Paragliding Lesson Preparations

The reason that students need to check in is to optimize the time and location for each lesson.   Being at the best training spot for each lesson is one of the most important ways to maximize your lessons.  Bay Area weather forecasting is a tough nut to crack, so last minute tweaking is involved in the check in process.

In the below steps, sometimes a morning check in might be added to further refine the weather realities (there are days where the forecast is dichotomous and for example: we need to see if that 60% chance of rain actualizes into a dry or wet day).   The system also makes it easier for everyone.

CHECK IN STEPS:

  1. Go to my online calendar between 7 and 8 PM, you should have received the password for this.  If not, skip to step 2.   On the calendar there should be instructions including where to meet and or check in on the following day for your lesson.   Sometimes I cannot get to a computer to update the calendar, if the calendar has not been updated, go to step 2.  Another possibility is that you cannot get to a calendar, in this case you can use step 2 to receive the venue and instructions.
  2. Call Jeff at the cell phone 415-310-7411 between  7:00 and 8:00 PM the night before a scheduled lesson day. When you call, you will be briefed on the weather for the day and either be given a time and location to meet, or you will be told to call back to confirm weather at a specific time the next day. Enough time will be provided to allow you to get to the lesson from your location.  Note, if you forget to call before 8 PM, I would rather be called at 7 AM than 9 PM.   I normally am up at 6 or 6:30 AM and am often falling asleep as early as 8:30 or 9 PM.  Better yet, set a reminder for yourself to check in the night before.

WHAT TO BRING:

  • Boots or shoes with ankle support and traction are required! I have some Loaners, but it is preferable that you bring your own for the best fit. I have the following sizes (Ladies 7, Mens 7, 9, 10.5, 12) If you do not have boots, let me know and I can bring the proper pair for you.
  • If you are a member of USHPA, always have your USHPA card on your person when flying at Ed Levin Park.
  • Wear layered clothing and wear full pants (no shorts), the coast can be in the high 50s when other parts of the Bay Area are in the 80s.
  • Fluids to drink and a brown bag lunch are a good idea.
  • If you have your own bike helmet, please bring it and this will give you a perfect fit and eliminate sizing issues.
  • Cameras can be brought, but keep in mind, I will not have time to take pictures while teaching you. If you are coming with another student, you can take turns with the camera.
  • If you bring a pet, a leash and person to watch are required while you are in the air. Animals are not allowed at some of the training areas, consult with me prior to bringing a pet.
  • On some of the lessons, we can include a tandem flight. It will be helpful if you read the Tandem Preparation Page if we should have a tandem included in the lessons.
  • $s or CCs for ratings and club membership and day use fees.   At Ed Levin Park, there is a day use fee of $6 each time you go into the park.   There is a kiosk at the park entrance, sometimes it is staffed, other times you need to pay via the electronic pay station.   You can also buy a season pass for the Santa Clara Parks that includes Ed Levin (in 2012, the fee is $80 for the year).   If you are going to practice and fly after you earn your P2, the pass makes sense if you will go to the park more than 13 times in the year after buying the season pass.  When you earn your P1 rating, USHPA charges $15 for the rating card, so you can pay this via cash or CC.   If it has been discussed that you might be ready for the 300′ hill, you will need to pay this rating fee on that day (you will need to have a USHPA  card on your

THINGS TO DO:

  • For pilots joining any P2 or Pay-As-You-Go program, it is necessary to Join USHPA.    To be able to fly from the 300 foot hill at Milpitas ( normally done by the 3rd lesson, but occasionally as early as the 2nd lesson), you need to have your membership processed by USHPA. To get your membership set up, please fill out the above form and make sure to include the waiver on the back.  This must be mailed HARD COPY  to USHPA.  On the front, you should join as a “Pilot Member” and you can pay with CC at the bottom or send in a check.  It must be mailed USPS, not faxed etc. as they need the waiver in original form.  The dues will be $99 for the year and this includes 12 copies of the monthly magazine.   If you are training with a significant other / family member, you can also join as a family membership for the relative.  NOTE: It normally takes about 5- 8 business days for turn-around for a USHPA membership card from the day you send in the application.   Get this sent in immediately after signing up for the Full Program, so you will not have any restraints on training at Ed Levin Park.
  • Please read the lessons noted for the level of lesson you will be coming to.   Students in the intro program should be set up with a login and password for 3 months access to my article section. Students in the full programs will have access to this section for 3 years.   On this page, the articles are sorted into sections that should be read for how many lessons the student has taken.
  • Join the Airtime Pilots Group at Yahoo.  This is not required for 2 day programs, but this is a primary communication channel that Airtime uses for communication about clinics, events, Mtn. Trips and special notices.
  • After you know the site, print out directions and map from my maps page to the training site from Training Site Maps.
  • If possible, prior to your first lessons, come to one of the free groundschools. Yes, they are free, and this will help you understand some of the technical parts of flying in a paraglider. This is not mandatory, but it can really help you make the most of your lesson on the hill.
  • If you are going to do a full program, or are just thinking about it, you will need to log your flights. Students in the full program are provided a physical log book, free of charge.  For those that like digital, a spreadsheet Logbook for Excel is available free of charge as well.   Please begin logging your training and first flights as soon as you begin your program.   For the rating program, you will be asked to show your logbook to the any rating official.   With the physical, just show it, with the digital, you can email a copy or print out the last few pages with summaries, just work with the rating official to see what they need.
  • Plan accordingly to be on time for your lessons.   Traffic can be very bad in the mornings.   I often have breakfast for midweek lesson days in Milpitas because driving a little ahead of the commute will save me almost the amount of time breakfast takes.
  • Possible Carpooling to Milpitas??? – If you are coming from any location on the Peninsula (north or nearby to me), or from San Francisco or Marin, I am willing to carpool with you.   The benefit is that carpool lanes become accessible, fuel costs can be shared.   In addition, the day use fee ($6 / day) for Ed Levin park for you is eliminated.    I ask for a student that carpools with me to chip in by buying me breakfast every other lesson or so to help share the fuel and cost burden.