Airplay Classes and Programs
Airplay Paragliding, operated by Rob Sporrer, is totally focused on the training of safe, competent and confident pilots. All of our instructors are USHPA certified and focus on safety, skill and FUN ! We offer a full range of courses from our two-day Introductory Class to Certification Courses and Advanced Clinics on maneuvers, thermalling and cross-country flying. Class sizes are kept small, usually no more than two new students per instructor. From the very start of your training, you learn and perfect not just your launch and landing, but your ground handling, thermal flying, and your understanding of micro-meteorology. All instruction is radio-supervised. By completing a Novice course and purchasing a set of new or used gear from Airplay, you will be able to return to our flight parks to improve your skills. This instruction will help you progress through most of your higher level certifications. We want you to feel welcome to come back for refresher courses, there's always something new to learn!
We offer the following classes and programs. To sign up for a class, ask questions about our programs, or to design a special or group program, please contact us.
Many paraglider pilots begin by taking our two-day Introductory Class. The Intro Class or Novice Program will have you making solo flights usually within two days. There are many things to do at the flight parks and around Santa Barbara, CA and Flagstaff, AZ, so bring friends and family.
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Whether you plan on taking the full course, or just think you might, it is highly recommended that you order the text material ahead of time to get started early ! "The Art of Paragliding" by Dennis Pagen is our tectbook and has beed edited to include many of our award winning teaching styles and techniques. In fact those are two of our top students flying around on the cover! The book is an excellent investment for your paragliding library.
If paying by cash or check for the Novice Para 2 course, you will receive this text for FREE when your payment is received to reserve your spot. For early delivery you can order online, and deduct $35 from the course fee when your cash or check arrives to hold your spot on the schedule.
The lessons include classroom discussion and videos on the mechanics, equipment and techniques of paragliding. (For a description of what paragliding is like, see About Paragliding.) You then move to the training hills to practice inflating and controlling your wing on the ground, learning launching, landing, and steering skills before introducing the element of flight.
It is very unusual for a student to lack the confidence to continue at this point -- more often they are surprised at how quickly they are catching on and can't wait to move to the higher flights! Even a fear of heights is rarely a factor, as the student does not have the sensation of falling.
By the afternoon, you will be taking short flights of a few hundred feet, your feet just skimming the grass as you fly for the first time. On the second day, we will move to the Flight Park's upper hills for some higher flights. All flights are solo, radio-supervised and entirely self-paced. Considerations must be made for the weather -- in the event of bad conditions, you won't be penalized, we will simply pro-rate your lesson fees or offer you an additional day.
Most people have one of two reactions after their first two-days. Either: "Cool! What an amazing experience. Onward to the next adventure -- next week wind surfing and then bungee-jumping after that." or "Wow! I've wanted to fly like a bird all my life! I'm going to quit my job, sell the kids, buy a motor home and take up paragliding full time." Be warned -- paragliding can be quite addictive! To pursue the sport, you will want to take a Novice Certification Program that will prepare you to start paragliding on your own without the supervision of an instructor.
2-Day Introductory Program: $375
This program includes introduction to the paraglider and associated equipment, basic weather information, and ground handling that will lead to your first solo flights. This program also consists of classroom discussions and videos on the mechanics, equipment, and techniques involved in paragliding. It is possible to qualify for your beginner rating (Para 1 certification) during this 2-day program. The course is designed as an introduction to the sport that will enable you to make an educated decision regarding paragliding and you. If you decide to continue with the Novice Program the Introductory Program fees will be applied towards the Novice Certification fee.
Novice Program - Para 2 Certification: $1500
You have made the decision to become a certified paraglider pilot. This program is a thorough and intensive course designed to produce a safe, confident and competent pilot. During this program you will learn about glider aerodynamics, meteorology, thermal flying, ridge soaring, flight maneuvers, and emergency procedures. We focus on building your launching, landing and flight techniques through intensive ground handling and repetition of flights, made possible by drive-up launches at our flight parks. The course length is variable, the average student should expect to spend 9 to 14 days with us to complete the logged skill requirements and both the P1 and P2 written exams. After the completion of the course you will have acquired the skill and knowledge to fly without direct instructor supervision at certain sites. This is the start of your free-flying career.
|An additional item that is very helpful is "The Art of Kiting" video or DVD on ground handling techniques. This resource can really give you the advantage of learning the skills and techniques that will have you kiting and launching like a seasoned pilot even sooner. You can use this both as an introduction before your lessons begin, and also as a refresher after you finish your P2 rating. A must see video for any serious pilot.||
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If you require more than 6 weeks from your initial lessons to complete your Novice course, additional fees may be required. You will have the greatest success learning to paraglide if you can immerse yourself in the course and then continue flying or kiting regularly after completing your lessons. Private lessons are also available and our fees are structured on an individual basis. See also the fine print below.
Intermediate (Para 3). An Intermediate pilot is truly a "pilot", able to fly most sites in mild to moderate soaring conditions and to judge when the site and conditions are within their skill, knowledge and experience level. In this course you will fly more demanding sites and conditions, and perfect such techniques as thermal flying, side-hill landings, top-landings, and high-wind launches. We will take you as far as you want to go. Call for details. See also the fine print below.
Advanced Clinics. For those pilots seeking to perfect their flying skills and knowledge we offer a number of clinics and certifications covering Thermal & High Altitude Flying, Cross-Country Flying, Reserves, Advanced Maneuvers, and Towing.
For those who want to find out what paragliding is all about but cannot commit two-days to learning, we offer tandem flights for $200. The tandem flight consists of a thorough briefing followed by an actual flight experience. The passenger is flying in the front seat exposed to the wind. The temperature at altitude may be quite cold even though the surface temperature is warm. It's best to prepare for cold by bringing multiple layers. Your instructor can brief you on the expected temperature at altitude the morning of the flight.
The following clothing is recommended.
*Hiking boots, ankle support is good
*Pants, jeans are great
*Warm clothing layers and a Jacket
You may bring a compact camera if you wish. We are available seven days a week if you schedule in advance. Try us at 805-968-0980 if your in town and the weather looks good. Our ability to launch and fly safely is dependent on the weather. We might need to reschedule your flight due to conditions. . A tandem flight is best for the person seeking an exciting one-time experience, with minimum commitment. Flight time varies with the weather, and may include more than one flight at the discretion of the instructor.
Motorized paragliding is great fun and expands the conditions and circumstances under which you can fly. With a gas-fueled motor unit attached to the pilot's back by means of a special harness, it is possible to paraglide in areas where, and at times when, flying sites or conditions are limited or non-existent. With thorough training a backpack motor pilot can use the motor to launch and then spend the rest of the day ridge soaring or thermalling, using the motor only when necessary to keep from landing. All of the same general considerations discussed about paragliders apply to motor units.
Powered Paragliding Basic Course: This course will guide the student from terminology of the equipment through the student's first solo motorized flight. Duration: 1 day - 6 hrs. of effective training per day. Includes: One-on-One instruction, use of all equipment, radio communication and school diploma. Cost: $300 per day.
Contrary to what you might have heard or read, motorized paragliding requires more training than regular paragliding, not less. After all, you are still flying a paraglider and you have an engine which changes your wing's launch and flight characteristics. Since the pilot will be launching and landing with 45 lbs. to 100 lbs. of additional weight, it is extremely important that the pilot be competent in evaluating the conditions and have the appropriate skills. This sport is far more complicated than a "sports catalogue" will lead you to believe. Develop a solid relationship with an instructor experienced in motorized paragliding before purchasing equipment. "Good deals" generally end up costing the naive new pilot a great deal of money.
If you already have a Novice license, we'll make the arrangements to work with you or arrange for you to work with Aerolight USA, our sister school in Miami. Contact us for more motorized paragliding information.
If we are unable to complete a program due to an operational shutdown, we will pro-rate a refund or merchandise exchange. There are no refunds or exchanges for students who terminate programs. Programs are not transferable to another individual. A surcharge may be applied if a student has missed training for more than 6 weeks. Students on certification programs may join any class where space permits. Classes are limited to a maximum of two new students and four Novice (Para 2) program students per instructor per day unless otherwise arranged. Reservations are required and are not confirmed until a deposit has been paid. The deposit for the Intro Class is the entirety of the fee and the deposit for the Novice Course is $1500. Deposits are refundable only if a qualified replacement student can be found for your reservation. Airplay Paragliding reserves the right to modify, change, or delete any aspect of the training programs or fees at any time.
Students are required to have their own medical insurance.
Please note: The minimum age for a student is 16 years old.
NO INSURANCE IS PROVIDED! TRAIN AND FLY AT YOUR OWN RISK!