The Team

When John Welch started Flight Culture in 2000 he did it with the experience gained in working for three other paragliding schools. Rather than following the standard school model John wanted to create something quite different; a school that concentrated on teaching, building a real community and (of course) having a lot of fun.

From the start we taught in small groups which meant rapid, safe progress. We always invested in our staff and worked hard at helping them to progress with both their personal flying and their teaching. These things have contributed to where we are today; a modern, progressive school with an outstanding team that is leading the way in training.

John Welch – CFI

John Welch – CFI
I am the chief flying instructor (CFI) registered with the British Hang gliding & Paragliding Association (BHPA) & founder of Flight Culture. I began paragliding in 1987 while living in the French Alps and it was in France that I began instructing. I returned to England in 1994 and went on to gain my UK instructor and tandem rating. I worked for two schools in the south of England before setting up Flight Culture in 2000.

I am an instructor examiner and serve on the BHPA executive committee.

In addition to my paragliding qualifications, I am a PADI diving instructor and a qualified First Aid trainer, hold a yacht master and ticket and like Cuban cigars!

Joe McCarthy

Joe McCarthy
In 1990, a good friend said, “come to Nepal and bring a paraglider with you”. I was lucky and met Adam Hill who helped me on my way. I fell in love with the high mountains, seeing all the great places and meeting its people. I came back to a great summer of paragliding with John and friends. So I have flown from thin air, high mountains to sandy beaches.

I know a lot about everything but not a whole lot about any one thing and need more of every thing. I take photos of BIG luxury boats, outdoor clothing and other lifestyle things for work. I am a friend of Flight Culture a Trainee Instructor and I capture some of our adventures for the magazines.

Tom McMeakin

Tom McMeakin
I have always wanted to fly and after looking at the different ways to get in the air, paragliding seemed the best choice for me. So I went along with my old man for some training with John and Jody and have kept going back for more since then! I’ve now been on a few trips with Flight Culture to the dune and to lanzarote and will keep going back for more.

I’m currently based in Bristol and will try to get in the air here as much as possible, but you can’t beat a trip abroad for the airtime.

I work for Airbus as an engineer so getting airborne is always on my mind.

My plan is to learn to fly tandem as soon as possible so that I can show people how awesome paragliding is!