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Some heroes wear parachutes. Have a super time with this air activity.

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What to expect

Parascending is an air activity where the pilot (person going up into the air) is towed or winched up into the air attached to a parachute. Don’t get it confused with paragliding (where pilots can be launched from hillsides) or paramotoring (where pilots wear a small motor-driven propeller like a backpack).

The pilot’s attached to the parachute with a harness. The parachute’s canopy is held up to catch the wind, the tow vehicle moves slowly forward and the towline tightens, so the canopy lifts gently into the air. Early flights end with a gentle landing – more experienced pilots may complete a landing roll.

Parascending is fun, adventurous, and a relatively cheap way of trying an air activity. Beginners don’t need any special skills to get a taste of the adventure.

Fun facts

The use of a parachute-type canopy to lift people was first recorded during the first world war. German U-boats used them to lift observers into the air so they could see further than was possible from sea level.

Handy hints

  • Choose supportive footwear. Make sure everyone’s wearing sturdy boots with ankle support for a safe landing. Long sleeves and trousers are important too.
  • Dress for the weather. If you’re lucky enough to parascend on a sunny day, don’t forget your suncream, sunhat, and sunglasses.
  • Layer up. Parascending’s an outdoor sport, so it’s important to stay warm and dry. Two or three layers of clothing are better than one thick jumper.
  • Chat to the BHPA. The British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association (BHPA) has a network of clubs, schools, and providers who can help provide this activity, find your local club using the list on the BHPA website.


You must always:
Be safe outdoors:
  • Check the weather forecast
Preparing for your flying activities:
This activity can be led by you or someone else in Scouts:
  • Acceptable instructor qualifications
    • British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association - Paragliding Instructor
You can go to a centre or use an activity leader who is not part of Scouting:
You must find a suitable provider who meets the following requirements:
  • The centre/instructor should hold one of these:
    • British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association - Paragliding Instructor
  • The provider must have public liability insurance.



Access to airfields

Air Activities Safeguarding Guidance

Air Activities FAQ's


Parascending needed people to be courageous and take a leap of faith. How did people feel before they gave it a go? It’s likely that some people (or maybe even everyone) felt a bit nervous or scared. What sorts of things were people worried about? What helped people to overcome their fears? Perhaps it helped to know how it worked, ask what equipment was there to keep them safe, or watch someone else giving it a go first. Well done to everyone who challenged themselves to try something out of their comfort zone (even if it was just putting the harness on).

  • The British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association also has a disability initiative: Flyability. It promotes opportunities including dual flights and training scholarships for disabled people.
  • Get in touch with your local provider to chat through the needs of people in your group – make sure you give them plenty of notice.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Paragliding’s a more modern version of the sport where the launch takes place off of hillsides – it often involved flying over greater distances. If anyone enjoyed parascending, they may want to try paragliding, parachuting, or sky diving