Powered Paraglider

British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

You have gained your CP – congratulations!

You've got your CP – congratulations! We hope that this is the start of a long, safe and enjoyable time as a pilot.

Square parascending canopy (Courtesy Ann Underwood)

This section of the website is aimed at new pilots who have recently attained their Club Pilot rating from a BHPA school - or are just about to. It may also be a useful resource for BHPA members who have gained a rating through the alternative entry scheme, and for non-current pilots who need motivation or reassurance to get out flying again.

The Club Pilot (CP) is the first rating on the BHPA's Pilot Rating System. Getting your CP does not mean that you are sufficiently "qualified" and can stop learning. At this point you can choose to continue your education in a club environment, instead of through instruction at your flying school. So, if you are interested in improving your skills and continuing to learn, please read on!

New CP? So what do you do now?

The first flights for a new pilot without the watchful eye of their instructor can be daunting, even if they have flown on that site before. It can be especially daunting for new pilots who have gained their CP outside the UK and are venturing onto UK flying sites for the first time. BHPA schools encourage new CPs to fly with a BHPA recreational club after completing their instructor-led training. Some schools will have already introduced their CP trainees to a local club and they may even have flown the club's sites during their training. As well as negotiating and looking after flying sites, clubs provide the supportive flying and social environment that is so important for newly qualified pilots. Many clubs offer assistance to pilots via club coaching. BHPA licensed Coaches are volunteers who help pilots in developing their flying skills and progressing safely through the BHPA Pilot Rating Scheme.

To find your local BHPA flying club, please visit the club directory page on this website.

How do you progress as a new pilot?

Once you have joined 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.

A new pathway to learning, the "Pilot Development Structure" (PDS) has been devised by a panel of experienced BHPA coaches. It offers an alternative to the more formal Pilot Rating System (Club Pilot > Pilot > Advanced Pilot), whilst running in tandem with it.

For newly qualified pilots, the PDS 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

Use of the Structure is entirely optional, however it will provide a great starting point for your development as a pilot.

How does the PDS work?

There are three layers to the PDS: Foundation, Development and Performance. Within each layer are a series of modules that deal with a specific aspect of the sport (e.g. glider control, meteorology, equipment, flight planning). Each module contains a series of exercises to help you gain proficiency in the appropriate skills and acquire the appropriate knowledge, before moving to the next layer.

Visit the PDS website (login required)

It is intended that the Structure will ultimately be delivered to BHPA members as a web based app, accessible on smart phones and tablets and fully customisable allowing a bespoke experience for each member using it, with links to online resources for pilots and coaches. Whilst the online resource is being written, the Foundation Layer of the Structure is introduced here in a layout similar to the Student Training Record Books that new CPs will be familiar with. The foundation layer for paragliding in the hill environment will be sent out with pilot packs for new CPs or can be downloaded by clicking on the thumbnail below. The PDS for other disciplines and environments is being worked on.

As a new CP, how will it work for me?

The foundation layer caters for pilots who are embarking on their first ten hours of club flying after getting their CP rating. The foundation modules comprise of flying exercises and study that can be completed in any order, although it would be reasonable to undertake Exercise 1 (Introduction to a club) before the others! The exercises are set at an appropriate level so that a pilot can acquire the flying skills and knowledge to prepare them for longer flights in varied conditions, on their way to "Pilot" rating or the performance layer of the PDS.

You can download the foundation layer by clicking on the thumbnail below:

Pilot Development Structure Foundation Layer Phases

  • You may decide to undertake some of the exercises with an instructor on a local hill or on a foreign trip
  • You may decide to make use of the coaching system in your club and seek assistance from a club coach
  • You might choose to work through all or some of the exercises by yourself

Ultimately, it is up to you how much you immerse yourself in the learning process to become a more competent pilot, but you can facilitate this by seeking the help of a coach or instructor. There are a number of exercises that specifically encourage you to spend time with a coach or attend a club-run session, that can be signed off by your coach. For the foundation layer, these are:

  • Attending a club introductory session
  • Participating in a club session on flying with others
  • Completing two site assessments with a club coach

Finally, it is important to point out that the Pilot Development Structure is an ambitious work in progress. The foundation layer and subsequent layers for all disciplines and environments and will only work if constructive feedback is received from users and coaches. The BHPA wishes to thank all the club coaches who have contributed to the project so far, and requests that any feedback or offers of assistance at writing sections of the Structure is sent to office@bhpa.co.uk

The Pilot Development Panel

Last updated: 12 March 2021

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eg. enter CF44 if your post code is CF44 1BS

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