Debunking myths: “The sport is in decline”

It is commonly accepted that the sport is in decline, but the membership data shows a steady growth in paragliding and paramotor.

Membership numbers

From 2014 to 2018 there was a steady decline of members, but 2019 saw the first blip of recovery. The COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 resulted in a significant dip, but as confidence has improved, SAHPA membership numbers have increased steadily.

On further analysis, it is clear that participation in Paragliding and Paramotoring is improving, unfortunately Hang gliding is on the decline.

Foreign Pilots

Tourism was heavily affected by COVID-19, however in 2023 we have seen a sharp increase (41%) in foreign pilots from 2022 for the same period:

Competitions and Events

Declining participation in competitions and events is a complex issue. The SAHPA Office does not get involved in organising competitions and events other than facilitating the regulatory requirements (such as obtaining airspace approval). Declining participation in competitions is concerning, and requires that clubs and competition organisers take an introspective look at the reasons for non-participation.

Fly safely,

Louis Stanford
SAHPA Chairman
SAHPA Accountable Manager
M: +27 79 143 9009