FAI Hang Gliding and Paragliding Commission
Safe Pro Para Training
Paragliding developed rapidly in the early years with new barriers broken nearly every day. It has developed into a mature activity comparable to any form of aviation in its complexity, requirement for training and attention to safety. While many pilots seek to progress to more efficient gliders and more challenges (cross-country, aerobatics…), we must not forget that humans need time to learn new tasks in a safe manner. Most often, guided training takes place in the early stages while more advanced skills are learned more haphazardly.
The SafePro program should be seen as a guide (hence the title: A program) for federations wanting to develop their own program. The countries with a long practice already have their culture and methods which may differ from the SafePro. The point here is that all organizations (national federations, associations and CIVL) agree on a general level for each stage so that equivalences can be found between the different systems.
The learning progression consists of 5 natural stages, from the easy to the more difficult, from low to high, from basic to advanced, being careful not to leave any gap on the way. It also divides the participants into students and pilots, indicating whether they are autonomous or not.
- Ground Skimming (not flying higher than you would care to fall)
- Altitude Gliding (altitude and space to do manoeuvres, no soaring)
- Active Flying (preparing for turbulence, recovery and descending techniques…)
- Soaring (using both ridge and thermal lift)
- Senior pilot (mastering one or more advanced practices)
- Tandem (non-commercial)
Each stage is followed by a more complex one requiring new knowledge and skills. It is a natural ‘ladder’, where a student should climb to progress safely in his paragliding career. There are other steps, such as changing to another harness or learning to fly a new site or a new glider that may be added to a country's training program.
Additional ratings are Accuracy, Distance, Racing and Aerobatics.