About

Mission Statement

To grow the number of paragliding pilots in South Africa and the rest of Africa by providing quality instruction and increasing awareness of this sport as a form of affordable recreational aviation, as well as the associated business opportunities which creates jobs and improves the lives of our fellow human beings on our planet

The most progressive school in South Africa

Air School Paragliding is a SAHPA-approved paragliding school. It draws on its founders wide range of experience including paragliding, skydiving, base jumping, engineering and data science. We employ a mix of old school proven teaching techniques such as those taught by the legendary Denis Pagan, as well as new techniques proven in modern times globally. Air School Paragliding prides itself on its quality instruction, and the quality of the pilots that graduate.

Q and A Session with the founder, Ria

From a fear of heights to a love of a flying...

A: Quite randomly actually. Growing up I always thought that flying would be fun, but never thought that the world of air sports was something that I could or would enter into. On my 21st birthday my mum gave me a R1000. I wanted to do something special with it, something to remember. Being afraid of heights, and having never flown in a plane before, I ended up using the money to do tandem skydive at La Mercy airfield (today's King Shaka International Airport). This experience was life changing. I realised that the fear of heights wasn't the same when you were up in the sky. I continued skydiving for another 10+ years and took up paragliding in the beginning of 2014 when I heard about the cross country flights a friend of mine was doing around the city. The idea of sustained free flight and going places really appealed to me.

A: Oh yes! I used to look up at tall buildings, and quite literally feel my knees wanting to buckle. It was that bad. However, there's a big difference between standing on the edge of a building, or your house roof, where you know that if you slip you're going to die or at least break something; and flying. When we paraglide you are secured to a harness which is in turn secured to your wing. There's no option of falling out and you feel secure from the moment you pull up the wing, through the take off, flight and landing.

A: In theory that could be a problem, but we also fly with reserve parachutes. Which makes us one of the few types of aircraft in the world that actually has a "Plan B" should there be a structural failure of the wing. That said, it should be noted that modern day paraglider design and testing has come a long way since the early days of the sport. We also service our gear regularly and only fly gear that passes all the inspection tests. The more you learn about the equipment, the more you realise that "gear fear" is an unwarranted fear.

A: The challenge of staying up and going places using using your brains and the worlds only aircraft-in-a-backpack. Its a bit like playing a strategy game in the sky, a combination of chess or online gaming, combined with real world senses and outcomes. By reading various clues, be it eagles high in the sky or smells drifting up from below, one is able to find sources of naturally occurring rising air which we use to gain altitude.

A: I love flying! It's had such a huge and positive impact on my life. I also realise that if it wasn't for random luck I wouldn't have discovered this passion of mine. It's my goal to use this school to spread awareness that paragliding is real aviation, and its very affordable and accessible to many people.

Cape Town, and the surrounding region is one of the best places to fly in the world. Annually, hundreds of foreign pilots come here to fly our world class sites.  Its a shame that most locals don't even know that this is happening. The South Easter wind that you speak of doesn't blow every day, and even when it does, there are other sites like Piketberg and Porterville that are all within easy access and usually unaffected by the South Easter.

Worldwide it would have to be Switzerland. For an African, flying over glaciers and waterfalls along monster high mountains is always going be to epic. Locally, we have many spectacular places to fly. Sir Lowry's Pass is one of the best kept secrets. Taking off from here, and then crossing over Jonkershoek into Pniel, past and over the billionaires' farms en route to Franschoek is absolutely breath taking. Then there's Porterville, probably the site that is the most reliable at delivering proper long summer flights in multiple directions. So if I had to pick one, it would have to be Porterville.

I suppose that would have to be me. Skydiving wasn't something that came naturally to me, so I know what its like to struggle as a student pilot. My educational background is that of an engineer (BSc Eng from UKZN), the teachings of which I used very successfully in my career which evolved from engineering, into data analysis, and then into data science. These various aspects all come into play in the school. Logic, data, problem-solving, and awareness come into play in making a safe aviator. My experience in sports such as skydiving and base jumping has also shaped my approach to learning and teaching, to enable people to have fun whilst having full appreciation of the fact that safety is their number one priority. Our goal is to make successful Airmen and Airwomen - those who understand their knowledge, appreciate its limits and enjoy the fact that learning, safety and fun can all be done simultaneously.

Videos

About Paragliding

Paragliding is a legal form of aviation in South Africa, and around the world. Using naturally occurring rising air, paragliders are able to sustain flight and even travel long distances. In 2008, South African Neville Hullet was the first person to fly more than 500km (see the animation video of his flight in the above videos). In short, a paraglider is an aircraft that packs into a backpack typically weighing around 12kg but with ultra-lightweight gear this can can down to 1kg!

Start Learning to Paraglide today!

Give us a call, WhatsApp or email us to schedule your first lesson

  • +27-722-88-99-22

Testimonials

Here’s what our happy student's had to say about our services:

My experience as a student at Air School Paragliding has been nothing short of fantastic. Ria is a great instructor and his passion and in depth knowledge of the sport is truly inspiring. I would recommend Air School Paragliding to anyone wanting to get into the sport

Robert van Niekerk, Basic License Course

 Best 10 days of my life 🙂

Thank you Ria

Amazing experience!!!

Werner Fourie , Basic License Course

Amazing, thank you so much for your instruction and patience!!!

Jonathan Korteweg, 2 Day Intro Course

This course is brilliant for anybody who wants to explore meteorology further and who wants more confidence in reading the forecasts. It helps to ensure a more predictable day at the launch. Ria really puts in the effort to explain all the aspects in more depth, definitely a worthwhile two hours. I will be happy to do more of these courses in future

Fanie Swanepoel, Weather Forecasting Workshop

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