Home > Topical issues > Paragliding

Safety Guidance on Paragliding Activities

Introduction

  • Paragliding is a sport and recreational activity. However, similar to other outdoor activities, it also carries inherent safety risk. Improper practices can put you and others at risk of serious injury or even death. It is therefore of paramount importance that both beginners and experienced paraglider pilots recognise the risks and take appropriate safety measures to ensure that the paragliding activities are conducted in a safe manner.

  • Article 48 of the Air Navigation (Hong Kong) Order 1995 (Cap. 448C of the Laws of Hong Kong) stipulates that a person shall not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft (which includes paragliders) to endanger any person or property. Paraglider pilots shall observe this regulation and operate the paraglider in a safe manner at all times. Any person who contravenes with this regulation is subject to prosecution.

  • The Air Transport (Licensing of Air Services) Regulations (Cap. 448A of the Laws of Hong Kong) stipulate, inter alia, that a person must not use any aircraft (which includes paragliders) for the provision in Hong Kong of any air service except under, and in accordance with the conditions of, a permit granted by the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). In other words, any offer of air service performed by paragliders for hire or reward in Hong Kong without a permit granted by the DGCA would be in contravention of the relevant provision in Cap. 448A. (See section below on Permit Application for Paragliding Activities for Hire or Reward).

The following are the general safety guidelines on paragliding activities:

  1. Operating conditions

    • Paragliding activities shall only be conducted during daylight hours and in visual meteorological conditions. Paraglider pilots must remain clear of clouds and in sight of the ground at all times.
  2. Paragliding sites and operating altitudes

    • The limited airspace in the Control Zones (CTR Zones) and Uncontrolled Airspace Reporting Areas (UCARAs) of Hong Kong is shared among all local airspace users, such as helicopters and light aeroplane.

      The CAD notes that paragliding activities are frequently carried out during daylight hours in the following eight areas of CTR Zones and UCARAs. To notify other local airspace users of the possible paragliding activities therein, these areas, including the designated site boundaries and operating altitudes, are published in Section ENR 5.5 of the Hong Kong Aeronautical Information Publication (HKAIP) (https://www.ais.gov.hk/eaip_20200521/VH-history-en-US.html).

      • (i) Long Ke Wan
      • (ii) Pak Tam Au
      • (iii) Pat Sin
      • (iv) Ma On Shan
      • (v) Sai Wan
      • (vi) Shek O
      • (vii) South Lantau East
      • (viii) South Lantau West

      Paraglider pilots are advised to keep their paragliding activities within these areas to ensure safety.

    • Paraglider pilots shall also avoid paragliding activities over or land on any bathing beaches/or land on any private premises without permission from the landowners.
  3. Before the flight, paraglider pilots are advised to:

    • Ensure that they are appropriately qualified, competent and fit to conduct the paragliding activity.
    • Ensure that they hold adequate insurance coverage, particularly third party insurance coverage, for the activity.
    • Be familiar with the site particulars, including the boundaries of paragliding sites as published on the HKAIP, the suitable take-off/landing areas of the site, and the potential hazards.
    • Conduct a risk assessment, including but not limited to the prevailing site conditions, and understand the risk of the activity.
    • Check the weather condition including weather forecast of the site to ensure it is suitable for the paragliding activity, and verify that there are no applicable weather warnings or approaching inclement weather.
    • Ensure that the paraglider, harness and safety equipment are in good condition with no tears, broken lines, or frayed webbing. Paraglider and harness should be operated within the weight limits of the equipment.
    • Perform a pre-flight check on the equipment before inflating the wing to include but not limited to:-
      • - Harness leg straps are fastened
      • - Wing is connected in the correct orientation
      • - Speed system is attached
      • - Brake lines are not twisted
      • - Reserve parachute pins are secured (if applicable)
  4. During the flight, paraglider pilots are advised to:

    • Maintain a good lookout at all times and avoid collision with other paragliders/aircraft following applicable paragliding rules and internationally-recognised practices.
    • Maintain adequate separation from other paragliders/aircraft taking into account the prevailing weather conditions, their proficiency level and maneuverability of the paraglider.
    • Keep a safe distance from people and property on ground, and ensure that no person and property would be endangered by the paragliding activities.
    • Fly within the limits of their abilities and those of the paraglider equipment.
    • Be cautious of sudden change of weather conditions and land immediately if weather deteriorates.
  5. Tandem paragliding

    • Tandem paragliding entails additional operational considerations and poses additional safety risks. Apart from the additional safety measures that must be taken by the paraglider pilot and/or operator in association with the tandem activity (such as the conduct of a more robust risk assessment of the additional operational and third party (including passengers) risks involved, attainment of appropriate pilot qualification and competency required for such tandem activities, etc.), paraglider pilots shall carry adequate insurance coverage for the passengers for the activity. Paraglider pilots shall also ensure that the passengers are fully aware of the risks involved in the activity.
    • If the tandem paragliding activities may involve hire or reward, please also refer to the legal requirements as highlighted in Paragraph 6.
  6. Paragliding for hire or reward (including instructional flights)

    • The Air Transport (Licensing of Air Services) Regulations (Cap. 448A of the Laws of Hong Kong) stipulate, inter alia, that a person must not use any aircraft (which includes paragliders) for the provision in Hong Kong of any air service except under, and in accordance with the conditions of, a permit granted by the DGCA. In other words, any offer of air service performed by paragliders for hire or reward in Hong Kong without a permit granted by the DGCA would be in contravention of the relevant provision in Cap. 448A.
  7. Remember to:

    • EXERCISE GOOD AIRMANSHIP; AND
    • KEEP YOUR ACTIVITY SAFE.

Permit application for paragliding activities for hire or reward

  • Should any individual or organisation wish to apply for a permit under the Air Transport (Licensing of Air Services) Regulations (Cap. 448A of the Laws of Hong Kong) for the operation of paragliding activities for hire or reward in Hong Kong, they shall submit an application to the CAD. The application form DCA 122B "Application for Permission to Operate Non-Scheduled Services for Hire or Reward (Paragliders)" can be downloaded here.
  • For paragliding activities that are not for hire or reward, a permit from the CAD is not required. To ensure that the paragliding activities are conducted in a safe manner, paraglider pilots are advised to refer to the above section on Safety Guidance on Paragliding Activities.
  • The required information and supporting documents are listed in the Checklist of Required Supporting Documents appended in the application form DCA 122B.
  • The completed application form and checklist, together with all supporting documents, should be submitted to the CAD at least 28 working days prior to the date of the proposed flight for which the permit is required. Depending on the complexity of the proposed operation, extra time may be required for processing the application. Permit applicants, in particular first time applicants, are therefore advised to submit the application to the CAD as early as possible.
  • The application should be submitted by email to paragliding@cad.gov.hk. The required documents shall be either in PDF or MS Word format for text files, and PDF or JPEG format for photo files. Incomplete or insufficient information may delay the application process.
  • The applicant is required to submit an Operations Manual and other supporting document(s)/information to CAD for considering his/her permit application. The CAD will consider the application from aviation safety perspective based on a set of criteria.

Hong Kong Air Law Examination (Paragliding)

  • Paraglider pilots/paragliding instructors, who wish to apply for the abovementioned permit for hire or reward, have to attain a pass in the Hong Kong Air Law Examination (Paragliding) in support of the application. Subject to the submission of the application form and required supporting documents, separate arrangement will be made for the applicant to attend the examination. The objective of the Hong Kong Air Law Examination (Paragliding) is to assess their understanding of the aviation regulations, flight rules and local operating environment in Hong Kong. The Air Law Examination (Paragliding) Syllabus is available here.

Enquiries