How to Become an Instructor

Instructors are vital to the future of the sports of hang gliding and paragliding, and USHPA has designed an instructor certification process to help pilots become instructors.

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If you are interested in becoming an instructor, here's a brief description of the certification process that can help you become a Basic Instructor (solo) or a Tandem Instructor. If you have any questions about this process, please refer to the Instructor FAQ or contact an Instructor or Tandem Administrator (click the appropriate appointment in the Appointment Types list or refer to the list at the end of this article). Administrators are responsible for running the certification process and they will be able to answer any questions you may have about it.

Step 1

Verify that you meet the experience requirements.

To become a Basic Instructor: Intermediate or higher rating, plus for paraglider pilots a minimum of 200 flying days and 300 flights and completion of a reserve clinic and two additional clinics from the following list: Thermal/X-C, Ridge Soaring, Tandem, and Towing.

To become a Tandem Instructor: Advanced rating, Turbulence sign-off, AND minimum 200 hours of logged air time OR 100 hours with 500 flights of at least 500 ft. vertical descent OR 100 hours with 500 flights of 2 minutes duration or longer.

Step 2

Obtain a Standard First Aid+CPR proof-of-completion card by taking a first aid+CPR class with in-person instruction. Any first aid+CPR class certified by the Red Cross or American Heart Association and which includes a classroom training component satisfies this requirement.

Step 3

Complete an FOI (Fundamentals of Instructing) test which can be administered by a USHPA Instructor Administrator or a USHPA Tandem Administrator or any FAA authorized testing center.

Step 4

For Basic Instructor candidates: Contact an Instructor Administrator to schedule a three-phase ITP (Instructor Training Seminar, apprenticeship, Instructor Evaluation).

For Tandem Instructor candidates: Contact a Tandem Administrator to schedule a Tandem Clinic and perform a minimum of 25 flights with a current Tandem Instructor (T3) prior to taking the Tandem Instructor exam.