Hang gliding: All you must know about this extreme sport
In other posts we have already talked about other types of extreme sports such as canyoning and base jumping. Today we are going to talk about hang gliding, which consists of a device built to plan and carry out non-motorised flights.
HOW DOES HANG GLIDING WORK?
This sport is based on the use of upward air currents or thermal currents with a hang glider, that fly by the principles that apply to any aircraft. By taking advantage of the upward air currents, the pilot can stay in flight for long periods and perform acrobatics. The hang glider makes use of a very large, delta-shaped fabric surface and part of it is raised for gliding.
Some places to hang glide on a worldwide scale are the following:
- La Jolla, CA (United States): hang gliding in San Diego is a great experience you must do once in your life. Places like Torrey Pines Gliderport and other schools give you the opportunity of flying without having to be an expert.
- Lookout Mountain Flight Park: this hang gliding center gives you the great opportunity of hang gliding Chattanooga. It is the first America’s flight resort in which you can fly but also stay for some nights and relax if that’s what you want to do.
If what you want to do is to have lookout mountain experience, hang gliding is a very good option. Don’t worry because no matter where you live there are a lot of options where you can hang glide.
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THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PARAGLIDING AND HANG GLIDING
You may be wondering what are the differences between paragliding vs hang gliding. As we want you to distinguish well when you have to decide between hang-gliding or paragliding, we are going to tell you the big differences:
In the paraglider, you fly in a seated position, unlike with a hang-glider where the flying position is horizontal.
Another difference when it comes to knowing whether to use a hang glider or a paraglider is that the paraglider consists of a quieter experience to be able to observe the landscape and, on the contrary, the hang glider is the ideal flying technique if you want to achieve greater speed.
As far as paragliding is concerned, you should know that it is more portable, which means that it can be carried without any problems in a backpack as long as it is well folded. However, to transport a hang glider you need the help of a vehicle and about 30 minutes to set it up.
HOW DANGEROUS IS HANG GLIDING?
We have been talking about flying tremendous heights and now we are sure you only have one question in your mind: How dangerous is hang gliding? Well, as it is an extreme sport, it obviously has a danger factor. In any case, if you take some precautions, it is possible to hang glide without risks.
First of all, we are gonna talk about the equipment you should bring. In addition to the hang glider itself, we will need a harness or chair to hold us in place during the flight. And that also allows us to run to take off or stand up to land. This equipment usually includes safety accessories such as back protection.
It is also advisable to wear a helmet, as this minimizes any risk of touching the ground. The radio will keep you in touch with your instructors and other colleagues. And thanks to the GPS you will be able to know your exact location, at all times.
You also have to count with the emergency parachute. If any incident occurs, it will be your last resort to save your life. With all of this equipment, we are sure that you will prevent any possibility of a hang gliding accident.
One fact that you must take into account, is that you will have to take hang gliding lessons and not go by yourself to fly. Your teacher will tell you everything you should know to become a professional hang glider.
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LEARN TO FLY: TANDEM HANG GLIDING
If what you want to do is learn to hang glide, what you have to do is start with tandem hang gliding. In this practice, the student and instructor are hooked into the glider together, so that you learn with an experienced hang glider pilot.
The glider is designed specifically for tandem flights with a larger wing area for more lift and tricycle landing gear to simplify takeoffs and landings. An ultralight plane tows you to altitude, the glider is released, then you and your instructor glide back to the airport where you land like a plane.
There is no danger as you are always hooked with a very experienced teacher!
HANG GLIDING´S AMAZING RECORDS
Although hang-gliding began with minor flights on small hills, today’s technology allows pilots to fly up to 500 miles and stay in the air for several hours. World records are registered by the International Aeronautical Federation located in France.
The main objectives of the competition are straight line distance, height gain, distance to a declared objective and time and distance on a triangle circuit.
The record for hang gliding duration is over 24 hours, but the average time of an expert pilot is between 2 and 8 hours in the air if the temperature is right and there are no strong winds.
As for the altitude, 5,000 metres have been reached. But current regulations in some countries prohibit free flights above 3,000 metres above sea level or 1,500 metres if the sport is practiced near an airport.
As for the straight distance world record, it is held by Dustin B. Martin, with a distance of 764 km (475 mi) in 2012, originating from Zapata, Texas. The second one is from Judy Leden (GBR) who holds the altitude record for a balloon-launched hang glider: 11,800 mat Wadi Rum, Jordan in 1994.
How much does hang gliding cost?
The cost depends on what you want to buy or rent. If you are a beginner, what you should do is to contract the services of a hang gliding center. These centers tend to be expensive and the cost of a package of classes can be around 1500 to 2000$.
Another hang gliding cost can be the gear. First of all, we want to tell you how much does a hang glider cost: the glider can cost around 4000$, but you can also find some others a little bit cheaper for approximately 1500$.
Moreover, you’ll have to buy a hang gliding harness, which costs about 1000$ in a new condition, but you can also purchase a used harness for around 300$. You’ll also need a parachute, which costs around 700$ and a helmet that can cost anywhere from 75$ to 500$.
Maybe now you are a little bit scared of all the money you have to spend on a sport. That is why a lot of hang gliders rent the material of some instruction schools or clubs for around 75 and 100$ a day.
If you have read this article and want to experience nature at its fullest, what are you waiting for to start to hang glide?