Cloudbase Paragliding is steeped in flying history. Originally started in 1989, the name was resurrected by Lee and Fi in 2009 when their new BHPA (British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association), school was created in Wiltshire.
Training on the gentle green slopes of Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset and Berkshire, with occasional day trips further afield to Wales and the coast, the school also trains on the winch, most often from a huge, grass airfield near Cirencester.
We also fly many people on the tandem for both training and air experience and we have flown TV presenters, children as young as 10 and all ages up to a sprightly 85 year old!
Cloudbase means, literally, the lowest visible point of the clouds and the aim of all paragliders is to use wind and thermals to take us up there and beyond, staying afloat by clever use of the wind blowing up over the hills and the rising air of the thermals. As the weather in England can be wet or too windy or simply unpredictable, Cloudbase has been taking aspiring pilots overseas to beautiful destinations like Slovenia, Greece, Italy, Austria, Lanzarote, Spain and Colombia, in search of bigger hills and mountains and, our favourite thing, thermals, those wonderful rising bubbles of air that take us high up in the sky and far away.
In 2017, we moved into a permanent base at Redlands Airfield, so we now have a lovely big classroom with space for servicing paragliders and parachutes as well as room for flying equipment for sale. Come and visit us soon – just call beforehand to check we are there and not out flying though!
The road to the first significant paragliding qualification, the Club Pilot, can be short in terms of training days – as little as 4 or 5 good days for someone who can be flexible with availability to catch the right weather conditions. Cloudbase aims to be out flying whenever it is flyable and we take advantage of balmy summer evenings and early morning weather windows, sometimes with only one or 2 students. At any time there is an absolute maximum of 6 students per instructor.
Our particular focus is ensuring each student at any stage of training receives the personal attention they need to progress quickly yet safely through the BHPA syllabus to become a fully fledged pilot. We also offer refresher training and mentoring for lapsed pilots and those who need a little more confidence to fly alone.