Paragliders Association, Singapore
Home of the Singapore Freeflyers

Getting Started in Paragliding

You may want to try a tandem paragliding flight first. it is a great way to enjoy the full paragliding aerial experience, without having to learn how to launch and control the paraglider yourself. The tandem pilot will take care for you. Do ask the pilot further details if you wish so. All schools can provide tandem flights.  

Find a Paragliding School/Instructor

We do not recommend to learn this sport on your own, even if it seems very easy. It is better not to learn from mistakes, because mistakes cost pilots more than just nothing. You can read our list of schools or start scouting online for paragliding schools near you. 

Your instructor will provide you tips and practical lessons but also theory and basics on flying physics. You may want to buy a book that you can read at home after the lessons. 

To get airborne, the first introductory course into paragliding could take from 3 to 7 days. The basic techniques taught to beginners include launching, landing and turning. The process of learning includes classes/courses in a classroom and the actual flying on your own: getting to take off, planning, flying, turning and safely landing. But you are not yet a solo pilot after your first flight.

Continuous training

Further training is required to reach an autonomous level of flying. 

We recommend to enroll in a novice certification course not long after. You will learn basic micro-meteorology, weather, thermals and a few launching and flying techniques. Each paragliding school/instructor chooses its own plan of teaching and course length.

Once you get a license, usually a “PL-1” or “Parapro-03”, your learning is NOT over. You will need to keep your mind open to new techniques, listen your feelings, know your wing and improve your skills. 

It takes years to be a pilot, and that’s why it’s fun!

Safety equipment

The basic equipment required for paragliding are a wing, a harness, a reserve parachute and a helmet. There are loads of equipment that make flying easier (like GPS and Variometer), but these are only nice-to-haves. 

When you by your first equipment, make sure that it is certified and checked properly and that it fits your pilot skills. 

Learning never stops!

The safest and fastest way to learn is to learn from a FAI certified paragliding school/instructor. He/she will teach you the basic techniques of launching, flying, making final approach and landing. 

Once you fly, you are a pilot. But you will still need to learn. Do not hesitate to take lessons from time to time. There are lots of things and manoeuvres to practice. 

Psychological effects

Can you trust your judgment, always? Be careful, paragliding is a new world with lots of fun and new habits. Your decisions might be affected by external factors that YOU have to manage:

  • Group effect: seeing some people launching in strong conditions, thermalling above you, or landing in small fields does not mean that you can do it. What experience do they have? What wing are they flying? Wing load? Are they skilled or just courageous? Did they manage this by chance? Take your decision based on your experience, your feeling and your flying skills/knowledge. Don’t take the hurdle approach.
  • Trip effect or “week-end effect”: I’ve been working so hard the past month, this is my flying trip, I must fly! Yeah, but what if the wind is just not right? The cloud above your head is too dark? Should I fly because I paid my air ticket to get there, or should I wait until the conditions are right?

    Taking off is optional, landing is mandatory. 
  • Living in the Moment: Yes, everyone is living the moment in paragliding, but try not to push it to the limit. Always look for a proper landing option, analyze the weather, check the wind speed, observe the other pilots, look at the sea waves, … The environment around you gives you hints on what’s going on. Better to end the flying day with a beer than in an ambulance…
  • Fame: fame comes with great risks. There is no good pilots, only old pilots. The ones who said they are good, may not be there anymore… 
  • Fear control: it is normal to experience fear. It can be controlled by having the proper equipment, flying on sites which are appropriate for your level or go for a course with an instructor you trust. Also, watching too many Youtube accident videos can increase in you the fear of flying and the fear of paragliding. There are so many videos for educational and training purposes! 
  • No alcohol before flying. And no drugs as well… 

Weather and wind

Once you are fit for flying, feeling well physically and mentally, look around. Being able to read weather conditions is a long learning process that takes years. Every site has its particulars. Theory can seem complicate. But it is capital to learn some principles, confront your intuitions and knowledge to site observations. Make your own pronostics, and see whether you were right a couple of hours later!

Decide when to fly or when to rather stay on the ground is critical. What is the wind force? Will it rain? What is the main weather trend in the area? What are the local aspects? Season and rain probability? Observe the cloud development, determine where are the obstacles and the areas of turbulences, etc. 

Not every flying site and every condition is suitable for every pilot. Take advices from locals and pilots who have flown there. While you might see the pros flying happily in the air, it can be too advanced for beginners. If you don’t feel good with the conditions you find, don’t take off.

It’s better to stand on the ground, wishing you were in the air
than being in the air, wishing you were on the ground.


Accidents can happen and will happen, but we can try to avoid them. Train, learn and practice as much as you can. When looking for the root cause of an accident, the main question is about adequacy of the pilot to his environment and to his equipment

Was the wing adapted to the pilot? Was the pilot skilled enough to fly a high end EN-B after 20 flights? 

Was the wing right for the weather conditions today? Was the wind too strong for this wing under loaded? 

Was the pilot experienced enough to fly in strong thermals? When was his last flight? Does the pilot know the priority rules before flying a crowded soaring place like Timbis?

PGSG Group Singapore