Hang Gliding Rules, History, Tips & Equipment

A history of Hang Gliding, how to play, tips for improvement & necessary equipment

Hang Gliding Overview

Hang gliding, an air sport, consists of a pilot using a foot launched aircraft called a hang glider to glide through the air.

Hang Gliding History

The first hang gliders were invented in the 1880s. Otto Lilienthal of Germany expanded on the work of his cotemporaries to build the hang glider. He is considered one of the most influential early aviation pioneers. In 1960, Billy Hill Palmer adapted the flexible wing concept of Francis Rogallo and Gertrude Rogallo, to make foot launched hang gliders with four different control arrangements. The most popular hang glider format to date was constructed by John W. Dickenson in 1963. As a result, Dickenson is credited for inventing the modern hang glider. In the early days of the sport, riders were restrict to gliding down small hills. Today, modern technology allows riders to soar for hours and glide cross-country for hundreds of miles.

Hang Gliding Rules

Hang gliders are usually piloted by one rider at a time. However, riders need a team to help the hang glider with take off, and to be there in case of emergencies. Hang gliding is traditionally considered a dangerous sport. Today pilots need to go through training programs before they can fly. Hang gliding launch techniques include, foot launching from a hill, tow launching from the ground, and being towed by a boat. The glider continually descends, but fliers can glide for hours in areas of rising air.

Competitions started with distance flying and spot landings. Today, due to advancements in technology, cross country flying has replaced them. Fliers use GPS units to direct their glider to the goal. Every two years a world championship is held. Hang gliding is also one of the competition categories in the World Air Games.

Hang Gliding Tips

Hang gliding pilots should not fly in inclement weather conditions, such as excess win, or risk of cloud suck. Pilots should talk to locals to get a complete picture of the weather conditions. Before take off pilots need to walk 360 degrees around there glider checking key areas: bolts, ropes, wires, battons, wing tips, etc. Similarly, pilots should make sure harness lines are secure and not twisted. When taking off pilots should make sure the glider wing is properly aligned with the wind. Pilots should always run hard during the launch. They should never land in water, and they should avoid power lines and other flying objects.

Hang Gliding Equipment

Hang gliding requires a hang glider. Hang gliders are made of an aluminum alloy or composite framed fabric wing. Pilots may wear a parachute as back up. Pilots also wear helmets and usually have hook knives for cutting their parachute down from trees. They also carry with them rope, a first aid kit, and a radio to call for help.