paragliding training center
Southwest Airsports operates throughout the year. We are closed for most major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, & Easter) but that can change as the need arises.
All gliders are inspected annually per manufacturers' recommendations. Lines are replaced as needed and porosity tests are done. Gliders not meeting specifications are either repaired, if possible, or retired.
All harnesses are routinely inspected for damage and repaired or retired, as needed. Back protection is checked for integrity and any deficiencies are repaired or replaced, as needed.
All Helmets are routinely cleaned and inspected for damage and retired, if needed.
All Parachutes are inspected and repacked annually.
All portable radios are checked for proper function and battery charge before each use and re-charged or batteries replaced, as needed.
First aid kits are kept stocked and current on an annual basis or as needed.
Portable windsocks are used at our training site, Evergreen Turf sod farms, to help pilots determine wind direction.
We teach students year 'round when the weather is safe. We have flight school at our shop. Flight instruction takes place at the sod farms. All P3 and higher students must learn to launch from a mountain site e.g. Agave Hill. There are plenty of flying sites in our region. The closer sites are Anapra Mesa, the East Potrillo Mountains, and Magdalena Rim (a sensitive site) open by invitation only.
We accept cash, check, or credit card. Payments by credit card will have a small transaction fee added (2.8%) – the fee charged by our clearing house.
Southwest Airsports, LLC is a Texas limited liability corporation which is owned by Had & Marilyn Robinson. HQ (our shop) is located at 5134 Thornton St. El Paso, TX 79932 U.S.A.
Before the beginning of training, all students must pay the required tuition in full.
All students must join USHPA or USPPA, respectively. The only exception is for those taking the "Discovery Day Lesson". Memberships in these organizations can be done over the Internet at our shop (preferred) or via paper. Both USPPA and USHPA membership applications have a waiver that must be signed and returned to the respective organization.
All student pilots must carefully read and sign the Southwest Airsports injury waiver and declaration of fitness at our shop. If the student cannot agree to the terms of the waiver, he must return it unsigned to the instructor and any tuition paid will be refunded.
A log sheet for each student will be created that has the student's name, type of instruction (P1, P2, tandem, etc.) his weight, emergency contact, a task list for his respective level of training, and times/dates/tasks of his flights. This sheet will be in the possession of the school but the student will complete it after each day of training with the instructor's help. The log will keep track of the student's progress and the expectations necessary for completion of the particular course. We have a flight log in the Excel format that can be emailed to pilots. Contact us to get it.
If you are training via tandem, please go to our tandem operations page. All others, please continue reading through this section.
All non-tandem students must watch the (25) minute instructional video for PG or PPG training, respectively.
All students will be fitted with the proper sized helmet and harness.
Discovery Flight students will be briefed on the basics of safely flying a paraglider. Afterwards, they will spend some time in our simulator getting familiar with the look and feel of flying a paraglider.
All other students (except tandem students) will complete the first (3) sections of paraglider flight school. This includes instruction on forward launching a paraglider, basic flight skills, and the equipment used. If they have not already, students need to watch the series of short PG training videos on our webpage. After this, they will spend time in the simulator. When the student(s) are ready, we head out to the sod farms to fly.
All training at the sod farms is 100% dependent on weather and wind conditions. This is the high desert and the weather can be unpredictable.
In order for us to safely train, base winds can be from any direction but with no gusting. For tandem flights, the base wind must be less than 8 mph with no gusting. For Discovery Flights and P1 students, wind speed must be below 6 mph with no gusting. For P2 trainees wind speed must be less than 12 mph. For P3 and above trainees, wind speed must be less than 15 mph. Because of the topography, gusting at the sod farms indicates thermic conditions or atmospheric turbulence that may be much stronger right off the surface so we discourage training if it is present even though it is permissible to a limited amount for P2 and above trainees. This is the high altitude desert so we need to be extra careful concerning conditions at launch.
Students (non-tandem) will be introduced to the function of the winch and how it works.
We have a question and answer session after flying for the day. Each student has a flight log that we keep on a clip-board. This flight
log has a checklist of all the necessary demonstrated skills that they must complete to finish their training as well as a place for daily flight
logging. We start off their logging and then allow them to do the logging after their first day. This gets them in the practice of logging
flights (a great idea).