Parafly Paragliding
(802) 879-3507


  • Beginning lessons start with an hour of video tape instruction on how and why the paraglider flies.  During the video, the instructor engages the student in a discussion of basic aerodynamics and meteorology to assure an adequate understanding of the paraglider before the student takes the glider out of the bag.

  • Next, the student learns how to "inflate" the paraglider and control it. This can be done on flat ground or on a very gentle slope.

  • At Cobble Hill, students run down a gentle grassy slope while they demonstrate control of the glider, turning it right or left toward a set of concentric circles mowed into the grass (target landing zone). As the student demonstrates proper control of the glider, he/she slowly moves up the slope until ground skimming flights only five to ten feet above the ground are achieved.

  • Once the student has demonstrated mastery of these ground skimming flights, he/she is ready to move up to a 75 foot launch site.

  • We like to see three good flights from the 75 foot launch next.  Once this is accomplished, the student is ready to move up to a 150 foot launch. From the 150 foot launch, the student learns to turn the glider (45°and 90° turns first, and then 180° turns). Once the student can do a 180° turn, he/she is ready to progress to the top of the hill, 300 feet above the landing zone.

  • Students will be invited to go higher on the hill by the instructor only after they have demonstrated appropriate skills at the lower levels. Weather conditions must be appropriate to permit this advancement.  The student makes the ultimate decision to advance to a higher level, remain at the current launch site, or terminate the lesson.

A busy day at Cobble Hill (45302 bytes)


  • Flights from the 75 foot launch are usually 15 to 20 seconds in duration.

  • Flights from the 150 foot level are usually 20 to 40. seconds.

  • Flights from the 300 foot launch are usually one to two minutes in duration, although longer "soaring" flights are possible from the top for more experienced pilots under appropriate conditions.

Most students get three to ten flights in during a lesson from 8 to 11:30 am or 3:30 pm until dusk. One of our students got 15 flights in during one lesson. The number of flights achieved depends upon the progress of the student, weather conditions and the student's stamina (ability to hike back up the hill between flights without becoming overly fatigued). About half of our students get all the way to the top of the hill during their first lesson.

Kiting the glider, ready to launch (176906 bytes)


  • In subsequent lessons, the student practices launches, landing approaches and spot landings in varying wind conditions until he or she is able to demonstrate precise flying skills in conditions from no wind to soarable (15 mph winds).

  • Basic maneuvers such as "big ears", rear riser control and air speed recognition are practiced.

  • Cross wind launches, soaring skills, side hill landings and a host of other paragliding skills are practiced until the pilot is ready to take a written exam to get a Para 2 (solo) rating.


  • The Para 1 (student) rating is achieved by most students on their first day of lessons. The Para 1 rating requires a considerable knowledge about the paraglider, how and why it flies, and two successful launches and flights with landings under control into the wind with a written exam. Para 1 students must be under supervised instruction until they achieve their Para 2 rating.

  • The Para 2 (solo) rating requires a minimum of five days of flying, 25 flights in different wind conditions, 5 spot landings, successful completion of basic maneuvers, and a written exam. Para 2 rated pilots are ready to fly paragliders without instructor supervision. Most pilots buy their own equipment upon achieving of their Para 2 rating.