Information for Tandem Students

Things to know before your first hang gliding or paragliding tandem flight.

USHPA works to further free flight in the United States and provides training and certification programs for pilots. In accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Tandem Exemption #4721, we are required to provide FAA instructional materials to everyone taking a hang gliding or paragliding tandem flight.

Please review the information below, and contact your instructor with any questions. 

Important Resources

Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 103

Hang glider and paraglider operations in the United States are governed by Federal Aviation Regulation Part 103  for ultralight vehicles.

According to FAR part 103, ultralight vehicles, including hang gliders and paragliders, are not required to meet FAA airworthiness certification standards (although manufacturers adhere to their own stringent standards). They must be used only for recreation or sport purposes, may only be operated during daylight hours, must yield right-of-way to all aircraft, and must stay at least 500 feet or further from clouds at all times. Please click the link to FAR part 103 above for the full list of restrictions and requirements.

Tandem Exemption

Another primary restriction of FAR part 103 is that ultralights can only be flown with a single occupant. To allow tandem flights, the USHPA has obtained Exemption 4721 from the FAA for tandem operations.

The exemption states that all tandem flights must be for training purposes only. This makes you a student pilot! In your flight training, whether it be just one flight or the beginning of a long hang gliding or paragliding career, the FAA requires that you understand certain information provided in FAA flight manuals. These materials are freely available online for review. Please read it prior to your lesson, and ask your instructor any questions you have before your flight.

FAA Handbooks for Pilots

All pilots are encouraged to review the following FAA manuals, the FAA Pilot's Handbook and the Powered Parachute Handbook. The FAA maintains these instructional materials as free online resources to provide essential information for all pilots, and content from both manuals is integrated into USHPA’s pilot training program as applicable.

FAA Pilot's Handbook
 - View Here
Chapters to review:
2: Aeronautical Decision-Making
4: Principles of Flight
12: Weather Theory
15: Airspace
17: Aeromedical Factors

Powered Parachute Handbook - View Here Chapters to review: 
1: Introduction to the Powered Parachute
8: Airspace Classification and Requirements

Ground School Training Manual

As a student member of USHPA, you are provided access to the Free Flight Pilot Ground School Training Manual (FAA materials consolidated in this document).