Types Of Flight – Which Will You Choose?

Choosing a type of flight is an entirely personal decision – we recommend researching the available options and then deeply exploring the type of flight that you feel drawn towards to ensure it is the right choice for you.

There are four kinds of sports aviation that come under the Sports Aviation Federation of Australia (SAFA) - Hang gliding, Paragliding, Powered Paragliding and Microlighting.

Each of the different types of flight has its own specific requirements – and there are big differences in equipment, portability, suitability for conditions, etc.

Here is a basic overview of each of the four types of flight that to get you thinking – then check out some of our videos and pictures to help you get a feel for what might interest you!


A Paraglider pilot sits upright in a seated harness connected via lines to a fabric wing that maintains flight via air pressure under the wing.

Paragliders are controlled via the manipulation of the lines – primarily via the two hand held brake lines – and through the shifting of the pilots weight under the wing.

Paragliders are relatively simple to set up and are light enough to be carried in a backpack.

Paragliders can launch and maintain flight in lighter conditions than hang gliders, and are generally more manoeuvrable too. Paragliding and hang gliding are possibly the cheapest type of flight.











Hang Gliding

Hang Glider pilots fly in a horizontal position, face down in a harness that is affixed to a more rigid wing.

The wing is most often an aluminium frame covered in a synthetic sail material. Hang gliders have a significantly more substantial structure than a Paraglider. Being more “aircraft-like” with their solid wing structure, hang gliders can glide further than paragliders and they can fly in stronger winds too.




Powered Paragliding (Paramotors)

Powered Paragliding is achieved through the use of paraglider wings specifically designed for paramotoring.

A paramotor pilots has a similar setup to a paraglider, however with the addition of a motor and propeller on their back.

This in turn provides enough energy to launch from flat ground. Powered paragliding is most suited to low wind conditions.

Paramotoring offers the pilot the opportunity to safely fly slower and lower. They are a popular choice over a microlight due to relative ease of transport, and the reduced entry cost over a microlight.




Microlight pilots sit in a propeller-driven trike pod. This is suspended below a fabric wing that looks similar to a hang glider wing.

As with hang gliding and paragliding, microlights are also weight shift controlled. Microlights allow higher, faster flying - and can be flown in more varied weather. A trailer is required for transport and running costs are higher. For this reason, microlights are often stored in a hanger.


The THPA is committed to encouraging and supporting all members to fly safe and have fun!

We welcome all enquiries about flying in Tasmania from anyone who is interested in learning more.

Our members hold pilot ratings issued by the SAFA, which range from those just starting out through to advanced pilots.