makes a good instructor?
single most important attribute of a good instructor is the ability to teach!
Some can, some can't. It's true that you'll learn from just about anyone but it will be
whole lot more fun, safer and faster with good teacher.
They must be reasonably skilled as a pilot—enough to demonstrate
techniques and recognize
students' challenges. They do not have have to be competition, soaring,
or acro pilots unless you want to learn those skills. In fact, such pilots
are sometimes worse—being so removed from a neophyte's needs that they're less
effective than an average but less cocky instructor. Only when you
aspire to learn aerobatics or soaring or competition must you seek instructors capable in
those areas. This is true for
paramotoring just like it's true in other areas of aviation.
Effective teaching is a skill unto its own
and not everyone has it. They don't have to be the "ace of the
they do need to be effective communicators.
Certification does not make an instructor
good. Rather it is one step in a process that has numerous benefits.
It is recognition by their peers and
acknowledges that the instructor has met minimum standards.
If certified by a paramotor
organization, it means they have access to materials developed a by
broad range of experienced instructors. That's minimizes inadequate
or, at worse, wrong information. No organization requires their
instructors to use the materials so you must ask for them, especially
the USPPA syllabus. This document has been produced with the help of
our sports most experienced and recognized instructors. Make sure your
USPPA instructor uses it! It's more work because its more thorough.
Helps insure the prospective instructor
has gotten training on the unique tasks of teaching powered
paragliding. There are many nuances and a few dark corners. The orgs
Instructor Clinics are intended to help improve instructional safety.
For the certification to be meaningful and it
must be specific to powered paragliding. Be leery if the certification
significantly lumps PPC and PPG together—there is a vast difference!
That's why I believe in the USPPA
(now also USUA) program so wholeheartedly. It has been vetted to be specific and
applicable. USHPA instructors have a
thorough program for free flight but it is up to the instructor to get
motor expertise because that is not included. There are very significant
motor piloting issues that must be understood to safely teach powered paragliding.
So if you select a USHPA instructor, find out if they have significant
motor experience. Those who do are frequently good,thorough instructors.
This program was specifically built for
powered paragliding and is what I highly recommend. It recently included
wheels in the syllabus to cover the peculiarities there. It started with
the thorough paragliding program developed for free flight and has been
adapted to the unique needs and allowances of motoring.
Standards are high but realistic and
excellent materials have been produced through the training committee
which is made up of our sports most prolific and experienced instructors.
Disclosure: I'm involved with the USPPA but
don't make a dime off it. I'm probably owed about $500 for web fees and
leave it that way so if I ever get audited I'll get a bonus check.