Hang Gliding

By Adrenaline

Hang gliding is regarded as one of the most exciting adventures in which you get to pilot a non-motorized aircraft that can be launched into the air using only your feet. The hang glider, which is also referred to as a delta plane, consists of the frame commonly made from aluminum and composite materials, onto which the fabric that provides air gliding capabilities is attached.

How hang gliding works

When hang gliding, you will be suspended from the aforementioned frame and you will be able to exercise control over the altitude or direction by translating the weight of your body against the steering frame. It is also important to note that some of the newest hang gliders will include control solutions similar to a motorized aircraft, but most enthusiasts consider that they take some of the fun out of hang gliding. Initially, when the delta planes were not yet optimized, you would not be allowed to glide in steep hilly zones, due to the control limitations. The good news is that these aircrafts have come a long way since then and nowadays few restrictions regarding the layout of the area will apply.

Moreover, the recent developments in the thermal-resistant materials enabled manufacturers to construct hang gliders that can be flown at incredibly high altitudes without having to concern yourself about updrafts. Acrobatics and cross country touring is also possible with modern delta planes. The singular restrictions that have been maintained come from the organizations that are in charge of managing the national airspace and the International Federation of Aeronautics. Before you proceed, it is highly advisable to undergo the training courses, which can help fly and land safely in less than optimal weather and terrain conditions.

A quick history of hang gliding

You could say that the early hang gliders stood at the base of modern aeronautics, because these devices were the initial steps man took towards flying. Otto Lilienthal can be regarded as the pioneer not only in the field of hang gliders, but also aviation in general even though the primary models developed by him in 1880 and 1890 were only capable of ridge soaring. A bit later, in 1904 Jan Lavezzari managed to fly on an aircraft based on 2 lateen sales and 6 years later, on the initial triangular frame hang glider.

The kite patent belongs to Francis Rogallo as well as Gertrude Rogallo and they applied for it back in 1948. This design conferred the hang gliders a significant level of flexibility. While NASA considers John W. Dickenson the inventor of the hang glider used today, the adaptations brought by Mike Burns in ’63 to the flexible wing design of Barry Hill Palmer had a much bigger influence.

Safety measures in hang gliding

You will be required to equip a parachute as well as a backup, which can transport both you and your aircraft towards the ground in case you come across strong thermal currents or winds. The helmet is another mandatory part of the gear that can protect your head from injuries during a rough landing. In addition, you will be carrying a knife that can enable you to cut the ropes in the eventuality that you land on a tree, a radio, a GPS unit and some basic first aid gear. However, ample training itself would be your best safety device.

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