Paraventure is twenty one years old this year making it one of the longest established paragliding schools in the UK and the oldest in Wales, qualifying many students to an unusually high standard.We specialise in select, highly personal paragliding training either with very small groups or one on one private tuition. As a result we produce skilled and confidence pilots. Your paragliding course will be taught by highly experienced instructors, each having something unique to offer our students. To be able to offer training to the standard we demand, we unfortunately must limit our student intake each year. To be able to achieve this, we do almost no advertising whatsoever so most of our clients find us through word of mouth or via this website.
Where do we meet?
Because of the flexibility of our courses, we are able to meet where is most suitable on the day. We often meet our students on flyable days at Bryn Bach Park in Tredegar, South East Wales. Bryn Bach is a 10mins drive west of Abergavenny on the A465. We sometimes meet our students on the actual flying site as long as they have been there before or in Abergavenny if we are heading into the Black Mountains. We also often meet our students at the Big Pit Welsh Mining Museum at Blaenavon. The plan is to always get to the flying site ASAP hence the various meeting places. We’ll always let you know which the day before training.
The Abergavenny area is also a meeting place for pilots from all over the world and there is much to see in this old market town. Accommodation and camping are readily available in Abergavenny and the surrounding area.
Where will I be flying?
We are a stones throw from the flying sites of the Black Mountains, the Brecon Beacons, and Southeast Wales. Many pilots regard this as the best flying area in the country. We have many different flying sites catering for all wind directions and one of the few schools allowed to use Hay Bluff near Hay on Wye. We really do have use of just about the biggest sites in the country and some that we use are deep in the South Wales valleys, the coal long gone but the hills remain. The world famous Blorenge is just one of the sites that we use. We also use a selection of Southwest Wales Club sites, the best being the coastal site of Rhossili. Landing on the beach is real cool after a couple of hours flying out over the sea!
Who are the Students?
Prospective pilots come to fly at all sorts of ages. The youngest person we can accommodate is 16yrs with parent’s permission. The bulk of our students come from South East Wales with Cardiff being the largest reserve but we also get many from Bristol, Mid and West Wales, Gloucester and Hereford. We also get “long distance” students from as far away as London, Norfolk (flat landscape), Birmingham and the Netherlands. In fact the World seems to be our customer base! We can cater for students flying solo from a weight of 8 stone to 20 stone and if flying with an instructor on the tandem from 8 stone to about 16 stone.
Paragliding attracts people in all walks of life but they all have something in common; a taste for adventure. We get for example, builders, airline pilots, office workers, military personnel, factory workers and the self-employed. Teachers, doctors, surgeons and higher education students are often seen floating around the Black Mountains. Many of our old students become good friends and fly together on a regular basis. Occasionally our students become a bit too friendly and end up getting married (yes this has happened).
Due to the flexible way we run our school, we have no official start time. This allows us to utilise the best parts of the day to maximise your training experience. We finish at dusk. We’ll inform you what time we are starting when you phone in for a weather check the day before or sometimes on the day itself. After introductions and coffee we will spend a little time form filling and getting to know each other. Then it’s out to the hills. We believe in getting the students flying as soon as possible. The flying sites that we use are mostly a short drive away; one of the advantages of being based in the Abergavenny area.
Once on the hill you will be given instruction in how to ground handle and launch the canopy. For this purpose we often use our extra small trainer gliders. Used together with our new training structure, this means that windy weather should rarely cause us to cancel the first day of the beginners paragliding course again.
Our canopies range from very basic descent chutes through intermediate wings onto performance class. Some of our wings are new, some part exchange’s from new equipment deals (often available to buy at knock down prices) and some are demonstrator wings for the students to try before buying. Once you learn how to launch you can fly the canopy at first without even taking off if the wind is strong enough to keep the wing above your head. If not, running forward will do the same thing. Then you will be given your first low level flights to build confidence before moving higher up the hill but you will always proceed at your own pace whatever that happens to be.
We have a stock of very high quality radios that we often use. Once the student leaves the hill it is difficult for us to shout instructions so we strap a radio onto you for good communication – it’s like having the instructor in the air with you. By the end of the first session it is hoped you will be achieving high level solo top to bottom flights. If you are on a Discovery Course, by the end of your second session you should have mastered the basics of paragliding – taking off, controlled flights and landing unaided
Can I go onto Elementary Pilot Certificate?
If you enjoyed the basic course another few sessions of training should see you through to Elementary Pilot (also called EPC). This is the first qualification in paragliding. More flying and combined with some theoretic work, incorporating video aids and a couple of lectures, prepares you for the Elementary Pilot examination. This will be of the multi-choice question type.
Onto Club (Novice) Pilot
From completion of EPC, approximately another 6 days of tuition takes you on to Club Pilot (AKA BHPA Novice Pilot). The emphasis on the rest of training being on advanced techniques, extended ridge and thermal soaring helped by more radio instruction, a couple of lectures and another multi-choice exam. Sometimes we use tandem canopy flights with an instructor to show you the finer points.All of this and you will be up to Club Pilot. This is where you become a fully-fledged pilot and can now fly unsupervised. Now the whole world of paragliding and flight is at your feet. The full structure, duration and costs of our courses can be found here.
If flying solo on day one is not your style or you would like an easier introduction to the sport, why not arrange a tandem flight or two with one of our qualified instructors. During the flight you can even be handed the controls if you like – this can be one of the fastest ways to learn to fly plus the company is great!