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.
Tom started paragliding at the age of 14 in Saint Hilaire du Touvet. At 15 he bought a sewing machine and started designing his first kites and paragliders in his bedroom. His enthusiasm for paraglider aerodynamics and structures grew even more when he entered one of the top aerospace engineering schools in France, ISAE-Supaero in Toulouse. He started working for BGD in 2017, when he was entrusted with the development of a new simulation software that became operational in 2018.
The software is now an integral part of BGD’s R&D tools, and Tom and Bruce work closely together on the new designs. Alongside this work, Tom is pursuing academical work to better understand the physics of our flying machines. His PHD is the first to be dedicated to paragliding: “Fluid-structure interaction simulations of highly deformable sails.”
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.
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 a test pilot as well as working on graphic design for BGD.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Yan discovered paragliding while in Nepal in 2012, a life-changing experience that led to her quitting her management consultancy career to pursue her love of free-flight. With a background in journalism and public communication, Yan is now a paragliding freelance writer and Chinese interpreter / translator, sometimes she’s even the Chinese commentator / host in flying events. Yan currently lives in Spain, and looks after BGD’s southeast Asia sales.
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.
Born in the German flatland Timo has craved to fly since he was a little boy. After starting paragliding at the age of 14 he began to push the limits of Cross-Country flying in his region, along the way he fell in love with BGD and joined the team at first as a team pilot. Now he is supporting the German sales from the flatlands.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Anna was born and raised in the Caucasus mountains in Russia. She started paragliding in 2007 and was instantly hooked. She is an interior designer by trade, but has put her artistic life aside for now and made paragliding her work. Anna is a professional tandem pilot, working and travelling all over the world. She is in charge of BGD sales in Russia and the Balkans.
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.
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.
Franck learnt to fly after a bet with his brother in 2019 and immediately fell in love with the sport. He is a trail runner, father, and general outdoor enthusiast. He has already flown several nice triangles around his home site of Aix-les-Bains and plans to break the site distance record. He is a specialist in outdoor sports marketing strategy and helps BGD with branding, social media, and marketing.