Hang gliding is a sport that requires a great deal of preparation and training. It’s not something you can just go out and do without any knowledge or experience. However, if you’re willing to put in the work, it could be an activity that challenges your mind as well as your body.
Hang gliding has been practiced for decades, but only now are more people taking up this extreme pastime thanks to its accessibility with modern equipment. Plus, there’s no better way to see the world from above than by hang glider! If you want to learn more about how this exciting sport works before giving it a try yourself, read on! Or click here for information on renting one of our own hang gliders.
What is Hang Gliding?
Hang gliding is a lot like skydiving in that it’s an outdoor, airborne activity where the object is to be propelled forward by gravity and wind currents. But unlike skydiving, hang gliders don’t create enough lift to soar as planes or helicopters would. They’re designed with extended arms and large, aerodynamic surfaces that catch a wind current and let people fly long distances at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
However, getting off the ground requires a very specific set of procedures – much like how you’d need to take off and land like a plane in order for it to work successfully. An experienced pilot will do all kinds of things before taking flight: tink with their equipment; checking their rigging; rechecking their equipment; walk around the take-off spot to see if there’s anything that could affect flight; and then, finally, they’ll strap themselves into the glider before running as fast as possible until they’re at least 10 feet off of the ground.
As you can imagine, this process takes a lot of time and energy! But once you get airborne (and it happens quickly), hang gliding is extremely safe – especially when compared to other extreme sports like skydiving or bungee jumping – because there are actually two safety lines attached between you and your glider. These will catch you if something goes wrong mid-flight.
Hang Gliding for Beginners
If you’re curious about how to try to hang gliding, you can easily rent one of our ready-to-fly gliders to take out onto the field. No special training or certification is required! All you have to do is strap yourself in, run off the edge of a hill, and soar through the air for as long as possible without crashing into anything (or anyone).
While this makes for an amazing recreational activity that anyone can enjoy – even kids or adults who aren’t typically considered “athletic” – it’s still important to learn about safety precautions before attempting something like this on your own.
Aside from the aforementioned knowledge about how to take flight, pilots will need to learn about how much space they’ll need in order to fly; where they should be flying; how they should land their glider; what kinds of terrain are safe to use for take-off and landing; etc.
Hang Gliding vs. Paragliding
The latter sport is another variation on the same idea, which is why you’ll often see them both grouped together across different types of activities. While hang gliders are known for using propulsion during takeoff (which makes it easier), paragliders allow pilots to simply hop off of a hill with minimal effort but still enjoy an almost immediate lift thanks to wind currents alone.
The main difference between the two sports is that paragliders have built-in inflatable structures that create more aerodynamic surfaces than traditional hang gliders. This makes the sport very easy to learn because it doesn’t require much arm strength to take flight – but there’s also a trade-off in that they’re typically more flimsy and difficult to maneuver mid-air once you get airborne.
As far as equipment goes, both paragliders and hang gliders are made up of very similar components. This includes things like ropes, safety lines, wind vanes, steering controls, kites/sails for lift, risers for stability, etc.
What varies is the size of these components since paraglider forces are smaller than those produced by traditional hang gliders.
The latter has higher performance demands with greater payload capacity requirements during flight – which is you’ll often see them used for things like racing, trail-riding, or even aerial sports like aerobatics (aka flying in loops).