Queenstown Paragliding and Hang Gliding School - Extreme Air

Flight School FAQ

Extreme Air Queenstown paragliding and hang gliding school are based in Queenstown, New Zealand.  We operate out of the Flight Park landing zone at the bottom of Coronet Peak ski field in Queenstown.

Extreme Air Queenstown offer a full range of courses from  introductory days, the full pilot rating course, refresher course and tours on demand.

Please check out our FAQ from students.


Where is Extreme Air based?

Extreme Air is based at Coronet Peak ski field in Queenstown in the South Island of New Zealand. We operate out of the Flight Park between Arrowtown and Arthurs Point Address is 793 Malaghans Rd, Otago 9371, New Zealand

Link: http://extremeair.co.nz/contact/


How long has Extreme Air Paragliding and Hang gliding School been Operating in Queenstown?

Extreme is owned and operated my CFI Lisa Bradley. Extreme Air is the longest operating flight school in Queenstown. We have been operating for over 14 years. Lisa is a very passionate instructor and prides herself on high quality instruction.  


Why learn with Extreme Air?

Do you want to learn with passionate instructors that love passing on their knowledge for free flight at a personal level? Do you want highly skilled and experienced instructors with years of teaching and flying?

If you want to learn with the best then you have picked the right school. Our team is one of the most experienced in the country. We are the longest operating flight school in Queenstown. When you learn with us you become part of the family. We will help you every step of the way. Ask the locals who they recommend. We guarantee we will not disappoint.

Extrerme Air courses go far beyond the minimum NZHGPA syllabus requirement. We also combine the HGFA syllabus in our training.  No other school in New Zealand provides all this in one course. When you are signed off with a license from Extreme Air you can be sure you have well above the official minimum required skill level needed to have flying fun with real confidence and a safety attitude.

Our Instructors and Tandem Instructors are professionals who have demonstrated the highest standard of flying ability and decision-making skills in order to get their internationally recognized ratings.  They have extensive experience and thousands of hours flying and teaching in both paragliding and hang gliding.

Most of our students arrive via referrals from former students and other pilots. Contact us and we will put you in touch with some for their personal opinion...or ask someone at a flying site near you ! Check out our student testimonial Page

Link:   http://extremeair.co.nz/about/training-testimonials/


What time of year is best to learn paraglide and hang glide in New Zealand?

November to February is the best time to learn in Queenstown.


How long is the full license course?

The Pg2 paragliding and Novice hang gliding course will take 10 days if done in a block course. This will also depend on Weather.

If you are doing the course part time you may need extra days.


I have no prior experience with paragliding or hang gliding. Is there any prerequisites?

You don’t need any prior experience or prerequisites, it does help if you have a little bit of fitness for the first 5 days of the course as it can be physically demanding to run up and down the training hills.


Can the 10 day course be split up?

Yes it can be but we do advise that at the beginning it would be best to do at least 4 to 5 days in a row.


How much time is spent per day training/flying?

The course is for 5 hours per day. Depending on the weather some days may be longer.


How much is the 10 day license day course?



Can I get the course cheaper?

Yes! If you learn faster than you only need to pay for the days you train. It is not unheard of students getting their PG2 rating in 8 days, but we do recommended staying on and doing extra days and learning some advanced skills.


Can I pay by the day?

Yes, it is $250- for every day of training.


What if I want to do extra days after the course?

Yes you can stay on and do extra days. You can just pay for extra instructing days $250- a day.


What days do you operate?

Extreme Air operates 7 days a week, weather permitting.


What dates can I book a course?

We have schedule dates that are on our web page, at the bottom of each page under each course. We can start any course at any time, but we do try to stick to the schedule dates as we like to start student together, as you learn from each other. If you’re working you can do the course in stages, eg on your days off. We run a paragliding day course every second day.

We also run course on demand. Email lisa@extremeair.co.nz


What age can I learn to paraglide?

Legally you have to be 16 or over, or if you are under 16 you need your parental consent to learn to fly in New Zealand.


Do I need a license to fly?

Yes... you need a license to paraglide and hang glide in New Zealand and Australia and most places around the world.

New Zealand - The NZHGPA issues flight certificates, including instructor certificates, under the delegation granted by NZ Civil Aviation Authority.

Australia - The Hang Gliding Federation of Australia Incorporated ("HGFA") is a sporting body that administers Hang Gliding, Paragliding and Weight Shift Microlights under the regulations laid down by the Civil Air Safety Authority. As the administering body it provides standards for pilot training syllabus, pilot and instructor certifications and best practice in operational procedures throughout all of Australia.

Extreme Air in conjunction with Capricorn Sky Sports CFI Lisa Bradley is also offering HGFA course in Queenstown over the summer months. You can do your Novice hang gliding and Paragliding rating in New Zealand with CFI Lisa Bradley.


Is the New Zealand qualification legal abroad?
Yes! When you get your PG2 you are able to get your IPPI card from the FAI (International Pilot Proficiency Identification) $20 fee


What are New Zealand Hang gliding and Paragliding Association pilot ratings for Paragliding?

The NZHGPA has 3 solo pilot ratings:

-PG1 is a student pilot rating that allows student pilots to fly at PG1 and PG2 rated flying sites under the supervision of an instructor.

-PG2 allows pilots to fly at PG1 and PG2 rated sites unsupervised and PG3 rated sites under the supervision of a PG3 rated pilot.

-PG3 is an advanced solo rating required to become an instructor or tandem paraglider pilot.


What do I need to bring with me?

We recommend regular comfortable clothing that you can run in. Bring a sun hat, sun cream and plenty of water

If you don’t wear prescription glasses then we recommend some kind of eye protection, like glasses or sunglasses. Eyewear helps prevent watery eyes.  We do advised you wear sturdy ankle supporting footwear.


Do I need my own equipment?

No... Extreme Air School will provide the student with all of the required equipment during these classes, including gliders, harnesses, radios, and helmets.


Do I need to buy my glider before starting?

No... we highly recommend not buying gear before starting. We supply all gear in the course. Then we know you are on safe gear. Also our instructors test fly all school glider. All glider mast also have WOF in New Zealand.


Do your homework. Ask the locals?

One of the best things you can do before you book a course anywhere, is to ask some pilots in the area what school they would recommend.  Too many miss this important step. Get a few opinions and become an informed purchaser. You would inform yourself about other significant purchases,  air sports like paragliding and hang gliding should be no different!



Be very aware of schools trying to sell you gear before you start!

Paying full course up front!

Doing package deals before you have even started!

Buy a glider get your course free - Then you can’t even get hold of the instructor after that. I have heard of people still trying to learn after a year. Then they find them self’s driving for the instructor, while he goes cross country flying. Then they end up giving up.

Weekend instructors! You may find it is taking you years to get your license. As the instructor is busy that weekend and then bad weather. Also how much teaching does he really do? Find out how many student he brings through.

The dealer! Is your instructor just a sales man pushing gear.

Ask your instructor how many students he has instructed? In the last year? Last 10 years?


We wish you all the best in your flying and lots of great adventures around the world.   Extreme Air and its team look forward to flying with you one day soon.

If you have any questions please feel free to email us on info@extremeair.co.nz


Paragliding  & Hang gliding School FAQ


What is the Appeal of  Paragliding and Hang Gliding?

Paragliding and Hang Gliding appeal to adventurous outdoor men and women.   The appeal is different for different people.   It can be the adrenaline rush of launching from a mountain top, or the thrill of flying close to contours of  the mountain terrain looking for elusive thermals, tranquillity of flying just below the clouds 3 km up from the ground, or the joy of soaring with the eagles, or the challenge of competing against a fellow pilot, or the thrill of approaching a landing paddock at 100km/h, the excitement of pulling off some aerobatic wing-overs or loops above the crowds in a landing paddock, or the satisfaction of landing at the end of a days flying.

Paragliding and Hang Gliding are the cheapest method of getting airborne, and one of the most satisfying.


What is a paraglider?

A paraglider is a foot launched  ram air aerofoil canopy, designed to be flown and landed with no other energy requirements than the wind and gravity.


What is the difference between a hang glider and a paraglider?

A hang glider has a frame maintaining the shape of the wing, with the pilot usually flying in a prone position.

The paraglider canopy shape is maintained only by air pressure and the pilot is suspended in a sitting or supine position.

The hang glider has a "cleaner" aerodynamic profile and is capable of flying at higher speeds than a paraglider.


Should I fly a paraglider or a hang glider?


I fly both and love them. They are very different flying machines. It is up to you what one you pick, you may even want to try both.  

A paraglider folds down into a package the size of a largish knapsack and can be carried easily.

It's also somewhat easier to learn to fly, as a paraglide flys at slower speeds. 90% of people could learn to fly a paraglider.

Hang glider

Hang gliders can fly in higher wind strengths; they have a better glide and can handle more turbulence. They also fly faster. This means you have a wider range of weather conditions you can fly in. 

Hang gliding can take a little longer to gain confidence at launch and landing as the speed is somewhat higher. It also helps to be fit when you do the course, especially for the first few days when training hill work is required.


How is paragliding different from hang gliding?

Paragliders fly a ram air wing while hang gliders have an aluminum frame. You can’t really say one is safer than the other. It all comes down to pilot judgment. The main difference is the speed we fly. Hang gliders fly faster which is not an advantage when it comes to landing. Paragliders have become popular because of how practical they are for travel, portability, and set up and break down times. The learning curve is quicker with a paraglider as well. You will be flying solo your first or second day of paragliding instruction, which is one of the advantages of the sport. However, in order to acquire the basic skills necessary to fly on your own without instructor supervision, you need to complete the course and get your PG2 or Novice course. Extreme Air graduates most students in 10 days of training. Hang gliding you will need to do more ground training and training hill flights before flying from higher sites. They are both awesome fun, when your feet leave the ground for the first time it the most amazing feeling.


How safe is paragliding?

Paragliding is as safe as you make it. Modern paragliding wings are very stable. Pilots are very rarely injured due to equipment failure. Paragliding accidents are likely due to a lack of judgment on the pilot's part instead of equipment failure. We can minimize our risk by becoming educated and making conservative decisions about when and where fly. Each person needs to evaluate the risk and reward of their decisions. We can make very conservative choices as a pilot and still get an amazing amount of flying and fun out of the sport. We don’t need to make risky choices about when and where we fly our wings. We can operate conservatively in manageable weather conditions and enjoy the sport well into our golden years.


Controlling the Paraglider?

Controlling a paraglider is actually quite simple. The controls you hold in your hand connect to the trailing edge of the wing. Depending on how you pull the controls, the wing will change shape and therefore change behavior. Pulling on the controls makes the glider fly slower. Releasing pressure makes it fly faster.

Example: If you want to turn to the right, pull on the right control and release pressure on the left. This makes the right side of the wing fly slower and the left faster. Before you know it, you'll be turning right. Of course, it's all a matter of finesse and practice. Yanking on the controls can cause the wing to act unpredictably.

You can also shift your weight to help steer the glider. Moving your weight toward one side or the other will also bring subtle shape changes to the wing.


Am I too old to learn paragliding?

It's not so much about how old you are, it's more about how good your general level of fitness, health and mental state is. Other considerations to think about are things like your eyesight, any medical conditions you may have which may affect your ability to fly, your mental health and ability to make rational decisions etc.

You need to be reasonably fit and able to run and jump around for sustained periods. You will need to be able to carry a 15-20 kg pack up hills. For take-off and landing you may need to run (sometimes quite quickly) for 10-20 metres or more whilst wearing a paragliding harness.

Your eyesight needs to good enough so that you can see obstacles 100's of feet away, and be able judge your height and approach in to land correctly.


Is paragliding and Hang gliding scary?

Paragliding and Hang gliding is the simplest and most serene way to fulfill man's oldest dream free flight! The pilot runs down a simple slope and glides away from the mountain. Most people are afraid of heights. Fear is somewhat an apprehension of the unknown. Your fear will fade as your confidence in your ability to operate in a reasonable manner grows. Your instructor will help you identify your capabilities and limitations. You'll learn that altitude is usually your friend. There is no free falling or jumping off cliffs. The launches and landings are slow and gentle. Once in the air, most people are surprised by how quiet and peaceful the experience is. The solo lesson requires more effort (physical and mental) than a instructional tandem flight lesson. The instructional tandem flight lays the basic groundwork necessary to become your own pilot. If the idea of watching the sunset from a comfortable seat in the air, supported by the buoyant evening air, with perhaps a bird or hawk joining you off your wing tip, appeals to you, then paragliding is for you.


What is hang gliding?                                            

Hang gliding is sport flying in a light weight glider which can be launched by running down a hill.


How long does it take to set up a glider?

A training glider takes approximately 4 minutes to set up.


How do you control a hang glider?
The most common type of hang glider is controlled by shifting of the pilot’s weight. Pulling your body to the left makes the glider turn left, pulling your body forward makes the glider speed up.


How do you take off?
The most common way to launch is to pick up the glider and run down a slope until the glider has enough speed to fly at which point it lifts you away from the ground. Hang gliders can also be towed aloft, either by a truck or car, by a boat, by a winch or by an ultralight airplane.


What happens if the wind stops?
Flight in a glider does not depend on the wind, and gliders can be flown when there is no wind at all. Flight in any winged aircraft does depend on what we call "relative wind" which is the movement of the air over the wings, or, from another perspective, the movement of the wings through the air. It is this "relative wind" or air movement over the wings which creates the "lift" that supports an aircraft against the pull of gravity.


How long can you stay up?
It depends on your skill and on the weather conditions on that day. On a good day, a reasonably skilled pilot can stay up for as long as he or she wants to. On some days, even the best pilots will only manage a flight of a few minutes duration.


Do you need a license?
Yes. Hang gliders come within the CAA but allow the sport to govern itself. The national body is the NZHGPA.


How do you learn to fly?

Under the guidance of a competent instructor, just like you would learn to fly an airplane. Your first solo flights are normally made from a small, shallow slope, where you will get just a few feet off the ground for just a few seconds on each flight. As you learn and practice proper techniques for take-off, landing, and speed control and steering control you will move up to higher and higher launch points for longer and longer flights.


How hard is it to learn hang gliding?

The learning of the physical skills is roughly comparable to learning other physical skills such as riding a bicycle or snow skiing or water skiing. In addition, a pilot needs to learn at least some basics about weather, and the aerodynamic principles of flight.


Is it very physically demanding to fly hang gliders?

That depends. A skilled pilot can fly a hang glider in mild weather conditions with very little physical exertion. A day on the training hill for a new student, or a long soaring flight in strong weather conditions for an advanced pilot, can be pretty tiring experiences. To a large extent, you can adjust the way you choose to participate in hang gliding to fit your physical abilities. For launching, the basic requirement is the ability to lift and balance the glider on your shoulders, and run down a slope with it at a moderate jogging speed.


Can girls hang glide and is it physically demanding?

Yes they can. It can also be physically demanding. I’m a 58km female and I fly hang gliders and if I can do it anyone can. You just need to be able to run a short distance for take-off. Companies also are making small gliders for girls. They are lighter and also have a smaller A frame.


How long does it take to learn to paraglide or hang glide?                                                                     

Most students take 10 days to competent the PG2 paragliding ,novice hang gliding course Some people can take longer depending on fitness, age, confidence.  


Do I need to buy a glider before I get there?

No. All the gliders and equipment used throughout the courses are supplied by us, this way we can ensure the students are on the best available equipment. During the later parts of the certificate course you will be given an opportunity to fly a variety of gliders under instructor supervision suitable for your skill level, allowing you to more objectively choose a glider which best suits your needs and ability.


Do I have to take lessons consecutively?

It is best to do your course in a block, as you will learn faster. You can also do the course in stages on you days off. Just be aware it may take you longer to complete the course.


How much does the 10 day course cost?



Will I get a license after the course?

Yes, when you have passed all of the NZHGPA criteria and exams


After completing my course can I hire equipment?

Yes, we do rent out gliders.


What happens after the Novice hang gliding course?

Once you have completed your license course and have purchased all of your hang gliding gear, you will be able to fly any hang gliding site that suits your skill-rating. You will join the local flying club in your area and the NZHGPA as a full member. Then the Adventure begins, new sites new flying friends. There are endless possibilities.


Extreme Air Queenstowns address: 793 Malaghans Rd, Speargrass Flat 9371, New Zealand.

For more information, please feel free to contact us. email:  info@extremeair.co.nz

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