Hang Glider

British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

We are back!

After being locked down during glorious flying weather, the Government's easing of restrictions in England has allowed us to go flying again. So why not join in the fun by learning to fly a hang glider or paraglider.

Please see our learn to fly guide for further information.

For pilots visiting the UK from overseas - flying can now take place but requirements may differ from one country to another within the UK.

For more information, please contact the clubs local to your flying destination before flying or travelling to fly. You can find a list of clubs on our BHPA recreational clubs page.

Welcome to the British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association (BHPA) website.

From its head office in Leicester the BHPA supports a country-wide network of recreational clubs and registered schools, and provides the infrastructure within which hang gliding and paragliding in the United Kingdom (UK) thrive.

Hang Glider (Courtesy Darren Blackman)

The BHPA oversees pilot and instructor training standards, and provides technical support such as airworthiness standards, and coaching courses for qualified hang gliding and paragliding pilots.

Initial hang gliding or paragliding training must be undertaken at a BHPA registered school.

Most schools offer training in a wide range of flying disciplines, so it's important to understand the differences between the disciplines before choosing a school.

The Learn to Fly section of this web site explains the relative merits of each discipline, the types of flying involved, and provides an insight into the training methods used.

As you near the end of your initial training with one of our registered schools, it's important to start looking for suitable recreational club to join. Obtaining your Club Pilot rating marks the end of your formal instruction and qualifies you to leave the school and fly within a BHPA recreational club.

The BHPA supports a network of UK hang gliding and paragliding recreational clubs who are able to offer the supportive flying and social environment vital to the safe development of your flying skills, as you join other recreational flyers on the hill, and continue your progression through the BHPA Pilot Rating Scheme (PRS).

As your accumulated airtime increases and your flying skills improve, you will probably start to think about your long term goals and aspirations, and working towards your Pilot Rating, the next rung on the PRS ladder. Club coaches can offer advice and support with the flying tasks that need to be completed, and the theory exam you will need to sit.

An online BHPA Mock Pilot Rating Exam is also available. This will allow you to test your current knowledge and help you to understand the subject areas you will need to revise before sitting the real exam.

When you first leave your school and join a club, you may choose to spend your first few hours' flying with no specific aim other than to safely accumulate airtime. However, it is well known that pilots make safer more efficient progress when they are given particular tasks to undertake.

With that in mind, a panel of experienced BHPA coaches have devised a new pathway to learning, the BHPA Pilot Development Structure. This offers an alternative to the more formal Pilot Rating System, and for newly qualified pilots aims to:

  • encourage interaction between new pilots, their club and its coaches
  • provide a structured way to progress, acquire knowledge and build skills through attainable goals
  • reduce flying related incidents and promote safe flying

Paraglider (Courtesy Derek Frith)

The BHPA also has a disability initiative called Flyability. This reports directly to the BHPA's Executive Council on disability related matters within the sport.

Flyability doesn't simply take people with disabilities flying, it strives to motivate people with disabilities to become involved in the sport of hang gliding and paragliding and to train as pilots.

Much of Flyability's work in the sport, focuses around changing peoples perception of disability and their attitudes toward people with disabilities. Disability awareness, education and advice play key roles in Flyability's aims and objectives, as does the development of specialist equipment, training and flying techniques.

The BHPA also publishes Skywings, the only magazine dedicated to free flying in the United Kingdom. This glossy full colour magazine is distributed by mail to around 6,500 BHPA members each month as part of their membership package.

Paramotor (Courtesy Janet Haines)

Skywings magazine is also read by countless more hang gliding and paragliding pilots and organisations around the world who have purchased an International Skywings magazine subscription from our on-line shop.

BHPA members and Skywings subscribers can also download a password protected electronic version of the magazine on our Skywings page. Issues of Skywings magazine with a cover date more than 6 months old are made freely available, and can therefore be downloaded or viewed on-line without the need to login.

Back issues of Skywings magazine can also be purchased from our on-line shop.

The BHPA provides automatic £5 million 3rd-party insurance for its members. But if you require personal or travel insurance, this should be obtained from an independent insurance broker.

We hope that when you've found a school appropriate to your needs, made contact and begun training, you'll discover for yourself the excitement and challenge that makes free flying such a great pastime.

If you do, you'll also find that the level of support and camaraderie amongst pilots is one of the many great strengths of the sport.

You'll make friends, go places and achieve things that you may have only dreamed about in the past.

It's a fantastic sport, so why don't you join the BHPA, and never look back.

Events & Competitions Calendar

Visiting Overseas Hang Gliding & Paragliding Pilots please read this.....

Find us on facebook

Whilst Skywings magazine frequently includes lively and thought provoking articles and letters about our sport, there are also numerous alternative sources of advice, information and debate on the internet. The following are just a small selection of those available. These are independent forum and facebook pages and are not connected in any way to the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association. The views expressed in them are therefore not necessarily those of the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association.


For information about how and when hang gliding started in the UK, please visit the British Hang Gliding History website.

Originally created by Terry Aspinall, the British Hang Gliding History website provides a fascinating insight into the early days of our sport, and contains an extensive archive of hang gliding articles, photos and videos from the 1970s and 80s.

Purchase the BHPA Pilot Handbook Subscribe The BHPA Elementary Pilot Training Guide - 8.43mb

Enter the first part of your postcode to find your nearest BHPA registered school
eg. enter CF44 if your post code is CF44 1BS

Post Code

Or view
schools location map

CAA EC Rebate Scheme - Update

Prior to the EC rebate scheme launch the CAA advised the BHPA that devices transmitting FLARM would be eligible for...

Posted: 13 October 2020
By: Paul Dancey

Rebate scheme for Electronic Conspicuity devices

Department for Transport (DfT) rebate scheme for purchasing an Electronic Conspicuity device goes live...

Posted: 6 October 2020
By: Paul Dancey

Insurance for Sub-70kg PHG training

A reminder to all who fly Sub-70kg wheeled SPHGs: insurance is a mandatory legal requirement.

Posted: 24 September 2020
By: J. Schofield

Free flights at Green Dragons!

Exemplary neighbour-relations from Green Dragons - in August Andy Shaw offered all his neighbours a free tandem flight...

Posted: 24 September 2020
By: J. Schofield

Robin Hamilton's Class 2 record falls

Robin Hamilton's Class 2 hang glider 100km triangle speed record - set in 2002 -  has been broken...

Posted: 24 September 2020
By: J. Schofield

Skywings news last updated:
13 October 2020 at 07:52:59 PM

Submit an incident report to the BHPA and EHPU

Recent Safety Notices

Woody Valley GTO Light2 Manufacturer's Urgent Safety Notice

The seam on one of the two loops securing the V-line to the GTO LIGHT 2 has been reported as missing and the loop is therefore just glued. Please check if this is the case on your GTO Light2 harness before you next fly.

Issued: 25 August 2020

Safety notices last updated:
26 August 2020

Pilot Deveopment

The BHPA is a member of the Royal Aero Club The BHPA is a member of the European Hang Gliding & Paragliding Union Be safe, be lawful, be drone aware - The BHPA supports the Drone Aware Initiative Subscribe to GASCO Flight Safety, a monthly safety update on all recreational flying safety matters