Many hobbyist and sporting enthusiasts overlook paragliding as a viable hobby simply because they assume that it will cost too much to get started. If this is reason stopping you investing in a paraglider to take to the skies, then let me give you some realistic powered paraglider cost estimates for a setup or rig.
I have included some information below to help you learn more about what the paraglider costs are as well as how much you might have to spend on training and maintenance so that you can make an informed decision.
How much does a paraglider cost?
The cost of a powered paraglider will depend on the size and design of the unit itself, and of course the brand. Most quality beginner paragliders start from around $2,800 and can increase in price to around $4,000 with the average mid-range glider costing approximately $3,500.
If you are interested in getting started in paragliding, consider all of the costs involved. It’s often difficult to give newbies an accurate idea of the price for a setup as it’s all relative.
You could spend thousands of dollars on brand new equipment or just choose to spend just a few hundred dollars on second hand items.
That being said, it is important to note that there is more to pay for than just the paraglider itself. Read on to learn more about the costs involved in buying and enjoying your first paraglider.
How much does it cost to start paragliding?
When it comes to paragliding, there is more in terms of costs than just buying the paraglider itself.
The additional costs should be incorporated into the total cost of the glider. Knowing what to expect in terms of costs is quite important.
How much does a paragliding setup cost?
Below are a few of the potential costs involved when you buy a paraglider:
The paraglider rig / setup
If you do a quick internet search, you will find that there are a variety of paragliders available for sale. These range in size, weight limitations, and design.
Some paragliders are designed for boarding on the snow, whereas others are designed for the air. The paraglider classes and ranges that you look at will determine price. If you see a paraglider advertised for a few hundred dollars, don’t get too excited.
Fully investigate the type of paraglider it is and what its intended purpose is.
As already mentioned, you can buy a beginner paraglider for anything between $2,800 and $4,000. Be wary of buying paragliders that are much cheaper.
Of course, the bigger, more advanced, top of the range brands of paragliders can end up being far more expensive than $4,000.
Safety gear & accessories
A pilot can only be truly safe if they invest in good quality safety gear and accessories. You wouldn’t take to the sky without these items, so it’s a good idea to consider these accessory and gear costs as part of the actual cost of the paraglider rig and setup.
That doesn’t mean that you have to buy brand new paragliding gear.
If you are looking to save or aren’t quite ready to invest in brand new equipment then take advantage of the second hand gear rig market.
Some of the safety gear and accessory items that you will need to buy (which are usually not included in the sale of paraglider) include:
- Paragliding harness: Harnesses range in price according to the overall design and quality. There are many to choose from on the market from string harnesses to stay up harnesses (which secure the legs) to full body harnesses that encapsulate most of the body. As such, the prices of harnesses range from approximately $400 to $2000 and above.
- Paragliding helmet: Some school paragliding helmets which offer basic head protection start from as little as just $100, but most decent helmets are in the range of $170 to $590 and usually provide protection from the elements too.
- Flying gloves: Fluctuating weather conditions can take its toll on your hands. Protect your hands from the elements as well as potential injuries with a good pair of gloves. You can probably get a pair of second hand gloves quite cheap, but if you want new gloves, you can get a basic, but decent new pair for around $50.
- Reserve parachute: For safety reasons, reserves parachutes are highly recommended. You can buy a brand-new reserve parachute for anything between $600 and $1,300. Of course, the better the brand and quality, the higher the cost tends to be.
- Paragliding boots: Paragliding requires shoes or boots with a decent sole and grip for landing purposes. Brand-new, these boots can be quite expensive at around $300. You can save a little here by opting for a good pair of hiking boots.
- Rucksack: Many pilots carry essential items with them in a paragliding rucksack. This needs to be durable and weather resistant. It also needs to secure to your body comfortably. New rucksack prices for paragliding start from $120 to around $240.
- Speed bar: Not all paragliders use them, and some rigs will come with a speed bar included. Read more about speed bars.
Handy Hint: I recently published information on which was safer; hang gliding or paragliding.
Training courses and lessons
When it comes to paragliding training, many people wonder if they need to go for official or formal training.
Do you need a license to paraglide?
Strictly speaking, no.
Paragliders in the US are regulated under the Federal Aviation Regulations Section 103, which states no formal license is required.
However, that being said, the sport is self-regulated by the USHPA (United States Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association).
The USHPA has a list of requirements for paraglider pilots to conform to. If you want to be included in the paragliding circles in your area, it’s best to meet with the terms set out by the association.
In terms of this, are paragliding lessons required for pilots?
Yes, they are.
The USHPA requires paragliders to have a minimal level of competency and skill set in order to use regulated sites to take off from (paraglide from).
In some instances, accidents and mishaps incurred by unskilled pilots with no training have actually resulted in flying sites shutting down, which ruins the sport for many other rule-abiding paragliders.
How much you spend on training or lessons will really depend on how quickly you learn and take to the paragliding techniques taught to you.
Generally speaking, paragliding lessons are approximately 2 to 3 hours long.
How much do paragliding lessons cost?
Fees can vary according to each school and instructor, but the average cost of a lesson is around $150.
Most pilots learn all the skills required in between 10 to 15 lessons on average. Some take far fewer lessons, some take far more – it really depends on the individual.
Maintenance is about more than just ensuring your safety, although safety is of paramount importance. Maintenance is also about ensuring the longevity of your equipment (to save money in that area) and to ensure that your glider looks good and bright at all times.
Paragliders can get damaged on the actual wing. This will cost quite a lot to replace.
If the damage is minimal (less than 10cm long), you can repair it paragliding wing tape.
If this doesn’t work, the glider will be the biggest cost to replace. Maintenance also helps to keep wear and tear at bay.
For safety reasons, replacing worn and damaged items is best. As you can expect, that means you have to pay the cost of new items.
The best way to keep maintenance costs to a minimum is to ensure that you carry out preventative care and maintenance.
Some tips include:
- Always fold and repack your canopy neatly after each flight: Paragliders recommend ensuring that the canopy is laid on its back with none of the lines beneath it. To keep all dirt and scuffing to a minimum, all lines should be placed on top (on the under surface of the canopy now facing upwards). Leave the harness attach and throw it over so it is just clearing the leading edge.
- Never leave your glider lying in the sun: as it can suffer damage from UV light.
- Don’t smoke near the canopy: or attempt to dry it faster by using heat. If it is wet, air it out until it is dry so that no mold or mildew start to grow.
- Never use chemicals to clean the canopy: this can result in weakening of the fabric.
- Always do pre-flight and post-flight checks: to ensure that the canopy or harness have not sustained some form of damage in between flights (or during flights).
Other paragliding costs to consider
All ongoing costs of paragliding can be considered part of the initial cost of investment in the glider itself.
Ongoing, additional costs to think about include insurance and storage if you don’t wish to keep your glider at home.
Insurance costs will of course vary depending on the glider you have, where you glide, how often you glide, and so on.
There is a lot to consider when thinking about buying a paraglider.
While paragliders cost between $2800 and $4000, the total overall cost of items you might not have thought about can increase that cost.
Most paragliders who love spending hours in the sky will however tell you that their paraglider, gear, and accessories are well worth every dollar spent!