Training Documents | Instructor/School ListInstructor’s PageGetting Rated | Initial Training | Student Feedback | Training Updates | Instructor Commitment | Policies

Tandem Instructor Program

Solo Ratings Program | Letter to Tandem Instructors | “Grandfathering” from other programs

Tandem Instructor is regarded as the highest rating a pilot can achieve according to our organization. Tandem Instructors represent our sport to the general public where our actions here are highly scrutinized as well as experienced by the tandem passengers.

It strives to enable existing instructors add an effective, safe instructional capability. Abuse—like advertising “joy rides” for pay may lead to our authorization being revoked. Tandem flights must ONLY be instructional in nature

Our program reflects the current state of knowledge and technique and is based on having applicants gain experience after initial training by flying with a qualified PPG pilot as “passenger” before setting out with new students.

It consists of Tandem Trainee (TT) and Tandem Instructor (TI). Any administrator who earns a Tandem Instructor rating can administer Tandem ratings.

Tandem Trainees only fly with qualified pilots (see below) while Tandem Instructors may take up students for hire. The goal of the program is to qualify Tandem Instructors.
A qualified pilot is one of the following: 1) USPPA/USUA PPG2 or higher, 2) USHPA P2 or higher.


Tandem craft must meet all requirements of FAR 103 except for the single place limit. Pilots must meet requirements as specified below.
Grandfathering / Transitioning from Another Program
Policy for all grandfathering / transitioning from another organization is maintained on under “Schools & Training”


USPPA Tandem Instructor Certification Clinics should be administered at least annually, or more as needed by designated Tandem Administrators. They will offer the written test, approved FOI test and allow pilots to demonstrate requisite skills. The TA can only certify an applicant based on first hand witnessing of the skills whether at the clinic or elsewhere but they MUST be witnessed.


To remain current, tandem pilots must:

1. Be a USPPA member.

2. Within the past 24 calendar months, 1) submit documentation to USPPA showing a minimum of 10 tandem flights made during the period, or 2) pass and log a Recurrency Flight evaluation with another Tandem Instructor or Tandem certified administrator.

Peer Review Procedure

A peer review procedure to rescind a tandem rating of any level will be initiated upon receiving a written complaint from at least 3 USPPA members that claims the tandem pilot is not following the tenets of their tandem rating. The complaint must include the date, time, location and nature of the reported violation.
Within 30 days of receiving such a report, the procedure will be as follows:

1. A Peer Review Committee (PRC) will be convened by the Training Committee Chairman that consists of three individuals. At least one must be a tandem instructor, one must be from the Training Committee, one must be a USPPA officer and none can be the tandem pilot under review. Every attempt will be made for this committee to be impartial, having no preconceived views of the tandem pilot being reviewed.

2. Makeup of the review committee members must be agreed on by a majority of the training committee. Any two USPPA officers can reject one or more members of the peer review committee. A majority vote of the peer review committee will be required to take any action.

Program Details

Tandem Trainee (TT)

This form of flying takes place between a USPPA Tandem Instructor (TI) and qualified pilot. This rating can be given by Tandem Instructors after administering the written examination and witnessing the proper flight skills utilizing the designated launch method. No remuneration is allowed for flying done by a TT. Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Current USPPA Instructor, FL for tandem FL and WL for tandem WL.
  • Minimum 100 flight hours or 300 flights of logged incident free airtime hours on a powered paraglider.
  • (FL) Ability to consistently perform zero-wind and light-wind landings culminating in the slowest possible ground speed at the moment of the flare and when the pilot’s/passenger’s feet first contact the ground.
  • Candidates will have a reputation/ history of being appropriately conservative, safe, and highly skilled pilots with judgment commensurate with the task of 2-place operation.
  • At least 1 logged tandem flight as a passenger with a Tandem Instructor (TI).
  • At least 5 flights as the flying pilot (from the instructor’s position) with the TI or P2 / PPG 2 or higher as the second occupant. The TI must witness these flights.
  • Successful completion of the Tandem written test.
  • Successful completion of a Tandem Clinic to be administered by the TI or TA who attests that the applicant meets all requirements. This test/training will include, as a minimum, a passenger briefing, checklist use, and successful tandem launches and landings. The test/training must include:

a. For FL the test must include at least 3 successful inflation and launches including one in wind less than 3 mph (may be simulated).

b. For WL the test must include at least 5 satisfactory takeoffs and landing including 3 with full inflations (not touch and goes).

This rating is only intended for tandem instructor trainees to build experience. The rating is only valid for 30 tandem flights or one calendar year, whichever comes first but may be renewed by a Tandem Administrator.

Tandem Instructor

This is the full tandem instructor who may charge fees for lessons. They must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a USPPA PPG Instructor (this cannot be waived).
  • Meet all the requirements of a Tandem Trainee.
  • Have logged at least 24 tandem flights with qualified pilots (as defined above). Logged PPG Tandems completed under another program count towards this total.
  • Pass a Tandem Evaluation which will consist of at least:

a. One successful flight as tandem pilot either with the administering TA as passenger or observing with a qualified PPG2 or higher pilot as passenger for each launch method sought.

b. Sufficient oral and/or airborne questioning to insure the applicant is ready to serve as a Tandem Instructor.

c. This can be done using video at the discretion of the administrator.

  • Be a Tandem Trainee for at least 3 months. This requirement may be waived if the applicant has equivalent experience under another FAA-recognized PG/PPG tandem program.

Tandem Administrator

Once designated as an Administrator, the pilot can administer any instructor rating he possesses. So a Tandem Administrator is an Instructor Administrator with a Tandem Instructor rating.

Tandem Flight Requirements

In order to provide appropriate protection to the paying student, all tandem flights must adhere to the following operational rules:

  • When present at a flying site, each USPPA Tandem Instructor should personally ensure that all tandem flying and published site requirements are being followed by other USPPA instructors. USPPA tandem pilots will present certification on request of an FAA official or other USPPA Tandem Instructor and any noncompliance shall be reported to an Administrator.
  • Possession of the current USPPA Grant of Exemption, #9751 (with current letter like #9751G) is mandatory while flying tandem.
  • All tandem accidents/incidents/malfunctions must be reported by the tandem pilot involved to the USPPA Incident Database. Other tandem pilots who witness an accident/incident/malfunction are encouraged to report their version.

a. Submit reports to

b. An accident/incident has occurred if there was equipment damage or injury or a likelihood of damage or injury that was barely averted.

  • Each operation must comply with all sections of Part 103, except 103.1(a) of the FAR (solo).
  • Flights are conducted for training purposes only.
  • Tandem students must be informed on their initial flight with a tandem instructor that the flight is conducted under an exemption granted by the FAA and that the ultralight vehicle does not meet aircraft certification standards set forth by the FAA.

Tandem Equipment

Equipment must meet the following requirements for tandem operations:

  • The wing is certified EN-A or EN-B, and is flown within its manufacturer-recommended weight range.
  • The pilot verifies that riser length and spreader system hookup allows normal reach of the brakes.
  • Harness and carabiners in good condition with steel carabiners at the main hang points.
  • Hook knife on pilot.
  • For wheeled flights (if allowed by current exemption) the cart must have a way to positively ensure the rear wheels lift off last and touch down first on landing, accounting CG change from fuel burn during flight.

These are recommended but not required:

  • Appropriate helmets for both occupants during flight.
  • Although choice of other equipment is up to the individual pilot-in-command, ankle supporting boots, knee pads, gloves, and clothing appropriate to the site conditions are recommended.
  • 3. First aid kit and communications (such as cell phone) are recommended.
500 Westover Dr. #2384
Sanford, NC 27330
866-37-USPPA (87772)