Learning to Fly: First Steps to Hang Gliding


Well, for starters let’s emphasize that usually, hang gliding is considerably more dangerous than staying at home watching the TV. So is important to get all the information before putting yourself on board for a new adventure, familiarize yourself with all you need to know about training, equipment and safety before experimenting the most amazing feeling in the world, Flying!

The hang glider is basically an aluminium (or other light but durable material) aircraft grade frame that carries a triangle-shaped wing of fabric. That said, the fabric is reinforced with a light but strong skeleton and from this hangs another metallic structure to which the pilot is attached by a harness, which also helps to direct the frame.

The pilot is commonly attached to the airframe by a harness that suspends the body, and the control of the aircraft is achieved by shifting the body weight as is needed. At first sight, seems very simple, but, in real life, it requires a lot of practice and a minimum knowledge about the winds, thermal updrafts and flight theory. Getting instructions or classes by professionals is highly recommendable.

Required equipment

The first thing new pilots need to get is the necessary equipment to be able to fly in hang gliding with total safety. This one is relatively simple since it consists of an overall or special suit (depending on where the flight is going to take place) when choosing, remember that the sky can be very cold; a helmet, goggles and gloves. As complementary equipment, a knife is also usually used to cut the parachute cords in case of falling on a tree or in the water, lights, climbing ropes, a radio and a small first aid kit.


To be able to fly with the hang glider, a qualification is required through an accredited school in this type of flight. The course usually takes about a week. While there the instructors will teach you what to do on land, how’s the takeoff, basic notions of flying and procedures for landing. In the same way, it will be necessary to carry out an examination of the basic theory of sliding. Depending on the learning school, they can use a tandem hang glider or hills just for training for the first flights.

An extreme sport

Hangliding has been considered a dangerous sport, but the truth is that the equipment and devices used in hang gliding are very resistant and few of their components can be damaged easily. The greatest danger involved in this sport is slipping at the mercy of thermal currents and wind, that can drift a pilot kilometres away from the programmed landing point. Nonetheless, the pilot can have a safety parachute in the harness in case of problems. But it’s important to have on mind that human flight is fairly new in history and modern hang gliding as a sport is new, it’s only about 10 years old, so there’s so much to learn while new materials and techniques to improve the experience.