The School - South Downs Hang Gliding

South Downs Hang Gliding

In September 2003 changes at the national level led to schools rethinking their training philosophy. Large successful schools like Sussex Hang Gliding and Paragliding decided to separate the two disciplines to become "Sussex Paragliding" for paragliders and "South Downs Hang Gliding" for hang gliders.

In 2019 we stopped offering all our basic training courses. We are only available for advanced training and "fly-guding". Now concentrating on one-to one tuition and running the hang glider servicing and repairs. 

John BarrattJohn Barratt   (Chief Flying Instructor)

John first flew hang gliders on the South Downs in 1977 and three years later was teaching the sport with the "Southern Hang Gliding School" run by ex-British HG champion Graham Slater. In 1995 John joined the team at Sussex HGPG, which became the most successful school in the UK. John has always based himself in Sussex and has an extensive knowledge of the local Southern Club flying sites. He is also an experienced and respected guide to hang gliding in Southern Spain where he continues to offer training during the Autumn and early Spring each year. His away trips, using local hotels at the flying site on the day, are a fantastic mystery tour depending entirely on the weather!
Over the years John has flown hundreds of makes and models of hang glider and flown at many exotic sites around the world. His friendly and relaxed manner gives students the confidence to master the various exercises involved in learning to fly these amazing aircraft.

Ozzie HainesOzzie Haines   (Instructor, Senior Aerotow Coach)

Ozzie has been flying hang gliders for some 15 years. In his first two years he took part in both national and international competitions winning some tasks in very difficult flying conditions. His early bravado nearly ended in disaster on Ben Nevis while attempting to complete a flying version of the "three peaks challenge". The ensuing rescue featured on the BBC's "999" program! Oz has competed 3 times in the Bognor Birdman event, twice on homebuilt machines. As his flying became more "sensible" he became a Southern Club Coach and a founder member of the Aerotow group.
His incredible enthusiasm for the sport and his helpful and friendly manner has helped many low airtime pilots develop their skills over the last few years. Ozzie is also famous for building a "Carbon Dragon" from plans. The Dragon is an ultralight sailplane classified as a hang glider. (See Photo) It took him 5 years to build in his spare time. A BHPA development pilot's licence allows him to fly this unique aircraft within the BHPA rules thus making him one of the few "test" pilots on hang gliders in the UK. His wealth of experience and unbounded good humour are a great contribution to South Downs Hang Gliding.

Matt LewisMatt Lewis   (Senior Instructor)

Matt learned to fly hang gliders in Australia and worked with a tandem hang gliding school in Byron Bay. He achieved the top Aussie rating of "Hang 5" - equivalent to the UK rating of "Advanced Pilot". On his return Matt joined South Downs Hang Gliding at the start of 2009 to qualify as a BHPA Instructor. He now holds a Senior Instructor rating. He is keen to promote tandem flights and dual flight training within the school. His enthusiasm for the sport and flying skills have been greatly appreciated by all our students.

Matt is now CFI of his own school "Airsports Sussex".


Rod Heming Rod Heming. ( Microlight Instructor, Tug pilot.)

Rod first flew hang gliders in 1976. He then learned to fly conventional power aircraft and made flying his career. He became a bush pilot in Africa where he flew for over four years. Then returned to the UK to fly twin turbo prop aircraft for various Eurpean airlines. He has logged over 5000 hours of flying! In 2005 Rod returned to his first love, hang gliding, taking a refresher course with us at SDHG. He's a member of the Southern Hang Gliding Club. He joined our aerotow group and is now one of our valued tug pilots.



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South Downs Hang Gliding

Gibraltar Farm, Firle, East Sussex. BN8 6NB

Tel. 07890 362648