It started as a small company working out of a garage, but Bruce Goldsmith Design is now a leading manufacturer of quality paragliders and paragliding related equipment. Inspired and driven by Bruce, the R&D department is based in the south of France where the sun always shines; distribution is in Austria, and the factory is in Sri Lanka.
The BGD family is strong and we are all connected by our love of paragliding. Our mission is to share our sport with friends and family. We love the feeling of being connected to the air and our products are designed with that in mind. We produce safe, fun, and fresh products that are always delivered with the refined handling and innovative qualities that Bruce’s designs have become renowned for.
BGD is named after Bruce, MD and head of the development team. Flying is in Bruce’s DNA. He learned to hang glide as an engineering student at London’s Imperial College in the 1980s, and quickly shot to the top of British hang gliding, winning the Superleague in 1991. He was on the British hang gliding team for a decade from 1986, and was twice British Hang Gliding Champion. From 1989 he was also on the British paragliding team, becoming British Paragliding Champion three times and ranked WPRS #1 pilot and World Champion in 2007.
London-born Bruce now lives in the south of France with his wife Arna and three kids. A founding member of Airwave Paragliders and Ozone, he designed for Advance for two years before founding BGD in 2012. A writer, speaker and educator, Bruce has a regular column in Cross Country magazine and is president of the APPI (Association of Paragliding Pilots and Instructors).
Arna was the first Icelandic woman to fly hang gliders when she started at the age of 17, enticed from skydiving by her hang-gliding dad. He bought her a Wills Wing Harrier, and it was love at first sight! Arna competed in several Celtic Cups in Ireland and Wales, hanging out with the stars of the British League but she didn’t know Bruce until a chance meeting in a car park in the South of France in 1997.
When Bruce’s test pilot crashed and destroyed her new competition Airwave Magic, he lent her the paraglider that started her paragliding career. Arna and Bruce married in 1997, and Arna flew a lot, accompanying Bruce to up to 14 competitions a year. Flying took a backseat for a few years while she concentrated on the family, but now the kids are grown and she is back in the skies where she belongs, on a Magic.
Christoph’s flying career started back in 2002. He learned to paraglide near his home in Wolfsberg, Austria, and instantly fell in love with the sport, flying his Airwave paraglider on some big XCs and breaking the 100km barrier by a big margin. He went on to compete in Austria’s A-league. An engineer by trade, his work life had him involved in some big construction projects, including building bridges across Austria and Serbia for PORR, one of Austria’s largest construction companies.
In 2012 the lure of a different life beckoned, and he quit the construction world and joined forces with Bruce and Arna for an exciting new project – establishing BGD. Christoph still lives in Wolfsberg, with his wife Mila and son Maximillian, where he manages BGD’s European distribution from the Austrian office and distribution centre.
By age 16 Ant’s passion for adventure led him to paragliding. He has flown competitively since 2004 in acrobatics and cross country. Studying film, business and math he has been with BGD since the start bringing all the wild colors to the products. Ant is currently our graphic and in-house film guy and lives and works in Morzine, France.
Flying at age 11, David has paragliding in his blood. A former world cup competitor he now teaches in Saint Hilaire du Touvet. He has always been a dreamer and is most comfortable at cloud base. Working as a test pilot for BGD he draws on his year of acrobatics and XC flying to do his part to make the sport safer and fun for everyone.
Martin has always dreamed of flying and loves the mountains. He spent many years flying RC sailplanes, kite surfing, and is a Ironman triathlete which led him to hike and fly. Martin is a professional photographer and marketing specialist acting as a consultant, photographer and covers sales in Austria. Martin lives near Vienna, AU.
Tom loves to fly almost as much as he loves to research how paragliders fly. He works closely with Bruce developing new software to design the latest and greatest.
Charlie’s first paragliding flight was back in 1994, a 21’st birthday gift that has lasted 25 years and counting. She now flies an Echo, a far cry from the parachute used on that first tow launch in rural England. She lives with her family in southern France and is a daytime desk jockey who works on BGD’s newsletters, manuals and brochures.
Jo is our guru and a true encyclopedia. Previously working in the yachting industry, she now works in our BGD office in France looking after everything from administration and sales through to company accounts
Although Martin is not a qualified paragliding pilot yet, he is passionate and enjoys participating in many sports like Scuba Diving, Skiing, Squash & Fitness Training. Previously a Professional DJ / Producer, Martin now heads up our Sales Team based at the BGD office in France.
Paragliding came as a natural evolution to his passion for sailing and gliding. With a hunger for XC flights, he actively took part in the development of the EN- C Cure and brought it to the top of the EN-C class. His background as naval architect and designer led him to develop harnesses, rucksack, and other products in the company.
Coming from a family of pioneering pilots in Brazil, Flying is part of Raphael's DNA. He has been flying paragliders and paramotors since 2008 and works as an instructor and tandem pilot in Sri Lanka and Europe. He is passionate about XC across Brazil and paramotoring over the Amazon. Raphael knows our paramotor range well and is our international paramotor sales guy.
Bruce and Arna's eldest son, Tyr was born into paragliding and has flourished. He has already won numerous paragliding competitions (Us Nationals, Rio Cup, Weightless, etc.) and loves everything related to the air. He is now helping test paragliders and some graphic design for BGD.
Irena lives in Slovenia, near the Austrian border, and looks after stock and shipping at BGD’s warehouse in Austria. Before moving to BGD Irena has worked as wood technology engineer for 25 years. She loves the great outdoors and nothing beats a beautiful landscape, but she feels most connected to nature through her sports – paragliding, mountaineering, skiing, cycling and surfing.
David CHAUMET is BGD sales manager for France, helps with R&D, and runs a service center. He has been flying sailplanes, paragliders, hang gliders, and UL aircraft since 1989 and was part of the French hangliding and paragliding team from 2002 to 2008 winning several world championship podiums in class 5 hang gliders! He's specialized in composite materials and electrical engines for aeronautical applications. Check out his electric Swift and electric paraglider.
Born in Turkey but living in Germany Alev first started paragliding in 2009. A anesthesiologist by profession she is now also working in a flight school in Germany to become an instructor and tandem pilot in order to share the joy of flight. Since June 2018 she became responsible for the BGD Sales Turkey.
Another medical man, orthopaedic technician and prosthetics-maker Bene was infected with the flying bug at the age of 16. Powered paragliding is the bug that has bitten the hardest, and Bene is an international competitor in classic and endurance paramotoring. He is also a PPG test pilot and has headed up BGD’s motor division since 2013.
Claudia started paragliding in 1994, and since the beginning of the millennium has worked as a professional journalist and translator specialized in paragliding and paramotor. With a deep knowledge of the sport and the Spanish-spoken scene, she oversees our sales in Spain and Latin America.
An avid cross country pilot, Daniel was raised and lives in Brasov, Romania with his wife Carmen and daughter. His slogan is to live life to the fullest since we only have one.
Lucas is a medical doctor, and took up hang gliding in the early ‘80s. He flew Airwave hang gliders and paragliders – his first paraglider in 1993 was a Bruce design. He and Bruce have been friends since then, and Lucas has been with BGD from the start. He’s since thrown in the stethoscope to be BGD’s Brazilian importer. “Still working while others play”, he sighs!
BGD’s Italian importer, Malcom is as much at home under the sea as in the sky. He travelled the world as a scuba-diving instructor for 12 years before discovering paragliding. He now lives in the Italian Alps, where he works as a tandem pilot and looks after BGD’s sales. His enthusiasm for flying is infectious, and he’s a font of knowledge about BGD wings.
Mario lives, breaths, and dreams paragliding. He is always smiling and strives to share his passion with everyone. Mario lives and works mostly from home in Nesselwang, Germany.
Rene is the fledgling of our crew and absorbing his surroundings like a sponge. After learning to fly in 2016, he quit his job as a medical device engineer a year later to pursue a master’s in aeronautical engineering – the sky was calling. He showed up at the 2018 Coupe Icare with a CV and project proposal for his master’s keystone project, turned out it was just what Bruce and Tom were looking for. Having completed his project with BGD in paraglider flight dynamics, he is now working in our France Office to streamline our operations – while of course still wearing a technical hat from time to time.
Yan discovered paragliding while in Nepal in 2012, a life-changing experience that led to her quitting her management consultancy job to pursue her love of free-flight. She is now a paragliding freelance writer and Chinese interpreter / translator, and she has travelled and flown all over the world. Yan currently lives in Spain, and looks after BGD’s Chinese sales.