Paragliding Instructor Career Information
What a Paragliding Instructor does
Don't confuse paragliding with hang gliding. A paraglider is an innovation on the hand glider. It is like a parachute in which you sit using a small harness. You run along the slope of a hill thus inflating your paraglider and off you go. Using the strings attached to it you can control its descent - in effect fly it.
This is a passion career. You love this sport and you want others to experience the thrill and exhilaration of it. As an instructor, you will take people up in a tandem paraglider (that's a paraglider with two seats) for joyrides. You will be at the controls. If someone is interested in going solo, then you would teach him/her to take off. As a paraglider you will also look after the equipment and decide whether the weather conditions are fit for flying or not. Safety will always remain your first concern.
By the way, if you thought a paraglider flight lasts a couple of minutes, you are mistaken. The record duration of a paraglider is over 11 hours and the distance record is 300 kms. Average recreational pilots routinely stay aloft for three hours or more, soar to altitudes of 15000 ft. and travel cross-country.
As a paraglider, you could work with a paragliding school as an instructor, where you will people overcome their initial skepticism and fear. With enough experience, you could start off on your own as a paraglider. Initial investments in terms of equipment, base of operations and marketing cost can be heavy. But have you heard of a business, which needs no initial investment?
However, in order to be successful, you should have good contacts. Linking up with adventure tour operations could be beneficial. As a paraglider you could also go to various clubs as a guest instructor and work out some sort of profit arrangement scheme.
As a paraglider your career prospects are:
The paragliding industry is still in its infancy in India. There are only a select few clubs that offer paragliding. The sport is also seasonal in nature.
Obviously the rainy season is not conducive to paragliding. But compared to European countries, India offers great, stable weather.
Many resorts are opening up to opportunities in adventure sports. Adventure tourism is also being touted as a major foreign exchange earner.
Abilities & Traits Required
As a paraglider you could then move on to the intermediate and then the advanced courses. Here you will learn in detail about weather, equipment and safety procedures. Every course is divided into theory and practical that needs to be cleared.
Completion of the course is not enough. As a paraglider you need to gain as much experience as you can in a variety of conditions in different places and in different types of paragliders. As of now there are no specific instructor courses available in India, although you could do one abroad.
As a paraglider you should not have a fear for heights (that's obvious isn't it?). Even if you do, you usually overcome it the moment your feet leave the ground! As a paraglider you don't need to be an Arnold Schwarzenegger to be a paraglider. Being in good physical shape helps as you will be huffing and puffing your way to the mountaintops.
Patience is one virtue that you will have to develop as a paraglider. This sport is heavily dependent on the vagaries of Mother Nature. As a paraglider you must be safety conscious and have the ability to think clearly with your head and not with your ego.
As a paraglider you need to be at least 16 years of age to fly. There is no minimum educational qualification required. Your interest in the sport will fuel your desire to understand and learn more. You could start with the beginner's course. This would be your first experience of paragliding. You will get to know firsthand what it takes to be a paraglider.
You could make somewhere to the tune of Rs 15000-25000 per month as an instructor. Your own setup as a paraglider would pay you much better in the longer run. Visiting instructors usually get paid in terms of percentage of course fees. A joy ride in a paraglider costs somewhere between Rs 1000-1500 and a course around Rs 10000-20000.