Set to Soar: Hang Gliding

The Goods on How to Get Going
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Since its origins more than two decades ago, the sport of hang gliding has progressed enormously. The equipment is stronger, safer, and offers dramatically improved performance. Today's advanced hang gliders rival the performance of regular fixed-wing gliders of just a few decades past. Using new, high-performance double-surface gliders, advanced pilots can easily climb to 10,000 feet or higher, where they can soar for hours at a time. Hand- and ballistic-launched parachutes have added an increased element of safety, and the development of tandem training has cut the time needed to achieve your intermediate pilot rating by up to a third.

As with paragliding, a tandem flight is the best way to experience hang gliding for the first time. A specially certified instructor will take you up for 15 to 30 minutes, flying at altitudes of 2,000 feet or more. Under the pilot's guidance, you will help steer the craft through 360s and other advanced maneuvers. Depending on location, the price of an initial tandem ride will range from $100 to $200.

If that first flight stirs your sense of adventure, the next step is to sign up for a formal training program. This is not a do-it-yourself sport. As with any form of aviation, hang gliding is serious business, and you must learn from professionals. You should choose a training center with instructors certified by the United States Hang Gliding Association, (Colorado Springs, CO, 1.800.616.6888 or 719.632.8300).

Published: 17 Jul 2001 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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