Paragliding in Kealakekua near Captain Cook on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Paragliding in Kealakekua near Captain Cook.
The Big Island Soaring Assoc. (BISA) is the small local club, they fly at Kealakekua, near Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, a few miles from the coast. Mostly light thermals, need to be able to do really flat turns to stay up, take off is behind a locked gate on private property that can only be reached by 4wd. Membership fee applies. High accident rate and very tight LZ's. Lots of bandito landings.
No local hang gliding pilots.
Location: Kealakekua near Captain Cook, very voggy (vog from the volcano) with a hot stable air mass and restricted landing fields. A 4 wd is required. Usually pretty short flights for visiting pilots, can be 6 minutes or less depending on how cross it is, but when it is good it is good.  Really tight landing areas, surrounded by big trees, light winds are often cross and shifting, major ground effect from the lava rock LZ, sitting in the sun for hours. On take off, light wind flat slope launch, often cross, high voltage power lines to fly over right after launch. All of that resulting in several fatalities and numerous accidents over the years.
Do not fly there unless you are at least a very solid Intermediate pilot even if the locals tell you you can. This site had many fatalities and serious accidents. Local pilots are still encouraging Beginner pilots with almost no airtime to fly there.

Give me a call about flying on the Big Island.
Guide: Achim Hagemann  213 457 3614 (Skype)

Ratings held in the past with the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Assoc. USHPA:
Advanced rated hang gliding pilot with turbulence, cliff and cross country sign off
Beginner and Advanced hang gliding instructor
Certified HG School USHGA
Advanced rated PG pilot American Paragliding Assoc.1988
3 times re-certified paragliding instructor United States Hang Gliding Assoc. for a total of 16 years as a certified hang gliding /paragliding instructor.

Favorite flights:
Eliminator, Santa Barbara, SST
100 flights off La Cumbre, my Wills Wing SST
Cerro Gordo, Ca. UP Condor
Gunther, White Mountains UP Condor
Piute to Black Mountain to Bishop, Ca.UP Condor
Horseshoe,Walt's Point Sensor 510, many flights along the Sierra.
Big Sur, Plaskett Creek SST
1000+ h. at Wilcox, Santa Barbara hang gliding and paragliding
Rincon to Ventura  Wills Wing SST
Yosemite National Park,Glacier Point UP Comet SST, Condor, UP Comet, Sensor 510
Telluride, Co.Gold Hill to18000+ f. Sensor 510, landing in the park many times.
Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania,  Wills Wing Duck 180 top landing my hang glider on the Ngorongoro crater rim in Tanzania
Serengeti National Park, landing on the valley floor, guarded by rangers with guns and surrounded by lions.
Merango National Park, Tanzania. Elephants in the LZ.
St. John, Virgin Islands, John’s Folly UP Condor.
Haleakala, Hawaii, top landing at Ferns. Paragliding
Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Back site of Mauna Kea, 1994
Pu'u Loa, Hawaii
Kuhboden, Switzerland
 Point Sal, Ca.
Tegelberg, Mad King Ludwig Castle
Coronet Peak NZ Sensor 510
Muriwai NZ  UP Comet 165
  Guadelupe Sand Dunes, Ca. 12 years as a certified United States Hang Gliding Instructor, accident free.

The sport is relatively new in the U.S. There are about 4000 paragliding pilots in the U.S. compared to several hundred thousand around the world. The level of instruction is very uneven, except in a few hot spots. Countries like the U.K, France, Japan, Germany,Switzerland,Austria all have 10’s of thousands of pilots each and a much more advanced system in training and product development. Pretty much all of the state of the art gear comes from Europe.
The rating system in the U.S. is voluntary, instruction is not required by law to fly a hang glider or paraglider. The USHPA has not done a great job in growing the sport, membership has been stagnating for many years. Quality of instruction and high accident rates might be one of the reasons. Make sure your instructor has a lot of experience and does not hide behind some kind of certification. Some "instructors" have very little teaching or even flying experience in the U.S.
Paragliding sites need to be identified on the Big Island so as to boost adventure sports activities and provide an opportunity of employment. Department of Hawaiian Home Land and Tourism Organizations should work together to promote paragliding and hang gliding in the State, which would not only attract flying enthusiasts from around the world but also provide local employment.
Here is an example what other countries are doing to promote tourism.




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