Getting started

Finding Out More

The best way to find out if the sport is for you is to come out with us on any weekend when we are flying and you will see what it is really like. We will be happy to answer your questions and you will be able to see the range of hang gliders and paragliders that are suitable for beginners through to the very experienced.

On a good day you will also see what makes hang gliding and paragliding so addictive - imagine for example floating along high above the cliffs at Magilligan, with nothing but the sound of a gentle breeze, a waterfall or two far below, and the view from that vantage point taking in Donegal and Lough Foyle, the north coast beaches of Magilligan, Castlerock, Portstewart and Portrush to the distant Fair Head and Knocklayde near Ballycastle. Looking behind you, you can usually see to Slemish Mountain and beyond to the Southeast, with the Sperrins to the Southwest.

Still interested? Good. Since most of our flying is done at weekends the thing to do is to ring the contact shown below around 10.00am any Saturday or Sunday morning to find out where the flying is likely to be taking place that day, and for directions if needed. Depending on where you live, you might be able to get a lift out with one of us on the day and gain the advantage of finding out more during the journey there and back. A map showing our most used sites is enclosed to help you get your bearings. The site in use on any particular day depends entirely on the wind direction on that day. If it is blowing a gale, foggy or raining persistently there will be no flying.

Hang Gliding & Paragliding

It has to be said that hang gliding and paragliding are dangerous sports. When you leave the ground on a hang glider or paraglider you are a pilot flying solo in an aircraft. If you do not know how to control it, or think you know but don't act quickly enough or correctly, or don't know how to assess whether the conditions or the site are safe and suitable, you cannot stop in mid-air to think out your next move and - you will crash!! It is vital for your own safety therefore that all your early flying is done under the supervision of a recognised school or coaching club.


Learning to Fly

The UHPC is a member club of the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (BHPA) which is the controlling body for the two sports within the United Kingdom. The BHPA has a network of regulated schools to ensure that those wishing to learn to fly can receive proper training in a structured programme to enable them to progress safely to a basic level of proficiency, and on to advanced and competition level if desired, through a graded system of pilot certification. BHPA pilot ratings are recognised world wide, and would usually be needed to prove ability before being allowed to fly sites in other countries, or on UK sites where you are not known to the local pilots. The BHPA also regulates airworthiness of gliders.

The good news is that there are BHPA approved paragliding schools in Northern Ireland and now BHPA approved schools who run training trips abroad and some that are based abroad. The benefit of going abroad is the more dependable weather. There is one hang gliding school currently active in Northern Ireland. The BHPA has a list of schools on the GB mainland - see

See learning to fly on the links page. But best of all come and talk to us on the hill.

Club Meetings
These are held on an ad hoc basis throughout the year. These vary from structured theory sessions on various aspects such as aerodynamics, glider inspection and maintenance, meteorology, ridge soaring, top landing, thermal and cross-country flying etc. to quiz and video nights. We usually hire a sports hall several times each year to practise reserve parachute deployment and repacking. All members and potential members are welcome at any of the meetings - it can be a good way to get to know people and find out more about your chosen sport.
Competitions & Social Events
During the year the Club organises a few flying competitions and social events such as barbecues after a day's flying, and there is always the annual `Christmas' dinner - usually held in February or March!! We also make fairly regular trips to fly with our friends in the South of Ireland and in Scotland, and groups of members have flown in France, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Turkey, Siberia, South Africa, Nepal, Brazil and California. Details of events and Club meetings, along with news, technical and topical items are circulated to members in our regular newsletter.
UHPC Membership
If you wish to join the UHPC, please fill in this form and send it, along with a cheque or postal order (made payable to the UHPC) for the appropriate membership fee to the Treasurer at the address shown on the form. Membership runs from 1st April to 31st March of the following year. The current full annual membership fee is £12, but if you join after April you pay £1 less per month to the following 31 March. You do not have to be a pilot to be a member, but if you intend to fly you must be a current member of the BHPA which provides the necessary third party insurance cover. There is no need to follow this up just yet if you are not sure if our form of flying is for you. They do however produce an excellent monthly colour magazine for members, as well as many other services. Visiting pilots can join as temporary members for a nominal £5 including a full sites guide.
.... and Finally
If you do decide to come out and see us flying, please remember that without the goodwill and co-operation of the farmers from whose land we fly, the two sports could not take place at all. So please do not climb over wire. Please use gates (making sure that you leave them in the position you find them, i.e. you find it open leave it open, if you find it closed close it when you have used it), use stiles where provided, leave your pets at home, and take all your litter away with you - in other words obey the Country Code and you will be helping us.
Hope to see you on the hill soon. In the meantime feel free to ring any of us for a chat. To see our club contacts click here.
Main flying sites at Benbradagh & Boviel, Dungiven (W & SW winds); Agnew’s Hill & Shane’s Hill (near Larne - E & SE winds); Big Collin, Ballyclare (S winds); Magilligan (near Castlerock - N & NW winds); Carmeen, near Mayobridge (NW & N winds); Lough Navar, Enniskillen (N winds).

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