FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. How do I learn Paragliding in Malta?
A. The Henry's Paragliding School is the only qualified school in Malta. It holds two Courses a year, one in Spring and one in Autumn every year. The course encompasses theory and practical lessons and, being done part-time by its two Instructors Henry Rota and Enrico Casolari, it is being held on Saturday mornings only.
The cost of the course is L.M. 70.00 and it includes three Theory lessons and about ten Practical sessions, both in the flat Ta' Qali fields and on the actual flying slopes. All material is supplied by the School for the duration of the Course. At the end of the Course, the Student must pass a theory exam and must show good control of the Paraglider during the actual flying. He will then be issued with his "Elementary Pilot" Paragliding Licence.
The Henry's Paragliding School is holding also advanced courses for Pilots who want to improve their skill and move up to their "Club Pilot" Paragliding licence.
Q. Is my Paragliding Licence taken in Malta valid abroad?
A. Yes, it is. The MPA is affiliated to the British BHPA and the Italian FIVL, so a Licence taken in Malta is recognised by these two important organisations.
Q. How to purchase my first Paraglider?
A. First of all you must have your Paragliding Licence, obtained at a qualified School. Without a proper training, you will be putting your life at a risk, something like if you were to buy a car and drive without having attended a Driving Course... Furthermore, current Regulations in Malta - and abroad - require you to have such a Qualification.
The Instructors at the Henry's Paragliding School will assist you, if you are a qualified Pilot, in buying a brand new or second hand Paraglider from a recognised Manufacturer. Your wing has to suit you both in terms of size (there is a strict relationship between your weight and the size of your Paraglider) and performance.
Paragliders on the market are divided in the following categories:
TRAINER - A low performance wing, very easy to handle and suitable for learning.
STANDARD - A wing for the newly qualified Pilot, combining good performances and easy handling.
PERFORMANCE - A demanding wing for the Club Pilot. It has excellent gliding performances but it requires good Pilot skill and frequent flying.
COMPETITION - A very demanding wing, reserved for top pilots and used for competitions.
Q. What do I need to fly a Paraglider in Malta?
A. The legal requirements for Maltese residents willing to practice the Paragliding Sport are:
- Having been qualified by a School recognised by MPA.
- Being a current Member of the MPA.
- Having a valid Third Party insurance cover.
- Abiding at all times by the Rules and Regulations issued by MPA.
In the case of a visiting foreign Pilot, such requirements are:
- Having contacted an MPA representative before any flying.
- Having been briefed on all Paragliding Rules and Regulations in Malta.
- Having satisfied the MPA representative on all aspects related to qualification, Pilot skill, safety consciousness, etc.
Q. Is Paragliding a safe Sport?
A. Any Sport has its own inherent risks. If you swim or dive or sail you run the risk of drowning, if you drive you run the risk of crashing, if you cycle you run the risk of fallingà Similarly, if you fly you obviously run the risk of falling down from the sky.
The question should be put in a different way: "If I want to dive, drive, cycle or fly
SAFELY, can I do so?
The answer then is quite simple: YES, if you do it carefully, with the proper training, using the suitable equipment and in observance of the safety Rules! Take our Instructor Enrico: he has been flying safely anything from Hang-gliders to Paragliders, to Microlight aircraft to Paramotors for the last 22 years!
Q. What is Paragliding in Malta like?
A. Malta enjoys all-year-round favourable weather conditions, as winter here is very mild and generally sunny. Temperatures in winter average 12 Deg C however, during the Months of January, February and March the wind is generally too strong.
Ground elevation in Malta is very limited, with the highest point standing just over the 250 metres mark, above sea level. Good sea breezes however, often blowing up our numerous bays, are creating excellent ridge soaring conditions. MPA has developed as many as 14 different soaring places, to make the best use of any possible direction of the wind.
Take-off places are always limited in space and in some locations only a cliff launch is available. Reverse launch is the norm and good inflation skills are required. Bottom landings are sometimes very limited, while top landings are the norm and usually performed over much wider areas.
The longest flight recorded so far in Malta stands at 6 hrs 30 minutes and it was done at the Ghajn Tuffieha bay by Roderick Grech.
Q. Do I need to be a Pilot to join MPA?
A. No. The MPA, a non-profit Association, accepts also non-flying Members showing a keen interest on the Sport, so that hey can be introduced to the Paragliding community in Malta and participate and even contribute to the social activities.
Q. Do I need an Insurance cover to fly a Paraglider?
A. Yes, a third party Insurance is required in Malta and abroad, similarly to what is required for cars. Members of the MPA can benefit from its special Corporate Insurance coverage.
Q. What are the chances of going abroad for flying?
A. They are good. The MPA organises flying trips abroad from time to time. For instance, we have been to Spain, Sicily and northern Italy many times already. A flying trip abroad is also included in the Advanced Course held by the Henry's Paragliding School.
Q. I am afraid of heights, how can I fly?
A. It is normal to be afraid of heights, all our Paragliding Pilots are! This Sport however, unlike sky diving, is done gradually, so as to dispel your fear as you gain confidence in your flying abilities.
You start off, for instance, by playing with the Paraglider on a flat land, with hardly any possibility of lifting your feet off the ground. As you gain confidence, your Instructor will send you only a few feet off the ground, then a few metres, a few dozen metresà
Q. Can I give it a try and occasionally have a flight to impress my friends ?
A. Then, please do not take up Paragliding! This Sport, like many others, needs quite a commitment from you. If you do not fly regularly you will get out of touch with the Sport and your flying will become dangerous. Start this hobby only if you love to fly.
Enrico's most recurrent dream was of lifting up in mid-air, without the use of any complicated machine. Such dreaming stopped once he did it for real, jumping for the first time down a mountain 500 metres high with his hang-glider!
Q. What is the difference between a Hang-glider and a Paraglider?
A. A Hang-glider is a faster flying machine, requiring more skill and space for landing.
A Paraglider is easier to master and to land and it can be packed up into a medium size backpack. Both can glide very well and make good use of winds and thermals for long flights.