Paragliding has improved during the past ten years, making it more accessible to a wider range of people. As it gets even safer, individuals of all ages and backgrounds are participating in this thrilling sport. While the idea of paragliding continues to draw interest, the value of paragliding schools has emerged, and requirements for high safety at reputable paragliding institutes have grown.
The quickest and easiest way to become certified to paraglide is through Verbier Summits Paragliding School. The institute is the only BHPA school that is also overseen by The Federal Office of Civil Aviation(in French: L’Office fédéral de l’aviation civile) (OFAC), in contrast to every other BHPA school in the world. This means more rules, but the highest level of security is implemented.
First ever Flight
The Verbier Summits Paragliding School was founded in 2003 by Mike and Stuart Belbas, identical twins. Thousands of students from all over the world are trained at one of the top Free Flight schools in the world. With its base in the breathtaking Swiss Alps, Verbier Summits has access to top-notch terrain and conditions for training pilots, regardless of their level of experience.
The vision of Verbier Summits is to develop the best training possible in a top-notch environment. In Verbier, students from all over the world come to learn paragliding. Verbier Summits Paragliding School strives to uphold the high standard of instruction that has earned it international acclaim while continuing to prepare pilots to adapt to flying in various environments and weather conditions.
Various Programs and Careers Opportunities
The Paragliding School at Verbier Summits has grown to offer a variety of courses on various glider models. The institute offers commercial pilot license training in addition to advanced courses like thermal and cross-country flying.
A majority of college students who take up paragliding do so as a recreational activity; however, a select number turn it into a career. These types of advanced courses are also taught at Verbier-Summits, where graduates can pursue jobs as test pilots, instructors of courses, or glider designers.
Distinguishing Factors and Campus
Verbier Summits is the only school in the Alps with BHPA accreditation. With FSVL and BHPA accreditation, the school can offer courses for all kinds of pilots. Since the courses are taught in English, many international pilots find it appealing. Due to the diverse conditions involved in high mountain flying, pilots who train in the Alps are equipped to fly practically anywhere.
The majority of the flying lessons at Verbier Summits are inside, and lodging is offered in a recently constructed lodge. Private rooms are offered alongside shared kitchens and common areas, making it a very social environment. Without regard to age or location, the institute accepts students from anywhere.
Bills gates and Bear Grylls were impressed by Verbier’s services and quoted:
“Thank you for looking after my kids”
– Bill Gates
“What an amazing place…thanks Stu for all the great advice.”
– Bear Grylls
Essential Skills and Qualifications
Paragliding is primarily a leisure aviation activity known as free flight. As with all aspects of aviation, having strong hand-eye coordination and a grasp of the weather are essential. Due to the fact that the gliders are not powered, which means that they cannot be flown in all weather conditions, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of winds and weather. In addition to teaching students how to fly their gliders, instruction also covers other topics including air law and aerodynamics as well as weather theory.
Verbier Summits flying qualifications include:
- FSVL & OFAC Instructor and Instructor Trainer (highest instructor qualification in the world).
- FSVL and OFAC Tandem Instructor.
- FSVL Tandem Pilot.
- FSVL Hang-glider Pilot.
- BHPA Senior Instructor.
- PPL (Private Pilots License)
Fly in the Mountains
The Verbier Summits guiding service is very extensive, and the institute employs guides who fly along while continuously monitoring and instructing over the radio. This is coaching as well as directing. The institute makes use of the best flying conditions in all of Europe statistically. The institute provides the most airtime possible, approximately 300 flyable days per year, and top-to-bottom heights of up to 1700 meters.
For high-altitude training, Verbier Summits also offers glacier launches as part of their training scheme, with drops to local summits by helicopter.
Founders’ Love for Flying
The institute’s originator and primary instructors, Mike and Stuart Belbas, are well-known in the industry for their commitment to its development. They were just 17 years old when they began their RAF flight training and received the PPL. The duo has been flying hang gliders and paragliders for more than 25 years. During that time, they worked as test pilots and stunt pilots, and have earned a reputation as industry leaders. After that, they continued to fly fixed-wing planes before discovering their true love for aviation: free flight.
Their true love, however, is encouraging people to learn to fly, which is why they founded Verbier Summits to provide the best flight instruction available. When asked about a piece of advice for students seeking a career in the aviation industry, Stuart Belbas states;
“Fly, fly, fly. The only way to become a professional pilot is to be an exceptional one and the only way to do that is to spend as much time in the air as possible. Once a pilot truly becomes proficient, a career becomes possible.”