Learning to Fly

Have you ever looked up around the Malvern Hills and seen Hang Gliders or Paragliders silently gliding through the sky, and wondered what it was all about?  What's it like to fly free from power?  How do they get the skills to do what they are doing?

Well, we are the Malvern Hang Gliding Club and, despite the name, it encompasses both disciplines of Hang Gliding and Paragliding.  Many of the pilots you may have seen in the air around here will be members of the club, others will be visiting pilots from around the country, or further afield.  Malvern is well known as a great flying site and if the weather conditions are right, will attract pilots from many miles away.

The Malvern Hills are not ideally suited for learning to fly and there are no flying schools here, so all pilots flying here will have qualified elsewhere.

The hills around here, particularly Pinnacle Hill just south of the Wyche, are good places to take off for ridge-soaring.  That is gliding in the upward moving air that is being blown towards the hill.  What will be less obvious from the ground is that the hills are also used as a take-off point for cross country flights.  Many long distance flights have been done on hang gliders and paragliders from the Malvern Hills, using only the power of thermals.  Some have landed as far to the West as the coast near Aberystwyth, and Eastwards as far as Cambridge, for example.

If you are interested in learning to fly please feel free to contact us at here at the club for help and advice.  However, please be aware that we are not a training club and you would have to get your Club Pilot qualification in a BHPA registered school before returning here to fly.  The instructors there will guide you from your first hill skimming flights all the way to elementary ridge soaring and your Club Pilot grade.

The British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association web site has a complete list of authorised schools in the UK, both here and abroad.  Due to the more reliable weather, many pilots choose to train abroad.  You can find a full listing of all the BHPA approved schools here. 

The nearest Paragliding schools are:

    Axis Paragliding, run by Steve Millson,  in Abergavenny.

    Leavesley Aviation, in Shropshire.

For Hang-gliding, either to the Peak District of Derbyshire and Staffordshire, or to Flylight Airsports Ltd in Northampton.

If the thought of carrying hang gliders up hills is too much for you, then you can learn a lot of gliding skills from a flat field with the aid of a winch.  There are winch schools operating in the South of the Peak District and in Norfolk.

Improving your skills

Once you have left a school as a BHPA qualified Club Pilot, you can join our club and fly on the Malvern Hills and surrounding sites. Within the club membership are BHPA Coaches and Pilot Support members who, while not qualified Instructors, are there to offer help, guidance and information concerning the development of your flying, including technique and safety issues, and where and when to start flying the Malverns. Click here to contact a coach.