Paragliding Ratings Requirements and Recommendations
P1 - Beginner

General Description

A Beginner pilot has the knowledge and basic skills necessary to fly and practice under direct instructor supervision and within significant operating limitations. The pilot understands the USHPA paragliding rating systems and recommended operating limitations.

Beginner Rating – Foot Launch – Required Witnessed Tasks

1. Attends and completes a basic ground school.
2. Layout and preflight of canopy and harness.
3. Demonstrates canopy handling skills sufficient to launch - under control.
4. With each flight, demonstrate method(s) of establishing that pilot is properly connected to the canopy, with cleared lines and risers, just prior to inflation.
5. Launch unassisted showing:
a. Aggressive inflation and run.
b. Pendulum control during launch.
c. Directional control.
d. Smooth transition from running to flying, during launch.
6. Airspeed recognition and control,
a. Two flights, predetermined to show:
i. Constant airspeed.
ii. Smooth straight flight towards a pre-selected target.
iii. Safe, smooth landing, on feet, into wind.
b. Two flights, predetermined to show:
i. Confident, slight variation in airspeed showing awareness of control inputs and pendulum control.
ii. Smoothly increasing airspeed, and smoothly slowing airspeed showing good control.
iii. Safe, smooth landing, on feet, into wind.
7. Shows the ability to recognize and understand how different wind conditions at this site will affect their flights.
a. Wind direction.
b. Wind velocity.
c. Terrain shape.
d. Obstructions.
8. On each flight, demonstrates proper post-landing procedure, to include, but not limited to:
a. Canopy deflation.
b. Canopy immobilization.
c. Checking traffic.
d. Removal of canopy from landing area.
e. Disconnection from the canopy.
9. Demonstration of understanding of the importance of proper packing, storage, and care of the canopy.
10. The pilot shall use good judgment and have a level of maturity commensurate with the rating.
11. Must pass the USHPA Beginner Paragliding written exam.
12. Must agree to all the provisions of the USHPA standard waiver and assumption of risk agreement for the Beginner rating and deliver an original signed copy to the USHPA office.

Recommended Operating Limitations for Beginner Pilots

1. Should exceed these limitations only after demonstrating complete mastery of the required Beginner paragliding tasks (above), and only after acquiring a full understanding of the potential problems and dangerous situations which may arise from exceeding these limitations.
2. It is highly recommended that all flights be made under the direct supervision of a USHPA Certified Basic or Advanced Paragliding Instructor.
3. Should fly only in steady winds of 12 MPH. or less.
4. If foot launching, should only foot launch only on slopes of 3:1 - 4:1, where wind is within 15° of being straight up the slope.
5. Should launch only when there are no obstructions within 60° to either side of the intended flight path, and when pilot may fly straight out from launch to landing with no need to maneuver and no possibility of over-flying the landing area.

P2 - Novice

General Description

A Novice paraglider pilot has the knowledge and basic skills necessary to fly and practice without direct instructor supervision but within significant operating limitations. The pilot understands the USHPA paragliding rating systems and recommended operating limitations. The pilot shall use good judgment and have a level of maturity commensurate with the rating. Pilots must demonstrate Beginner level skills and knowledge before obtaining the Novice rating. All witnessed flights must be pre-planned by the pilot and discussed with the Instructor.

Novice Rating - Required Witnessed Tasks

1. Logged Requirements
a. Receives ground school theory as outlined in the ICP Manual.
A. Weather
1. Show students how to observe weather forecasts relating to the site from news broadcasting, newspapers and the Internet.
2. Monitor weather forecast on a weather radio and or smart phones prior to leaving for flying and on site prior to flying.
3. Discuss with students the wisdom of calling a local pilot to gain insight into the local conditions.
B. Launches
4. Consider altitude humidity and temperature factors (air density)
5. Consider the slope of the ramp or hill, wind factors and the need for wire assistance.
6. Discuss the angle of attack requirements, especially with cliff launches.
C. Danger Signs
4. High wind, dust blowing, white caps, swaying trees, smoke laying down and lenticular clouds.
5. Rotor possibilities – note overall wind signs (cloud drift, water lines, bird drift, smoke from fires or smoke stack smoke direction) with respect to wind indicators at launch.
6. Varying wind directions and differences at launch and landing.
D. Landing
4. Consider air density (as listed above in launches)
5. Wind direction awareness and how wind affects landing. Wind direction indicators other than the wind sock.
6. Approach.
1. Watch for man-made objects. Lines in the field mean fences, ditches or power lines. Assume all roads have power lines.
2. Setup procedures for long straight approach.
3. Discuss approach options and preferred approaches with locals.
4. Extra speed for handling gradient and turbulence.
5. Review crosswind landing techniques
6. Tree landing techniques
7. Avoidance of obvious crop fields.
E. Equipment
1. Food and water
2. Instruments – air speed indicator etc.
F. Site Orientation
1. Discuss general site specifics, departure time, arrival time, protocol. Also review the dive syndrome (first flight students flying too fast to LZ) and signs of proper airspeed (bar position, air speed indicator and bar feel).
b. Must have logged a minimum of 25 flights with a required ability to demonstrate successful T-landing or aircraft landing approach.

Demonstrated Skills and Knowledge

a. Demonstrates layout and preflight of the canopy, harness, and backup reserve parachute.
b. Gives a reliable analysis of general conditions of the site and self, and a flight plan including flight path, areas to avoid in relation to the wind flow, and obstacles to stay clear of.
c. Demonstrates 5 consecutive forward inflations with a visual check of the canopy each time.
d. Demonstrates 5 consecutive controlled reverse inflations with proper surge dampening.
e. Demonstrates controlled kiting of a glider overhead for 2 minutes in a steady wind.
f. Demonstrates 2 clean, smooth reverse inflations/reversals prior to launch.
g. 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 inflation.
h. Demonstrates 2 successful, aggressive, confident inflations/launches, where the wind is at least 15° cross to straight up the hill in wind not exceeding 5 m.p.h.
i. Demonstrates 2 no-wind (0-5 m.p.h.) inflations/launches.
j. Demonstrates how to brief and instruct a ground crew and explain when an assisted launch is necessary.
k. Demonstrates 2 high-wind (10-15 m.p.h.) inflations/launches.
l. Demonstrates flight with smooth variation in airspeed, from above minimum sink to fast flight, while maintaining a heading.
m. Demonstrates flight showing the ability to comfortably and precisely slow the glider to minimum sink and smoothly increase to normal airspeed while maintaining a heading. The pilot should not slow the glider to near the stall speed.
n. Demonstrates flight(s) along a planned path alternating 'S' turns of at least 90º change in heading. Flight heading need not exceed 45º from straight into the wind. Turns must be smooth with controlled airspeed, ending in safe, stand up landings on a heading.
o. Demonstrates 180º turns in both directions, and at various speeds and bank angles.
p. Demonstrates hands-off flying, one handed flying skills, weight-shift turns, and rear-riser turns.
q. Demonstrates symmetric and asymmetric tip folds for increased descent rate.
r. Demonstrates the ability to judge and allow for proper clearance from a ridge and other vehicles.
s. Demonstrates 5 landings within 25' of a target (or optional landing task – see Addendum 1 – Optional Landing Task), safe, smooth, on the feet and into the wind. The target must be sufficiently close to launch such that turns are required to set up an approach and avoid over-flying the target. The target should be at least 100' below the launch point.
t. Explains proper strong wind landing procedures and how to keep from being dragged back.
u. Explains correct canopy maintenance.
v. Explains how to lengthen and shorten the flight path.
w. Explains the right of way traffic rules.
x. Demonstrates the proper use of a speedbar/accelerating system.
y. Demonstrates reserve deployment while hanging in a harness in simulated turbulence or malfunction conditions.
z. Gives a thorough verbal demonstration of knowledge of how to:
i. Maintain directional control during and correct for an asymmetric wing fold of 25% of the wing span.
ii. Fly at minimum sink while precluding any chance of inadvertent stall or spin, particularly when flying through lift, sink or in conjunction with making turns.
iii. Increase descent rate and/or forward speed.
aa. Demonstrates proper and effective PLF technique.
bb. Must pass the USHPA Novice Paragliding written exam.
cc. Must agree to all the provisions of the USHPA standard waiver and assumption of risk agreement for the Novice rating and deliver an original signed copy to the USHPA office.
dd. 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.

Recommended Operating Limitations for Novice Paragliding Pilots

1. Should exceed these limitations only after thoroughly mastering all required tasks, and after acquiring a full understanding of the potential problems and dangers involved in exceeding these limitations.
2. Maximum base wind of 12 MPH
3. Maximum peak gusts to 15 MPH
4. Maximum gust rate of 5 MPH in 5 seconds.
5. Should not fly in thermal lift where peak climb rates exceed 200 fpm.
6. If foot launching, should launch only on slopes steeper than 4:1, where the wind is within 25º of being straight up the slope.
7. Visual contact with the landing zone.
8. Avoid application of either brake beyond 2/3 of the way from slack to stall position.
9. Limit turns to 30º of bank, limit speed in turns to 1.5 times the straight line, brakes off, cruise speed, and smoothly exit any spiral turn which shows a tendency to steepen or accelerate.
10. Should fly a canopy recommended by the manufacturer as suitable for Beginner to Intermediate pilots.

ST - Surface Tow Rating

a. Must demonstrate tow system set up and preflight, including a complete discussion of all of the factors which are particular to the specific tow system used, and those factors which are relevant to towing in general. Must demonstrate complete understanding of both normal and emergency procedures, including checklists for normal procedures and the indications of an impending emergency, and convince the instructor of his/her ability to recognize and execute emergency procedures.
b. Demonstrates successful, confident, controlled launches and flight under tow to release altitude, with a smooth transition to flying. Such demonstrations may be made in ideal wind conditions.
c. Has discussed all Towing Discussion Topics with the issuing ST official.