More On Hang Gliding

by JB Mills - Date: 2007-03-07 - Word Count: 605 Share This!

Like an eclipse, it covered the sun and then gradually glided away. With no second thought, a nearby old village bloke quickly short back, "it's a sign, it's a sign, didn't I tell you, it's definitely a sign". That wasn't a sign. That was an American Pilot, Caril Ridley, conducting a high altitude flight test using a hang glider in India. Since that day, December of 1974, and today, February 2007, the industry has grown tremendously.

Some people might like to call it an air sport, but then the people who've been there know that it takes more than air to get you up there. However, hang gliding definitely is a recreational and competitive sport at the same time.

Although hang gliding is quite similar to paragliding, yet its craft is a bit complicated. The craft is controlled by shifting the body weight of the pilot who is suspended hanging attached to the frame of the wing. The craft is much lighter compared to its cousins and much cheaper too. Its body consist an aluminum/ composite framed fabric wing.

This outdoor sport is quite popular in the Western United States and California and its popularity covers all the corners of the world. There are many sport and outdoor recreational companies that offer training and tandem flights for inexperienced to have their majestic adventure in a safe-mode.

Hang gliding is done by suspending an individual from the wing of the craft in a harness that is attached to the frame of the wing for safety and stability. For maneuvering, there is a control bar provided for the pilot, with which he can turn right, left, lift and descend. The maneuvering is done in accordance with the prevailing wind conditions. While landing, the craft is stalled because of which the pilot can land safely on his feet.

The craft can be easily transported because it can be dismantled and pack into a smaller compact form. Once on location, it can be reassembled and the pilot can strap back in the harness system. The pilot has to take a running start for the craft to get enough lift and once that's done, hang gliding begins. Once the craft is in air, it is kept in forward motion by the gravitational pull. In addition to this, the pilot can take advantage of the wind currents to stay aloft. The glider is pulled in the upward direction by the pilot that allows the pilot to float back to the ground.

Though hang gliding has a fare share of its fans, yet the fatal accidents remain its arch enemy. The craft, by its self, is a fairly safe and sturdy construction but the outside condition and inexperience of the pilot can turn it into a coffin. Otto Liliethal, the 'glider king' of Germany and the pioneer of human aviation, himself was clamed by fatal glider crash.

Hang gliding has a tendency to be dangerous and for that matter should be practiced in under proper assistance and supervision. There are many outdoor adventure clubs and companies that help in training and certification of hang gliders; they make a good reference for an accredited training school. Along with good training, a good knowledge of weather and geographic conditions is required. It shouldn't be practiced in an unsafe environment.

Many countries have imposed restrictions that allow hang gliding in certain specific areas. Along with that the pilot would have to sign in a log book and prove his credentials. Such designated places have a landing zone so that the bystanders are not harmed. Although hang gliding can be carried out almost anywhere, yet staying in such designated areas help minimizing the risk.

Related Tags: extreme sports, outdoor adventure sports, outdoor gear

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