Three Queenstown paragliding pilots have had their tandem licences suspended after an investigation revealed they took unacceptable risks.

Queenstown-based Fly Paragliding was investigated by the New Zealand Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association after incidents in which pilots were blown off course, The Southland Times reported.

Fly Paragliding chief executive Abe Laguna had his licence suspended following a tandem flight in May which he was blown behind a ridge.

Association hang-gliding operations manager Robert Darby said Mr Laguna decided to take off despite a succession of gusty fronts, which endangered the pilot and passenger and it was a concern the reserve chute was used to descend.


The incident report was "incorrect, misleading and did not convey in any way the seriousness of the incident", he said.

Two other pilots Andrew McNabb and Istvan Kabos had their licences suspended after incidents in which a helicopter was needed to pick up a tourist, a pilot and three staff near Arrowtown after one flight landed in a valley, and another beyond the firm's operational area.

Mr Laguna failed to cancel the flights before the arrival of a cold front and thereby failed to take action where life was endangered, the association's report said.