When I started flying hang gliders in 1982, Wally Anderson was already an old timer with
more hours logged than most pilots will get in a lifetime of flying. When I decided to try
paragliding in 1987, Wally was the instructor I wanted.
If you are just learning to fly
a hang glider or paraglider, you are at the beginning of a wonderful adventure. Picking
the right instructor is important not just for the piloting skills you will learn, but for
the introduction into the flying community. It's a group of people sharing the thrills of
soaring with the camraderie of like-minded friends.
Wally's concern for his students is evident on the training hill and off. Safety is
always at the forefront of his teaching. Patience, a sense of humor and a willingness to
see the student as an indvidual who needs to learn at his or her own pace puts Merlin
Flight School at the top of the list.
Give it a try, and prepared for the time of your life!
Anderson gave my wife and me our first paragliding lessons in
October 1995. As beginner pilots we knew nothing about selecting
a flight school. We chose Wally's school on the basis of his friendly,
no-pressure explanation of the training program and his obvious
competence. We were hooked from day one and now fly every chance
as advance-rated pilots, we know we made the best choice. Wally has more flying and
teaching experience than any other instructor in the area. He has the rare ability to
adjust his teaching style to the needs of the individual student. His "critters"
are known for their sound piloting skills and emphasis on safety.
And last, but not least, Merlin Flight School has the best training hill in the Bay
flying for three years, advanced rated pilot, legal administrator, working in San
Francisco and living in the East Bay, active in the Bay Area Paragliding Association.
I would recommend Wally Anderson's Merlin Flight School to
any new pilot for the following reasons:
His "free flight" experience goes back to the early days of hang gliding and
he was one of the first paragliding pilots in the Bay Area. He has seen it all and he
shares his wealth of knowledge and experience with his students.
Wally likes to teach as much as he likes to fly. Unlike other paragliding instructors,
his commitment to his school and his students is full-time.
Wally teaches on a very personal level. My husband (a gutsy, ex-Marine with a private
pilot's license) and I (a risk-adverse, uncoordinated wimp) trained together. Wally was
able to provide Mike with the highly technical details he required and give me the extra
patience I needed at the same time.
Paragliding has made a significant change in my life and I owe it all to Wally. As
advanced pilots, we have had the opportunity to work with other instructors, all of whom
have helped to improve our skills. However, I believe that Wally is the only one who could
have brought me along from square one. His patience and support gave me the confidence and
desire to keep going whenever I got discouraged.
"Once a critter, always a critter." That's Wally's creed. Even after signing
you off, Wally looks after you and continues to provide valuable ongoing training,
support and advise.
He is the best!
intermediate-rated pilot and have been flying for over 3 years. I still believe that
I made the right choice after seeing other Bay Area pilots fly that were taught at other
I feel that Wally puts an extra personal
touch into his teaching which stems from his personality and his many years of experience
in hanggliding and paragliding. He's the best at teaching the basics, as well as the
more advanced skills that are needed as you progress. I feel I can always go back to
Wally for flying advice, ask about equipment, or new flying sites and get the best and
most accurate information available.
Most importantly, safety comes first at Merlin. I
would recommend Wally to anyone interested in foot-launched flight.