Hang Gliding In Byron Bay

Frequently Asked Questions About Hang Gliding


What is a hang glider?
What is a hang glider made of?
How do you control a hang glider?
How does a hang glider go up?
How far can you fly?
How do you foot launch a glider?
What if there are no hills to fly from?
How do you land a hang glider?
How strong must I be to fly?
Do you need a license to fly a hang glider?
How expensive is hang gliding?
Is Hang Gliding Safe

What is a hang glider? The HGFA classifies hang gliders as a glider capable of being carried, foot launched, and foot landed solely by the energy and use of the pilot's legs.

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What is a hang glider made of? The frame of a conventional hang glider is made of aircraft grade aluminum. The glider frame is supported by small but very strong cables. The sails are normally made of Dacron and the sail's shape is maintained by formed aluminum rods called battens . The pilot hangs from two straps (a main and a back up) that are connected to a harness. It's about as simple as an aircraft gets.

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How do you control a hang glider? The pilot controls the pitch and roll of the glider by shifting his or her weight, changing the center of gravity. The yaw is controlled by the swept wing design of the glider.

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How does a hang glider go up? As a hang glider flies, it sinks through the air. If that air is rising faster than the glider sinks, the glider goes up. This rising air is called lift. How long can you stay up? Without lift a hang glider sinks at about 150 feet a minute, so it depends on how high you are. Most pilots like to fly in lift. With lift you could stay up indefinitely (or until you have to pee). A normal flight in good thermalling conditions will last about 2 or 3 hours.

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How far can you fly? With good lift a pilot can fly over 100 miles using her wit and skill. Flights exceeding 300 miles have been recorded.

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How do you foot launch a glider? To foot launch on a slope you hold the glider in the proper position, and smoothly accelerate the glider to a run. When you reach the proper air speed the glider will lift you off the ground. Foot launching from a cliff is even easier, you hold the glider in the proper position, take 2 steps and you're in the air!

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What if there are no hills to fly from? Hang gliders can also tow into the air, there are several methods. There are many variations to these methods but here are the basics.

Aero tow: Air to air towing normally behind an ultralight airplane called a tug. The glider is connected to the tug by a thin line about 200 feet long. The glider sits on a dolly hooked in and ready to go. When the glider pilot gives the signal, the tug accelerates lifting the glider into the air. The glider follows the tug to the proper altitude and releases (normally about 2000 feet).

Static line: A long line is connected to a pressure sensor on the back of a car. The car accelerates keeping the pressure at a safe level, when the car runs out of road the glider releases. The release height is about one fifth the length of the road.

Stationary winch: a long line is connected to a motorized reel. The winch reels in the line. Towing the glider to a height about one third the length of the field.

Payout winch: a long line is wound on a reel in the back of a truck or boat. As the vehicle accelerates the line is payed out under tension. The glider climbs to about one fifth the length of the tow.

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How do you land a hang glider? When you're first learning to fly you will simply roll in on wheels connected to the cross bar of the glider. After a few lessons on the hill you will begin to learn how to flare the glider and land on your feet. It may seem hard at first but it is simply a matter of practice.

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How strong must I be to fly? To learn to launch at a hill you must be capable of lifting the 50 pound glider with your shoulders. As soon as you begin to run the glider will lift off your shoulders and begin to take some of your weight making it easier to run. To learn to tow you simply lay in the harness. Many disabled pilots get into the air under tow. Leaving there disabilities far behind.

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Do you need a license to fly a hang glider? Hanggliding and paragliding are overseen by HGFA. The HGFA helps establish guidelines for training, ratings, and awards. All flying sites require pilots to be HGFA certified.On launch at a hill you must be capable of lifting the 50 pound glider with your shoulders. As soon as you begin to run, the glider will lift off your shoulders and begin to take some of your weight making it easier to run. To learn to tow you simply lay in the harness.

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How expensive is hang gliding? A basic novice level training program including equipment rental can range from $1000 - $1500. New novice level gliders range from $3000 - $4300, harnesses run $200 - $1000, parachutes are around $300 - $500, and a good helmet can be purchased for $250 - $350. Used equipment should only be purchased from a knowledgeable dealer and can save you some bucks.

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How safe is hanggliding? The safety of hanggliding has more to do with the person flying than the sport itself. If you are prone to taking risks without regard for safety, you may put yourself into situations that may not be very forgiving. You will probably also hear a few comments from other pilots regarding your judgment. There are many ways to help insure your safety, although the risk can never be completely removed. How safe are you?

1.Learn from a HGFA certified instructor.

2.Fly within HGFA guidelines for your rating.

3.Build strong skills before progressing to new tasks.

4.Judge conditions conservatively.

5.Consult other pilots when in question.

6.Always flight check your equipment.

7.Read and understand incident reports.

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