© Copyright 2015-2021 Yusmar Yahaya
Last updated : January 21, 2021
Updates on : Instructors, Insurance, Glider Ratings
If you are an independent paragliding pilot, possesses your own equipment/gears then there are no operating costs other than the transport to the launch area (and of course for your own meals). Basically, that translates to almost zero operating costs. Some paragliding sites are managed by local flying club and there may be site fees to be paid but they are often very minimal, such as RM10 per-day.
In order to fly independently, you need to attend and complete the basic training course.
Paragliding is an unregulated adventure sport like the whitewater rafting, surfing or trail hiking. However, in order to maintain high safety standard and to prevent the sport from becoming dangerous to others, you are required to complete at least the basic training program before being allowed to fly on your own.
Upon completion of the training courses, you will often be certified with a rating based on your skill level. These proficiency rating certification, are often called “licence” although legally the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) does not officially issue paragliding licence.
However, we do have an association called Malaysia Sports Aviation Federation (MSAF) that was voted by the majority of paragliding pilots in Malaysia to help the CAAM in managing the paragliding sport.
In addition to the above, we strongly advocate the Paragliding Insurance which is more crucial for you to have before performing any paragliding activities. Check the insurance page in this website for more information about this matter.
Technically, there are many good and qualified pilots capable of sharing their knowledge and experience in paragliding.
However, due to the association and government regulations that all commercial trainings are conducted only by registered instructors, MSAF as the aviation sports association in Malaysia was unanimously appointed to supervise the registration of qualified instructors in Malaysia.
The criteria to become a registered instructor is quite strict with the purpose of maintaining an acceptable level of quality and safety in training new pilots, therefore the number of registered instructors are often less than the actual number of practising instructors in the industry.
You can find a list of registered instructors in Malaysia at MSAF’s website below:
It is always best to carry your proof of training so the people around you at flying sites will be more comfortable to fly together, and the paragliding community is populated with friendly pilots so if you are new to this sport, it helps to learn and everyone will be more than willing to share their piece of advice and experience for newcomers.
Apart from local association such as MSAF (Malaysia Sports Aviation Federation), there are internationally recognised agencies or associations that also issuing certifications or ratings for paragliding pilots, for example the APPI (Association of Paragliding Pilots and Instructors) that is based in Switzerland.
As long as the license or proficiency ratings card is from among the list of agencies that are recognised internationally, then you do not require further additional license to fly in Malaysia.
Your activities will be limited only for recreational activities. Commercial tandem flights or teaching new students are not allowed before obtaining proper working permits from the government authorities.
Technically, if the condition of wind and geographical terrain is helping you to stay airborne then yes, you can fly from just about anywhere. There are locations that has been identified, tested and developed to operate as designated paragliding sites and there are some others that are suitable but was not developed due to its distance from the city, etcetera.
(Photo courtesy of HowStuffWorks)
However, the permission to use the airspace is required and this is done through NOTAMs (Notice To Air Men) submitted to the nearest Air Traffic Controller (ATC) that are located at airports. NOTAM is crucial in ensuring that all pilots that are using the airspace aware of each other’s activity and this helps to prevent incidents such as air collisions.
Paragliding’s law of thermodynamics to stay airborne is by circumnavigating the rising hot air (called thermal columns) or flying in the area where wind direction creates an updraft when it hits a sloping ridge, for that matter it is possible to fly a great distance when the pilot’s navigation of the glider meets all of the required conditions.
This is called Cross Country (XC) flights and in some countries where the geographical terrain is conducive for such purposes, it is not uncommon for pilots to fly more than 100km in distance.
Careful planning and permission of airspace usage is required before attempting to fly long distance, and of course acquiring the right training and skills too.
Below is an illustration of how paragliding thermodynamics work in order for pilots to stay airborne.
Of course it is possible, in fact this method is the most popular form of engaging the public to paragliding. You don’t need to know how to fly to be the passenger, just listen carefully to the pre-flight briefing and as long as you are properly attired then being the passenger should be a breeze.
This is called Tandem Flights and every weekend we will fly passengers at nearby locations or the location of your choice (weather permitting). To arrange for tandem flights, please fill-in the Tandem Booking form at this website and we will get back to you with the confirmation slots.
As an example, below is a video of me tandem flying passengers in Jugra and Kuala Kubu Bharu. It’s often a fun and joyous event in the weekend, that is what you’ll get flying as a passenger. Contact us and give it a try!
Note : The tandem paragliding videos used here were taken in 2019 before Covid-19 pandemic hits the shelves, so for future paragliding flights all passengers are required to comply with the new Covid-19 SOP according to government’s rule, such as using masks and hand sanitizers.
In comparison to other sports, the statistics on paragliding afflicted injuries are very low. This is achieved by adhering to the safety regulations, ensuring that all equipments are well kept and maintained, instructors are following the standard operating procedures and for tandem paragliding, it is compulsory that the passengers are well briefed prior to engaging them into the sport’s activity.
Currently there is only one insurance plan in Malaysia that was specifically developed to cover paragliding activity. Its benefits and coverage are tailored towards the benefits of paragliding pilot, tandem paragliding passengers and paragliding students.
The insurance underwriter for this program is Pacific & Orient Insurance Berhad and the product is powered and protected by Tune Protect Re Ltd. For further information on this, please proceed to Insurance information web page at https://www.paragliders.my/insurance
Although the tandem pilot may have his/her insurance coverage, it does not cover for the passengers. Therefore it is imperative that the passenger subscribes to an insurance plan that specifically covers the paragliding activity. At the moment, the only insurance company in Malaysia that specifically covers Tandem Paragliding activities is Pacific & Orient Insurance Co. Berhad, and all tandem paragliding operators are required to subscribe their passengers to this insurance.
Please verify and make sure that your tandem operator is subscribing you to proper and valid insurance coverage and not some sort of self-made type of so-called insurance coverage, this is dangerous and the following are three (3) main reminders that you should consider :
- It is illegal by Malaysia’s law for any tandem operators to pretend to have an insurance coverage by charging their unsuspecting clients when there is no actual insurance coverage from an insurance company that is registered with Bank Negara.
- Honesty in providing service is important, by putting your safety in the hands of the operators during paragliding activities, you need to be absolutely sure that in the event of an accident, your interests will be covered and protected by law.
- What you should do – simple, you should ask for the operator to show the insurance coverage policy document that is issued by an insurance company.
Paragliding is a sport that is inherently dangerous and it is imperative that the pilot understands all of the possible risks. He/she must be able to make judgements while flying and conducting weather assessments during launching or landing. He/she must also be generally in good health condition.
For the exact reasons mentioned above, there is no exact age limit to learn paragliding because age does not measure the pilot’s physiological fitness, his/her maturity or their ability to make sound technical judgments.
Apart from conducting paragliding training and tandem paragliding, we also sell paragliding equipment from the world’s most popular manufacturers such as Ozone, UP, Air Design, Gin, Skywalk, Sup’Air, Nirvana and Woody Valley among few others.
Contact Us with your requirement details and we will assist you in choosing the right equipment for your flying skills and types of activities.
Ideally and legally, the best choice would be helmets that has an EN-966 certification because the agency responsible in producing the certifications executed simulated impacts on the helmets that are usually resulted from paragliding activities. Helmet designs that passed the tests will be accorded the EN-966 certifications.
Please avoid using bicycle helmets! skateboarding helmet is still acceptable to a certain degree but best practice would be proper paragliding helmets from manufacturers such as Ozone, SupAir, Charly, PlusMax, Icaro et cetera.
The fact that you are asking this question, means that you are new to the sport and thus the answer would be more straightforward to “Any gliders with the ratings of EN-A, that is manufactured less than 3 years from the date of your question”.