Paragliders Association, Singapore
Home of the Singapore Freeflyers
Licencing in Paragliding
You will get a licence from your instructor, if he/she thinks you are ready to fly. The licence in general is a lot like a driver’s licence. While it means you understand that basics of flying, the rules, the physics; it doesn’t mean you are an expert – that takes many more years.
Now, when you get a paragliding licence, its validity and recognisability also tends to vary, but in general, there are three broad categories:
- IPPI Licences
- APPI Licences
- Other Licences.
When people refer to IPPI licences, they generally mean the IPPI card. This card is the equivalent of an international driving permit (IDP), and it is issued in conjunction with a country’s national licence.
The IPPI card provides an international standard reference by which all national rating programs may be compared. The PARA PRO stage on the card reflects the pilot proficiency. For the pilot who flies outside of his known or local area, it is a quick and easy method of providing proof of flying experience and proficiency.
If you want to participate in international competitions in paragliding, an IPPI card is a must.
This IPPI card is the most easily recognisable form of ‘licence’, and for the most part is recognised everywhere.
APPI licences are also issued by a lot of instructors. We have noticed that APPI licence holders are also just as good as IPPI card holders (of the same level and experience).
However, it should be noted that APPI is considered as a random rating system that does not comply with FAI standards. But the website of APPI is not very clear about that.
If you make a license: make sure that it is recognized by FAI.
In addition to the two above, we have also noticed that there are ‘instructors’ out there who issue licences based on no international authority nor national authority, and issue licences on their own. We would recommend to you to stay away from these licences. While the instruction from such persons might be good (or bad), these licences are generally not recognised by anyone outside of the instructor’s flying site.
Generally speaking, licences are based on the 5 stages of proficiency below, and instructors give them out based on a pilot’s knowledge of these stages, in addition to flying experience (flying experience requirements vary from country to country).
The Various Stages of Paragliding
The 5 stages of paragliding are:
1. GROUND SKIMMING
- Don’t fly higher than you would care to fall!
- This stage is combined with stage 2
2. ALTITUDE GLIDING
- Altitude and space to manoeuvre, no soaring
3. BASIC SOARING
- Soaring in non turbulent conditions
- It is the basic pilot level to fly in autonomy
4. ADVANCED SOARING
- Soaring in turbulent conditions.
5. CROSS COUNTRY