Paragliders have been flown on every continent on earth (although soaring an ice pressure ridge in Antarctica is strictly for a limited number of enthusiasts!).

The great majority of paragliding involves launching from a hill or mountain, some otherwise suitable sites are not available either because they cannot be accessed, or there are no suitable launch or landing areas, or they are privately owned, and it has not been possible to get permission. Some are within areas of controlled airspace. Happily, this leaves a large number of suitable sites where we can fly, and some of the best and most accessible are very popular.

When you are an experienced pilot and can make a good site assessment yourself, you can pioneer new places to fly, and this is one of the joys and challenges of being a pilot.  For new flyers the best option is to take advantage of the work done by existing club members and pilots and fly on “known” sites. 

In the UK, each area has a club that has checked out the possible flying venues, and will often publish a guide, including any regulations, restrictions or hazards to watch out for.

 You cannot simply launch from any slope, sadly a number of flying sites have been lost by the thoughtless actions of individuals who did not check the local agreements in place, often the result of many years of patient negotiations by the club.

One of the rewards of the sport is that we often fly in very beautiful locations, and discover places that are seldom visited.

Your region will have such a club, and whether it is a coastal cliff, a small hill or a mountain site, other pilots will probably have tried to fly there already.  Even 30ft high dunes can be flown in the right conditions, but if you do live somewhere that is a bit flat, you may find that the best way into the air is to be towed aloft by a winch.

Towing is a club activity; you will require a launch marshal/signaller and a winch operator.

You can find more information on towing in Part 1 of this resource, or there is a list of BHPA schools on the BHPA website.

If you want to fly independently and there are no suitable sites nearby you can still use a motor to get airborne.

More information on paramotoring can be found in Part 1 of this resource, or there is a list of BHPA schools on the BHPA website.

If you live in a city, or somewhere with no local sites, then you will have to travel.

If the weather is poor for flying (as it often is in the UK in winter) the best chance of flying might be to travel to somewhere with a more flyable sites and consistent weather. 

Many British student pilots choose to learn overseas, and many experienced pilots also choose holidays in warmer or more mountainous countries.

The illustration below shows the approximate locations of the major areas of free-flying sites in the UK. There are other sites and clubs, particularly in Scotland.

The local clubs will publish guides to all their usual sites.