Tandem paragliding to start doing Hike & fly

One of the most amazing and healthy ways to do paraglding is hike & fly. This simply means that rather than using a skilift to reach the top the paragliding will hike up. In this way the sport becomes a mix of good cardio activity and the nice glide or thermal flight as the bonus awaiting at the top. Some people do it with the focus on the hike or climb. They see the paragliding as a quick way to get back down safely. Others are into XC flying and they will climb 1 or 2 hours to possibly fly several hours after take off, climbing much higher in the thermals as well.

Chrigel Maurer packing a tandem wing after hike & fly

In the video you see Chrigel Maurer, one of the best XC pilots and multiple winner of the Red Bull X-alps extreme hike & fly contest. He was invited by Flugschule Pinzgau to lead a nice little “walk & fly” with just 300m altitude difference. Look at him packing his tandem wing after the flight. Very nice skill.

How to start doing hike & fly?

  1. Test if you like it!

    First do a tandem flight, a solo introduction day or both so you at least know if the flying or gliding feels comfortable to you.

  2. Do a paragliding beginners course

    Do the full paragliding beginners course at a flying school near your home or at a tourist destination where you think you would want to fly more often.

  3. Buy a second hand A-level wing and hike & fly harness

    Don’t spend too much money on equipment in the beginning. Online you van find many good deals of people who have bought top material that for some reason they already want to sell again.

  4. Do your 40 flights to qualify for the full pilot license

    Try to quickly get the number of flights required to get your pilot license in a given country. In Germany, Switzerland and Austria that would be 40 flights. On a mountain like Markbachjoch in Wildschönau you can easily do 5 to 10 flights per day! You simply need many starts and landings. All flights are logged in your flight book.

  5. Get the full pilot license

    Now get your full pilot license with a theoretical exam and a demonstration flight.

  6. Start your hike & fly carreer!

    Now it is important to keep the periods where you dont fly as short as possible. Don’t let your pauses become longer than a few months. Preferably you want to keep flying every 2 weeks at least. You start doing hike & fly right away on your favorite practice hill.

  7. Inquire well when you start to fly other mountains

    Before you fly somewhere always get pro information from tandem pilots or a flying school. On the one hand you should have all the knowledge and skills to judge for yourself, on the other hand as a beginner the more tips you get from local pilots the better. Don’t rely blindly on the locals though. In the end everything is your responsability.

  8. Pay for more lessons

    If for some reasons you don’t feel fully confident, do not hesitate to pay a school a bit of money to get some extra lessons. Or do a soaring course to learn to groundhandle better. If you fly through thermals or want to start climbing in the thermals as well at least do a thermal course in the mountains.