What is involved in learning to fly a powered paraglider (i.e. a paramotor)?
If you are a licensed Paragliding pilot (i.e. un-powered), then you need do a simple Powered Conversion Course. (Click for details).
For all others, read on...
For South Africans, you need to complete the following:
- Complete a Powered Paraglider Pilot training course.
- Complete a Restricted Aeronautical Radio License
(we can advise where best to do this, it can be done in one weekend)
- Write Two open-book Theoretical Knowledge Tests (at home, at your leisure)
- Basic Paraglider Theory Test
- Powered Paragliding Theory Test
- Apply for your Powered Paraglider Pilot License
(which is renewed annualy)
Sounds simple enough? Let us look at this in more detail:
Paragliding, and Powered Paragliding, is controlled in South Africa by the South African Hanggliding and Paragliding Association (known as SAHPA, pronounced "Saapaah").
SAHPA in turn operates under the Aero Club of South Africa (ACSA), whom reports directly to the Civil Aviation Authority of SA (CAA).
Regardless of whom you train with, SAHPA will issue your Powered Paraglider Pilot License. You should ensure that your instructor is a SAHPA Approved Instructor, otherwise you can NOT get a powered paragliding license. This is a legal requirement.
Note: If you are already a licensed paraglider pilot, you need to simply complete the Powered Conversion Course, and your Aeronautical Radio License, then your instructor will submit the paperwork to SAHPA for a Powered Endorsement to your existing PG license.
Here are the sequential steps you will follow:
- Purchase a temporary (training) membership to SAHPA for R450
(Which allows you to start flying under instructor supervision)
- Valid for 6 months
- Includes Third Party Liability Insurance
- Includes your PG Training Manual and PG Theory Test
- Purchase the book, "The Powered Paragliding Bible", written by Jeff Goin (ask your instructor about where to purchase this)
- Order a suitable Paraglider Wing, one that can also be used for powered flight
(Your PPG instructor will guide you through the selection and purchasing process.)
(Note: Many paragliding-only instructors are not familiar with the complications of powered flight, you should consult a knowledgeable and trustworthy PPG instructor on this matter)
- Order a suitable Paramotor based on your body mass, your location, and a few other aspects
(Your PPG instructor will guide you through the selection and purchasing process)
- You also need to acquire a suitable airband radio, headset and helmet
Ask your instructor for recommendations
- Start the groundschool training first with your wing, without the motor
Learn to pull-up and kite the wing and control it overhead
(usually 3 to 8 hours training required)
- Complete a MINIMUM of 35 flights
- Write the two theory tests at home, at your own leisure
- Do the Aeronautical Radio Course, at any stage during your training
- Once everything has been completed, your instructor will apply to SAHPA for your PPG Pilot License
- Upgrade your SAHPA membership to full membership, (inquire about the current fee)
- Each year you will renew your license and SAHPA membership
(You submit your flight log-book, and get any instructor or club licensing officer to sign the paperwork)
Duration: You should be able to complete the full course in One to Four months part-time (evenings and weekends), depending on the effort you put in, the time you make available and the weather.
We strongly suggest you do at least your first few powered flights from sea level. If you live on the Reef, this will entail travelling to the Coast for a few days. The remaining flights could be completed by a local instructor closer to home.
The Aeronautical Radio Course can be done with any Flying School, but we strongly suggest you do this with a Microlight Flight School.
We have an arrangement in Cape Town with a local Microlight Flight School, where the radio course is done over one weekend intensive training. This course is run ad-hock when there are a total of Ten students for the radio course (paramotor pilots and microlight pilots). You need to book well in advance (through us) and bring Two passport size photographs. This is valid for life and never requires renewal.
Visiting pilots with a valid and recognised foreign PPG license may be required to
complete a skill test and perhaps the theoretical test, depending on the country of origin (based upon the requirements and syllabus for their PPG licensing), in order to convert to a SA license.
We run special accelerated training courses for foreign visitors. These are structured around your available time in Cape Town. Order your new paramotor and wing which will be waiting for you upon your arrival. Complete as much of your training as possible during your visit to Cape Town then take you equipment back home with you.
In many countries you do not require a license to fly a powered paraglider, so we take you to a level of sufficient proficiency to start flying safely. You may then continue your training back home if you desire. (USA, UK, Malaysia, most of Arabia do not require pilot licenses for PPG)
If you do require a license to fly your paramotor back home, we shall endeavor to complete your PPG license if at all possible. The South African PPG license is recognised by most countries. You may be required to just write your local theory test, and do a checkout flight with a local PPG instructor back home. Check with your national licensing body.
Contact us below with your details, time of year available, and how long you can spend in Cape Town. Let us structure a customised training course for you.
Make your booking now!
Contact: Keith Pickersgill
Cape Town, South Africa
Cellphone 082 414-8448
More information on local PPG flying in Cape Town