We are passionate about flying and are constantly searching for the best gear, techniques, tips and tricks for our students and our customers. Our mission is to provide you with a wide selection of the best and most loved gear available to pilots and to do so with your best interest in mind. We are educators first and foremost, certified by USHPA, USPPA, USPA, and a bunch of other acronyms.
We teach almost every day, weekends, holidays, birthdays, whenever! Fly Above All instructors have more teaching time than anyone else in the area, with well over 40 years of experience. In operation since 1974, Fly Above All is the oldest school in the U.S.
Our classes are tailored to be small, for personalized attention, faster learning, and safety. It’s simply impossible to have 10+ students learning at once, even with multiple instructors, and maintain personal attention, in a safe and stress-free environment. Pro-tip: when you sign up for lessons, whether you choose us or any other school, ask who you will be learning from, what their qualifications are, and how many will be in the class. Will the instructor with the highest qualifications ever be on the hill with you? Our goal is to average 4 students per day with an Advanced Instructor. We know that nobody does it like we do it and we will never turn you over to an inexperienced instructor or apprentice.
We only sell equipment we love, from top manufacturers, only if you absolutely need it and it’s appropriate for your skills. We want to sleep well at night knowing that you have the right gear at the right price.
Fly Above All is the only school in Santa Barbara that teaches to the nationally recognized standards, operating recommendations, and safety protocols. All of our students will learn the complete roster of maneuvers required for P2 certification in a controlled environment, on the safest equipment. When the weather conditions exceed safety standards, we are the first to step away from the edge. Decades of teaching have taught us that pushing limits for just a few more flights is not worth it. Only Fly Above All will teach you the required maneuvers for P2 certification, and beyond.
Between smaller classes and and higher safety standards we have found that our students are considerably more likely to have successful and safe flights than the average!
We continue to develop safe techniques, practices, and protocols as part of USHPA’s Safety & Training committee, and on our own. Our syllabus has been adopted by USHPA as their official training material and is available to everyone at GliderTraining.org. Fly Above All students receive complimentary access to those materials. We wrote it, you get it free! The Canadian organization (HPAC) has also adopted parts of our syllabus. Over the decades we have seen training methods and equipment evolve considerably. We’re proud to be a part of that evolution and to see our friends at other schools adopt our techniques. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
Ozone Paragliders, Gin, Advance, Nova, SUPAir, are a few of the brands we carry. They are the largest and most well respected brands in the world, with impressive R&D budgets that fuel development. When you fly great equipment, it’s easy to understand why we love working with these companies. No other school in California offers the top 5 brands in the world.
We encourage everyone interested in paragliding to stop by our training hill at 2550 Cliff Dr in Santa Barbara. Come meet the instructors from all the schools, meet current students and members of the community, and ask them who they recommend! If we’re not the school for you, for whatever reason, we may be able to suggest someone closer to home for you! Our biggest competitors are also friends, and we’d be happy to recommend folks that we trust and respect.
Fly Above All Airsports has been operating at the Elings Park Training hill since it was first opened as a hang gliding school in 1974, making it the oldest continually operating school in the United States. We began teaching paragliding in 1989 and in 1998 Chad Bastian purchased the school from his instructor Ken DeRussy. Chad’s passions turned to powered paragliding (PPG), and in 2012 Christopher Grantham returned to Southern California to take over operations. Chad is still with us today and is our go-to staff member for PPG related training and equipment.
Christopher GranthamChristopher currently holds an Instructor Administrator rating for both Paragliding and Speedflying, the highest rating qualification for an instructor, and a Tandem Instructor rating. His syllabus and teaching program has been adopted by the national organization (USHPA) as their official pilot training syllabus. Like many pilots his passion began extending to other air-sports and in 2007 he began flying small powered aircraft as well as some hang gliding, paramotoring, skydiving and BASE. He currently chairs the USHPA Safety & Training committee.
Christopher returned to Santa Barbara after years of teaching at the world famous Point of the Mountain in Utah. In 2012 he accepted the Instructor of the Year Award from the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Assoc. and as of 2012 had more students still flying after 10 years than any other instructor in the nation. Christopher has more teaching experience than all the other instructors in the area, combined.
Chad began flying in 1993 and has since racked up more airtime than any other pilot in the US. He holds Advanced Instructor and Tandem Instructor ratings, making Fly Above All the only school in SoCal with two administrators on the team.
He began competing nationally in 1997 and in 2001 he represented the US National Paragliding Team in the World Competition in Spain. The US Paragliding National Championships in the Owens Valley were organized by Chad in 2002. He also holds the highest safety award possible from the USHPA (Fifth Diamond- 5,000 consecutive safe flights), now with approximately 12,426 flights. He is also one of the few P-5 Master rated Pilots, the highest paragliding rating available. If you're interested in paramotoring, Chad is your guy. Chad is also a commercial pilot.
Occasionally we invite other instructors to teach with us. One Advanced Instructor or Administrator will always be present with you. We do not use apprentices or Basic Instructors as primary instructors!
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