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Thermal Flying Book

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Instructor of the year honor

Eagle Paragliding's chief Instructor Rob Sporrer received USHPA's Instructor of the Year Award in 2002. Every year USHPA issues the award to the person making the biggest contributions to our sport in the United States.



Go On Tour With Eagle Paragliding!

Eagle Paragliding organizes paragliding tours for all pilots of all skill levels Be sure to check our Paragliding Events Calendar to reserve space on one of our unprecedented tours. We bring pilots of all skill levels to flying destinations which span the globe. Our large staff of the nations top pilots and instructors provide unmatched service. Find out more about our Paragliding Tours



P3 - Intermediate Paraglider Rating

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Read more about the Intermediate Pilot Training Clinic.

The pilot has the knowledge and skills to fly most sites in mild to moderate soaring conditions, and to judge when the site and conditions are within the pilot's skill, knowledge, and experience level. The pilot understands the USHPA paragliding rating system as recommended operating limitations, and the FARs and other flying rules applicable to his/her flying (ridge rules, thermal right of way, FAR 103, aircraft sectional use and regulated airspace avoidance, etc.). The pilot shall use good judgment and have a level of maturity commensurate with the rating.

P3 Intermediate Rating - Required Witnessed Tasks

Logged Requirements

  • Must have logged a minimum of 30 flying days.

  • Must have logged a total of at least 90 flights.

  • Must have logged a minimum of 20 hours of solo airtime.

Demonstrated Skills and Knowledge

  • Has received training in and/or understands the importance and significance of:

    a.  Right of way rules.
    b.  FAA Regulations and aircraft sectional charts
    c.  Airspeed control, stalls, spins, and turbulence-induced
         collapses and recoveries.
    d.  Canopy owner’s manual.
    e.  USHPA Accident Report results currently in print.

  • Can give verbal analysis of conditions on the hill, demonstrating knowledge of wind shadows, gradients, lift, sink, laminar air, turbulence and rotors, and the effect these items have on an intended flight path and turns.

  • Must give a verbal flight plan for each observed flight.

  • Must show thorough preflight of the harness, canopy, and backup reserve parachute.

  • With each flight, demonstrates a method of establishing that the pilot is properly connected to the glider, with cleared lines and risers just prior to launch.

  • All inflations/launches should be aggressive, confident, and with a smooth transition from running to flying. Flights with slow, unstable inflations/launches will not be considered adequate for witnessed tasks.

  • For witnessed tasks, all landings must be safe, smooth, on the feet, and in control.

  • Demonstrates the ability to differentiate airspeed from ground speed.

  • Demonstrates linked 180° turns along a predetermined ground track showing smooth controlled reversals and proper coordination at various speeds and bank angles.

  • Demonstrates 360° turns in both directions, and at various speeds and bank angles.

  • Demonstrates symmetric and asymmetric tip folds (25% per side, 50% total) or some other method of canopy reduction for increased descent rate.

  • Demonstrates one method to increase forward speed.

  • Demonstrates proper surge control of canopy using properly timed brake application.

  • Gives a thorough verbal description of how to maintain directional control during and correct for a 50% asymmetric wing collapse.

  • Explains characteristics of impending stall and impending spin.

  • In 8 to 15 m.p.h. winds, demonstrates the ability to maintain airspeed at or near minimum sink during crosswind and upwind legs, without any evidence of stalls.

  • Demonstrates 5 landings within 10' of a spot after flights requiring turns on approach.

  • Demonstrates proper airspeed control on landing approach when descending through a gradient.

  • Demonstrates proper airspeed for maximum distance flown into a significant headwind.

  • Demonstrates complete understanding of all Paragliding Tow Discussion Topics (for tow rated pilots only).

  • Must pass the USHPA Intermediate Paragliding written exam.

  • Must agree to all the provisions of the USHPA standard waiver and assumption of risk agreement for the Intermediate rating and deliver an original signed copy to the USHPA office.

  • Acknowledges and understands the need to become familiar with site-specific restrictions and launch or landing access limits, consistent with preservation of flying privileges at a site.



    P3 Recommended Operating Limitations for Intermediate Paraglider Pilots

    • Maximum base wind of 15 m.p.h.

    • Maximum peak gusts to 18 m.p.h.

    • Maximum gust rate of 5 m.p.h. in 5 seconds.

    • Avoid steep turns close to the ground.

    • Avoid application of either brake beyond 3/4 of the way from full off to stall position.

    • Limit turns to bank angles recommended by the manufacturer, limit speed in turns to 2 times the straight line, brakes off, cruise speed, and smoothly exit any spiral turn that shows a tendency to steepen or accelerate.

    • Should initiate downwind turns only with 300' of clearance outward from the hill or ridge in winds above 15 m.p.h., and 200' of clearance in winds above 10 m.p.h.

    • Should not fly in thermals where peak climb rates exceed 500 feet per minute or where significant vertical cloud development exists.

    • Upon mastering the above skills, an Intermediate Paragliding Pilot should pursue new maneuvers, sites, and conditions with the guidance of a USHPA Certified Advanced Paragliding Instructor or Observer.

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    PO Box 91259, Santa Barbara, California 93190
    Phone 805-968-0980 Contact Us