The Beginner's Guide

£25 / €32 / us$36

Paragliding The Beginner's Guide

If you’re looking for the ultimate guide to learning to paraglide, this is it! Published in October 2020, Paragliding: The Beginner’s Guide is the essential training guide to learning to fly safely and quickly – from your first flight to becoming a qualified pilot and beyond.

Paraglider pilot training across the world follows the same basic principles. This book follows the broad teaching curricula of the BHPA (UK), USHPA (USA) and other national paragliding organisations, including Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. It’s suitable for pilots worldwide.

Paragliding is now the world’s most popular kind of flying, enjoyed by tens of thousands of pilots worldwide. It’s a thrilling way to fly, but to do it safely you need to learn how to make sense of the invisible energies in the air and progress through a range of skills. Buy this must-have book now to get started on your journey.



Chapter 3 - Basic Techniques

Getting started

How does a wing fly? What happens on a paragliding training course? How do you safely launch a paraglider in different conditions? How do you turn? How do you come down? The book answers all the new-pilot questions in a straightforward, easy-to-understand way.

Chapter 2 - Equipment

All the gear you need

Understand the difference between different types of paragliders and harnesses. Learn about flying instruments, helmets and reserve parachutes – and specialist kit for acro, accuracy, hiking, mountaineering and powered paragliding.

Chapter 4 - Aerodynamics

Understanding the air

Learn about the way air moves and what happens when you fly through it on a paraglider. Aerology is essential to keeping you safe and helping you pass your flying exams. Diagrams and easy-to-read explanations throughout make everything clear.

Learning about the weather

The book is an excellent meteorology primer, explaining weather systems and the art of forecasting. You’ll learn to read the clouds and the sky, how valleys and hills affect the wind, and how to use apps and other technology to your full advantage.

Chapter 6 - Advanced Techniques

Becoming a qualified pilot

Learning to fly independently from an instructor is when your learning curve really takes off. It’s time to learn advanced manoeuvres that will keep you safe in a range of conditions. You’ll learn about advanced training, techniques, and over-water safety clinics.

Chapter 8 - Navigation

Going places

Air law and airspace can be a dry topic, but our editors have made the essentials really simple and clear so you can stay safe and legal. Find out about the different kinds of instruments available – from basic altimeters to hi-tech flight computers.

Chapter 7 - Rules and Regulations

Getting your licence

Paraglider pilot training across the world follows the same basic principles. The book follows the broad teaching curricula of the BHPA (UK), USHPA (USA) and other national paragliding organisations, including Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. It’s suitable for pilots worldwide.

Chapter 1 - History

The story of paragliding

From pioneers to world record flights, learn how paragliding grew from an experimental activity in the French Alps in the 1980s to the incredible adventure sport it is today, enjoyed by an estimated 125,000 qualified pilots worldwide.


Whether you’re about to sign up for your first day’s flying, or are completing your course, this is the one book you need to help you learn. Paragliding is a doorway into a whole new world of adventure, where you’ll learn to ride the invisible energy of wind and thermic currents to carry you potentially hundreds of kilometers. But it involves a lifetime of learning, and Paragliding: The Beginner’s Guide is your first stepping stone to access the sport safely.


The book has everything you need to know (and lots you didn’t think you did need to know!) to take you from your first thrilling, ground-skimming flights to becoming a qualified pilot and beyond, soaring hills and flying over stunning mountain peaks. There are also sections on mini wing flying, paramotoring and speed flying.


Clear illustrations

Make the concepts easy to grasp – from how dangerous turbulence can form behind trees and hills, to how you can use warm air currents to climb up thousands of feet in the sky, and how to follow air law – the rules of the road – when flying with others.


Exclusive photography

Specially commissioned for the book brings the sport to life – from the basics of what the equipment looks like, to step-by-step walk-throughs of take-off techniques, to soaring, thermalling and advanced manoeuvres. Every picture tells a story


Learning focus

Colour-coded chapters help guide you through the learning process – wherever you live. From signing up on your first day to passing your pilot exam to become an independent pilot, we guide you every step of the way


With over 40 years of paragliding experience between them, their experience in science writing, sports journalism, teaching and coaching make them uniquely qualified to write Paragliding: The Beginner’s Guide, which has been produced in collaboration with several leading instructors around the world.

Bastienne Wentzel

Bastienne Wentzel, lead author

Bastienne learned to fly paragliders in 2008, around the famous site of St. Vincent-les-Forts in France. Ever since, she spends a big chunk of her free time flying. She enjoys flying acro, coastal soaring, hike-and-fly and quietly floating around in beautiful places such as Europe, Turkey, Morocco, Brazil, South Africa and Kyrgyzstan. A professional science writer she is an assistant instructor, teaches paragliding theory courses, and edits the Dutch paragliding magazine Lift. 

Ed Ewing

Ed Ewing, co-author

Ed first flew a paraglider aged 18 in the hills near Edinburgh, Scotland. Like many of us, he quickly became obsessed with paragliding, and worked as a trainee instructor in Scotland and Spain while learning to fly XC. He has flown the flatlands in Australia, mountains in India, and XC in South America. A journalist, he has written about free flight for the Guardian and the FT, and worked on events like the FAI World Air Games, Red Bull Air Race and Red Bull X-Alps. He has edited Cross Country since 2013.

Paragliding The Beginner's Guide

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Paragliding: The Beginner’s Guide is published by Cross Country International Ltd