Paragliding Rating Requirements

Beginner (P1) | Novice (P2) | Intermediate (P3) | Advanced (P4)

Full Document that is a source for this information is found at


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.

13.01 Beginner Rating – Foot Launch – Required Witnessed Tasks

A. Attends and completes a basic ground school.

B. Layout and preflight of canopy and harness.

C. Demonstrates canopy handling skills sufficient to launch from a training hill under control.

D. 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. >

E. Launch unassisted showing:
Aggressive inflation and run.
Pendulum control during launch.
Directional control.
Smooth transition from running to flying, during launch.
F. Airspeed recognition and control,

Two flights, predetermined to show:
a. Constant airspeed.
b. Smooth straight flight.
c. Safe, smooth landing, on feet, into wind.

2. Two flights, predetermined to show:
a. Confident, slight variation in airspeed showing awareness of control inputs and pendulum control.
b. Smoothly increasing airspeed, and smoothly slowing airspeed showing good control.
c. Safe, smooth landing, on feet, into wind.

G. Shows the ability to recognize and understand how different wind conditions at this site will affect their flights.
Wind direction.
Wind velocity.
Terrain shape.

H. On each flight, demonstrates proper post-landing procedure, to include, but not limited to:
Canopy deflation.
Canopy immobilization.
Checking traffic.
Removal of canopy from landing area.
Disconnection from the canopy.

I. Demonstration of understanding of the importance of proper packing, storage, and care of the canopy.

J. Has read and understands USHPA statements regarding good judgement and maturity.

K. Must pass the USHPA Beginner Paragliding written exam.

L. 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.

13.02 Beginner Rating – Tow Launch – Required Witnessed Tasks

A. Must demonstrate the above-mentioned (13.01) Beginner paraglider rating foot-launching tasks except 13.01.C,E.

B. Must demonstrate system setup and preflight, including a complete discussion of all those 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 ability to recognize and execute emergency procedures.

C. Demonstrates successful, confident, controlled launches and flight under tow to release at altitude, with a smooth transition to flying, with proper directional and pitch control resulting in proper tracking of the tow line and appropriate maintenance of proper tow line tension and airspeed. Such demonstrations may be made in ideal wind conditions.

D. Demonstrates understanding of all Beginner-level Paragliding Tow Discussion Topics.

E. 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.

13.03 Recommended Operating Limitations for Beginner Pilots:

A. 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.

B. All flights be made under the direct supervision of a USHPA Certified Basic or Advanced Paragliding Instructor.

C. Should fly only in steady winds of 12 m.p.h. or less.

D. Should footlaunch only on slopes of 3:1 – 4:1, where wind is within 15 of being straight up the slope.

E. Should launch only when there are no obstructions within 60 to either side of the intended flight path.

F. Should fly appropriate sites for this skill level.

G. Should fly a canopy recommended by the manufacturer as suitable for Beginner or Novice pilots.