About Top Gun Paragliding School
Welcome to what we believe to be the most liberating and fulfilling sport on the planet. It's a kind of magic.
Paragliding is a natural evolution of recreational flying that sits somewhere between the modern skydiving canopy and the hang glider. A paraglider, is a ram-air wing that uses the wind and air pressure created by its flight to give it a rigid airfoil shape. Made of only fabric and lines, it folds down to be packed in a backpack, allowing one to the ultimate freedom to fly off any open alpine field and land in the valley below. It is ready to launch within minutes. Because of its low airspeeds and agile turning ability, it is the ultimate soaring aircraft. It allows the pilot to use tight and light lift that may be unfeasible for other aircraft. We may use thermals and ridge lift to climb and stay aloft for hours and fly many miles/kilometers; often out flying our close cousin the hang glider.
At iparaglide.com, we believe training students is about building relationships. The instructor/student relationship is one that is ever evolving and one that is always first and foremost a two-way-street. The student must trust his instructor, but at the same time, the instructor must have integrity and be worthy of and have earned that trust. The instructor must possess:
- an attention to safety,
- qualified technical/theoretical expertise,
- superior first hand performance,
- and most importantly, have outstanding mentoring abilities.
These are the four pillars on which we build our school.
We believe in safe flying. We promote and implement flying awareness and safety protocols to mitigate risk in a pro-active manner.
At iParaglide we have trained over 800 students in first flight paragliding courses over our 15 years of operation and take pride in keeping our pilots safe. This, among other core values, is what distinguishes us from other schools.
Safety is at the heart of everything we do and it is something that is created, not chanced upon. We achieve safety by persistence to some founding principles and a carefully selected and controlled environment.
We also deliver efficient and effective paragliding programs, with all of our course content designed to significantly exceed both the HPAC and USHPA rating standards in their respective categories, while done in an optimal progression. Thus, we simultaneously achieve enhanced performance and reduced learning time frames.
Our instructors are all professionally certified by the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA) and/or Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada (HPAC).
We offer the highest level of accreditation, with Senior USHPA and HPAC paragliding instructors, who coach first flight to expert paraglider pilots and teach and qualify new paragliding instructors.
The Director of iparaglide has received specialized training and certification as a paraglider technician at a number of european research and development facilities including ICARO, Airwave, Firebird and XIX. We have the unique skills to inspect, repair and maintain gliders to factory specifications.
With complex physical phenomena such as aerodynamics and micrometeorology greatly influencing our judgements and ability to fly, we believe in only hiring competent professionals who have the technological background and education to understand and apply these concepts. The Director of iparaglide.com is a certified Professional Engineer and the team is well complemented by one of our instructors who is a Medical Doctor.
Our instructors are all performance class pilots. In order to be able to teach cutting edge techniques to students, instructors must be top-notch pilots who have honed their skills through mentoring under world class paraglider pilots and designers and have done many exceptional cross country flights, competition and acro flying.
It is common knowledge that a first class practical and theoretical expert does not necessarily make a good coach. Communication, interpersonal skills, team building, and visualization/demonstrational techniques are essential to relaying knowledge to students. Most of all, good coaching demands a lot of patience and a cool head. The Director of iparaglide.com spent many years as a coach at Flicka Gymnastics Club, a gym club that teaches the balance, discipline, and precision required of Olympic class athletes.
It is not enough to love flying, but one must first and foremost love to teach. We offer innovative teaching approaches including multimedia presentations and flying simulators to relay fundamental flight principles during class theory study sessions held at our convenient downtown Vancouver office.
We have the skills to empower you with the joy of free-flight.
While teaching students how to fly, we adhere to the following principles in order to achieve the optimum learning environment:
Before we start anything, we will give you the "big picture" of our course structure so you can pre-visualize where we are and where we are going. We chart your progress of achieving critical milestone skills on a report card. We require successful completion of a written and flying exam before pilot certification.
The Right Stuff
We routinely test fly all our products and others to ensure our product range is always on the cutting edge of technology. When we include the use of our equipment for your training, you can be assured that it is the very finest, state-of-the-art equipment available on the market, and that it is carefully inspected and maintained by properly qualified individuals.
Small Group Sizes
Group sizes are limited to a maximum of five students per instructor to ensure we can focus on your individual needs and carefully monitor your progression.
Theory always proceeds and is followed by Practical Application
We use state of the art techniques to explain micrometeorology and aerodynamics to you visually and in plain English. Then we take you out to the hill so you can experience first hand how that technical theory translates directly to your flying.
Perhaps the most critical component of your pilot training and future development is the ability to practice and hone vital flying skills from a controlled safe environment while on the ground. You will not apply skills in the air until you have mentally and practically rehearsed and mastered them on the ground. This will include the use of simulators.
When we have achieved success on a particular skill, we will immediately have you repeat it. Repeating success consolidates the learning process. New skills will be introduced on each flight in a synergestic manner to ensure learning during airtime is optimized. Before each flight we will make a detailed flight plan to establish "mission" objectives, and at the end of the day you will be debriefed on your flights.
Varying Terrain and Conditions
We believe in having you fly at as many different types of sites and as many different weather conditions as possible during your course. It is critical that students learn to launch, fly and land using different approaches to develop an understanding of what works for particular situations.
Taking you Higher
We will ensure that you are competent at all the skills required by USHPA/HPAC before certifying you to that level. But then, our programs are designed to exceed these expectations. We will give you a sampling of higher level skills to give you a taste of what to look forward to.
Pilot Boot Camp
Paragliding is a lot of fun, and we share the smiles after flying and sharing a beer. We will issue and execute our daily training objectives in a timely, efficient manner. You will leave our course with the skills, discipline and confidence to move onward to your unsupervised flying.
A students ability to become a competent safe pilot, who also can soar and thermal to have extended flights, is directly influenced by the quality of instructing and the agility and performance of the equipment. For this reason, our policy is to select only the very best equipment for our students and provide the highest level of instruction available. We charge the right price to graduate superior, safer, competent pilots.