FAQs

Gliderport FAQ's (4)

How do I sign up?

What’s the process to sign up?

It’s really simple and only takes about 15-20 minutes to get into the air, depending on the wait of course. First you sign a legal waiver. That takes about 10 minutes. Then you do a 30 second video waiver on camera.  Finally, you  fill out a 1-page temporary flight permit so you can fly with one of our USHPA-licensed professional. You hand us payment or a gift certificate and that’s it.

Depending on how many people are ahead of you, you might have to wait 20-30 minutes before we call your name. A lot of people sit outside and have a snack while they wait. Once we call you, you walk out to meet your pilot, who gives you a brief orientation on what to expect, and some important instruction launching, landing, and basic flight… essentially, how the glider works.  Then you’re off!

Permalink.

How long is the wait?

Usually, there is only a short wait, about 15-30 minutes. The Gliderport has 10 full time instructors, so it’s rare that you would ever have to wait more than an hour.  If we get extremely busy we have another 4-5 instructors we can call to assist.  If you find yourself earthbound for a few minutes waiting for your turn to soar the skies, visit the Cliff Hanger Cafe right in front of the launch area and enjoy a sandwich, soup, salad, or a snack.

Permalink.

How much wind do you need?

How much wind do you need?

For paragliding tandems, we generally need about 7-15 mph of wind coming from the west. For hang gliding tandems we generally need 10-18 mph, also from the west. The easiest way to check if the weather at the Torrey Pines Gliderport is flyable is to visit the weather page at http://w9if.net/cgi-bin/torreywx/wx.pl. This page shows real-time wind speed and direction, which our own pilots use to track conditions. Instructions on how to read the weather for flying can be found here. If you have any questions, please call us at +1 (858) 452-9858.

Permalink.

How do I learn to fly by myself?

How do I learn to fly by myself?

We’d love to help you pursue your dreams of flight.  The Torrey Pines Gliderport offers the finest training for paragliding pilots and hang gliding pilots who are interested in learning the sport.  Instruction at the Gliderport focuses on paragliding training for all experience levels from “newbies” to those interested in advanced ratings (ie. tandem, basic instructor, advanced instructor, etc). The hang gliding school is for intermediate and advanced pilots only. To learn more information, click on the “Fly” menu item at the top of this page. We look forward to seeing you in class.

Permalink.

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Tandem FAQ's (13)

Do you take reservations?

Do you take reservations?

We do NOT take reservations. The Gliderport is an non-powered flight park. As such, we operate on a best efforts basis meaning, we need the wind to cooperate in order to make flight possible. We cannot make reservations on the wind. We can predict the weather with very high accuracy, but nobody is 100%. We operate on a first come first serve policy.

But please do know that even when it is flyable, depending on the pilot, wind conditions and passenger weight, we may shuffle the order a bit to ensure that everyone has a safe, and fun flight. Many people come down, sign-up and then have lunch or a snack at the cafe. Torrey Pines Gliderport is located atop the beautiful Torrey Pines sea cliffs.

Even our own pilots who have been flying for years know that sometimes you just have to wait for the weather – it’s all part of the sport. You can call for wind conditions prior to coming to the Gliderport. You can check our local weather station here – this page will link you to our weather page and tell you how to read it.

We do fly over 300 days per year, so it’s very likely we’ll be able to fly when you are available.

Permalink.

When is the best time to take a flight?

When is the best time to take a flight?

Generally, any time between 11am to 4PM has the best winds for flying at Torrey Pines, particularly the Fall and Winter. However, in the Spring and Summer, it’s typically flyable all day from 9AM to 7PM, sometimes even later!

We recommend that you simply call us the day you’re planning to come in and ask if it’s flyable. We can’t predict the weather 100%, but we can tell you if we’re flying that day!

Additionally, if you’d like to help yourself, you can check the weather forecast here. The way to read is page is to look at the top: for paragliding tandems, we need winds that are 240-280 degrees (blowing from on-shore, West to East) at 7-15 mph; for hang gliding tandems, same direction, but the wind speed needs to be a bit higher, around 10-18 mph.

Permalink.

What should I wear?

What should I wear?

Come in comfortable clothing, but anything is generally fine. Bring athletic footwear like sneakers or hiking boots. Some people do fly barefoot, but it’s not recommended in case you have to land on uneven ground. Generally, flying on the coast is very pleasant, but if you come on a cloudy or foggy day, it’s a good idea to bring a light jacket or shell. We have some in the shop, but not in all sizes. Note that in the Fall and Winter, it can be sunny and warm inland, but a little cloudy and cooler on the coast. If you’re unsure, check the weather forecast here at the site, or simply call us.

Permalink.

How long is the flight?

Generally, tandem flights for both paragliding and hang gliding are 20-25 minutes long. It’s important to remember, that the pilots are doing their best to give you a good flight and keep you up. Because the weather is the biggest single factor in our ability to fly, sometimes flights may be cut short if there is a shift in wind direction or wind speed.  Keeping pilot and passenger safe and the flight a wonderful experience, is our primary concern.

The instructors have a very good understanding of the weather, so they will tell you if they don’t think the conditions are conducive for a longer flight. The entire Gliderport staff does there best to provide you the most pleasurable experience in the air and otherwise.  But remember, we can’t control the weather and sometimes the weather just changes.  In that case, if you feel the flight was too short and you didn’t get enough airtime there are a number of different options available including additional flights, partial or full refunds and more. Just speak with the Flight Director or office manager and they’ll make sure you’re taken care of.

Permalink.

How do I sign up?

What’s the process to sign up?

It’s really simple and only takes about 15-20 minutes to get into the air, depending on the wait of course. First you sign a legal waiver. That takes about 10 minutes. Then you do a 30 second video waiver on camera.  Finally, you  fill out a 1-page temporary flight permit so you can fly with one of our USHPA-licensed professional. You hand us payment or a gift certificate and that’s it.

Depending on how many people are ahead of you, you might have to wait 20-30 minutes before we call your name. A lot of people sit outside and have a snack while they wait. Once we call you, you walk out to meet your pilot, who gives you a brief orientation on what to expect, and some important instruction launching, landing, and basic flight… essentially, how the glider works.  Then you’re off!

Permalink.

Is there a weight limit?

Is there a weight limit?

There is no weight limit for paragliding tandems, as long as we have enough wind. To date, we have taken passengers as heavy as 350 lbs. Hang gliding tandems work a little differently, so typically passengers are restricted to 175 lbs (80 kgs, 12 stone) or less. It’s generally a good idea to call before coming down and ask if it’s flyable and if so, what the recommendation is for passenger weight. On most days, we are able to fly passengers comfortably up to about 225-235 lbs. If you have any concerns or questions, just ask us.

Permalink.

Is hang gliding or paragliding safer?

Is hang gliding or paragliding safer?

All of the tandem pilots / instructors employed at the Torrey Pines Gliderport are professionals with advanced USHPA ratings.  Our team has been doing this for years, with nearly 150 years of combined experience, there are few places in the world that have greater depth in attitude, maturity and skill.  Our safety record is impeccable and we average less than 1 accident per 10 years or 100,000 flights.

Safety in aviation comes down to pilot attitude.  Does the pilot push the limits?  Do they make impulsive decisions, do they possess situational awareness.  Both hang gliding and paragliding are nearly the same in terms of safety.  The real factor in pilot / passenger safety is the decision making ability of the pilot in command.  We have a saying in the foot launched aviation community,

“There are a lot of old pilots, and there are a lot of bold pilots, but there are not a lot of old bold pilots.”

The bottom line:  Accidents due occur in these sports and pilots do make errors.  The goal is to minimize those risk factors while making sure the customer (our passengers) are having the time of their lives.

Permalink.

How do hang gliding and paragliding differ?

How do hang gliding and paragliding differ?

The major difference lies in the wing shape and design. Hang gliders have solid wing structures utilizing an aluminum frame to create a V-shaped wing that resembles a stealth bomber. Paragliders have soft wing structures (no internal frame) that once inflated have an elliptical shape. Aerodynamically they both fly the same, utilizing the Bernoulli Principle to get the best lift possible. Due to their heavier weight, hang gliders tend to have slightly faster flying speeds but need more winds to stay aloft. Paragliders typically have a bit slower flying speeds, but since the pilot is suspended from the wing, he can use his pendular momentum to perform some stunning air maneuvers (aerobatics). Due to their lower flying speed, paragliders are much more forgiving and thus generally have a lower learning curve.

Paragliding is a more recent sport which has grown in popularity quickly over the last several years. It’s advantages are: easily transportable, easy to learn, fly, and land, and flyable in wider ranges of conditions than hang gliders. Paragliding wings are capable of many of the same aerial acrobatics as hang gliders, plus a few more, including spirals, various spins, and stalls and looping reversed or tumbling.

Hang Gliding has been around much longer than paragliding. It is based on an internally-supported, rigid wing with a control bar that gives the pilot very direct and immediate control over the flying surface. It is a more active style of flying since the pilot is more connected to the wing in terms of how they hand and manipulate the control surfaces.

Hang gliding is more mature as an activity and sport and really started foot launched aviation.  Tandem hang gliding flight

Permalink.

Is there an age limit?

Is there an age limit?

There is NO age limit! Anyone of any age can take a tandem ride. Minors just need a parent or guardian to sign a legal waiver for them. We’ve had customers as young as 13 months and as old as 104 years old at Torrey Pines Gliderport. As for learning the sport of Paragliding; Paragliding is more about finesse than strength. The instructors at Torrey Pines have a joke about the “Zen of Paragliding”, which is making yourself one with the wing and the air. Mr. Fred Jenkins will give you the honest answer.  As one of our longtime students he took up paragliding at the young age of 86 years.  He will attest, the only restrictions to paraglide are those that are self-induced. Paragliding does not require a large amount of physical strength, but does require situational awareness and mental alertness. Many pilots enjoy this sport far into their golden years.

13 years old and flying like a pro!

Permalink.

Do I have to be in shape?

Do I have to be in shape?

Generally, if you are able to walk, sit and stand, you can take a tandem paragliding flight. There is always a slight chance that the weather might require us to land below the cliffs on the beach, in which case it’s a 20 minute hike back to the Gliderport at the top. If you have any concerns about making this hike, mention it to our staff and we’ll factor that into our decision when choosing a pilot and screening the current weather conditions.

For all other special considerations, please tell us when you sign-up, and we can discuss with the pilot whether the weather and wind conditions are appropriate for you. We are honored to have flown several people with disabilities, who needed assistance out of their wheel chairs so they could experience the freedom of flight. We have also flow with members of the Wounded Warrior Project – all had a safe and exhilarating flight.

Permalink.

How much wind do you need?

How much wind do you need?

For paragliding tandems, we generally need about 7-15 mph of wind coming from the west. For hang gliding tandems we generally need 10-18 mph, also from the west. The easiest way to check if the weather at the Torrey Pines Gliderport is flyable is to visit the weather page at http://w9if.net/cgi-bin/torreywx/wx.pl. This page shows real-time wind speed and direction, which our own pilots use to track conditions. Instructions on how to read the weather for flying can be found here. If you have any questions, please call us at +1 (858) 452-9858.

Permalink.

Who would be my pilot?

Who would I fly with?

All the tandem pilots at Torrey Pines are professional pilots, who are USHPA-certified, and have Tandem Instructor certifications. The Gliderport is home to some of the finest tandem pilots in the world.  This can be proven based on our incredible safety record.  We are the largest tandem operation, but nearly 100 times safer than the second closest operator. The goal of our pilots, is for everyone to have a safe, enjoyable flight, so that you may experience the freedom of foot launched aviation. If you have any concerns, feel free to speak to the pilots directly! For more information on USHPA, click here. To read bios of the pilots, click here.

Permalink.

What is para-sailing?

Are Paragliding and Para-Sailing the same?

Paragliding (or Hang Gliding) is very different from para-sailing. Paragliders can fly on the coast, in the mountains, over deserts and pretty much anywhere there is wind lift of thermals.  The can ascend 1000’s of feet and travel 100’s of miles.

noparasailing

Parasailing

Para-sailing requires a boat.  You get pulled along in a giant parachute a 100-300′ over the water. You have no control of the aircraft and are at the mercy of the boat operator.

Paragliders are steerable through weight shift and control toggle input. You are the pilot in command and don’t require a boat to pull you aloft.

Paragliders
In a paraglider you are the pilot in command.

 

Permalink.

View category→

Flight School FAQ's (10)

When is the best time to take a flight?

When is the best time to take a flight?

Generally, any time between 11am to 4PM has the best winds for flying at Torrey Pines, particularly the Fall and Winter. However, in the Spring and Summer, it’s typically flyable all day from 9AM to 7PM, sometimes even later!

We recommend that you simply call us the day you’re planning to come in and ask if it’s flyable. We can’t predict the weather 100%, but we can tell you if we’re flying that day!

Additionally, if you’d like to help yourself, you can check the weather forecast here. The way to read is page is to look at the top: for paragliding tandems, we need winds that are 240-280 degrees (blowing from on-shore, West to East) at 7-15 mph; for hang gliding tandems, same direction, but the wind speed needs to be a bit higher, around 10-18 mph.

Permalink.

What should I wear?

What should I wear?

Come in comfortable clothing, but anything is generally fine. Bring athletic footwear like sneakers or hiking boots. Some people do fly barefoot, but it’s not recommended in case you have to land on uneven ground. Generally, flying on the coast is very pleasant, but if you come on a cloudy or foggy day, it’s a good idea to bring a light jacket or shell. We have some in the shop, but not in all sizes. Note that in the Fall and Winter, it can be sunny and warm inland, but a little cloudy and cooler on the coast. If you’re unsure, check the weather forecast here at the site, or simply call us.

Permalink.

How do I sign up?

What’s the process to sign up?

It’s really simple and only takes about 15-20 minutes to get into the air, depending on the wait of course. First you sign a legal waiver. That takes about 10 minutes. Then you do a 30 second video waiver on camera.  Finally, you  fill out a 1-page temporary flight permit so you can fly with one of our USHPA-licensed professional. You hand us payment or a gift certificate and that’s it.

Depending on how many people are ahead of you, you might have to wait 20-30 minutes before we call your name. A lot of people sit outside and have a snack while they wait. Once we call you, you walk out to meet your pilot, who gives you a brief orientation on what to expect, and some important instruction launching, landing, and basic flight… essentially, how the glider works.  Then you’re off!

Permalink.

Is there a weight limit?

Is there a weight limit?

There is no weight limit for paragliding tandems, as long as we have enough wind. To date, we have taken passengers as heavy as 350 lbs. Hang gliding tandems work a little differently, so typically passengers are restricted to 175 lbs (80 kgs, 12 stone) or less. It’s generally a good idea to call before coming down and ask if it’s flyable and if so, what the recommendation is for passenger weight. On most days, we are able to fly passengers comfortably up to about 225-235 lbs. If you have any concerns or questions, just ask us.

Permalink.

Is hang gliding or paragliding safer?

Is hang gliding or paragliding safer?

All of the tandem pilots / instructors employed at the Torrey Pines Gliderport are professionals with advanced USHPA ratings.  Our team has been doing this for years, with nearly 150 years of combined experience, there are few places in the world that have greater depth in attitude, maturity and skill.  Our safety record is impeccable and we average less than 1 accident per 10 years or 100,000 flights.

Safety in aviation comes down to pilot attitude.  Does the pilot push the limits?  Do they make impulsive decisions, do they possess situational awareness.  Both hang gliding and paragliding are nearly the same in terms of safety.  The real factor in pilot / passenger safety is the decision making ability of the pilot in command.  We have a saying in the foot launched aviation community,

“There are a lot of old pilots, and there are a lot of bold pilots, but there are not a lot of old bold pilots.”

The bottom line:  Accidents due occur in these sports and pilots do make errors.  The goal is to minimize those risk factors while making sure the customer (our passengers) are having the time of their lives.

Permalink.

How do hang gliding and paragliding differ?

How do hang gliding and paragliding differ?

The major difference lies in the wing shape and design. Hang gliders have solid wing structures utilizing an aluminum frame to create a V-shaped wing that resembles a stealth bomber. Paragliders have soft wing structures (no internal frame) that once inflated have an elliptical shape. Aerodynamically they both fly the same, utilizing the Bernoulli Principle to get the best lift possible. Due to their heavier weight, hang gliders tend to have slightly faster flying speeds but need more winds to stay aloft. Paragliders typically have a bit slower flying speeds, but since the pilot is suspended from the wing, he can use his pendular momentum to perform some stunning air maneuvers (aerobatics). Due to their lower flying speed, paragliders are much more forgiving and thus generally have a lower learning curve.

Paragliding is a more recent sport which has grown in popularity quickly over the last several years. It’s advantages are: easily transportable, easy to learn, fly, and land, and flyable in wider ranges of conditions than hang gliders. Paragliding wings are capable of many of the same aerial acrobatics as hang gliders, plus a few more, including spirals, various spins, and stalls and looping reversed or tumbling.

Hang Gliding has been around much longer than paragliding. It is based on an internally-supported, rigid wing with a control bar that gives the pilot very direct and immediate control over the flying surface. It is a more active style of flying since the pilot is more connected to the wing in terms of how they hand and manipulate the control surfaces.

Hang gliding is more mature as an activity and sport and really started foot launched aviation.  Tandem hang gliding flight

Permalink.

Is there an age limit?

Is there an age limit?

There is NO age limit! Anyone of any age can take a tandem ride. Minors just need a parent or guardian to sign a legal waiver for them. We’ve had customers as young as 13 months and as old as 104 years old at Torrey Pines Gliderport. As for learning the sport of Paragliding; Paragliding is more about finesse than strength. The instructors at Torrey Pines have a joke about the “Zen of Paragliding”, which is making yourself one with the wing and the air. Mr. Fred Jenkins will give you the honest answer.  As one of our longtime students he took up paragliding at the young age of 86 years.  He will attest, the only restrictions to paraglide are those that are self-induced. Paragliding does not require a large amount of physical strength, but does require situational awareness and mental alertness. Many pilots enjoy this sport far into their golden years.

13 years old and flying like a pro!

Permalink.

Do I have to be in shape?

Do I have to be in shape?

Generally, if you are able to walk, sit and stand, you can take a tandem paragliding flight. There is always a slight chance that the weather might require us to land below the cliffs on the beach, in which case it’s a 20 minute hike back to the Gliderport at the top. If you have any concerns about making this hike, mention it to our staff and we’ll factor that into our decision when choosing a pilot and screening the current weather conditions.

For all other special considerations, please tell us when you sign-up, and we can discuss with the pilot whether the weather and wind conditions are appropriate for you. We are honored to have flown several people with disabilities, who needed assistance out of their wheel chairs so they could experience the freedom of flight. We have also flow with members of the Wounded Warrior Project – all had a safe and exhilarating flight.

Permalink.

What is para-sailing?

Are Paragliding and Para-Sailing the same?

Paragliding (or Hang Gliding) is very different from para-sailing. Paragliders can fly on the coast, in the mountains, over deserts and pretty much anywhere there is wind lift of thermals.  The can ascend 1000’s of feet and travel 100’s of miles.

noparasailing

Parasailing

Para-sailing requires a boat.  You get pulled along in a giant parachute a 100-300′ over the water. You have no control of the aircraft and are at the mercy of the boat operator.

Paragliders are steerable through weight shift and control toggle input. You are the pilot in command and don’t require a boat to pull you aloft.

Paragliders
In a paraglider you are the pilot in command.

 

Permalink.

How do I learn to fly by myself?

How do I learn to fly by myself?

We’d love to help you pursue your dreams of flight.  The Torrey Pines Gliderport offers the finest training for paragliding pilots and hang gliding pilots who are interested in learning the sport.  Instruction at the Gliderport focuses on paragliding training for all experience levels from “newbies” to those interested in advanced ratings (ie. tandem, basic instructor, advanced instructor, etc). The hang gliding school is for intermediate and advanced pilots only. To learn more information, click on the “Fly” menu item at the top of this page. We look forward to seeing you in class.

Permalink.

View category→

Shop FAQ's (2)

How do I sign up?

What’s the process to sign up?

It’s really simple and only takes about 15-20 minutes to get into the air, depending on the wait of course. First you sign a legal waiver. That takes about 10 minutes. Then you do a 30 second video waiver on camera.  Finally, you  fill out a 1-page temporary flight permit so you can fly with one of our USHPA-licensed professional. You hand us payment or a gift certificate and that’s it.

Depending on how many people are ahead of you, you might have to wait 20-30 minutes before we call your name. A lot of people sit outside and have a snack while they wait. Once we call you, you walk out to meet your pilot, who gives you a brief orientation on what to expect, and some important instruction launching, landing, and basic flight… essentially, how the glider works.  Then you’re off!

Permalink.

How long is the wait?

Usually, there is only a short wait, about 15-30 minutes. The Gliderport has 10 full time instructors, so it’s rare that you would ever have to wait more than an hour.  If we get extremely busy we have another 4-5 instructors we can call to assist.  If you find yourself earthbound for a few minutes waiting for your turn to soar the skies, visit the Cliff Hanger Cafe right in front of the launch area and enjoy a sandwich, soup, salad, or a snack.

Permalink.

View category→