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Spain paramotor training.... It's just not worth it!!

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And so it begins... I have just taken our first booking of the year from someone who has already paid for and attended a training 'holiday' in Spain. It will now cost him over twice as much in total to get his training done properly, over a period of time and in varied weather conditions.

I am actually thinking of putting a course together specifically for people who have been on a Spain 'Intro' which is pretty much all they seem to be getting for their money in most cases.

We have more and more people each year (as do the other instructors) that contact us complaining about the standard of training received overseas. Examples of 'actual complaints' include:

Not enough time, instructors complaining about pay, and or sleeping while people fly, no confidence, signed off after having only had a single flight, and of course the ones that go over for a week and get 1 flyable day. 

These poor guys that have quite frankly been miss sold a dream are being sent home to find a field and fly without an instructor after only 1 flight on a radio in another country. Thankfully, it's normally at this point that I get a call.

So if you are booked in to a course in Spain, please do get in touch when you return so we can add the vital missing information and skill set you need to fly with confidence and actually enjoy it. :-) 

SW :D

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I am planning on booking on a "Foreign" learn to fly course sometime in the next few months.

The obvious reason is the "guarantee" of suitable weather.

The provider I will use will be BHPA approved, and well reccommended, researched etc. to be a good provider.

Is your opening statement a reference to all Foreign providers ie. are they all bad, or are their ones that in your opinion offer a "good " service.

Thanks in advance 

 

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It's not about the instructors or the way they teach. 

It's about the way that it is sold to excitable people. 

Zero to Hero is something I keep seeing... (for example) When the reality is, that person may only get 1-2-3-4 flights done. 

The 'learn to fly in a few days type courses should be classed as an introduction holiday. This would better align expectations with the reality. 

SW :D

 

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Young fella at work went on a foreign pg course last year , had a short top to bottom , pushing hard to sell him a wing as well ,       Lost interest, gone 

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10 minutes ago, admin (Simon W) said:

It's not about the instructors or the way they teach. 

It's about the way that it is sold to excitable people. 

Zero to Hero is something I keep seeing... (for example) When the reality is, that person may only get 1-2-3-4 flights done. 

The 'learn to fly in a few days type courses should be classed as an introduction holiday. This would better align expectations with the reality. 

SW :D

 

This is a very interesting subject and i think there are pros and cons with both options of training, here or abroad. Firstly i think you have a very valid point on the "Zero to Hero" courses. These should be sold as an introductory courses and no way will someone who has never even handled a wing before attend one of these and expect to come home after about 10 days ready to fly off on their own. But the story is different for everyone and for some, these courses abroad will be the perfect way to progress in the sport. I think training in the uk will actually put lots of people off the sport to be honest.

I started my training with you way back, probably in about 2012, i forget now, but i was really excited about it then. I paid in full up front and then waited for the weather to play ball. To cut a long story short i came up to membury a few times (about 200 miles), slept in the van and played the normal uk game of waiting for the correct conditions to learn. On  my first attempt to take off i cocked up which resulted in me striking the prop on the floor! That cost me another few hundred quid to pay for that. In the end i got fed up with trying to match up days off with a 200 mile trip and then hoping that the weather would be ok. So in short i paid for a full course had a couple of days ground training, one failed take off and then i gave up. I then didnt bother to try again until a few years later thinking that it was never going to happen. 

In 2018 i got the interest (and time) to give it another go. This time luck was on my side and i did a weeks training in Mere uk. The weather was amazing and spent hours in the field honing my ground handling skills. ( i already had quite a bit of ground handling under my belt) This week ended in a couple of great flights. I then booked my second week with the same company in italy. Again luck was on my side in italy and the weather was flyable (variable) everyday. This meant we were in the air every morning by about 8am doing exercises and again every evening when it cooled off again. We did low passes, dead engine spot landings cross country flights etc etc all in a week! This gave me much more experience than i would of crammed in in the uk.

All that said when i got home it was still another story. Flying for the first time without an instructor keeping an eye on you was daunting but because i had done quite a bit of flying on my course i eventually went for it and ive not looked back. I did way more flying in that one week in italy than ive managed to get in here in the last 6 months.  

So i think there is a place for both options. If i had not taken the route of going to italy i would still not be flying thats for sure. I agree that in most cases further training will be needed when you get back to this country. I also agree with you that learning in the country you are going to fly in is also a good idea. 

I think anyone who is considering going to do a course in spain or similar should like you say simon take it as an introduction into the sport and expect to have to spend a few quid with you when they get back to further their skills. But if we discourage them from going in the first place they may never take up the sport. 

Only my opinion!

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Watching this with interest.

Unfortunately UK weather doesn't lend itself well to aviation training. Been there done that. Especially if you have over an hours journey to a school, it becomes impossible.

What you are suggesting seems to be the ideal scenario IMHO. Go to spain, crack as much ground handling etc as possible in an intensive manner, then finish off in the UK in a more timely manner. If thats something you genuinly want to do, I think you'd get a lot of interest. I'm sure you'd also be perfectly justified in thinking it isn't your problem and why should you sort someone elses mess out.

Out of curiousity, what would your proposed charging mechanism be for this? Would it be based on how far you had already got? Would it be a heavy discount on the main course because all of the basics are done? Or would it be the same price as starting from scratch again?

My preferred route would be a trainer 20 mins down the road, who does all evenings and weekends when the weather is good. But that just isn't an option for me.

The elephant in the room is all the different Syllabus of course. I've personally found it frustrating that it isn't possible to see what level of experience you need to pass each one. BHPA dont publish theirs, neither do APPI or PMC. That makes comparisons impossible. For example, what is the minimum number of flights required to pass on each? Are there cross counties in each? Whoever you speak to seems to be slagging off the others and it makes it impossible for newbies to make an informed judgement.

The further complication is the BHPA think they are the official governing body and can say everyone else's training is rubbish. We all know it isn't a regulated sport (yet) so obviously that cant be true.

I realise I've drifted away from a UK vs Spain discussion into a syllabus discussion, but I do believe the segregation of the different ratings systems doesn't help matters when trying to choose a training path and/or continuing that training path afterwards. It is very difficult knowing what to do for the best as a beginner.

Its commendable that you are willing to take other people's students on and its a great attitude for the sport. As toploader said above, it is good for the sport and stops people from walking away and/or killing themselves, but it strikes me there ought to be a more formal method to do this, and standardising of the syllabus would be helpful if possible.

Hope I've not said anything too inflamatory, if I did it certainly wasn't my intention.

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17 minutes ago, paraflyer17 said:

Watching this with interest.

Unfortunately UK weather doesn't lend itself well to aviation training. Been there done that. Especially if you have over an hours journey to a school, it becomes impossible.

What you are suggesting seems to be the ideal scenario IMHO. Go to spain, crack as much ground handling etc as possible in an intensive manner, then finish off in the UK in a more timely manner. If thats something you genuinly want to do, I think you'd get a lot of interest. I'm sure you'd also be perfectly justified in thinking it isn't your problem and why should you sort someone elses mess out.

Out of curiousity, what would your proposed charging mechanism be for this? Would it be based on how far you had already got? Would it be a heavy discount on the main course because all of the basics are done? Or would it be the same price as starting from scratch again?

My preferred route would be a trainer 20 mins down the road, who does all evenings and weekends when the weather is good. But that just isn't an option for me.

The elephant in the room is all the different Syllabus of course. I've personally found it frustrating that it isn't possible to see what level of experience you need to pass each one. BHPA dont publish theirs, neither do APPI or PMC. That makes comparisons impossible. For example, what is the minimum number of flights required to pass on each? Are there cross counties in each? Whoever you speak to seems to be slagging off the others and it makes it impossible for newbies to make an informed judgement.

The further complication is the BHPA think they are the official governing body and can say everyone else's training is rubbish. We all know it isn't a regulated sport (yet) so obviously that cant be true.

I realise I've drifted away from a UK vs Spain discussion into a syllabus discussion, but I do believe the segregation of the different ratings systems doesn't help matters when trying to choose a training path and/or continuing that training path afterwards. It is very difficult knowing what to do for the best as a beginner.

Its commendable that you are willing to take other people's students on and its a great attitude for the sport. As toploader said above, it is good for the sport and stops people from walking away and/or killing themselves, but it strikes me there ought to be a more formal method to do this, and standardising of the syllabus would be helpful if possible.

Hope I've not said anything too inflamatory, if I did it certainly wasn't my intention.

You might find this informative

http://www.volopuro.it/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/1.4-log-book.pdf

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I don't know if they still do this, but Skyschool used to to credit us with any non-flyable days and we could either extend a week or go back another time. I did 2 separate weeks and paid for 1.5 weeks.  I was never rushed to a qualification, it was always dependent on completing the training log. My last day I only needed one more flight to complete, but the weather was murky, low cloud. My last flight needed a spot landing, engine off from 1000 feet. This was discussed and I had the option to either do this and get my wing damp, stay another day or come back a different time.  I did it was done with zero wind (and I mean zero), but the low cloud got my wing damp. Visibility was ok, just a bit damp. With the incentive to get it right, I landed on the dot!

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I started PPG training 2 years ago and I have to say that the UK weather lately has more or less ground air time and progress to a sluggish crawl. May beginner pilots I know quite understandably have lost the determination or spend week after week staring at the sky for signs of that legendary golden orb! There's no denying that the UK is often a frustrating and unpredictable environment for PPG training , just look back over the past months and think ahead as we then wait for fields to re-emerge and dry out!
To speed up the learning route I have to say that a combination of home and abroad seems to be the answer. Whether that be Spain, Italy, Portugal or further afield  e.g. the USA ... anywhere there is proven training and more dependable weather.

UK Trainers are comparatively few and far between and so, for most people that means a trek and stop overs. I was very lucky in that my training was during a UK heat wave; hot, sweaty and exhausting but at least flyable and the course open ended! It's all very hit and miss and people need to understand and accept that, plus make sure that the trainer offers flexibility. Spain etc sounds idyllic but even there nothing can be guaranteed; we are all at the mercy of the (changeable and changing) climate and go with that clearly in kind.

I held a PPL some years ago and the weather was always the deciding factor of what was undertaken. All aviation is weather dependent, it's the medium we fly in be it paragliding or A380 so budding pilots need to be aware of that, do their research on location and reputation and make educated choices accordingly.

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Reading this has made my heart sink as I have paid and booked on a Zero to Hero Paramotoring course starting the end of March.  I thought long and hard about doing the training in the UK or abroad, if I believed the weather was going to be good for training I would have opted to train in the UK.  In the end I chose Spain as I already done Hang Glider training here in the UK and it was a bit of a nightmare.  Not because the school was rubbish.  I went with a well know HG school on the south coast of the UK and cannot fault them, in my mind one of the best.  I am self-employed so was able to train most days the weather was right.  The EP was done without issue but CP was another story.  Due to weather the gaps between training days were so far apart I felt like each time I turned up at the hill it was like the first day training again, it was far too inconsistent not to mention the travelling back and forth hoping the day would be good to go or not.  I had so much fun with that school but it also took way too long and was not good for my confidence.   In the end I had to go Spain with the same school to finish off just because of the weather but sadly had an accident on my first flight over there (my fault) so could not complete the last part of my training.  Once I healed, I did complete my HG CP but with another well-known brilliant HG school in Spain. 

Now I want to train Paramotors all this was racing through my mind, what do I do this time?  On this occasion all Paramotoring schools are a lot further away from me.  It will be much harder travelling to and from training sites.  I did think of waiting until the summer but decided that was not a guarantee all will be fine either so I opted for Spain. 

I did do research on training schools here in the UK and Spain over the past year.  If you are clever to pick a good school how could you fault any of them.  I found very good reports on who I choose to go with from what seemed like happy students.  Another concern at first was who do I train with APPI, PMC or BHPA, how do you choose that when you start off and dont know better, different people say different things?   In the end I choose a BHPA school only on the grounds of my HG training schools are BHPA and cannot see how I can fault them, I’m sure APPI and PMC are just as good.

Right now I feel I’m in the same place as when I started HG.  I know going to Spain is no guarantee all will be fine but feel happy (with my finger crossed) I choose a good well-known good school and stand a better chance with the weather and hopefully get some consistent training and flying over the duration of the course which is no different to what I thought the first day I booked my Hang Gliding course here in the UK a few years back. 

What’s also slighty worrying me is if I need a little bit of further training or guidance once I’m back who do I approach and will they be welcoming or frown upon me for going to Spain?

I’m not trying to disagree or upset anyone here just explaining my experience of flying so far.

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2 hours ago, toploader said:

This is a very interesting subject and i think there are pros and cons with both options of training, here or abroad. Firstly i think you have a very valid point on the "Zero to Hero" courses. These should be sold as an introductory courses and no way will someone who has never even handled a wing before attend one of these and expect to come home after about 10 days ready to fly off on their own. But the story is different for everyone and for some, these courses abroad will be the perfect way to progress in the sport. I think training in the uk will actually put lots of people off the sport to be honest.

I started my training with you way back, probably in about 2012, i forget now, but i was really excited about it then. I paid in full up front and then waited for the weather to play ball. To cut a long story short i came up to membury a few times (about 200 miles), slept in the van and played the normal uk game of waiting for the correct conditions to learn. On  my first attempt to take off i cocked up which resulted in me striking the prop on the floor! That cost me another few hundred quid to pay for that. In the end i got fed up with trying to match up days off with a 200 mile trip and then hoping that the weather would be ok. So in short i paid for a full course had a couple of days ground training, one failed take off and then i gave up. I then didnt bother to try again until a few years later thinking that it was never going to happen. 

In 2018 i got the interest (and time) to give it another go. This time luck was on my side and i did a weeks training in Mere uk. The weather was amazing and spent hours in the field honing my ground handling skills. ( i already had quite a bit of ground handling under my belt) This week ended in a couple of great flights. I then booked my second week with the same company in italy. Again luck was on my side in italy and the weather was flyable (variable) everyday. This meant we were in the air every morning by about 8am doing exercises and again every evening when it cooled off again. We did low passes, dead engine spot landings cross country flights etc etc all in a week! This gave me much more experience than i would of crammed in in the uk.

All that said when i got home it was still another story. Flying for the first time without an instructor keeping an eye on you was daunting but because i had done quite a bit of flying on my course i eventually went for it and ive not looked back. I did way more flying in that one week in italy than ive managed to get in here in the last 6 months.  

So i think there is a place for both options. If i had not taken the route of going to italy i would still not be flying thats for sure. I agree that in most cases further training will be needed when you get back to this country. I also agree with you that learning in the country you are going to fly in is also a good idea. 

I think anyone who is considering going to do a course in spain or similar should like you say simon take it as an introduction into the sport and expect to have to spend a few quid with you when they get back to further their skills. But if we discourage them from going in the first place they may never take up the sport. 

Only my opinion!

What he said ^^

 

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20 minutes ago, GB007 said:

Reading this has made my heart sink as I have paid and booked on a Zero to Hero Paramotoring course starting the end of March.  I thought long and hard about doing the training in the UK or abroad, if I believed the weather was going to be good for training I would have opted to train in the UK.  In the end I chose Spain as I already done Hang Glider training here in the UK and it was a bit of a nightmare.  Not because the school was rubbish.  I went with a well know HG school on the south coast of the UK and cannot fault them, in my mind one of the best.  I am self-employed so was able to train most days the weather was right.  The EP was done without issue but CP was another story.  Due to weather the gaps between training days were so far apart I felt like each time I turned up at the hill it was like the first day training again, it was far too inconsistent not to mention the travelling back and forth hoping the day would be good to go or not.  I had so much fun with that school but it also took way too long and was not good for my confidence.   In the end I had to go Spain with the same school to finish off just because of the weather but sadly had an accident on my first flight over there (my fault) so could not complete the last part of my training.  Once I healed, I did complete my HG CP but with another well-known brilliant HG school in Spain. 

Now I want to train Paramotors all this was racing through my mind, what do I do this time?  On this occasion all Paramotoring schools are a lot further away from me.  It will be much harder travelling to and from training sites.  I did think of waiting until the summer but decided that was not a guarantee all will be fine either so I opted for Spain. 

I did do research on training schools here in the UK and Spain over the past year.  If you are clever to pick a good school how could you fault any of them.  I found very good reports on who I choose to go with from what seemed like happy students.  Another concern at first was who do I train with APPI, PMC or BHPA, how do you choose that when you start off and dont know better, different people say different things?   In the end I choose a BHPA school only on the grounds of my HG training schools are BHPA and cannot see how I can fault them, I’m sure APPI and PMC are just as good.

Right now I feel I’m in the same place as when I started HG.  I know going to Spain is no guarantee all will be fine but feel happy (with my finger crossed) I choose a good well-known good school and stand a better chance with the weather and hopefully get some consistent training and flying over the duration of the course which is no different to what I thought the first day I booked my Hang Gliding course here in the UK a few years back. 

What’s also slighty worrying me is if I need a little bit of further training or guidance once I’m back who do I approach and will they be welcoming or frown upon me for going to Spain?

I’m not trying to disagree or upset anyone here just explaining my experience of flying so far.

GB007

 Don't be disheartened... you've done everything right and that's all we can do . Beyond that it's down to the weather fairies!
As for being "frowned on" by UK trainers for your using Spain ...... any decent trainer will be happy to accommodate you, there should never be any "us and them" as far as UK vs Spain is concerned. If you do come across any resentment then you know to avoid that person from the outset. Fingers crossed for you ... happy flying.

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4 minutes ago, Paul Shotan said:

GB007

 Don't be disheartened... you've done everything right and that's all we can do . Beyond that it's down to the weather fairies!
As for being "frowned on" by UK trainers for your using Spain ...... any decent trainer will be happy to accommodate you, there should never be any "us and them" as far as UK vs Spain is concerned. If you do come across any resentment then you know to avoid that person from the outset. Fingers crossed for you ... happy flying.

Thank you mate

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2 minutes ago, paraflyer17 said:

I did. 15 flights required! BHPA club pilot is 5 I believe.

Perhaps I was right and it isn't purely a UK vs Spain thing.

I did the APPI route and found it very comprehensive.  I can't speak about BHPA as I've not done one of their courses.  

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2 hours ago, GB007 said:

Another concern at first was who do I train with APPI, PMC or BHPA, how do you choose that when you start off and dont know better, different people say different things?   In the end I choose a BHPA school only on the grounds of my HG training schools are BHPA and cannot see how I can fault them, I’m sure APPI and PMC are just as good.

To add my two pence worth, I cant say that affiliation means much for me. Having recently been through the training process I've found that the most important thing you're left with is the decision making skills. In my mind the right instructor gives you this not the affiliation. Maybe too simplistic a view, but when I'm up there and my motor stalled I didn't think of acronyms or what was written in a manual, I immediately thought of Simon's words and instruction. When I'm about to take off and accessing the local environment, I'm sure not thinking about what I read in the manual, I'm thinking about Simon drumming on about making the right decision.

PS. Simon, you can pay me later for the plug. ;-)

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Exactly right.... PPG is very much "seat of the pants"  flying, muscle memory and correct reaction to changing circumstances. Theory is a fine and valuable addition but as Jean-Clause says... it's solid practical training from a good teacher that is top priority.  

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Well I can say running a school in Italy for 10 days a month and a UK school for the rest of the days in that month has a major benefit to my students, not only do they get fantastic weather whilst in southern Italy but when they get back the can continue with their progression,

Being stuck in the UK has its downside also, the amount of pilot's I see who have supposedly qualified but lack the basic skills, maybe this is the instructor rushing them through the suitable weather we have or the student pushing the instructor either way it's not only the Spanish schools that have problems, I am however trying to solve the issues at hand 

Danny

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3 hours ago, paraflyer17 said:

I did. 15 flights required! BHPA club pilot is 5 I believe.

Perhaps I was right and it isn't purely a UK vs Spain thing.

Me too. APPI 15 flights with Skyschool.

However, it was not until about flight 40 that I started to feel more relaxed and really comfortable. Since I live in the north of the UK there are no schools and no other people here to fly with. So, I went to the PMC and Parafest fly-ins and spent hours listening. I also followed the Paramotor Bible closely and constantly read about all the stuff I needed to know. Every flight I went out with the aim of practising just one thing I have red about. eg. It took about 15 flights to active flying sorted and be able to fly a foot off the ground, for ever.

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10 hours ago, GB007 said:

Reading this has made my heart sink as I have paid and booked on a Zero to Hero Paramotoring course starting the end of March.  I thought long and hard about doing the training in the UK or abroad, if I believed the weather was going to be good for training I would have opted to train in the UK.  In the end I chose Spain as I already done Hang Glider training here in the UK and it was a bit of a nightmare.  Not because the school was rubbish.  I went with a well know HG school on the south coast of the UK and cannot fault them, in my mind one of the best.  I am self-employed so was able to train most days the weather was right.  The EP was done without issue but CP was another story.  Due to weather the gaps between training days were so far apart I felt like each time I turned up at the hill it was like the first day training again, it was far too inconsistent not to mention the travelling back and forth hoping the day would be good to go or not.  I had so much fun with that school but it also took way too long and was not good for my confidence.   In the end I had to go Spain with the same school to finish off just because of the weather but sadly had an accident on my first flight over there (my fault) so could not complete the last part of my training.  Once I healed, I did complete my HG CP but with another well-known brilliant HG school in Spain. 

Now I want to train Paramotors all this was racing through my mind, what do I do this time?  On this occasion all Paramotoring schools are a lot further away from me.  It will be much harder travelling to and from training sites.  I did think of waiting until the summer but decided that was not a guarantee all will be fine either so I opted for Spain. 

I did do research on training schools here in the UK and Spain over the past year.  If you are clever to pick a good school how could you fault any of them.  I found very good reports on who I choose to go with from what seemed like happy students.  Another concern at first was who do I train with APPI, PMC or BHPA, how do you choose that when you start off and dont know better, different people say different things?   In the end I choose a BHPA school only on the grounds of my HG training schools are BHPA and cannot see how I can fault them, I’m sure APPI and PMC are just as good.

Right now I feel I’m in the same place as when I started HG.  I know going to Spain is no guarantee all will be fine but feel happy (with my finger crossed) I choose a good well-known good school and stand a better chance with the weather and hopefully get some consistent training and flying over the duration of the course which is no different to what I thought the first day I booked my Hang Gliding course here in the UK a few years back. 

What’s also slighty worrying me is if I need a little bit of further training or guidance once I’m back who do I approach and will they be welcoming or frown upon me for going to Spain?

I’m not trying to disagree or upset anyone here just explaining my experience of flying so far.

Just go for it and gain as much experience as you can. Weather permitting you will have an amazing few days and will have learnt loads. It will at least give you a taster and the enthusiasm to continue your journey in the sport back here. Good luck and enjoy.

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Had my training with sky school over  ten years ago ,one week in mere and one week in Spain, weather was brilliant in mere and in Spain and a great deal of time in the class room so much so I thought why are we not out in the field flying when the sun is shining, but as mentioned above its all  about making the right decisions to keep yourself safe, yes you need the skills to fly. But  knowing what to do and when to do it is far more important ,clippings in and checking your kit ,and that is first learnt in the class room ,when to fly and when to stay on the ground.70 percent is ground school, 30 percent flying. Once your flying with all that schooling, you can go to the field and fly safely. Then you can get yourself 100 percent flying, but never put the cart before the horse, start your training in the uk, then think about flight time in Spain . Just my thoughts worked for me. 

 

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Is it possible that Simon only comes in to contact with the Foreign studeents who have not been able to gain suitable training.

I suppose the question is; 

Is there anyone out there who has had a positive experience from foreign training?

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1 hour ago, Yogi said:

Is it possible that Simon only comes in to contact with the Foreign studeents who have not been able to gain suitable training.

I suppose the question is; 

Is there anyone out there who has had a positive experience from foreign training?

Yes me!

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So I'll add my 2c.

I did a paragliding course in 2000 with an outfit that I thought looked reputable but turned out to by an association with 2 members passing themselves off as a national body.

Attempts to get solid information about paramotoring from various 'experts' at the time gave me as many contrary opinions as there were experts. It seems the nature of the hobby to attract 'mavericks'.

One expert would tell me to buy X, and high hangpoints are the only way to go. The next would tell me never to buy X, and high hangpoints will kill you.

After a bit of research, I frankly gave up - the sport was simply full of opinionated people with no evidence other than personal experience to back up anything they said.

6 years later, in 2006 it seemed to be a bit more settled.. only a bit mind.. the BHPA still pretty much had nothing to do with PPG - still pushing the learn to PG first, and go from their route, but PPG instructors were rarer than hens teeth, and they all expected you to have your own equipment AND pay a fortune up front for no good reason.

That and having experienced weekend after weekend trecking 4 hours each way up to the Yorkshire Dales to maybe...one weekend in 3..get 1/2 a day or so on the hill flying, made me determined to not go through all that crap again.

But here's the thing - everyone is different. Some folk learn by getting a basic level from experience or books and going from there, some like a more 121 engaged approach. One size does not fit all.

I'm the sort of bloke that if i find I  need to do some welding,  buys a welder and learns to weld. Needs a new kitchen worktop, so learns to use a router. Wants a new widget that measures current in his campervan,  does the electronics and then codes it himself. I enjoy the challenge of having enough knowledge to make my own path - happy to make mistakes along the way, but to be that's where the thrill lives. I don't really like getting taught stuff. I used to be a good snowboarder - and I learned in the late 90s by falling on my arse a lot in the american rockies, and had no lessons at all. Was it efficient ? christ no. But it was a challenge - and I liked it.

And wasting weekend after weekend driving 100s of miles to some instructor (most of whom back then as I say, demanded a vast amount of cash upfront) to then waste my time because weather wasn't right, etc, etc would have done my head in and I'd have abandoned it again.

So, I flew off to South Africa for 3 weeks. And in that time got 20 paramotor flights in (my paragliding coming back to me a bit), and also got my A license for skydiving on the side when it wasn't flyable.

There is no way in holly hell I'd have managed to do that in the UK.

Now, did I really know what I was doing after 20 flights?  did I F&&k... But it kept my interest, and when I came back, I knew it was something I wanted to do, so bought some second hand gear and started flying.

I went through the next 4 or 5 years or so making regular mistakes, breaking at least 2 props a year, and learning from others. With better training I would probably have saved a bunch of cash, but.. I'd also probably have lost interest before I got there if that training was in the UK. As I say, one size does not fit all.

If you are lucky enough to have a good trainer on your doorstep you'd be mad these days not to use em - summers have long hours of light, and everything has moved on a lot - training equipment available, good syllabuses, etc. I don't know how payment works but provided its pay as you go and not still some insane 2k up front nonsense, I'd go with a local trainer every time these days.

Which is not to say I might not get a starter for 10 holiday in spain or something - because, why not - actions holidays are great fun. I learned to scuba in one (give me that over learning in a pool and the murky waters of the north sea anyday!!) , I learned to skydive again in 2012 as currency had well and truly run out from 2006, etc - I think holidays like that are a GREAT way to find if it's something you want to do, and continue when you get home. But it's just that - a starter for 10 most of the time.

Maybe after a week in spain and some luck with the weather you come back with 5 or 6 flights under your belt. Maybe that keeps your interest, and with a bit of experience means there's a few more days that fall within flyable weather territory down at your local trainer to continue your training ?

But, if you don't have anyone within 100 miles of you, I still think -- for the right person -- a couple of weeks intensive training somewhere weather static can be all they need. Especially if they've some previous experience with paragliding, or even with other types of 'learn difficult sh1t' type stuff. But I suppose you could argue those sort of folk are not the ones turning up at your door Simon. so as you say, maybe some mis-selling involved ?

stu

 

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