Godfrey's Manilla Paragliding School
Based at internationally famous Mt Borah, Manilla Paragliding offers 9 day live-in license course's ($1950 inc accom) which are acknowledged as being amongst the best offered anywhere.
Legal Notice : Manilla Paragliding is a Hang Gliding Federation of Australia Approved Flight Training Facility and the Facility is supervised and operated by Godfrey Wenness, a HGFA certified Chief Flight Instructor.
Mt Borah is Australia's only world class flying site, has vast astro-turfed launches for nearly all directions and offers the highest level of safety for learning to fly. The one site offers ground handling paddock, low slope training, high flights, ridge soaring, thermalling and XC flying. Godfrey's Manilla Paragliding School is the ONLY school in Australia (and probably the world) that owns its own mountain, air sports facility building, and serviced cabins and camping facility. The on-site facility also has a pool, bar and free WiFi throughout.
Chief Flying Instructor Godfrey Wenness is Australia's most experienced paraglider pilot, has held the World Distance record of 335kms for 5 years (it was also the Australian Record from 1998 - 2012 !), holds multiple National Records and is a HGFA Instructor Examiner - he also owns Mt Borah - see the CV at the bottom of this page ! 27 years of paragliding experience and 20 years of direct paragliding teaching experience counts when it comes to your enjoyment, learning progression and safety !
Before you book a course anywhere ask : "How long have you been teaching for ?", and that is not just flying, but more importantly teaching paragliding. The answer in some cases might surprise you - especially in light of the blatantly misleading information on some web sites ! In addition to that, some school operators and their sometime quite inexperienced junior instructors have only been flying for a few short years as well - don't be afraid to ask how long - after all it's experience that counts. Others will also make claims of the being the best, having the best and most of something or other... all such claims should be compared to the reality. The list of misleading advertising especially regarding instructor experience could go on for the rest of this page ! Please do your own research.
Whether you intend to come to Manilla or not, you should read the Learn to Fly Facts section BEFORE booking any paragliding license course - click here ! Our scheduled group license courses vary in size and the instructor ratio is always around 3 or 4 :1. Having up to 4 and 5 instructors on hand allows us to run these group courses at varying skill pace so no one is forced to move ahead a stage or left behind. That also means if some students are progressing quickly they are not held back. The reality (despite some claims by certain schools) is that there will always be a small % of students even in a 1:1 situation with an instructor, with perfect weather for 9 days, that will not be skilled enough to attain a license in that period.
Interested in Paramotoring (also known as Powered Paragliding or PPG) ? Get some real independent advice first before you do anything - we don't sell the motor's, but have lots of good advice about what to buy...contact Godfrey and save yourself some headaches and big $$'s !
Buying equipment ? Your certified CFI is the main person to consult for correct personal advice once you have completed your course. Do yourself a favour and read the Equipment Buying Advice section before you buy anything. NEVER buy equipment or enter into a course-equipment package "deal" before your course - they may look like good deals however the equipment prices are always inflated to make the deal seem "cheap", and most importantly, an instructor can never know what glider and harness suits you until you are actually almost completed your course !!! Also your course includes the use of all equipment so there is no need to own it prior and depreciate its value. As a guide a new high quality EN-A beginner glider from us costs $3500, harness $880 and reserve $650. We have 40+ gliders in stock new and used - a basic fully checked used beginner set can cost as little as $2000. For more information and a frank discussion on this topic contact Godfrey directly and also read the advice section - click here !
We DON'T "sell" licenses - we "teach" you to fly (like an eagle !)
2015 License Course Dates (Autumn Courses) :
- April 11 - 19th : FULL - please book into the next course
- May 9 - 17th : FULL - please book into the next course
- May 30 - June 7 : FULL - please see the Spring Course dates or ask about a private course.
2015 Winter Private Courses : Outside the group course dates we offer private 1:1 (max 3:1) private courses/lessons as requested. Please email for more information.
2015 License Course Dates (Spring Courses) :
- Oct 10th - 18th : Places available
- Oct 24th - Nov 1st : Places available
The 9 day Live-In license courses cost $1950 and includes all equipment, HGFA Student M/ship, on site transport, accommodation, a $400 equipment purchase credit and special student discount prices on commonly needed new pilot equipment.
Private 1:1 and small group License Courses/Thermalling/Cross Country/skill improvement days etc are available all year round and can be booked at other times outside the course dates.
We offer the highest standard in :
- Thermalling and Cross Country lessons - 1 on 1, and for small private and club groups.
- Intermediate, Advanced and Tandem ratings
- Refresher days for pilots who are not current or confident
- Paramotor (PPG) endorsements
- VHF Airband Radio Endorsements
To book a course or any additional training/lessons or for more info please contact Godfrey directly (a $220 deposit* is required to reserve a place in a 9 day License Course - see deposit conditions at the bottom of this page):
Email : godfrey at flymanilla dot com Phone (in Australia) : 02 67 85 65 45 Phone (from Overseas) : +61 2 67 85 65 45
IMPORTANT NOTICE : BEWARE - illegal & dodgy operators !!!!
There are some very unscrupulous people operating and advertising schools and license courses/lessons/tandem flights on the internet who are not qualified nor registered/licensed to do so. Some also operate at sites where they have no official approvals. Sadly they continue to attract students/customers who don't know any better. It all looks legitimate on their web site but it isn't - it is simply illegal ! As they are operating illegally they also have no 3rd Party insurance and thus nor do you. Without insurance an accident could cost you your livelihood, your house and entire lifes savings. BEFORE booking a course or tandem flight you should ALWAYS check a persons qualifications and facility approval status (the sites they are allowed to use) with the HGFA Head Office by phoning 03 9336 7155. DO NOT rely on the operator's say so, other pilots heresay or claims on a web site ! The operator of a school MUST have a Chief Flight Instructor (CFI) qualification in order to have insurance and conduct license courses and sign off ratings. A simple Apprentice Flight Instructor (AFI) or basic Flight Instructor (FI) rating is not sufficient to operate a school. Tandem Operators must also have a Flight Experience Instructor (FEI) rating and can only operate at flying sites approved for the school they are working for (you can also check this by asking your tandem pilot which CFI they work under ..then check with the HGFA office what sites are approved for that schools Tandem operations). Do yourself a favour and be well informed - its not just about the $$'s its about your safety :-)
Course Overview and Progression
- Introduction to the Sport : The HGFA, license legals, course overview etc.
- Equipment explained : all aspects and parts of the glider and harness are explained in a detailed session.
- Ground Handling : Forward and Reverse Launch, learning to handle the glider in varying launch wind conditions.
- Training Slope Flights : A shallow (low) slope is used to gain confidence at take-off and landings before moving on to the High Flights stage
- Tandem High Flights : We are one of the few schools that includes instructional Tandem Flights prior to a students first solo High Flight. This improves confidence and introduces various types of landing approach and some aspects of ridge soaring and thermalling.
- First Solo High Flights : From 1000ft high Mt Borah under full radio control with instructors at the top and bottom to safely guide you all the way. One of the most rewarding experiences you can have to fly solo for the first time from a high mountain.
- Landing Approaches : Depending on conditions and situation 2 types of landing approaches are used - "aircraft circuit" and "figure 8" (base line).
- Ridge Soaring : Using the upward wind flow over a hill, ridge or cliff to soar
- Thermalling : We are one of the few schools that actively teaches you in theory and practise how to fly and use thermal lift in the novice license course (created by columns of hot air rising). A must for doing XC flights later on.
- Big Ears : a height loss and stability manoeuvre. An important and required skill.
- Rear Riser Steering : an method used in case the brake lines are jammed or inoperable due to knots or broken lines.
- Emergencies : A thorough progression of theoretical understanding and practical application of emergency situations, the gliders reaction, correct pilot input and safe exit.
- Top Landing : when conditions allow, full radio control to demonstrate this Intermediate level skill where you land back on top near the launch area in the ridge soaring conditions.
- Cross Country (XC) Theory : Learning how to use thermal lift allows you to eventually fly XC which is the aim of many that take to the skies in a paraglider.
- Theory Lessons : Approx 20hrs of real classroom theory covering all the minimum topics required and a whole lot more that no other schools teach. A 80 question theory exam needs to be passed at the end of the week.
- Included Extras - additional important skills noted above (that most other schools don't do) include : top landings, detailed emergency situations theory, and basic cross country (XC) theory tuition.
- After passing the course you attain a HGFA Novice License (now termed the "Supervised" Rating) which allows you to fly solo at any novice rated site anywhere in Australia and Internationally. Higher rated/more difficult sites need supervision for your own safety. This license level you attain in 9 days in our Manilla course is higher than the UK "Club Pilot", NZ and USA PG1 rating in terms of skills attained. It is superior to the second license stage in most countries (like NZ, USA, UK, Germany etc), and the course inclusions result in new pilots with a higher skill level in a more wide range of areas.
9 day License Course Inclusions :
Cost : A$1950 inc GST (we accept all credit cards, cash, cheque and EFT)... includes >>>
Equipment : all flying equipment (glider, harness, helmet) is included.
Extra Training Days : Most courses result in licenses for a large % of the group after 9 days, however weather and slow skills up take can result in the need for extra days. Additional days of group based instruction beyond the 9 days scheduled if needed due to bad weather are included until you attain your license. For those who are slow at picking up the skills due to various physical limitations and are not at a license level after a reasonable amount of extra days there is a charge of $275/day for additional instruction where it is not part of a group (ie 1:1 instruction).
Acommodation : twin, double and quad share cabins (all linen supplied). Facilities include self service kitchens, laundry, free wireless internet, swimming pool. You only need to bring food, drinks and clothing. You can arrive a few days before and leave a few days later at no extra charge.
Credit Voucher : a $400 credit voucher towards the purchase of a set (glider, harness, reserve) of equipment new or used. This is a discount that comes off the total invoice $'s amount whether new or used. There are also standard student prices discounted around 10% from RRP on main items as well :-)
Transport : on site at Mt Borah. Airport pick ups from Tamworth ($70) or Manilla (free) by arrangement for those arriving by air, bus or train.
Free refresher day : if you haven't flown for a while and feel rusty, supervised refreshers are offered.
Free license upgrades : When the time comes and you have the flying skill and experience, Intermediate, Advanced & Paramotor (PPG) endorsements (check flight and exam) are included in your initial course cost. That is a value of over $1400 !
Plus a lifetime of advice from Godfrey :-)
HGFA Student M/ship is INCLUDED in your course cost ! All students must have a valid HGFA membership before undertaking any flying training.The HGFA Student Training Membership of $22 (for 14 days of training over a period of 12 months) is included in your course fee ! Once you have passed the course and wish to be licensed, a HGFA Full or Short Term membership must be applied for. The full annual 12 months m/ship is around $300 plus a state levy of $22 > $62 depending on the state you reside. For those attending from overseas or who just wish to obtain a license then the Short Term m/ship of $150 is available for 4 months.
Not Included : Food, drinks, clothing, extra training days taken not as part of a group course (ie 1:1 training).
A full "What you need to bring and what to expect" email is sent to you 2wks prior to the course once you have reserved a place.
Course Deposit conditions : The $220 deposit secures your place in the course. Cancellations more than 4 weeks prior are refunded in full. Cancellations <4 weeks prior to the course start date are not refunded (unless the course was run as full whereby the place was filled on short notice), they can however be credited towards another course within 12 months.
Most of our students arrive via referrals from former students and other pilots - contact us below and we will put you in touch with some for their personal opinion...or ask someone at flying site near you !
Contact : Godfrey Wenness
email : click here !
Phone : 02 67 85 65 45
Phone (from Overseas) : +61 2 67 85 65 45
Address : "The Mountain", Manilla, NSW, 2346, Australia
Godfrey Wenness - CFI - Manilla Paragliding
- Commenced regular paragliding in Europe in 1988 (Austria Basic PG ‘A’ license).
- Australian HGFA Paragliding “Restricted” license in 1992.
- Completed Australian Sports Commission “Advanced Coaches Manual” Study course 1995.
- Hang Gliding Federation of Australia (HGFA) certified Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) 1995.
- Owner, Operator and CFI of Manilla Paragliding School (Manilla, NSW) 1995 – (this includes airworthiness check, maintenance and repair of paragliders and equipment).
- Australian Importer for multiple sports aviation equipment brands.
- Total Logged flying hours as at 30/06/14 : 9450hrs.
- World Record – Paragliding Solo Open Distance 335kms : Nov 1998 – 2002. (in Guiness Book of World Records, also Aus Record 1998 - 2012)
- Worlds Longest Tandem Flight Record – Paragliding Tandem Open Distance 223kms : Jan 2000 – 2003.
- Australian Sports Medal (ASM) 2000.
- Multiple National Records 1997-
- Australian National Cross Country League Champion 2001 (Inaugural) and 2002.
- HGFA Safety and Operations Committee Member (Paragliding) : 1998 –
- HGFA Instructor Examiner 1999 –
- HGFA Disciplinary Tribunal Member 1998 –
- HGFA Accident Investigator 1997 –
- Author of Draft new HGFA pilot rating and training system and syllabus (Paragliding).
- Competition Organiser & Director
- Australian Paragliding Open (National C/ships) – bi-annual : 1997 – 2005
- Manilla International Paragliding Open – bi-annual : 1995 –2004
- Paragliding World Championships – Manilla 2007
- XC Open World Series - 2005 - 2009
- Manilla XC Camp 2010 -
- Australian National Team Member : 1997 – 2005
- Prototype Test Pilot for Advance Paragliders of Switzerland : 1995 –
- Discussion Group Member for Common European Norms (CEN) for Paraglider Certification 2000