Episode 19 – Flying Hang Gliders and Paragliders

Paragliding on Mam Tor

Paragliding on Mam Tor

In this episode of Flying Podcast I talk to Judith Mole and Geoff Minshull who fly hang gliders and paragliders for pleasure.
In this podcast they tell us about why they have chosen to fly these particular sorts of aircraft and what is involved in learning to fly. We also discuss the equipment required and where to fly from.

Listen to Episode 19

Judith and Geoff have been flying hang gliders and paragliders for some years now. They were attracted by the sense of freedom to be had flying flying long distances without any form of power. They mainly fly from the Long Mynd during the British summer but spend their winters over in Spain where they can continue to fly when the weather over in the UK prevents many forms of flying.

Judith launching a hang glider

Judith launching a hang glider

The governing body of this sport is the BHPA. They oversee the licensing of the sport and you are encouraged to get your training at one of their approved schools. In addition to the written exams you get to train for the Club Pilot licence which then allows you to fly from a BHPA site.

The British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association can be found at:


Paragliding on Mam Tor

Paragliding on Mam Tor

Geoff and Judith explain the ins and outs of training and also give us an introduction to the sorts of equipment that you might need. Judith says that most of the kit is supplied when you are training in a school but if you want to buy your own gear, a paraglider wing would cost between £2,500 and £3,500, a harness £300-£900 and you then need boots, clothing, helmet, instruments and a parachute.
Hang gliding gear is slightly more expensive with an average wing costing between £3,000 and £6,000.
The sort of equipment you might need will include a GPS, variometer, radio and also a compass.
Geoff says that the cost for the club pilot licence is likely to be around £1000 for the training.

Judith Mole

Judith Mole

Apparently you aren’t restricted to flying from hills only as you can find paragliding and hang gliding clubs with winches to get you airborne and you can even be towed up by microlight too.

In the podcast, we are given an insight into the relative merits of each type of aircraft and why the hang glider has tended to be less popular whereas the paraglider is growing in popularity. Storage, convenience, ease of flying, size and weight all contribute to the rise of the paraglider.

Geoff & Judith’s perfect flying day is to do a long cross country from their home base on the Long Mynd in Shropshire and you can hear a podcast that they have produced about one such flight. You can hear their podcasts here:


Judith recommends a few schools for me in the Peak District including:
Steve Hudson – Derbyshire Flying Centre

Paul Allmark – Parapente paragliding school

Mark Bosher – Peak Airsports

For anyone else out there that’s interested in learning to fly either hang gliders or paragliders, go to the BHPA web site and search for your nearest school.


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