Is SIV for me ?

The reason we do SIV is to make people more comfortable in the air with their gliders and also give them confidence in their ability to control the glider. And what that does is, when you are flying in a thermic arena, cross-country flying, then it frees up that element of doubt and fear that you might have in your glider. Stop you looking up at it and panicking and thinking of negative things like the glider collapsing and controlling it. 

SIV gives you a better understanding, so when the collapse comes in, you can control it and it frees your mind to look at where the lift is, where the other guys are, and you just fly more instinctively and use less fear, brain sugar and stress. And that way, by making you more relaxed, it makes you fly longer. And that’s the whole idea of it.

To benefit from an SIV course, we normally ask for a minimum of about 10 hrs airtime, since getting your pilot license. In fact, the less hours you’ve got, the easier it is and more fun it is, to do an SIV course. Because the pilot’s are a blank canvas, hungry to learn and they respond directly to your commands. The more experienced you get, the more instinctive it becomes and the less you listen to the instructor’s commands.

So, in all, it’s all about your frame of mind. Where you are. If you really want to absorb it and enjoy it, then just do one. If you are not sure about it and you are really apprehensive, then it is probably worth not bothering. Although, done well, all SIV courses are designed to build your confidence up.

I’ve been teaching SIV since 1991 and each student’s manoeuvres have been logged and stored in my secret vault. On average, we have a 100 students each year. And out of that 100, about 4 throw their reserves, because they needed to, or because they were too low to get to the shore, so they might as well throw it anyway.

SIV instructors consider it a failing if they get a student in the water. So it’s important that when you are selecting a course and an instructor, you have a good empathy with them and that they understand your requirements.

If you do choose to do an SIV course, make sure that it’s with an instructor who is experienced, and with proper equipment : buoyancy aids, over water and with a good fast rescue boat. 

Instructors and guides like myself, have all worked hard and feel very proud to be in the position we are today, and we are very approachable. So don’t be afraid to come up to us and ask us any question about paragliding, as long as it keeps you safe and helps you get the most out of this great sport.