Birdy Initiation Course

Beginner paragliding course: everything you need to know about your first steps

Beginner paragliding course: everything you need to know about your first steps


In order to start flying and discover why birds sing, there is a compulsory step: the beginner course in a school. In this article, we will present you the criteria we advise you to take into account, the general course of the course and the continuation after the course. Please note that this applies to a majority of schools, but not to all.




That's it! You are ready to take the plunge and fly, but the way out of the starting gate is through the front door of a paraglider school to take part in the famous initiation course. It is essential to go through this stage because discovering and learning paraglider on your own is, for obvious safety reasons, not recommended. During this course, you will be able to discover the rudiments of flight on paraglider while respecting your safety and that of other users of the sky.


School choice


flight In France, there is a large choice of schools, about 150, affiliated to the French Federation of Free Flight (FFVL), so there is no bad school. However, we invite you to take into account different criteria:


  • The school does not have an obligation of result but of means, it is then necessary to choose a school which is up to date on the material and on the learning techniques
  • Some schools offer an alternative activity in case of bad weather
  • A school close to your home would be a plus as you can go there more regularly and you benefit from the local flying site knowledge


The process


The initiation course lasts on average 5 days, the flight part is usually done in the morning because at that time the conditions are calm and adequate for young beginners.

On arrival, you will be provided with all the necessary equipment: a glider (type EONA 3 or BIRDY), a harness (type ACCESS 2 Bump/Airbag) equipped with a rescue parachute (type START or SHINE), a Helmet (type SCHOOL ABS System) and a radio. During the first three days, you will be supervised by two qualified instructors on what is known as the school slope, a slope with a low inclination rate, where you will be able to work on the take-off phase, practise inflation and your first chip jumps. Then, during the last two days, after a passage on the benches of the school (or almost) for theoretical courses, will come the time of the great moment, the departure for the big flights. This is actually what we call "ploufs", a flight of several minutes without ascending. You will be in permanent radio contact with your monitors (one at take-off and one atLanding) and, in the very rare case of a radio failure, you will be guided with snowshoes like planes.

After take-off, depending on the environment, you will have some time to get away from the terrain and to discover the feeling of flying. Once you have reached your altitude loss zone, your instructor will guide you through a few exercises: tracking, 360° and 380° turns, pitching and rolling (don't be afraid, these terms will be explained to you during the theory course). Then he will guide you through the approach and landing phase landing. At the end of your flights, your instructor will debrief you in order to give you feedback on your good and/or bad actions and on the ways to improve for the next Flight. At the end of this course, you will be given a flight passport which will show your progress.

Indeed, at the end of the initiation, few students are able to fly independently, you will have to continue your learning thanks to a progression course. In some schools, it happens that the training sessions are not given with the maximum number of students, in this case, ask your school to know if you can join the two days of the big course flight, if places are available.

If you feel ready to take the plunge, watch a video of what to expect and don't hesitate to contact our partner schools located throughout France.

Annecy Lake, an exceptional location for your first flights

Thumbnail of the Beginner Course video with the EONA3
Portrait of Louis Vives
Portrait - Louis Vives
Enak Gavaggio with FLY TOPO
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