Award Winning Instruction
Dixon White's DVD Training Series
Become A Paraglider Pilot
Most students are Novice rated in 8-10 days. After certification you're an Eagle student for life. Benefits include continuing education, and priority invitations to our world class tours. Find out what it takes to be a Paraglider Pilot.
The Art of Paragliding
Meet the Eaglets
We have been busy instructing a brand New Flock of Eaglets. Meet the new and continuing Eagle Pilots. Watch them go from the training hill to the mountains for their first high flights, and join Eagle on Paragliding Tours and Paragliding Clinics around the world.
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Eagle lands on the Indy cover
One Sunday afternoon in April I stood in the parking area of the paragliding training hill at Elings Park and gazed at the calm Pacific waters lapping onto the shores of Arroyo Burro Beach... Read the full story here!
Choosing a paragliding school
Eagle Paragliding has the most exceptional staff of Paragliding Instructors in the United States. It’s actually not very difficult to become a paragliding instructor. You only need an Intermediate Rating and 200 logged flying days, 300 flights, and participation in two clinics, before attending an Instructor Training Clinic. Our staff backs up these ratings and credentials with experience.
How did we get such an unbelievable group of pilots who instruct with our school? Birds of feather flock together, and we all share a passion for teaching students in a variety of locations. When you look at the instructors on our staff you find the knowledge and experience which comes from years of flying in locations all over the world. Our staff is made up of some of the nation's top ranked cross country pilots, and the best maneuvers instruction available. The experience of our mountain tandem instructors makes a big difference for those wanting instructional Tandem Flights. You will find state distance record holders, and champions leading Eagle in our Paragliding Tours and Paragliding Clinics. These pilots have been there and gained knowledge through years of real world experience. We enjoy sharing this knowledge with all of our students, and helping each of them to realize their personal goals.
Eagle Paragliding has been training new and current paragliding students in Santa Barbara California for over a decade. Eagle was the first sister school chosen by American paragliding icon Dixon White (the first USHGA Instructor of the Year award recipient), and his world renowned Airplay Paragliding School. Dixon began working with Eagle in 1998 and the two schools merged in 2006.
Eagle Paragliding is recognized as the student pilot and advanced pilots best choice for all levels of paragliding training in the United States, and Paragliding Tours all over the world. Eagle owner/instructor Rob Sporrer earned Instructor of the year honors in 2002. Paragliding Articles about the Eagle and Airplay training program have appeared in the New York Times, Air and Space Magazine, the cover of the Santa Barbara Independent, and many other periodicals and film productions. We have received Paragliding Awards from our governing body, and Paragliding Testimonials from pilots all over the world. Our ongoing support of our alumni is unparalleled.
Our programs have become the standards in the paragliding industry and the basis for the leading training manual, "The Art of Paragliding" and the Paraglider DVD Training Series, "Starting Paragliding", "Weather to Fly", "The Art of Kiting", "Paraglider Towing" and "Lifting Air".
How many hours of training are included in your daily lesson? Be sure to get your the most out of the time you have set aside for your paragliding training.
Eagle instructors and students are the first to arrive, and the last to leave at our training hill. The kiting and flying during your training day will continue if we both agree it’s appropriate. You end up getting more bang for your buck with Eagle. We operate as paragliding instructors full time seven days a week. Our passion is flying, and we feel blessed to have the privilege of sharing this amazing sport with people who dream to fly.
We respect the time and money you spend on your training. We value your opinion, and feel we can make the decision together regarding the duration of your daily lesson. Our plan is to train all day unless the weather conditions become unfavorable. We will fly until sunset if the conditions are good and you are physically and mentally fit. The weather is ever changing and we often choose to make use of the excellent conditions offered at the training hill in the late afternoons and early evenings.
We respect your ability to be an adult and make the decision if you wish to continue flying all day. Once you have a handle on the launching we want to maximize your training and get you as much flying and experience as possible. Everyone is different. Some people may be physically or mentally exhausted in a shorter amount of time than others. Other student pilots will have the energy and focus to go all day long, and we will continue if we both feel it's appropriate.
We offer a flexible training aimed to work with your schedule. Some pilots train only on weekends, while some visit on week days. New Students come from all over the world spending 8-10 consecutive days or earning their rating. We can accommodate anyone's schedule, and truly respect your time.
Before you sign on with a school be sure the get information from real pilots about the long term relationship and support they have received their Novice Paraglider Rating. We pride ourselves on being there for our ongoing and graduated students. We have a large staff of Paragliding Instructors which gives our students and alumni the choice to be at the training hill, or any of our mountain flying locations on flyable days. You will get plenty of mountain and ridge flying opportunities with us. High flights are a necessary step if you wish to progress and stay current with your skills. Choose a school that will get you in the mountains after you have put in the necessary time at the training hill. We let our students pick the rate of progression, and we are there to keep you in check if you get ahead of yourself. You are in charge of the pace of your progress, and you are always the pilot in command. You will get the continued support you deserve as a student well after you have received your novice rating with Eagle Paragliding. The best thing to do is visit the training hill and talk to pilots about the unparalleled continuing education offered by Eagle.
We also help instructors who want to teach through Paragliding Apprenticeship Programs. We are the instructor's instructor, and have been chosen to administrate Paragliding Instructor Clinics as well as Tandem Instructor Clinics by our national organization USHPA. We are the place other schools or instructors come when they are looking for guidance.
Schools that operate year round provide advantages to students and alumni. You can bet the training location has consistent conditions if the school is open 12 months a year. This will allow you to maximize the time you have set aside for your Paragliding Certification. Full time programs offer training to fit your time schedule. These schools are able to be everywhere at once for there students. Eagle Paragliding can have staff spread all over the world on any given day helping students and pilots grow at our training hill, in the mountains or at the ridge, at the lake doing a Maneuvers Clinic, or flying somewhere in the world on one of our many Paragliding Tours.
You will realize traveling to Santa Barbara to train with Eagle Paragliding is worth it when you look at the experience of our Paragliding Instructors, and see how much can flying and kiting can be accomplished at Elings Flight Park.
We have the best training facility in the United States. We operate year round at Elings Flight Park. Eagle has been teaching at Elings for over a decade. Our hill offers an excellent opportunity for students to work on their Kiting skills. Kiting is the control we develop of the paraglider while we are still on the ground, and this becomes the foundation for your launching skills. The flight park offers a grassy area on top of the hill to work on perfecting our technique.
The flying part is actually the easy bit when compared to the kiting. The 240 foot flight from the top of the training hill allows the pilot to make a few turns and practice spot landing on a target. The turn around is quick as we pick you up at the bottom of the hill and shuttle you back up to the top for another flight. Student pilots execute many launches and landings at Elings Flight Park. We are lucky to have such a wonderful facility, which allows us to engineer the environment to get students flying solo their first day of training.
We pride ourselves on being full service. We go the extra mile for everybody in our sport, and do all the little things that matter. You will see the Eagle team spreading wings on the mountain and helping in any way you can no matter who you are or where you trained. We have received Testimonials from pilots in and out of our program who have noticed our effort to be there whenever help is needed. We often find veteran pilots wanting to reward us buy purchasing their next wing from us even if they didn't originally come through our program. They wish to reward us for going the distance for them and helping them achieve their paragliding goals. We encourage our Eaglets to leave the nest and get with other great instructors all over the world as well. One of the fun things about this sport is the learning never ends. There won't be any self service while the Eagle crew is around. We are full service all the time.
Does the school you are considering offer more than one brand of wing? Some schools list many brands on their web site to make it seem like they offer a variety of products. When it comes down to wing selection they push hard for you to purchase a certain brand. We encourage you to follow the advice of your instructor when purchasing gear instead of buying it from an unknown source. Read our ideas on Suggested Paragliding Equipment to get answers. Some schools push one brand since they get a better margin on a particular brand. While this may be best for their bank account it may not be the best wing you can get for the money. Be sure to read the information we have put together on Paragliding Equipment Deals.
Every student pilot is different, and often times the weight range on one brand of glider doesn't fit your ideal hook in weight. Schools offering many brands put the student on the wing within the right weight window for your Takeoff Weight, Which gives you the best wing loading. These factors contribute to the gliders security, performance, and handling.
Eagle is one of the biggest importers of Paragliding Equipment and Products in the United States. Eagle was approached by current Paragliding World Champion Airwave to become the exclusive US importer after meeting the Eagle Paragliding team at the Rat Race Paragliding competition. Eagle also imports former paragliding world champion UP, in addition to the Niviuk, and Windtech brands. They supply dealers, customers, and students with the biggest selection of paragliding products in the United States.
Eagle Paragliding's dealer network is made up of some of the best paragliding schools in the United States. We can recommend the best schools if you are looking to begin paragliding lessons, or try a tandem flight. Email us your zip code or city, and we will make recommendations on schools in your area. Be sure to ask our advice if you're traveling overseas as well and need guidance. We encourage you to get with the local guides and instructors wherever your travels take you, and we are the best source for connecting you with the quality schools and people.
Students considering any paragliding lesson need to assume they may enjoy paragliding so much that they decide to sign up for the Novice Paragliding Training Program. Before you sign up for an Introductory Lesson, do your homework when choosing the school you will train with. Try to research all the suggestions made on this page, and avoid choosing a school because they are close to home, or they offer some sort of special discounted equipment package. Get a clear understanding everything you will need and what you are getting with a special price package. You need to do your homework and check to be sure all the necessary items are included in the package offered to be sure it's a good deal. Be careful when upgrades are offered for additional cost, or they offer to sell the equipment without lessons included.
Realize how important getting the best instruction available is to your future in the sport.
Eagle Paragliding offers Discounted Paragliding Packages with every piece of equipment you will need for a basic set up. Our upgrade options to students who commit to purchasing complete basic equipment set up by day three of their training is an across the board discount. This means the more gear you purchase the bigger the discount. These packages are a good idea for students who are 100% certain they wish to continue with the sport. You will save money by taking advantage of these legitimate packages offered by Eagle Paragliding, which can be purchased before you start your third day of lessons.
Everybody wants high quality equipment at the best price possible. Student pilots should not choose to sign up with a school because of the equipment package deals offered unless they are certain the package offered is legitimate, and that the school is going to be there for them after the check is in the bank. Any reputable school should offer you a discount if you are willing to purchase your equipment by day three of your lessons. Schools with a reputation for giving high quality instruction, and more importantly continued instruction and support should be the school you choose. These schools don’t play the low ball pricing game to get your business. These schools get business through word of mouth from pilots who fly in the community. Ask most any pilot landing after a flight in Santa Barbara and beyond whom they recommend for instruction in our area and they will send you to Eagle Paragliding.
We have had to train a handful of paragliding orphans who had a hard time getting phone calls returned or lessons and high flights scheduled with their instructor after the school had cashed their check for the equipment they purchased and signed off their rating.
It’s a good idea to travel to get with a school that has a good reputation instead of choosing a local school with not much of a track record. Choosing a school which has a large staff means you have many people who have to answer to your requests and needs as a student. Sometimes signing up with a school run solely by one person means you have less accountability if things go south.
There are a couple of things we see with these special combo packages other schools offer that don’t add up. You shouldn't even think about buying a package that does not include a reserve parachute and a 2-meter radio. It's deceiving when you see a very basic set up at a low price which does not include all the basic equipment you will need. The school selling you this basic package will end up selling you more gear which is absolutely necessary at full price before you ever get signed off or get a high flight from the mountains. Why wouldn't this gear be included in the super duper special combo package? They offer a low price on a set up which is not complete, and you will end up purchasing more gear to complete your set up.
The most basic equipment package you will want as a paraglider pilot includes:
This is the basic start up package offered by Eagle Paragliding. We offer packages with additional equipment at a discount to pilots who want to save when purchasing before day three of their Novice Training. If you find a special deal online that does not include any of the above items you need to realize you will be spending money on additional items before you fly from the mountains.
It’s also concerning when you see a flight package for the equipment only. How is someone getting in the sport going to be safe without getting instruction? The only schools who make such offers would be attempting to poach other schools students. These unethical marketing tactics often lure students looking for a deal, and take a deserving sale away from an instructor who put the time and energy into teaching the student. There is an unwritten code that a school will not sell gear to a brand new student training with another school. Schools who don’t respect other instructor's new students should be avoided. They are likely not going to care much about you after you purchase your equipment if they don't respect their peers in the paragliding industry.
The other red flag you need to look for with special combo packages is the upgrade opportunity. You shouldn’t need to upgrade anything if you are buying a complete basic paragliding package that is right for you. When you see upgrade opportunities realize the wing offered in the original package is likely the most basic wing the manufacturer produces. It is likely you will outgrow this wing in 6 to 18 months if your instructors are getting you the type of continued education you deserve. The truth is you should purchase one of the wings you find in the upgrade category as your first glider.
Does the school offering the super special deal offer more than one brand of paragliding wing with the package, or are they only offering one brand? Every student pilot is different, and often times the weight range on one brand of glider doesn't fit your ideal takeoff weight. Schools offering many brands put the student on the wing with the right weight window for your particular takeoff weight, and the right performance and security.
The moral of the story is that you owe it to yourself to do your homework before you choose a school or buy paragliding equipment. Realize that the quality of instruction you receive should be the most important criteria when choosing a school. You are going to get a competitive price with any school who offers a legitimate discount package. You end up paying in the end with the service and support you receive if you choose a school who you think is selling you gear at the best price on the internet.
Some new students don’t do their homework. They find themselves at the end of their training having paid the same price for their equipment they would have some place else which offers high quality instruction without the gimmicks. The real loss to these students is the lack of support and service as they continue as pilots.
Eagle Paragliding offers award winning instruction that is unparalleled. We have never had a single student leave our school to finish with another school. We continue to have orphaned pilots finish their training with us. Unfortunately, these students begin asking questions and do research on the best places to learn after they had started someplace else. We take these students on and train them regardless if they have already purchased their equipment from the other school. We are committed to making students the best pilots they can be.
We provide opportunities for continuing education which goes above and beyond the basics. We have the experience, resources, and staff which allows us to be in many places at one time. This gives our students opportunities which are not available elsewhere. We can be at the training hill with newer students, and several locations in the South Coast Mountains at the same time. We are the only school with five to seven tandem instructors available in our area.
We are instructor and tandem administrators. We are who the program students, paragliding instructors, authors, film makers, and productions turn to for the latest advice and knowledge. We have the best paragliding pilots in the nation flying on our team in competitions, and traveling with us to educate our students on our tours all over the world.
Please email us or give us a call if you have any questions. We are happy to answer any and all questions you have about paragliding.