The School - South Downs Hang Gliding


South Downs Hang Gliding

We are the only school in Sussex to offer training to fly hang gliders. All the other schools are for paragliding. They may advertise "hang gliding" but can only offer paragliding. 

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. We still meet and share facilities at the flying shop on the A27 (Tollgate, Beddingham, Lewes, E Sussex. BN8 6JZ) and have access to the same superb training sites within the South Downs National Park.

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.

 

 

Rod Heming Rod Heming. ( Microlight Instructor, Tug pilot, Trainee Hang Gliding Instructor.)

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. In 2014 he registered as a BHPA "trainee" instructor for hang gliding. Now he is out teaching with us on most training days.

 

 

 

Luke Nicol Luke Nicol  (Air-Experience Instructor, SHGC Club Coach)

Luke learned to fly at South Downs Hang Gliding in 2011. He flew for 6 hours (!) on the first day he'd qualified CP. His incredible enthusiasm and natural talent has rocketed him to fame in the hang gliding world. He's flown many types of hang glider, flexies and rigid wings, and also flies paramotors and powered hang gliders. Luke is now flying for the UK national team!
The Air Experience Instructor qualification enables him to fly tandem instruction flights within a school. Luke is out flying at every opportunity so he's a great help to new Southern club pilots venturing out to the hills. As a Southern club coach he can share some of his amazing skills to those just starting out.

 

 

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South Downs Hang Gliding

Gibraltar Farm, Firle, East Sussex. BN8 6NB

Tel. 07890 362648

Email: info@southdownshanggliding.co.uk