Hang Gliding

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 26,553
    Professional hang gliding instructor Dan Zink from Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding discusses how to hang glide.

    Dan Zink: Hi! My name is Dan Zink. I am an instructor with Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding near Chattanooga, Tennessee. We train five times more certified pilots then the next largest school in America. Today we'll discuss the basics of how to learn the hang glide. We'll start off with learning the aerodynamics of the wing, what makes it lift and what makes it fly above our shoulders. And then we will practice, we'll practice running on flat ground, getting it to lift above our shoulders, just like a lodge. Before you get good enough with that, we'll start moving toward the 60 foot Bunny hill. We'll start just about half way up it and we'll run off the Bunny hill and if we do a good enough, it will lift above our shoulders, and might actually take us off the ground a few feet.

    If you do great, once again. We go a little higher up the hill. The higher we go up the hill, the more air time you'll get. And you are practicing it better and better and better. Once you are good enough, we'll even move over to the bigger hill and then you could practice precise turns, how to move left, how to move right. Just right amount, how to control your air speed and it will be wonderful. At the end the conclusion will actually go do a tandem fly, where you will fly side by side with an instructor and you'll be all the way up at 2000 feet in the air. And you'll just fly all around the sky like a bird. You come down and land on your wheels nice and gently. This is a certified hang glider. It's certified the 7 Gs of force in a positive load which is more than most aircrafts and always make sure you fly a certified hang glider. We also need a harness, this is a training harness right here. It's very simple. It looks like an apron with leg loops. And that's also certified to about 5000 pounds.

    You need a helmet to fit your noggin, because at times you will just bump your head on one of those pipes or something like that when you are getting in. Those are the three main things you need to get started. When you have a training hang glider, you pretty much always what big training wheels, so you can just roll in on the ground nice and easy, without worrying about having that lay it on your feet, right away when you are new. And the last things that are on the hang glider is your harness, your hanging loops right here. You will hang from these hang loops and to steer yourself, you will either pull yourself left or pull yourself right with these down tubes. If you want to go faster, you pull yourself forward or otherwise ease back out with these down tubes right here. Safety is paramount. So, the very first thing you want to do is make sure you are training with a certified flight instructor, that would be certified through United States Hang Gliding Association. That's the one you want to use.

    Alright. Moving forward. Other safety steps. First of all, we need to do a flight plan. We need to make sure that we know where we're flying, we have got a nice, smooth runway. We need to know the weather conditions, especially as a new person you have got to fly in calmer, more relaxed air, that's not too turbulent and rough, where it might bounce you around.

    When you are new, you want to be able to let the glider fly and if you have bumpy air, you won't be able to know whether you caused those bumps or turns or whether it was the conditions you were flying, and it caused those bumps and turns. So smooth air first of all. Secondly, we want to go into the wind. So, the air, knowing your wind, is very important. Have a few wind indicators around, it helps quite a bit. Other parts of your flight plan, you have to know you are not in restricted air space and this comes with your training, we hit on this pretty hard after the first couple of days. Now, let's move forward to the equipment. You have to do what we call a pre-flight inspection of your glider. And I am not going to do the whole thing right here. You'll be learning that right off the bat in your second day of training, but suffice to say, that we are checking the sail, walking all the way around the whole thing, looking at the tubing, looking at bolts and nuts, making sure every nut would have a safety on it, so that it couldn't come undone. And we are looking at the cables, no frayed edge, no edges that are sharp, ready to break, anything like that. These things are very rare in a hang glider. However, if you're going to fly for the next 30 years, why take a chance? We're going to make sure it's perfect everyday, every time before we fly. Before we get started, let me tell you a little bit about my credentials. I have been teaching hang gliding for over seven years and flying for over nine years. I have over 1000 flights under my belt or 1000 hours under my belt and over 2500 flights and never broken a finger nail. Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding school I work for has been here since 1978 and we train over 1000 new students every year. I think you're in good hands.