Tandem Paragliding FAQ’s
Have you always been a bit curious about paragliding? Or are you keen to try something new and exciting while on holiday? Tandem paragliding is a great way to get a taste of paragliding, have some fun, without undertaking extensive training or spending lots of money of gear.
Here are some answers to the most common questions we are asked about tandem paragliding. Enjoy!
What is Tandem Paragliding?
Tandem paragliding involves two people, usually a novice and an instructor, flying in the air with a parachute-like wing. The paraglider is similar to a regular paraglider however the harness is designed for two people, with the passenger positioned at the front. The instructor sits at the rear and navigates the paraglider. The passenger is only required to aid in the launch by running in unison with the pilot.
As no licence or prior training is required, tandem paragliding is a great way for the average person to try paragliding. You’ll often see paragliding offered at mountain or beachside holiday destinations where people are looking to try something new and exciting.
Is Tandem Paragliding Scary?
Tandem paragliding has an average cost of $200 USD, depending on the country. This cost helps the operators to purchase and maintain paragliding and safety equipment, pay insurance and staff, manage marketing of their business. Some operators will include pickup and dropoff from your hotel to the launch and landing zones.
Is Tandem Paragliding Safe?
Yes tandem paragliding is very safe. It’s not much more dangerous than crossing the road! Instructors must have a significant level of experience across various meteorological conditions. Many tandem pilots gain their qualifications from the Association of Paragliding Pilots and Instructors (APPI).
To achieve the Pro Tandem Qualification, pilots must possess:
- APPI 5 Advanced Pilots Qualification (or proof of similar skills such as 200 flights across different sites and conditions)
- Qualification as an APPI non-commercial tandem pilot for at least one year
- First aid training
The Pro Tandem qualification involves rigorous theory, practical and inflight testing, to ensure the highest standard of tandem paragliding pilot emerges.
What is the Weight Limit for Tandem Paragliding?
The maximum weight for most tandem paragliders is about 220-240 kilograms (485 – 529 pounds). This takes into consideration the weight of both the pilot and passenger. For simplicity, most paragliding providers set a maximum passenger weight of about 110-120 kilograms (242 – 264 kilograms), however if the pilot is very light they may be able to accommodate someone in a slightly higher weight range.
One variable which can affect the tandem paragliding weight limit is wind. If there is little wind, a pilot may not feel comfortable flying close to the weight limit, particularly during launch. On days with higher winds and stronger thermals they are likely to be more comfortable about flying close to the weight limit.
What’s the Minimum Age for Tandem Paragliding?
The minimum age for tandem paragliding differs greatly between country and the operator. The youngest we’ve seen is four years old, however some have a minimum age of 14. One commonality is that the child has their parents written permission.
Some operators set a minimum weight instead of age. This is usually around the 35 – 40 kilograms (77 – 88 pounds).
Paragliding experience, why try it out?
Have you ever dreamed about flying? Haven’t we all? Well, isn’t it crazy that we are actually able to do it in so many different ways nowadays? However, between flying in a plane, helicopter, hot air balloon or any other, we believe that one of the closest ways to feeling like flying, is actually paragliding.
This is why we want to let you know more of what it is, how it works, if it’s safe and why you should dare to do it. So that, if you decide to actually do it, you can experience what feeling like flying really feels like…
All of us can all fly
Contrary to what many would believe, paragliding is an activity that is suitable for everyone, from children and the elderly to people with functional diversity. If you have never flown a paraglider before and want to try it out, the easiest way is to do a tandem flight. However, as this sport requires a high level of technical knowledge and important practical training, the best option is to be accompanied by an expert pilot.
The tandem paraglider
The tandem paraglider is designed to carry the weight of two people, the pilot and the passenger, without the need for the passenger to have any prior knowledge. As mentioned before, there are no age or physical limitations and it is only necessary that the person has a minimum health condition (no heart diseases or scared of heights, for example). Minors must have a minimum weight and have the authorization of their parents.
During the tandem or two-seater flight, the pilot is in charge of the take-off. While the passenger’s only responsibility is, to be able to relax while sitting comfortably until he or she touches the ground again. Having to worry only about enjoying the experience and photographing the landscapes.
What to bring to the Tandem paragliding experience
Even if you decide to paraglide in the middle of summer, it can be very windy once in the air. Besides, being so close to the sun might get you burned, so here’s a list to what we think should not be missed when flying:
- Long pants
- Anorak or windbreak (depending on the time of year)
Is it safe to fly?
One of the most frequent doubts about whether to do this activity or not, is based on how safe it is. Although, as in everything, there are risks, it is very important to make sure that you are in the hands of professionals, as this generates a certain guarantee of your safety.
Better conditions for paragliding
In some cases, the weather conditions will determine the flying time and the right place to fly, as well as whether a smooth take-off will be possible. If you see that the day is not right and your pilot decides to cancel, you are most likely in good hands because a professional will not expose you to any kind of risks.
Another frequent fear is to jump into a void, like you most likely have seen in the movies. Well this does not happen in real life. When paragliding you typically go down a slope that with the strength of the paraglider behind you, will make you start flying without you even noticing.
Duration of paragliding flights
The “baptismal” or first flight, lasts between 15 and 75 minutes depending on the weather conditions and what the passenger prefers. Although they do not usually last more than half hour because it is possible to get dizzy for the first time, most of those who discover the magic of flying do it twice or look for other alternatives to learn to fly by themselves.
Where to do paragliding
There are a lot of places where you can do paragliding. In fact, if you’re currently on holidays in Spain, this might be the best time to try it out since the summer is still not over.
If you want to get an idea, you can take a look at the tandem paragliding experience in Ager, one of the best places in the world to practice this activity not only for the unforgettable experience, but for the views of the most characteristic landscapes of the area.
The gorge of Montrebei, gorge of Terradets, Canelles reservoir are only some of the places you will be able to see from the clouds.
Repeat and fly again
If vertigo doesn’t affect you during your tandem flight, you may want to take the experience a little further and become a pilot. To do so, you will have to sign up for a course with qualified and certified professionals who will guide and advise you on matters such as equipment, which clearly must be the right one.
Paragliding is usually quite expensive in the early stages, but once you have a licence and equipment, you only have to pay the price of getting to the places where you can fly. Once you have passed the course, you will be able to fly safely in the internal area of a club. This means that you have to join one, which will allow you to interact with other paragliding lovers and receive advice on which sites or which days to go.
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Our team of pilots are SAHPA certified and each one is a top-class instructor.
We believe that the first priority is safety and then comes the fun and adventure. At the end of the day, your well-being is our very first priority.
When you choose to tandem paraglide, you’re putting complete trust into your pilot and that’s why we’re incredibly stringent about the calibre of paragliders that we work with.
If you’d like to know more about safety protocols and our certified pilots click here
What to Expect
The process is very straightforward for the passenger in a tandem paragliding situation. You will be securely strapped into a comfortable flying harness. This is positioned in front of your pilot who will be taking care of the actual flying. The glider will be spread out and the pilot will be secured behind you. Once you’re both ready, you will run briefly into the wind before the canopy will gently open, lifting you and your pilot into the air. This easy process makes tandem paragliding accessible to anyone, even those who have disabilities.
Signal Hill & Lions Head
These are our favourite two sites in Cape Town and offer the best views of the ocean and mountainside. If you’re taking part in a tandem paragliding experience, we’ll meet you at a location nearby (or pick you up if arranged) and take you through a brief discussion on what to expect. You need not have any prior knowledge or skill. Your pilot will take care of everything from pre-flight checks to a smooth, safe, landing after your flight.
These two flying sites are within the Table Mountain National Park and can last up to 30 minutes, depending on the weather conditions. Trust us, our pilots love to fly so will not cut your time short unless safety is affected by a change in wind direction or weather conditions.
Our pilots are equipped with high-definition and wide angle cameras, which are mounted onto the glider for optimum footage and quality. You’ll not only be able to purchase pictures, but also videos, of your tandem paragliding adventure. Then you can show friends and family the spectacular views of Cape Town from the air and your reactions. Have a look at our gallery for videos and photos of our adventures.
There are general FAQs for preparing to take flight. However, in terms of tandem paragliding experiences in particular, here are some additional guidelines. Firstly, it’s advised against taking your own camera or phone into the air as we won’t be able to guarantee it’s safety, this is why we offer a service in regards to capturing your adventure on film. You won’t need any training at all before being able to take part in a tandem paraglide, you will be taught everything you need to know on the day by our qualified and friendly pilots. You just need to relax and have fun!
The great thing about tandem paragliding is that you won’t need to spend time learning through courses in order to get into the air first. This makes it the perfect gift for anyone who needs to let loose and find a new lease on life, but who just don’t have the time to spend a few days learning the sport first. It’s the perfect experience for couples, friends or for entire families alike. What’s more, it can be a wonderful team building exercise for corporate staff incentivising. Read more about tandem paragliding gift vouchers here .
Tandem Paragliding in Cape Town offers some of the best scenery and weather conditions in the world. We match this with expert, friendly, staff and cutting-edge equipment. This means that regardless of your age or nervousness, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy a completely different side to the ocean, mountain and city-scape once you’re in the air.