Becoming a tandem pilot

Tandem pilot courses


Flight Culture specialise in teaching pilots to fly tandem paragliders and we run two paragliding tandem (dual) pilot courses every year. If you’ve ever thought about becoming a tandem pilot, let me tell you a bit more.

Starting at the beginning, if you want a BHPA rating you’ll need be Pilot rated and have at least 100 hours post-CP. If you do have over 100 hours but not the Pilot rating, we can arrange for you to take the written examination on the first day and assuming you pass, you can continue with the tandem course. If you are based outside the UK we can still offer the course with a certificate of completion but you won’t need the examination.

Your flying skills will really need to be exceptional and basic recreational standard just isn’t enough. Your ground handling, especially in strong wind will need to be good and we’ll introduce you to a number of techniques and strategies for dealing with windy launches. You will be flying with other gliders in the air as the examiner will want to see this and you need to be completely comfortable with the collision avoidance rules.

We run the course over 9 days and there is a huge amount to fit in during that time. You’ll need to show us what you can do solo before you can fly with one of our qualified team as a passenger (there will be at least three tandem qualified pilots on hand). You will need at least four flights as a passenger and 20 flights (minimum) as pilot in command. We will spend a lot of time on the theory of tandem flying and practising briefings because you’ll need to be able to deliver it flawlessly.

In order to get your tandem endorsement we will have a BHPA examiner join us for the last three or four days of the course but you’ll need to have completed the minimum number of flights before they can begin to examine you.

We only take four people on our tandem courses and there will always be at least two full sets of tandem kit, one will be the sort of kit you might pick up as a good second hand set and the other will be a new glider. You’ll fly with both rigid and soft spreaders and learn about the pros and cons of each as well as getting to use a range of pilot and passenger harnesses.

By the end of the course you’ll have a huge range of experience at flying tandems and will have increased your skills enormously. It’s a lot of work but also a lot of fun and if you’re interested in becoming a tandem rated pilot, let us know early as these courses always fill up quickly.

The course is a lot of work but really interesting and enjoyable; becoming a tandem pilot and being able to fly your friends and family is enormously satisfying. If you’d like more information or to discuss any of this, please feel free to get in touch.


  1. Hello Brother bird,
    My biggest dream is to become a Paragliding instructor.
    but first I want to get my tandem degree and get better at acro flying to travel and fly around the world.

    I have over 350 flights and got my pilot diploma last summer :
    I flew in very various conditions:
    strong sea winds, hot thermal days, no wind at all, alpine flight, clif soaring, waga above the dunes, cross country.
    last summer I worked and lived in a paragliding school for 6 months where a learned even more about our passion.
    I assisted 30 tandem flights per day helping and preparing the pilots.

    I fly under a green Epsilon 8 Advance.

    the countries where I flew:
    South-Africa Cape-town (my first tandem experience and and inspiration to become a pilot myself)
    France (where I lived for 16 years, I learned to fly in the Gard and Ardeche area)
    and now i’m doing a season in Austria Hinterglemm where I fly when I have a day off.

    Flying changed my life and gave me a purpose “to teach other people to live their dreams in the air”

    Kind regards and hope to hear from you soon,
    (don’t hesitate to get in contact with me on facebook)

    Robin Van der Vliet

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