, finish on 1st.

2014 - Fly Paramotor in Eypgt

2014 - Open Paragliding competition in Danang, Vietnam finish on 1st.

2014 - Open Paragliding competition in Malaysia finish on 3rd.

2014 - Pre world cup Paragliding in Philippines finish on 4th.

2014 - Fly Paramotor show in Moscow, Russia.

2014 - First to fly Paramotor trike tandem in Pokara Nepal with help Phoenix Paragliding and Sunrise Paragliding.

2015 - Paramotor king cup Nongkor Thailand finish 5th.

2015 - Paramotor king cup Ayuthaya Thailand Finish on 2nd.

2015 - Skydive license B.

2015 - First to fly Paramotor in Vang Vieng Laos.

2015 - Ultralight license in Thailand.

2016 - Organize the 2nd fly safary Paramotor in Laos.

2016 - Buy Ultralight airplane Sky ranger.

2016 - NOAH Narvacan Air-sports Festival Paragliding and Paramotor Philippines.

2016 - Privat Pilot License PPL license in UK.

2016 - Organize the 3rd fly safary Paramotor in Laos.

2017 - 100h fly with airplane.

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