Q & A

Q & A

How long is the flight?

◆In tandem from 470m;

a flight will be between 6 and 10 minutes on smooth airflow. If there is a thermal updraft, you can fly for up to 20 minutes.

◆For the Challenge and Petit Challenge courses;

you can float up to 5 meters from the ground for a few seconds. When the wind is good, you can fly straight for up to 100 meters. The key points here are the wind and how you run.

What if I am afraid of heights?


Truth be said, even some pilots have vertigo or fear of heights.
When you look down from the roof of a building, you feel pretty scared.
However, there are many people with vertigo who were really frightened up until take off but found the flight to be perfectly fine!

Is it dangerous?


As paragliders are not powered by anything other than natural forces, there is naturally a risk.
Therefore, our instructors will carefully observe weather and flight conditions and refuse to carry out a flight if there are any risks for participants. As such, the probability of injuries and accidents is very low. Moreover, BIRDS staff members all participate in annual safety seminars for instructors and actively strive to maitain a very high safety standard.

How high do we fly?


For the 470m tandem flights, the take-off point is located near the summit of the Mt. Saburou in the north-eastern part of the Kameoka basin at an altitude of 580m.
With a gentle airflow, we will not fly higher than this, but if there is an updraft that we can use, we may be able to rise up to an altitude of 1000m to 1500m.
On days with good visibility, you can see Kyoto city, Mt. Rokko, Umeda skyscrapers, Lake Biwa and even Awaji Island. (Please note that depending on the season and weather conditions, the altitude one can reach varies greatly.)

I tend to suffer from motion sickness. What should I expect?


Contrary to cars, paragliders move in a three-dimensional space.
As such, they are more likely to cause motion sickness.
As we have to drive up a winding forest road, the ride may be quite hard on those who suffer from carsickness.
If such is the case, we will carefully think about your seating position in the car, as well as trying to avoid rough, shaking movements as much as possible during your flight in the paraglider.

I am not a sporty person; can I still fly?


Lots of people seem to think that a sprinting dash is crucial to launch the paraglider.
However, with modern gliders, if there is good wind, you hardly have to run at all to take off!
For participants within the recommended weight range, there should be no problem as long as you can run for a short distance.
If you weigh more than 80kg or you are unsure if paragliding is suitable for you, simply contact us beforehand.

How old must you be to fly? Is there an age limit?

◆ For tandem flights from 470 m;

as long as both the participant and his or her parents are up for it, children can fly from the age of 4.
As for the elderly, as long as they can run at a gentle speed for a few meters, they can also fly without problems.
Rest assured that our staff will assist children and seniors take-off and avoid any dangers.

Here is a video as reference for tandem flights:

◆ For the Challenge and Petit Challenge courses;

participants should ideally be elementary school fifth graders or higher, and weigh above 25 kg.
During the Challenge course, participants have to carry 8 kg worth of equipment up the hill and run down the slope. As it is a bit more demanding as exercise, older participants must be in good physical condition and able to run.
There are many confident elderly people who fly.

Here is a video as reference for the Challenge and Petit Challenge courses:

Is it possible to take pictures up in the air?


You can take pictures with your own camera. We also have a special holder for compact digital cameras to prevent falls.
(Please note that we decline responsibility in case of damage caused by impact during take-off and landing. Cameras are used at the owner's own risk.) In addition, photos taken by the pilot during the flight will be available for free on the internet.
※ You must download photos yourself
※ If you do not have access to internet, we can save the pictures onto an SD card and mail it to you. The price for the SD card and postage fee is 2000 JPY (tax not included).

How much do you need to/can you weigh in order to fly?


If you are considering solo flights from the introductory course, the ideal bodyweight range is 20kg to 90kg.
For tandem flights, the ideal bodyweight range is 10kg to 80kg, but the person running can be over 80kg.
For all other courses that include solo flights, the ideal range is 20kg to 80kg.
Regardless of the course option you choose, let us know upon booking if you are outside the recommended weight range.

I did not bring my health insurance card…


You may take part even without it, but it is always best to have even a copy with you just in case. You do not need to present it.

Can a foreign friend participate as well?


Foreign tourists must have purchased foreign travel insurance.
For foreigners employed by Japanese companies, it would be ideal if they can speak some Japanese.
All the explanations prior to the flight can be given in simple English.
In the past, we have had foreign participants for solo flights from 470m of altitude.

Is it possible to fly on rainy or very windy days?


Unfortunately, no. It is not possible to fly if it is raining or with very strong winds.
If the weather forecast for the day you booked does not look promising, we will call you the night before after 19:00 to explain the situation.
Depending on other natural phenomena, you may not be able to fly even on a clear day. Please get in touch if you have any concerns.

We are coming in a group but would like to try different things.


It is possible that your meeting times and meeting points will be different.
Those of you waiting on the ground will be able to take videos and pictures.
We will try our best to accommodate all of you so please do get in touch and let us know your needs.

What if I need to cancel, or amend the number of people on the reservation?


Once you have made a booking, we refuse other reservations from other people for the same time slot.
Therefore, if you need to cancel or amend a reservation, please let us know at your earliest convenience.
It is our policy that all fights should be enjoyed in not only good weather but also good physical and mental conditions.
Cancellations can be made for free up until 23:00 on the day prior to flying. If you cancel without notifying us, we will charge a 100% cancellation fee.

Do you have parking and changing rooms?


There are 10 parking spaces at the Nishikyo Paragliders Practice Area and 30 spaces at Para-Park Kyoto.
There is a log house at Para-Park Kyoto that can be used for changing.
At the Nishikyo Practice Area, please use the bathrooms or change in your car.

Is it possible to choose the time for flying?


We will try our absolute best to fulfill your request.
For the Challenge Course, you will have a greater chance of flying in the morning.
For the Tandem Course, we will likely be able to book you for your desired time slot if it is on a weekday.

Do you rent shoes and clothing?


When the weather is cold, you may rent a flight suit at no additional cost.
For the Challenge Course or other courses where you will break a sweat, however, there are no rentals.
Please bring towels and a change of clothes with you.
We do not offer shoe rental either, so please be sure to bring your own sports or hiking shoes.

I would like to keep on paragliding. How much will it cost me?


We recommend you first to take the introductory course.
For the course, you can rent all the necessary equipment and will learn the basics of paragliding.
Click here for introductory course details.
Get yourself a great deal with our discounts for students and under 25s.
After the course, you will have to purchase your own equipment.
Come and talk to us when you're ready to take this leap!