Airways Airsports is a school, run by champions, dedicated to teaching people to fly.
If you want to learn to fly paragliders, hang gliders, paramotors or microlights, you need look no further than Airways Airsports. We teach all forms of “light” & free flight, from beginner up to competition level.
Founded in 1995 by British Cross Country Paragliding Champion and World Record Holder, Chris Dawes, Airways Airsports became established at Darley Moor Airfield (Ashbourne, Derbyshire). The benefits of learning paragliding or hang gliding by towing are many fold (50% more flyable days, no hills to climb, no change of site if the wind changes direction, clubroom, coffee machine & flushing toilets on site!) and the first “Flightpark” in Europe was born.
The atmosphere at our school is friendly and welcoming - all our instructors are fanatical pilots, most of whom fly several types of aircraft and they all love to introduce new pilots to the joys of flying. You will not find a better qualified or more enthusiastic group of instructors.
Chris Dawes PhD – Chief Flying Instructor, teaching paragliding, microlighting, hang gliding, paramotoring & powered hang gliding.
British Cross Country Champion
World Record Holder
British Paragliding Team member for many years
Blue Peter (5 times - taught presenter, Matt Baker, to hang glide)
Don’t Try This at Home (3 times)
BBC 1 – Natural World – “Flying with Condors”, The Weather Programme
BBC 2 – Great journeys, Top Wild Dives with Tanya Streeter
Chris Dawes has been flying for 25 years and flies anything and everything, from paragliders to twin engine planes holding a Commercial JAR licence and conducting Single Pilot Air Taxis operations. His duties are wide-ranging from training and examining microlight and paragliding students, to display flying. Having flown on the British Paragliding Team for many years including conducting British Team Training Camps and won the British Cross Country Championships (1995), he also leads courses in cross country flying and competition paragliding in the Alps. He is a great believer in teaching the right way the first time so that when under pressure, a pilot produced by Airways Airsports will revert to their basic training to give them the instinctive, correct safe response.
Chris is active in promoting safety within the sports of hang gliding and paragliding – he is chairman of the Development Panel within the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Associations (BHPA) Flight Safety Committee (FSC) and has been instrumental in producing both the teaching syllabus and new techniques adopted by the BHPA
Judy Leden MBE - Senior Instructor, teaching hang gliding, paragliding, aerotowing, tug flying.
World Women’s Hang Gliding Champion
World Women’s Paragliding Champion
British Hang Gliding Team Member
British Paragliding Team Member
Multiple World Record Holder (including absolute altitude record of 41,307 feet)
Blue Peter (broke World Altitude Towing Record, flying tandem with presenter, Matt Baker)
ITV - Don’t Try This At Home (3 times)
Natural World (BBC 1) Flying with Condors
Channel 4 – Stratosfear (50 minute documentary on World Altitude Record)
Channel 4 – “Cotopaxi Dream”
BBC1 – Flight of the Dacron Eagles
BBC 1 – The Weather Programme
Judy has been involved in Airways Airsports since the start. She has been Women's World Hang Gliding Champion twice and has a string of world records to her name. Well known for her easy going style and love of flying, she is one of the best instructors in the UK. Judy worked with the technical team from the BHPA on the new tandem hang gliding syllabus and now leads our team of full time instructors. Judy also flies paragliders (World Champion 1995) and microlights/light aircraft. She runs courses in the Alps for paragliding and hang gliding, teaching ab initio, hill conversions, cross country flying and competition flying. She was awarded her MBE by the Queen for services to hang gliding.
Andy Snell - Senior Instructor, teaching paramotoring, powered hang gliding. tandem paraglider & hang glider pilot.
Andy flew sailplanes before he turned to hang gliding, then paragliding and microlighting. He has been working at Airways Airsports for many years, and teaches just about everything! His laid-back style and gentle humour inspires confidence in his students. Andy believes in encouraging pilots to think for themselves, and guides them through their initial low flights right through to teaching them how to soar and thermal.