Back: Schools & Training | Training Documents | Instructor’s PageGetting Rated | Initial Training | Student Feedback | Training Updates

Training to be an Instructor and/or do Tandems

Experts make powered paragliding look simple but skills and knowledge are quite different than other forms of aviation

USPPA Grandfathering Policy: Accepting Instructors From Other Programs

USPPA policy on grandfathering from other programs & curriculums

USPPA Ratings, Instructor & Tandem Clinics

Ratings and instructor clinics are periodically run by various USPPA Instructors, Instructor Administrators and Tandem Instructor Administrators

USPPA PPG Tandem Program Experience & Equipment Requirements

Click the link above for more information. This program is based on the USHPA concept of having the tandem pilot learn using a qualified PPG pilot as “passenger” before setting out with new students.

Article for Tandem Instructors by Chris Santacroce

Instructor Administrators


Two small changes have been made in the Instructor Administrator program. In an effort to insure our administrators are experienced instructors, the requirements have been updated so that applicants must have trained, from start to finish, at least 5 students through their PPG2 ratings within the last year.

Additionally, the applicant must be recommended by an existing Instructor Administrator. There is no area requirement meaning that it does not matter if there is already an administrator in a given locale, new administrators can be appointed if they qualify.

The Ratings Program document, which has all the new verbiage, has been updated accordingly and can be downloaded here.

As always, we recommend using instructors who commit to using the syllabus and will take you through the PPG2 rating. Be sure to ask.

Ratings & The Syllabus

Most instructors are already doing using the syllabus for giving ratings, especially since its use is required for students to receive their training reimbursement. But we want to standardize the practice for giving ratings and are now requiring completion of the syllabus for all ratings for which a syllabus is offered.

As of Jan 1, 2009, we will only be able to accept rating applications given on the new form. There is a place for both the instructor and student to acknowledge that the syllabus was used and initialed. There is no requirement to send any additional documentation since it is beneficial for the instructor (for liability reasons) to keep the completed syllabus on file.

Here is the required documents page with appropriate forms.

Thank you for helping improve the standard of quality training in our sport.

Training Exemption For Tandem

The USPPA has been granted an exemption (and subsequent extensions) that allows for foot-launched tandem training.

Current FAA Exemption
Exemption 9751C

Any USPPA/USUA instructor who was also certified by another org as a tandem pilot and meets the minimum experience requirements of USPPA will be offered tandem instructor status pending receipt of certain documentation.

The initial cadre of Tandem Administrators would be chosen from those who have logged experience as instructors and tandem pilots, who also have experience evaluating other pilots, namely by administering ratings. They must meet the requirements of the exemption, including being approved by the USPPA training committee.

It will be incumbent on the tandem instructors to insure that rules are followed. Otherwise, continuance of the exemption would be in doubt. Our goal is to remove this program from the exemption process and make it part of a rule.

We will work with other organizations in an effort to make sure standards are the same from one to another.

Training Program Changes (Download PDF)

Changes were approved to allow for quicker testing of highly experienced pilots. The standards are identical but now pilots with more flight time can obtain a rating after showing only 2 of the last 3 spot landings (power-allowed and power off). This change affects the PPG2 and PPG3.

The intent is to allow instructors who are primarily testing pilots for a rating to be able to complete it within a weekend (2-day) clinic. Also the online tests have been modified to streamline and improve their accuracy. Contact your nearest USPPA Instructor to obtain a rating.

The syllabus, available to USPPA/USUA instructors, has also been updated.

USPPA/USUA Tandem Program is Operational


This is clearly a powered paraglider that falls under the auspices of our program. We must be careful when adding wheels that it does not fall under the FAR Sport Pilot rules.


The USUA and USPPA have teamed up to implement an industry standard tandem training and certification program that is appropriately thorough yet accessible. One of the main goals is to standardize the training so that new tandem pilots go out into the field qualified to teach students while airborne. USPPA ratings apply to the program however USUA membership is required to become a tandem pilot. Also, pilots can get all their ratings entirely through USUA, at their choice since we are sharing the ratings program now.

Major tenets are:

  • It recognizes the huge difference between foot launched tandem and wheel launched tandem.
  • Experienced PPG pilots take several flights with the Tandem Instructor from the pilots position until they are comfortable flying the craft. They get certified as Tandem Trainees then gain experience flying with other certified PPG pilots (PPG 2 or higher).
  • Once the Tandem Trainee has accumulated 24 tandem flights, he works with a Tandem Administrator to become a Tandem Instructor.
  • An initial group of USPPA instructors who are also experienced training with Tandems will be our starting Tandem Administrators. Once they are processed, a list of who can provide the tandem ratings will be provided.

SIV Clinics: Good or Bad?

These are also called maneuvers or safety clinics and they intend to let a pilot experience wing malfunctions and other unusual situations under reasonably safe, controlled conditions. They hope to improve your ability to handle such situations in “the wild.”

The USPPA does NOT sanction, certify or endorse these clinics in any way. Most instructors do recognize their value if run professionally by experienced pilots who take appropriate precautions. You must seek out your own source to know whether a particular instructor is suited for any offered clinic.

Also, attendees should understand that serious injury is possible at the clinic but far more likely afterwards if the pilot go out thinking they can do maneuvers, on their own, over the ground (especially low). Before attending a clinic check with your instructor about your experience and appropriateness of what you are considering.

It can be a valuable, fun resource if done properly.

500 Westover Dr. #2384
Sanford, NC 27330
866-37-USPPA (87772)